What's the deal with all of these different coffee makers anyway? Isn't all coffee the same? There are a lot of reasons why there are so many different coffee brewing devices on the market. As with most things, it comes down to personal taste and choice. While there isn’t one brewer that is better than all the rest, there are some that are leading the pack in terms of their acceptance from the public. Coffee has transformed into something that people enjoy taking time to create, and create something better than the diner coffee that's been in the pot for 8 hours, yuck. Because of this excitement for making coffee great, new techniques as well as technology have been created. In order to navigate through all of this there is some basic knowledge that once you understand can really change the way you look at your morning cup. We are going to talk about the basics of what makes different brewers unique, and hopefully find out if it would be one you might like!
The first thing we need to cover is filters. A filter is just that, something that filters something you don’t want. In our case what we don’t want is to not drink actual coffee grounds, so they must be filtered. Filters go beyond just filtering out what you can see, they also filter what you can't see and that is why there are so many filters. There are thick filters, thin filters, metal, wood, plastic, cloth, you name it. The type and style of filter determine how much or how little of those tiny coffee particles that you can’t see make it into your cup. Those tiny particles have a huge impact on the finished cup in terms of overall strength and mouthfeel.
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There are a few types of filters but the most popular are metal and paper. Let’s start with the most common filter, the paper filter. Paper filters come in all shapes and sizes and are used in most standard home coffee pot machines. Paper filters are better at filtering out those tiny coffee particles because they are thicker, so less particles can pass through them. You can picture putting sand inside of a sock and pouring water through it, not much sand it going to get through, the paper filter is doing the same thing. Okay so why does this matter to me you’re asking. It comes down to how you enjoy your coffee. If you want a cup that is a little “cleaner” (think of this term like fresh squeezed orange juice without pulp vs with pulp) then you might like a paper filter. Paper filters also reduce the overall intensity of the coffee because there are less coffee particles in the cup (think back to the sand). Many people prefer the paper filter because they feel that it produces coffee in its purest form because you can taste more subtle nuances and flavors once it is filtered. I encourage you do experiment with the same coffee, one with a paper filter and one with a metal filter or say a French press, you will definitely be able to tell the difference right away and maybe give you some hints as to what style of coffee brewer you might like.
Now let’s compare what we know about paper filters to a metal filter. Metal filters let more particles pass through them. You can think of putting wet sand through a colander, still blocks some of the sand but definitely let’s some pass through. When more particles pass through you get a cup of coffee that tastes “stronger” and definitely has more mouthfeel. Again think back to orange juice with pulp vs no pulp. We can think of these finer coffee particles like the “pulp” of coffee. Some people like it while others don’t, that will be up to you. Metal filters are also good for their reduced Eco footprint, as you won't need to use paper filters that are only good for a one time use, and your wallet will thank you too. Metal filters are easy to clean, just give them a rinse and you’re good to go for another cup. So if you prefer your coffee strong and bold, a metal filter or a french press might be for you. While French Press technically does not use a filter, you could make an argument that it is using a metal filter in some regard. French press coffee allows the majority of those coffee particles you are trying to filter out with paper or metal go straight into your cup. By plunging down the coffee you are sort of trapping some of the particles in a big pile at the bottom, so I would call that somewhat of a filter. A very popular method of brewing coffee, French press typically finds praise with darker roasts and people who like a bold intense cup. Now you know a bit about filters and how they affect your coffee, but that still doesn't explain why there are so many different types of brewers or help you choose one! Buckle up, we are now entering what I would call “advanced” coffee knowledge.
When you are choosing between brewers you are choosing between the differences that they create in the coffee, more so than what their filter is. A Chemex (which has a large/thick paper filter, is going to produce a cup of coffee that tastes different than a V60 or more commonly referred to as a pour over. I know they look identical, but there is a difference! The thicker filter of the Chemex allows almost no particles to enter your cup, producing a cup that has little to no mouthfeel (think back to pulp). Typically coffees that are more lightly roasted perform best on paper filters as lighter coffees produce more tasting notes in them vs darker roasts. By having less coffee particles in your cup, you are able to taste the true coffee flavor notes more cleanly. So if you are typically a light roast lover, you might like the Chemex or anything with a paper filter to bring out those flavor notes. Brew style also plays a big role in determining your go to brewer. Are you traveling? Do you want to spend the least amount of time possible making your coffee, or do you have some time to spare? Do you want easy clean up? Do you want to do as little work possible to make coffee, or do you want to enjoy the labor of love? There is a brewer for all of the questions, and that is probably why they were invented!
We are not going to get into the nuances of all the popular brewers, that will definitely come in later posts! Hopefully this has cleared up exactly why there are so many types of brewers, and I guess the short answer is: It comes down to your preference! If you have questions about what type of brewer would be best for you, or any other questions be sure to engage with our social media pages on Facebook and Instagram! We would love to help! For more handy guides like this, as well as updates on our latest campaigns and offerings, please subscribe to our email list below! If you are in the market for some AMAZING coffee for you or a loved one, we hope you would consider our coffee! We donate 100% of the profits to charitable projects which can be found here!