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 makes makes amazing Iced Coffee, actually that’s an understatement. Using the Iced Coffee Toddy Cold Brew System produces the best iced coffee we have ever had, and we have sampled hundreds of iced coffees from competing 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 Coffee brewing system.


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 one is lower acidity for those of us who have sensitive stomachs or problems with acid reflux.
  • It’s great for households where guests or house members awaken at different times throughout the morning. (Or day – for you night owls.)
  • 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 use your favorite coffee to produce a coffee concentrate that is much stronger than hot brewed coffee, yet 67% less acidic. You just pour a shot of concentrate into your cup; add hot water, and Voila! Your favorite cup of hot 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 gives 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 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 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 4-5 minutes 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 a very similar process to the Chemex Coffee Maker. You are the controlling factor. It’s not that we don’t like “Do it Yourself Coffee Makers” that all you do is turn them on and voila. We just like more of a precision coffee brewing method. We feel as though it produces a better cup of coffee and it gets you involved with the brewing process which is really fun for most people.


The Chemex and Melitta coffee makers are by far the best on the market for those who love brewing coffee by hand. We carry numerous 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 than go for the 8 Cup Melitta Thermal Carafe Set which holds coffee hot for up to 2-3 hours. The Melitta 8 Cup Thermal Carafe Set comes with a lid, so once you are done brewing into the thermal carafe, tighten the lid and you have hot coffee for up to 2 hours.


How to Brew Turkish Coffee

Turkish Coffee is one of the oldest coffee brewing methods in the world.  It was created in 1640’s.  The first part of making Turkish Coffee is you will need extremely fine ground coffee, your grind should be like baking flower.  It does not matter what type of coffee you wish to use as Turkish Coffee is a brewing method, not a certain type of coffee from a certain origin.  We recommend grinding your coffee just prior to use, and of course fresh roasted coffee is just as important.

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.


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 the consumer engaged with the brewing process. You will need finely ground coffee (espresso grind or just a touch courser than espresso). We recommend our Espresso Blend but you could choose a different coffee of your liking if you have a certain coffee in mind.

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 as you can use a gas/electric stovetop or a fire to heat the metal Moka Pot; you can of course just use your good old fashion stove top in your kitchen when your not camping. 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 in the cup is a rich, strong, cup of coffee. Add a little cream and sugar and you have one 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 Latte, or Mocha, etc. There are some good home models but they generally do not do a good job pouring a shot of espresso or steaming the milk which or both key to producing a great drink. There are several keys to making a good espresso drink.


1. A great Espresso Blend. There are numerous types of Espresso Blends out there and they are for the most part all unique. Each coffee house either can copy their competitor or they can create their own unique blend of Espresso that they believe produces the best shot of Espresso in town!


2. You need to have a good Espresso Machine that can pour a good shot of espresso and have enough power to produce steam to heat up your milk. Most of the home models do not have either. You really need to spend at least $1,000 to get a descent espresso machine in our opinion.


3. You need to have experience making drinks. We recommend either taking some classes 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 keys to making a great Latte, Cappuccino, or Mocha, etc that if you don’t know what you’re doing you will miss out on everything great about your favorite drink effectively wasting your time and hard earned money.


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 your done! This is what most Americans wake up to in the morning for their coffee. This is Automatic Drip Coffee. Most people think of this when they think of “drip coffee” or they think of their favorite local coffee shop that has coffee ready for them every morning to keep them going throughout their day.


This is the same method as using a Chemex Coffee Maker, or Melitta Pour Over Coffee Maker, this method is just Automatic while the other non-auto drip method relies on you to brew the coffee. Water is automatically heated and poured onto the coffee grounds, the coffee then drips into an airpot or coffee pot. There is by no means anything wrong with this method, but if you are coffee snobs like us then you need to make sure that you buy a really good Automatic Drip Coffee Maker. Really good Automatic Coffee Brewers can run around $100-$150 for home use, or well over $1,000 for commercial use. The difference between a really high end brand or the lower of the till, is primarily the heating element and some other components. While they all serve the same function of heating the water and pouring it over the coffee grinds, the reality is all the same. Sooner or later whether its 6 months or a year down the road. Your coffee brewer is going to have issues. Why you may ask? Well water is naturally hard on coffee brewers. The brewers get clogged with calcium build up and and start underperforming.


Anybody with a Automatic coffee brewer knows that after about 6 months instead of your 12 cup coffee maker taking 15 minutes to brew, it now takes 30 minutes or even longer. One great way to help your coffee brewer at this point is to run a descaling agent through the coffee maker. You will want to do this several times to help flush out as much build up as possible. Just make sure you don’t use any harsh chemicals in your coffee maker. There are numerous options on the market but we have found that using vinegar works just as good as any descaling agent. Run about 5 cycles of vinegar through your coffee machine and then flush thoroughly with water otherwise you will have vinegar tasting coffee. 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 give you great coffee without all of the hassle of cleaning automatic coffee makers. Whichever method you choose just make sure that you are confident in your choice because both methods have their pros and cons.