Coffee Brewing Methods

How to use a Chemex Coffee Pot

Chemex Coffee Brewer - 10 CupWhat is a Chemex Maker? Well it’s a fancy Auto Drip Brewer…without the Auto. In other words, you get to provide the “Auto” function.


The Chemex brewer’s classic hourglass design is actually an American original and has been honored by the Museum of Modern Art. Its shape creates a built-in filter basket but tends to make cleaning a bit tricky.


This is one of our favorite ways to make coffee. Skip (Lakota’s owner) brews with Chemex at his home and loves it. Why? Because it gets him fully engaged in the process of brewing, and it makes amazing coffee. So if you’re all about the hands-on approach then you can have some fun with this method and end up with an amazing cup of coffee too!


For the best, rock solid tutorial we’ve ever seen on brewing coffee the Chemex way, just click here: Chemex Tutorial. This outstanding “How-to” article comes from an amazing non-commercial site, appropriately named “I Need Coffee!”


How to Make Iced Coffee Using a Toddy Maker

ToddyWhat is a Toddy Maker? It’s a special Coffee Maker that brews an amazing low acidity coffee concentrate.  This Toddy Cold Brew System produces the best iced coffee we have ever had, and we have sampled plenty of iced coffees from other companies.


The ancient process of cold coffee brewing was perfected in 1964 with the Toddy Cold Brew System. A chemical engineer graduate of Cornell University named Todd Simpson developed and patented the cold brew system. His inspiration for the creation was his mother’s weak stomach! Apparently she could not handle coffee’s natural acidity, a problem completely remedied by drinking coffee from a Toddy maker.


Here at Lakota, a summertime house favorite is our outstanding cold brewed Ethiopian Yirgacheffe – over ice. We use 1 LB of coffee per 72 oz of water. Let it stand for 8-12 Hours, and then allow all of the coffee to filter through into a container. Next, add milk (or water if you prefer) and ice. 3-4 oz of Coffee Concentrate + 8 oz of Milk/Water + 4 oz of Ice = the best Iced Coffee money can buy!


There are several advantages to this coffee brewing system:

  • The obvious advantage is much lower acidity for those of us who have stomach sensitivity.
  • It’s great for households where guests or house members awaken at different times throughout the morning, because anyone can just pour a shot of concentrate into a cup, add hot water, and Voila!  A fresh, hot cup of coffee-on demand.  
  • The Toddy concentrate makes excellent iced coffee…No need to chill hot brewed coffee, just pour a shot of concentrate over ice and add water! Or for a really luscious treat, add milk or a splash of cream instead!
  • You can also use your favorite coffee to produce a coffee concentrate that is exactly as strong as you like, yet 67% less acidic.  Presto!  Your favorite cup of hot or iced coffee-minus the acidity.


For more information we recommend this Toddy Maker Tutorial.


How to Make Coffee Using a French Press

Bodum - Chambord French PressMany experts feel that the “French Press” method of coffee brewing is the best way to experience “The Perfect Cup”. It produces a thick, rich cup, full of the aromatic oils that give coffee its flavor. Also the classic French Press is quite a romantic fixture. It evokes visions of intimate conversation at quaint outdoor cafes on tucked away, lamp lit streets wherever your imagination may take you.


There is surely no more elegant way to serve coffee, whether it is served on a breakfast tray with fresh, warm croissants or scones, or by fireside after a splendid dinner. What tickles me about this “stylish” brewing method is how similar it really is to what we call “Cowboy Coffee”. Indeed, you will find the Press Pot to be a handy coffee companion for camping out. (I always take mine!)


This method of coffee brewing requires that the grounds be stirred directly into the hot water and there is no paper filter, thus the thick, earthy body. (Too much body for some!)


Since the Press Pot does not actually contact a heat source, it is a good idea to preheat the plunger and pot with hot water prior to brewing the your coffee. For each cup, measure two level tablespoons of course ground coffee into the the French Press.


Note: Ideally, your coffee should be ground on number 10, which is right next to the most coarse grind you can get at your local roaster. Any finer than medium tends to over extract and cause difficulties with pressing the plunger down. Lastly, too finely ground coffee will also end up in your cup…not good to the last drop!


