Making coffee at home ensures better quality and distinguished coffee experience. For many caffeine lovers, it’s more fun and fascinating to have a hands-on approach with their coffee-making process rather than being mechanical and hitting a ‘brew’ button on a machine. The growing trend for gourmet-type coffee making has resulted in the cultivation of a massive range of gadgets and a lot of differing opinions.
Making one's cup of coffee manually at home has many advantages. It is popular with those getting familiar with coffee for the first time because it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to do. Also manually brewing coffee gives you the freedom to experiment with your coffee, making it equally popular with coffee professionals and coffee shops.
Let's take a glimpse of the history of manual coffee brewing methods and how the approaches to crowd-pleasing coffee brewing have changed over time.
The Beginning of the saga of Manual Brewing of Coffee
There are no records to show us exactly when or where people started consuming coffee. Most people agree that coffee originated in or near what we today know as Ethiopia.
The ancestors of Ethiopia’s Oromo people, who mixed ground coffee cherries and beans with animal fat to create “long-lasting, calorically dense food balls”, according to the early European travelers, may have been the first people to use coffee.
By the end of the 15th century, the Ottoman Empire of Turkey expanded its reach to include parts of North Africa, Central and East Europe, and Asia which allowed them to control the main trade routes between Asia, Africa, and Europe.
They most likely encountered coffee here, after which the Turks invented one of the earliest methods of manual brewing coffee. Mortars were used to ground roasted beans which were added to water and then boiled in a pot called a cezve. This method of brewing coffee soon spread from the Sultan’s kitchen to wealthy homes across the Ottoman Empire. The entire population was then enjoying it.
The Ottoman Turks tried to keep a monopoly on the coffee trade. They banned its export but failed to maintain it. The seed was smuggled out of the country and was eventually enjoyed across Europe. Various European governments then started looking to African colonies to provide coffee to meet the growing consumer demand.
The reach of coffee spread along with the colonial expansion. By the 18th century, coffee was a popular beverage drunk across the world. At this point, coffee was only enjoyed by the wealthy elite, but time and the invention of easy to access and affordable manual brewing devices soon resulted in coffee being enjoyed by all.
Manual Brewing Devices - Then and Now
When first arrived in Europe, coffee was usually prepared in a way similar to how the Turks enjoyed it, that is, by adding ground beans to water in a single pot and boiling it. Coffee entered the continent during the Industrial Revolution. As a safer alternative to water, most people drank beer or wine at that time. People got the recourse to participate in factory work unhampered by the usual side effects of intoxication by the introduction of coffee.
Here are four popular manual coffee brewing methods worth giving a shot for those caffeine enthusiasts who want to brew a better cup of coffee at home.
1. Coffee Cone or Pour Over/Drip
The drip method of coffee preparation was developed in France in the 19th century and became dominant.
Domestic preparation of coffee took off in earnest in this century. A German woman named Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz invented the first coffee filter in 1908, which allowed her to brew coffee with a clearer taste and without any sediments. She patented her idea of using a paper filter and in the same year established the Melitta company.
Today coffee cones made of plastic, glass, stainless steel, or ceramic are generally used. The cone shape and their filters influence the flavors.
2. French Press or Plunger/Press
Two French men, Mayer and Deforge patented design of this type of brewer in 1852, which significantly differed to the one that we currently use, as it lacked a seal inside the carafe.
The most popular design of this coffee brewer was patented in 1958 by a Swiss man called Faliero Bondanini. It grew in popularity in France as it was manufactured there and was called the Chambord.
The French press is widely considered as the best and simplest method for brewing superior and consistent coffee and is well suited for coffee enthusiasts who enjoy a luscious, expressive, and complex taste.
3. Percolate or Moka Pot
With the spread of the reach of coffee across Europe, many countries including France and Germany fiddled with creating manual coffee brewing methods. While large-scale mechanical espresso machines were patented in the 18th century, due to Italy’s economic boom in the 19th-century locals were seen demanding similar quality coffee to enjoy at home.
The Moka Pot was finally invented by Alfonso Bialetti in the year 1933. A well designed Moka Pot creates better pressure and an espresso-style coffee with a strong and bitter taste.
4. Plunger/Press or AeroPress
In the year 2005, engineer Alan Adler from the USA created a notable brewer, The AeroPress. It contains no BPAs and phthalates, as it is made of polycarbonate and features its brand name gold letterings for easier detection of possible counterfeits.
The invention of The AeroPress was created by Adler out of a need for a less bitter cup of coffee. When he realized that to get a lighter taste the brewing time would need to be shortened, he increased the pressure during brewing by creating a closed chamber. This also resulted in quickening the brewing time to a much faster rate compared to most manual devices on the market.
The result of brewing coffee in The AeroPress brewer is a sweet, full-bodied, espresso-style coffee.
Finally, a method preferred by a person boils down to personal taste, time, and technique!
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