Coffee Brewing Equipment and Process

Today at Manhattan Roasts, before delving into roasting and brewing during a recession, we wanted to have a quick chat about coffee equipment.  First of all, there are a lot of terrible machines on the market, so always do your research before buying.  The Manhattan Roaster tends to prefer his coffee made either in a French press (aka “press pot”) or as espresso, but drip coffee can also be delicious!  No doubt we will look deeper into each method in the future, but for now we wanted to give you a brief review.

What is the difference between drip, French press, and espresso?

A lot!  In a drip machine the ground coffee is placed in a filter, over which hot water is poured (usually by the machine, rather than manually).  The brewed coffee then drips into a carafe and waits to be drunk.

A French press, on the other hand, is a cylindrical pot (usually glass or aluminum) with a separate mesh plunger.  The brewer scoops very coarse coffee grounds into the pot and pours hot water over the them, creating a slurry of coffee and water.  After the coffee has had time to brew, the brewer pushes the plunger down and pours the coffee without getting any grounds into the cup.

Espresso is brewed by a totally different method.  Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as an “espresso bean.”  The beans are actually exactly the same as coffee beans (though there are some beans and roasts that are especially delicious as espresso).  The difference is that the coffee is ground extremely fine and packed into a small “portafilter.”  Hot water is then forced through the portafilter at very high pressure, creating a delightful, hopefully slightly creamy beverage (and if you are American, this shot should be much smaller than you expect!  More on this in future articles…)

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