Grinding at home? Check out our guide on how to grind coffee properly.


Your water should be “fresh off the boil” so go ahead and bring it to a boil. Then set it aside for 30 seconds or so and it should be near perfect. Then pour your water directly into the grounds while stirring with a long handled, wooden spoon (prevents breakage). Stirring makes certain that the grounds are saturated and properly extracted.


Now set the plunger top in place. Press the plunger down just far enough to eliminate any air. Cover the whole unit with a towel and let the grounds steep. After 3-5 minutes (depending on your taste) press the plunger down firmly but slowly. Pour and enjoy!


For even more information on French Press coffee brewing we recommend this Tutorial from I Need Coffee: Press Pot Tutorial


How to Use a Melitta Pour-Over Coffee Maker

Melitta 6 Cup Porcelain Carafe setMelitta 8 Cup Thermal Carafe SetMelitta 1 Cup Porcelain Cone Coffee Brewer

Using the Melitta Pour-Over Coffee Maker is very similar to using a Chemex Coffee Maker. You are in complete control of the brewing process.  We love automatic drip brewers for the sake of convenience and such. But if you enjoy being fully engaged with a more precision brewing method, this could be for you.  We feel that the various pour-over brewing methods produce a stellar cup of coffee and many people find great enjoyment in the process.


The Chemex and Melitta coffee makers are among the best on the market for those who would enjoy discovering the perfect cup of hand crafted coffee.  We carry several Melitta products, but our favorite is the Melitta 6 Cup Porcelain Carafe. If you are looking for something that holds the temperature a little longer, then we recommend the 8 Cup Melitta Thermal Carafe Set which will keep your coffee hot for hours. The Melitta 8 Cup Thermal Carafe Set comes with a lid, so once you are done brewing, simply tighten the lid and you have hot coffee for up to 2 hours.


How to Brew Turkish Coffee

The brewing process and consumption of Turkish coffee will surely send you upon another adventure into the amazing world of exotic coffee.

From the days of the Ottoman Empire in the mid-1400s (Central Turkey), to this very day, coffee has had a major impact on Turkish culture and lifestyle.

Turkish, also known as Greek, Arabic or Armenian coffee in their respective countries, is a style of coffee prepared by soft boiling finely powdered coffee beans in a pot called an Ibrik, (or Cezve in Arabia).

It may be brewed from black-to very sweet, and is served in small demitasse cups, where the powdered grounds are allowed to settle out. (For this reason Turkish coffee is NOT good to the last drop!)

This type of coffee is common throughout the Middle East, North Africa, Caucasus, and the Balkans, and in their expatriate communities, and of course, in many fine restaurants all over the world.

Turkish coffee is made from medium to dark roasted Arabica coffee beans that are ground to a super-fine, almost flour like consistency.

Arabian Yemen Mocha coffee beans are a popular choice for brewing in this way. It is sometimes aromatically spiced with cardamom and other exotic spices.

Natasha's Copper Ibrik

Since sugar is added to the coffee during brewing, spoons are not necessary. If properly brewed, this coffee is served with a beautiful golden foam on top, similar to the “crema” on a shot of espresso.

1. Add desired amount of water into your pot.

2. Add 1 tablespoon of your finely ground coffee per 4-5 oz of water, once your water is heated up (do not boil, we recommend about 190 degrees).

3. Add desired amount of sugar and stir.

4. Turn down the heat to low, and simmer while you stir the coffee.  Once the coffee starts to foam (approximately 3-4 minutes), continue to stir for a couple of minutes more while the heat is off.

5. Pour into a demitasse cup and wait a minute to two for the grinds to settle to the bottom of the cup, then enjoy the fruits of your labor.  Some people add milk or cream to make the coffee a bit creamy, but traditionally it is served black.

