What’s the Best Way to Make Coffee in Your Cafe?

November 13, 2019 | Categories: Uncategorized

Breaking down the best ways to make, and the pros and cons of some of the most popular coffee making methods. 

1. Drip Coffee

Best way to make drip coffee

A good rule of thumb is to follow the rule 2 oz of coffee per every 6 oz water (2 tbsp for every ¾ cup). You can adjust up or down from there depending on preference. The process is incredibly simple:

  1. Decide how much coffee you want to make
  2. Measure out enough water for your desired amount
  3. Measure out the proportionate amount of coffee and grind it medium to medium-fine 
  4. Insert filter into coffee maker
  5. Pour ground coffee into the filter and give it a tap to level
  6. Turn on coffee maker and let it go.

Pros of drip coffee

Drip coffee is: 

  • Easy to make
  • Easy to drink
  • Can be made in large quantities and is cost effective
  • People who visit cafes expect this to be on the menu. In our opinion, it is unwise to not offer this as it would likely alienate clientele who have come to expect it as the “default”

It’s the standard for a reason. The idea behind drip coffee dates back basically as far as coffee drinks have existed, but the method as we know it today has some key differences from original coffee drinks. Notably, the invention of paper filters was a huge step forward in creating easy to make but very palatable coffee. 

Cons of drip coffee

Drip coffee is really a jack of all trades, master of none when it comes to brew methods. Its main problem is that it lacks many of the subtitles of flavor found in other brew methods. Drip coffee will never have the same intensity of flavor that espresso has, the wide array of flavors that a pour over has, or the richness of a french press. Also, while many cafes allow their drip coffee to sit unsold for hours, most upscale cafes make a point of dumping unsold coffee down the drain and starting over every 2-3 hours, to keep it fresh.  

Ideal for: 

Coffee drinkers who want something simple. Drip is far from flavorless or boring, it’s just not as intricate as other brew methods. 

2. Espresso

Best way to make 

Espresso at home is pretty impractical for most consumers. For a cafe, here are the general guidelines:

  1. Grind 18 grams of coffee into your portafilter for a double shot
  2. Firmly tap the side of the portafilter to distribute the coffee evenly. 
  3. Tamp down on the coffee, making sure your puck is level
  4. Put your cup on a scale underneath your machine and tare it. 
  5. Insert your portafilter and start the pump. Turn off the pump when the scale reads 30 grams
  6. If you hit 30 grams before 25 seconds, your grind is too coarse. If you hit 30 grams after 30 seconds, your grind is too fine. 

Pros

Espresso is: 

  • Highly versatile
  • Allows for a wide variety of tastes
  • Well documented with lots of resources on making good espresso

The highly concentrated nature of espresso means it can be easier to taste some of subtle flavors found in coffee. Espresso shots are also highly drinkable on their own, or they can be easily diluted with water or milk for a huge variety of flavors and textures.  

Cons

Some people find the taste of undiluted espresso too strong. Espresso is certainly an acquired taste for many hence the variety of drinks that dilute espresso. Also, despite espresso’s reputation for caffeine, it actually has less than a standard cup of coffee. If all you care about is your daily caffeine, you’re better off with another brew method. 

Ideal for:

Anything, really. The sheer variety of ways espresso can be served means there’s an espresso drink for every occasion. 

3. Cold Brew 

Best way to make

What you need

  • 1 cup of coarsely ground coffee
  • 5 cups of water
  • 2 containers that you can store your concentrate in
  • 1 paper coffee filter

To make less concentrate, you can use less coffee and water. The ratio you want to maintain is about 1:5. 

Directions

  1. Fill your container with your measured water
  2. Add your ground coffee and stir
  3. Let sit for about 5 minutes, and stir again. 
  4. Put a lid on your container and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. 
  5. Strain your concentrate with your paper filter, transferring the concentrate to your second container 
  6. To serve, always cut the concentrate in half with water and serve over ice.

Pros

Cold brew is:

  • Refreshing
  • Simple to brew
  • Smooth tasting

Cold brew coffee is an excellent warm weather drink. It is usually very light and smooth even compared to drip coffee. 

Cons

The tradeoff of cold brew’s smooth taste is that is lacks some characteristics of other brew methods. Cold brew flavor can be described as “duller” than other brew methods. This can be desirable if you want a less intense version of coffee, but is not ideal for tasting.

Cold brew is generally prepared as a concentrate and then diluted, but not everyone gets the dilution process right. Drinking undiluted cold brew means consuming an extreme amount of caffeine quickly (because cold brew is so drinkable) which can be harmful for your heart. If you’re trying a new cold brew, give it a few sips and wait. See how your body reacts before drinking too much. 

Ideal for:

A warm day that calls for a refreshing and drinkable coffee beverage. 

