Brewing coffee at home for some coffee drinkers is a sacred event. From start to finish, the whole process is a mini-science experiment involving precision and anticipation. We all have our preferences and what follows isn't a list of rules as your equipment for brewing coffee at home is probably a lot different than mine.
Our goal for this series of brewing guides is to help you understand the different strategies and equipment in order to get it right from the start. So sit back, grab a cup of joe, and check out the videos along with the mini-lexicon of the basic brewing terms and methods.
Bloom: Prewetting the coffee grounds to release excess gas and to aid the brewing process.
Brew ratio: The relationship between the weight of ground coffee and the volume of water used for brewing, typically reflected in grams.
Brew time: The length of time that water is in contact with ground coffee during brewing.
Dialing-in: The trade term for adjusting the grinder to produce coarser or finer grinds until it is in balance with the ratio of coffee to water and brew time.
Extraction: The amount of flavor removed from the coffee grounds during the brewing process.
Grind size: The size of ground coffee particles adjusted for proper extraction during brewing.
Over-extracted: When too much flavor has been removed from the coffee grounds, including the undesirable ones, resulting in a bitter and unpleasant-tasting coffee.
Turbulence: A mixing action created as water passes through and over the coffee grounds allowing for even and adequate extraction from the coffee grounds.
Under-extracted: When too little desirable flavor has been removed from the coffee grounds, resulting in a sour and weak-tasting coffee.
AeroPress: A syringe-like device that makes a single cup of coffee using properties of both immersion and pressure brewing.
Chemex: An hour-glass shaped carafe that holds the filter in place and doubles as the coffee brewer and vessel, similar to a pour-over but with increased grind size and brew time.
Cold Brew: A form of extracting coffee from ground coffee using cold or ambient water temperatures.
Drip coffee: A method of coffee brewing in which water passes through coffee grounds and a filter with the help of gravity.
French Press: A method of immersion brewing in which after the coffee grounds are steeped in water for a specific amount of time, a mesh filter is plunged through the coffee to separate the grounds from the beverage.
Immersion brewing: A category of brewing methods that involves steeping coffee grounds in water for a set amount of time.
Pressure brewing: A category of brewing methods that use pressure to force water through the coffee grounds to extract flavor.
Pour over: A manual method of making drip coffee using a cone-shaped dripper, a filter, and a kettle to pour water over the coffee grounds.
Tamping: Technique used in espresso brewing to pack down the ground coffee particles to for a flat tight bed.