For an excellent, in depth tutorial on how to make Turkish Coffee, Go here:  Turkish Coffee Brewing Method


How to Brew Coffee Using Moka Pot

Moka Pot (a.k.a Stove Top Espresso) was designed by inventor Luigi De Ponti for Alfonso Bialetti in 1933. It is another great method of getting yourself engaged with the brewing process. You will need finely ground coffee (espresso grind or just a touch finer than espresso).  Of course we recommend our Espresso Blend but any favorite coffee will do.

1. Fill the metal filter and wipe off any excess grounds. Do not tamp down like you would for a shot of espresso.

2. Place the filter in the bottom chamber, now secure the top chamber to the bottom.

This brewing method is great for camping or kitchen, as you can use a gas/electric stovetop or a grill-grate over an open fire to heat the metal Moka Pot. Set your temperature to medium on your stovetop, and after about 10 minutes you will start seeing coffee coming into the upper chamber. The end result is a rich, strong, cup of coffee. Add a little cream and honey for a special treat.


How to use an Espresso Machine

espressoshutterstock_145759424 copy

For most people, the only time you get to experience an Espresso machine is when you go to your local coffee shop and order your favorite Espresso-based drink.  There are some decent home models but most generally don’t do a great job pouring a shot of Espresso or steaming milk which are among the following key elements to producing a great drink:

1. A great Espresso Blend.  There are numerous types of Espresso Blends out there, each possibly being unique to the proprietor, although many coffee houses purchase an existing blend from another roasting company.  Being a roasting company like Lakota is a great advantage in that we’ve been able to create our own unique Espresso Blend that is always fresh-roasted, and is best suited to our customer base; one that we believe produces the most amazing shot of Espresso anywhere!

2. You need a good quality Espresso Machine that creates enough pressure to pour a good shot of Espresso and produce good steam to heat and “froth” the milk.  Sadly, most home models don’t have either.  You may need to spend upwards of $1,000 to get a decent Espresso machine for your home.

3. You’ll need to get some experience making drinks. We recommend either watching some online tutorials or watching your favorite barista at your local coffee shop.  They can show you a few things to really improve your drink making. There are certain key elements to making a great Latte, Cappuccino, or Mocha that will take some time to learn.



 How to use an Automatic Drip Coffee Maker

12 Cup Coffeemaker

For most people this is what coffee is all about. Right before you go to bed, you grind your coffee, add cold water to the coffee maker, set the clock for 6:30 AM, and you’re done!  This is how many Americans wake up in the morning.  This is known as Automatic Drip Coffee. Most people think of this when they think of “drip coffee” or they may think of their favorite local coffee shop that has fresh-brewed coffee ready for them every morning, to get them off to a good start and/or keep them going throughout the day.


In the traditional auto-drip brewer, water is automatically heated and poured onto the coffee grounds.  The coffee then drips through into an airpot or coffee pot.  There’s certainly nothing wrong with this method, but our coffee snob training (Ha!) says you need to purchase the best drip maker available.  The best automatic coffee brewers can run around $100-$150 for home use, or well over $1,000 for commercial use.  Despite all of the common bells and whistles, the main concern here is the heating element.  Most home brands simply don’t reach the necessary brewing temperature of 195 – 205.  That’s where the extra expense is in the better units.  We get questions from our customers, who purchase our coffee – about why they can’t seem to get the same amazing coffee experience at home that they have here in the shop.  It’s simple really.  Commercial coffee brewers brew with water that is just off boil.

A word about maintenance:  While all drip makers serve the same function of heating water and pouring it over the coffee grounds, the reality is that sooner or later your coffee brewer is going to have issues.  Why, you may ask?  Even filtered water has naturally occurring elements that are  hard on coffee brewers. The brewers get clogged with mineral deposits and start underperforming.  Anyone with an automatic coffee brewer knows that after about 6 months or so, your brewer gradually starts taking longer and brewing less.  Vinegar is an excellent, non-toxic descaling agent.  Just brew a pot of vinegar through your coffee machine, followed by a few pots of water to flush the system.  Now of course the other option to this madness is pretty simple; just use a “non-auto coffee maker” like our Chemex or Melitta pour over units. They can provide you with a great cup of coffee, without the maintenance issues.  Shop wisely though because all brewing methods have their pros and cons.