4. Iced Coffee

Best way to make 

Quite simply take regular brewed coffee that has cooled to room temperature or has been chilled and pour it over ice. If you like to add milk, start with about 2 tablespoons and work up from there until you’ve got your desired consistency. 

Pros 

Iced coffee is:

  • Refreshing with a bit more flavor than cold brew
  • Even easier to drink than hot coffee
  • Excellent when paired with milk and other flavors

An important distinction: iced coffee is not the same as cold brew. Iced coffee has many of the benefits of cold brew while maintaining more of the flavor associated with other brew methods. It offers a kind of middle step between something like drip coffee and cold brew. 

Cons 

Being a middle step, iced coffee does not always have the benefits of cold brew or drip. In theory, iced coffee retains more flavor notes than cold brew but is easier to drink than drip. In practice, iced coffee sometimes erases the desirable flavors and results in a more bitter than normal drink. Some drinkers also categorize it as stronger. Because of this, iced coffee is often combined with milk to dilute the bitterness and give the drink a smoother finish.  

Ideal for:

When you want a cool refreshment without with potential caffeine blast of cold brew. 

5. French Press

Best way to make

What you need

  • 8 cup french press brewer
  • Grinder
  • 50 grams (8 tbsp) coffee
  • 800 ml (205 degree) water
  • 2 spoons
  • Scale
  • Timer
  • Mug

Directions

  1. Rinse and warm french press brewer with hot water
  2. Measure out 50g of coffee and grind it on a medium grind size. Add it to the clean French Press
  3. Add all 800 ml of water. Start your timer as soon as you begin pouring. Pour quickly and make sure to saturate all coffee grounds with water.
  4. At 4 minutes, using your spoon, gently push down the crust of the grounds that has formed on the top. Remove as much leftover crust and foam as possible using both spoons to skim the surface. 
  5. Rest the lid back on the brewer but do not press down. Wait an additional 4 minutes while the particles in the coffee slurry float to the bottom. 
  6. At 8 minutes, slowly press the plunger down half way. We don’t want to fully depress the plunger, as this will further agitate the grounds leading to over-extraction and bitterness. 
  7. Gently pour the coffee out of the French Press, making sure not to disturb the grounds resting at the bottom. 

Pros

French press is:

  • Very easy to brew
  • Works well with most beans
  • Produces less waste

French press is arguably the easiest and least wasteful brew method out there. While many still do filter the coffee that comes out of the french press, it’s not strictly necessary which means you can eliminate filter waste. A french press is also entirely self contained with only 2-3 pieces. Finally, the brew process for french press is extremely simple: if you can operate a timer, you can brew french press coffee. 

Cons

The flavor of french press is the biggest reason why more people don’t use it. French press coffee is oily and thicker than drip coffee. It also usually tastes stronger to many people. Some people like it, 

Ideal for:

Extremely simple, almost waste free operations. Best used with medium to dark roasts to lean into the common characteristics of french press coffee.

6. Pour Over (v60)

Best way to make 

What you need

  • V60 brewer and decanter
  • 25g coffee
  • 400g boiling water, plus a little extra for washing
  • Scale
  • Timer
  • Spoon

Directions

  1. Measure out 25g of coffee. Grind it medium-fine.
  2. Insert a filter into your brewer and wet it with hot water. Discard rinse water from decanter. 
  3. Add ground coffee and gently shake to level. Tare your scale. 
  4. Start your timer and pour 70g of water onto the coffee. Quickly but gently stir and excavate and dry grounds making sure everything is fully satuated. 
  5. Let the coffee bloom for 45 seconds
  6. Pour more water until the scale reads 200g, making slow concentric circles in the middle, moving outward, then back inward. 
  7. After the slurry is drained halfway, pour until 300g. 
  8. After slurry has drained halfway again, pour until 400g. 
  9. Immediately give your brewer a small swirl and vertical tap. The final dry coffee bed should be perfectly flat.

Pros 

Pour over is:

  • A little body but not overwhelming
  • Subtle flavors are drawn out
  • Smooth, crisp finish

Of course, the coffee you choose for a pour over will influence all these aspects. For example, pour overs are rarely done with dark roasts because a lot of the subtle flavors have been cooked out of those beans. Pour over is considered the gold standard of manual brew methods when using light to medium roasted beans and tasting every flavor of the roast is important. 

Cons 

Pour over is one of the more difficult brew methods to do well consistently. Good pour over requires some setup and subtle technique that can change the final taste of the coffee quite a bit. Even a few grams of water more and less than what’s required means a sub par pour over. This meticulousness is attractive to people who are really interested in coffee, but is often not practical for a busy cafe or consumer. 

Ideal for:

Someone interested in specialty coffee who wants the most out of a cup. 

In Conclusion

We hope this guide has been helpful for considering the types of coffee your cafe will be serving. If you have any questions, email us anytime at info@onlinebaristatraining.com!