Espresso, filter coffee, french press - how to brew the best coffee?

There are a number of different methods of brewing coffee. Regardless of the brewing method, it is about water extracting flavor, aroma and color from the ground coffee beans. Some people swear by one particular way of brewing coffee, while others vary the form of brewing depending on the type of coffee you want. Some of the main brewing forms, their characteristics and uses are described in the table below.

Illustration Brewing method Characteristics
Filter coffee: Probably one of the most common brewing methods. Ground coffee is placed in a paper, fabric or metal filter and near-boiling hot water is added slowly. When the water seeps through the coffee and the filter, it extracts flavors and ends up in a flask under the filter.
  • Leaves a clean cup without coffee grounds
  • Often suitable for brewing light and medium roasted coffee
  • Takes a relatively long time to brew, driven by the throughput time in the filter
French press: Coarsely ground coffee is placed in a flask and near-boiling water is poured directly into the coffee. The water draws out flavors while mixed with coffee, and after 4 minutes, a plunger with a filter is forced through the water. Thus the coffee beans are caught in the bottom of the flask and the brewing ceases.
  • Suitable for brewing light, medium and dark roasted coffee
  • Takes relatively short time to brew
  • May leave some coffee grounds in the cup (depending on the piston's ability to filter)
Espresso: Common term for coffee brewing, where near-boiling water is pressed under pressure through finely ground and mashed coffee. Espresso gives a more concentrated coffee, ie. the water content is significantly less than other brewing forms.
  • Suitable for brewing especially dark roasted coffee, and can either be drunk as it is or used as an ingredient in various milk coffees (eg Latte, Cortado)
  • Takes a short time to brew (less than 30 seconds per cup)
  • Can leave fine coffee grounds in the bottom of the cup. In addition, the surface should preferably have a layer of brownish coffee foam ("Crema")