Educational, Make It, Take It

How Many Ways Can You Make A Cup of Coffee?

Here at Planetary Design, we love coffee. We love coffee in the morning. We love coffee when we’re backpacking. We love coffee when we’re swimming beneath waterfalls.

You get the idea.

As coffee lovers, we like to think that we can make a darn good cup of coffee. And we don’t limit ourselves to one way of brewing — not when there are dozens of ways perfect for different aspects of our lives. What’s perfect for backpacking, may not be perfect for swimming beneath waterfalls, afterall.

Here are five tried and true ways to make a delicious brew (and we’re just getting started, there are way more than five ways to make a darn good cup of coffee).

French press

Perfect for: Sunday mornings

What it is: A French press works by steeping grounds in hot water, before pressing them out. It makes a clean, full-flavored cup favored by coffee connoisseurs everywhere, perfect for slow mornings when you have the time to truly enjoy the flavor.

To make the perfect brew: Add your grinds to the pot, pour hot water (hot water, not boiling water) into the pot and stir. Insert the plunger and let the grounds steep three to four minutes before pressing the plunger down. Make sure your beans are ground evenly and coarsely. Watch out for over-extracting, which can happen if you let the grounds steep for too long, or if you make too much and let your already-brewed coffee sit in the carafe (which can be solved with Brü-Stop technology).


Perfect for: Road trips

What is it: An AeroPress works by using pressure to press water through your coffee beans, opposed to drip which uses gravity to pull the water through the beans. Because it’s closer to how espresso is brewed, your coffee will come out smooth yet robust. It’s also an easy way to brew delicious coffee on the go.

To make the perfect brew:  You can use an AeroPress multiple ways — adding milk to make a latte-esque drink for example, but for a cup of black coffee, the process is simple. Place your grounds in the filter, sit the filter atop a mug or thermos, pour hot water in the chamber, stir and then use the plunger to press the water through your grinds. Viola. (If you really want to get into the weeds of AeroPress coffee making, check out the World Aeropress Championship, which hosts an annual competition searching for the world’s greatest AeroPress user.)

Pro-tip: Check out the new Steel Toe, which is perfect for on-the-go coffee making!


Perfect for: Mornings when you need a kick in the butt (like a caffeine IV drip)

What is it: A drip coffee maker is arguably the most well-known way to make a home brew. It’s a machine that heats up your water, which then drips over your coffee beans and into the carafe. With drip, it’s incredibly easy to make mountains of caffeine. And really easy to make more when you drink the first batch.

To make the perfect brew: The perfect brew depends heavily on your ratio of water to coffee beans. Read your bag of coffee for initial instructions and then adjust to your preference in later brews. (Using fresh beans also will improve the quality of your coffee).


Perfect for: a night beneath the stars

What is it: It’s like drip without the automation. You pour hot water over the beans yourself. Because it doesn’t require much in terms of equipment (merely a plastic, ceramic or stainless steel filter, paper filter, coffee beans and hot water), it’s a great way to make a hot cup of coffee when you’re out exploring the Wilderness.

To make the perfect brew: Before you pour the water over the beans, pour it over the paper filter to rinse it and get rid of that woody flavor. Otherwise, use the same technique you do when making drip coffee. The water to beans ratio is of the utmost importance, as is your grind.


Perfect for: When you need a lot of coffee… and you’re not at home

What it is: A percolator looks like an elongated tea kettle, though it doesn’t work like one. It works by cycling boiling (or nearly boiling) water through coffee grounds, until the brew reaches your desired strength. You can use it anywhere, you don’t need to invest in paper filters, and you can make a giant, full-bodied brew. It’s a win, win, win.

To make the perfect brew: Using coarse grained coffee (as to get the least amount of grounds in your brew as possible) place the grounds in the percolator basket — about a tablespoon of coffee to a cup of water is a great starting ratio. Boil the water, then keep an eye on your brew. When the color is a rich, chocolate you’re coffee is ready to drink (this process takes between seven to ten minutes, depending on your stove).

A word to the wise — the coffee you can see is only a small amount of the coffee in the pot, and thus can look lighter than your brew actually is, which can trick you into making your coffee too strong.

And there you have it. Five ways to make delicious coffee. Now get out there and experiment.