Whether you’re camping in the Shenandoah mountains or planning a cross-country road-trip, there will be days when you won’t have access to your coveted countertop espresso maker or autodrip coffee machine. Luckily, we’ve compiled our top four favorite manual brewing methods that are not only portable, but down right delicious. Like we mentioned in our previous blog post, manual brewing methods allow you to control every aspect of the coffee brewing process, resulting in the perfect cup for you. This blog post will dive into both coffee pour over and immersion tools used to make you an “on the go” specialty coffee expert.
The first type of manual brewing we recommend is pour over coffee. With a pour over, you are working with typically, a glass or ceramic device, that is conical in shape. At Commonwealth Joe and The Java Shack, we use the Hario V60 to make our pour-over coffees, ideal for when you are making a single cup. A Chemex will also produce similar results and allows flexibility in the number of cups you brew. By placing a paper filter in the top of either device and filling it with coffee grounds, all that is left to do is pour the hot water. In order to extract as much flavor from the grounds as possible, you want to start with the “bloom.” This entails pouring a quarter of the boiled water over the coffee until all the grounds are saturated. After thirty seconds, you can proceed with slowly pouring the rest of the hot water over the grounds, taking a pause occasionally to let the coffee drip out the bottom of the filter.
The immersion method of manual brewing is also a popular method. As the name suggests, the immersion method consists of ‘immersing’ all the coffee grounds in boiling water for a specific period of time. The two brewing devices typically classified under the immersion method are the french press and the AeroPress. The French Press is probably the lowest maintenance of all the manual brewing devices - simply pour in your desired coffee ground to boiling water ratio, let steep for 3-4 minutes, and then press down on the cap to separate the grounds from the liquid coffee. The coffee grounds to water ratio is customizable based on your desired level of concentration.
While the French Press is great for brewing several cups of coffee at a time, the AeroPress is preferred for when a single cup is all you need. Another plus of the AeroPress method is that it is made of plastic, meaning it is the ideal device to take with you while traveling. Though a bit more complicated to operate than a French Press, the final product is worth the hassle. The first step in brewing coffee with an AeroPress is to attach the plunger portion to the base and set firmly on a solid countertop. From there, simply pour the coffee grounds into the top of the plunger using the AeroPress funnel, followed by boiling water to fully submerge the grounds. Let the grounds steep for one minute before screwing on the cap outfitted with an AeroPress filter. Next, flip the device over onto a cup and press firmly down on the plunger to release the coffee.
With many different manual brewing methods out there, there is no one right way to make the perfect cup of coffee. What is important when experimenting with the different types of brewing methods is that you find the tool that fits your personal schedule and coffee preferences best. To many, coffee is mainly consumed out of necessity, but for us at Commonwealth Joe Coffee Roasters and hopefully, for you reading this blog post on manual brewing methods, coffee is much more - it’s an experience.