When it comes to different types of coffees, most people think of cappuccino, americano, latte, and other Italian-style, espresso-based drinks. That, however, is not even half the story.
A lot of folks will also know that how light or dark the roast is affects the flavor heavily, while coffee from (say) Zimbabwe is very different from that grown in Colombia. What may surprise you is that any of these can be prepared in many different ways, each with its own distinct taste.
Brewing coffee is all about extracting the flavorful compounds while retaining more or less of the bitter or acidic components. An espresso machine uses a small amount of water, along with high temperature and pressure, to produce a very concentrated, flavorful drink that actually contains surprisingly little caffeine. If this is what you’re looking for, the portable espresso maker we reviewed earlier is probably a better choice.
A percolator, on the other hand, uses a larger amount of water that stays in contact with the grounds for much longer to extract more of everything that makes coffee coffee. (This explanation isn’t exactly cut and dried – for starters, different types of grounds are usually used for each process).
There’s also cold brewing, which is much slower and gentler than either of the above methods. This results in a drink that even people who’ve sworn off coffee will love, since acidic, nasty flavors don’t dissolve well in cold water. It does, as you would expect, take quite a while: you can expect to leave your cold brewer either in the fridge or out on the counter for 12 hours or so; the longer steeping time gives you a stronger flavor.
Here’s how it works:
With a capacity of either one or two quarts, depending on which version you choose, this cold brewer makes this much less of a problem. The long, conical filter allows for good circulation, but the mesh isn’t very fine: get your beans ground for a French press rather than a filter. Finally, although the body is made of plastic instead of glass, this is much less of an issue when only cold water is used; and it is both dishwasher safe and BPA free.