In Hollywood movies, a sleepy lady in a long shirt stumbles out of bed. To kick off her day, she puts on the coffee maker. After a few minutes, she is able to enjoy a cup of coffee and rev up her internal engines. The coffee in this example is prepared through drip filtration, one of the most common ways to make a steeping coffee for you.
There are plenty of ways to create a lovely cup of coffee. Percolation, drip filtration, pressurized infusion, vacuum filtration, and decoction are the most common coffee preparation methods. One of the simplest ways is through steeping. The benefit of using this method is you do not need any electricity. Hot water and coffee grounds are enough.
What is Steeping?
Steeping is a process of creating coffee by adding ground coffee to hot water. It is one way to experience immersion brewing.
Steeped coffee offers complexity in flavors as the coffee grounds remain in the hot water for more extended periods compared to the other coffee preparation methods. For a cup of hot coffee, just under five minutes us appropriate for steeping. It is also possible to create a cold brew while steeping coffee. However, to accomplish this you will need to leave the coffee grounds in the water for around 24 hours.
For the best results, coarsely ground coffee should be used. Coarsely ground coffee is preferred to avoid having a cup of coffee that has coffee dust suspended within the liquid. This could lead to coffee dust settling at the bottom of the cup.
Keep reading after with more BREWGUIDE in “Brew Guide: Percolator Coffee“.
What Equipment is Used for Steeping Coffee?
A French Press is the best equipment to use for steeping coffee. While coffee brewing machines filter the coffee through a paper filter, the French press has a metal screen that acts as the filter.
There are several other components within the French press. These include the base which offers protection to the beaker. It is generally made of metal or plastic and goes round the bottom and up the sides of the beaker. The beaker is typically made from glass, and it holds the coffee within.
Then there is a handle to make it easy to hold and dispense coffee. Within the beaker, there is the filter. This is made from metal and has several microfilters to capture as much of the grounds and coffee dust as possible. To push the grounds down, there is a plunger and lid.
Precision is required for the best flavor. Therefore, measuring cups and tablespoons are necessary as well. A good rule of thumb is to use a 1:3 ratio. This means that for every one cup of hot water you put in the French press, add three tablespoons of coffee grounds. This will produce an average cup of coffee in terms of strength. For something stronger, increase the number of coffee grounds.
A thermometer can be used to make sure that you get the temperature of the hot water just right. Ideally, it should be 200 degrees F to bring out the best from the coffee grounds.
Check out more on french press coffee with another piece from BREWGUIDE in “Brew Guide: French Press Coffee“.
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How to Steep Coffee
To create the perfect cup of steeped coffee, here are the steps you should follow:
- Place hot water (it should be close to boiling point) into a French press. Fill the French press up to ¾ full.
- Add ground coffee. (If possible, grind the beans yourself for excellent and fresh flavor).
- Allow this mixture to steep for approximately four minutes.
- Press down on the French press to separate the coffee grounds from the water
Steeping coffee sounds very simple; however, it calls for the brewer to be careful with the preparation for the best taste. Steeping time is subjective, and the brewer controls the amount of time that the coffee infuses with the water. Should the wait to plunge the French Press be too long, then the result will be bitter coffee. Too soon and the coffee will be weak in flavor, and color too. To avoid bitter coffee, you may consider decanting your coffee so that the beans are separated from the water.
A little tip, before you begin the steeping process, pour some hot water into the beaker of the French press. Leave it there for a couple of minutes, then remove it. Quickly dry the beaker. You want the beaker to be dry so that when you add the coffee grounds, they will not stick to the sides. Once you add in the hot water for the coffee, you will find that it stays hotter for longer.
Best Coffee Brands for Steeping Coffee
Before purchasing a coffee brand for steeping, remember that you should choose a medium and medium-dark roast. These offer more balanced flavors and will maintain their flavor even if one adds milk.
Two Volcanoes Gourmet Guatemala – A popular option for steeping, this organic medium roast offers a distinct flavor from two volcanoes. Flavors are further amplified because it is roasted in small batches.
Kicking Horse Cliff Hanger Espresso – This coffee brand offers a smooth finish, that has a chocolatey flavor, and a berry aroma.
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe by Volcanica – One of the best types of coffee beans for French press steeping. They have an aftertaste that is sweeter than other types of beans. They are also fruity with chocolate aromas.
Stone Street Fair Trade Organic Peru – This is a bean that is totally organic. In flavor, it is nutty and has a sweet finish. It is high quality and especially ideal for the French Press.
Worried about caffeine? Be sure to check out “Most Caffeinated Coffee Brands” to see which brands to stay away from if you’re looking for something more decaf.
Brewing coffee is a delicate process, especially if you want to get the best flavor out of the coffee beans. Boiling coffee affects the total flavor of the drink, and it could become bitter. Steeped coffee brings out the different flavors of coffee, allowing one to experience all their characteristics. The formula to a perfectly steeped cup of coffee is hot water + coarsely ground coffee + perfect brewing time. Learn how to roast your own coffee beans at home and become more well rounded in the coffee-making process by checking out “How to Roast Coffee Beans at Home“.
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