Craft Coffee Brew Methods Explained

I grew up with my dad always trying out new kitchen gadgets. I remember one year having steamed chicken, and brussel sprouts twice a week because he got a new steamer. When my uncle came back from living in Japan, he convinced my dad to buy a fancy rice cooker. Naturally, we had rice for a while. His purchase of a pizza stone resulted in delicious homemade pizza. One year, he ordered a coffee siphon and because I didn’t have a coffee maker he “accidentally” ordered two and gave the second one to me, thus contributing to my love for craft coffee. At that point in time, this weird coffee siphon device was all I had to make coffee. Now if you look in my kitchen at home there is a whole section set up with a plethora of coffee brewing devices. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, huh?

In light of that, let’s take a look at some of the most common craft brew methods.


While the pour-over brew method has swept the coffee scene in the last decade, pour-over devices have been around for a while. While watching the iconic sitcom Friends, I noticed a Chemex in one of the late 90’s episodes. Upon further digging, the Chemex was actually invented in 1941. While the pour-over concept is not new, product after product has been released because coffee lovers alike can’t seem to get enough of them.

A few of the common pour-over devices are the Chemex, Hario V60, and Kalita Wave. While each of these devices have their own nuances to them, essentially they are all designed around the concept of pouring hot water through a bed of ground coffee which passes through a filter into a carafe. This common set up is simple. In reality, you could consider a pour-over device to be a deconstructed home coffee machine. The benefit here is the ability to directly influence factors that contribute to the brewing process, whereas, a machine is designed for the user to press a button and walk away.

In recent years, with the sweep of craft brewing methods, the focus has shifted to understanding, manipulating, and mastering the art of coffee brewing. Heating up water in a kettle, manually pouring hot water over a bed of fresh grounds, changing the brew time, coffee ratio, temperature, grind size, and agitation has become the obsession of many, all resulting in varying flavors in your cup.

This method is classified as a drip brewing method, whereas another popular method is brewing by immersion.


Immersion brewing consists of coffee grounds being submerged into hot water for a period of time. Where the drip method allows hot water to pass through a bed of coffee, immersion allows for ground coffee and water to spend more time together. The two most common devices are the French Press and the Aeropress. The former being more well-known.

A French Press is simple in that coffee grounds are emptied into a container then hot water is poured over the coffee. The water extracts flavors from the coffee over a set period of time, then a filter is plunged into the slurry of coffee and water, trapping the grounds at the bottom of the container leaving brewed coffee on top to be poured and enjoyed.

The Aeropress is similar except that after the brewing process has taken place, the coffee liquid is pushed out through a filter into a cup. I personally love the aeropress in regards to flavor and usability. One downside is that the aeropress is only designed to brew one cup at a time.



When comparing drip and immersion methods there are some notable differences. We will note a few here, but we also have another post dedicated to comparing immersion and drip.

Drip coffee typically results in a cleaner mouthfeel. The filter process along with less agitation will leave less coffee silt in your cup. Drip coffee yields better results when you can control the pour through something like a gooseneck kettle. While a gooseneck kettle is not necessary for using any of these pour-over devices, it certainly helps in achieving an even saturation of the coffee grounds, which is a significant factor in delicious coffee.

Generally, coffee brewed by immersion method will result in a thicker mouthfeel. While it is common that coffee from a french press or an aeropress will be more bitter in flavor, that is due to how the coffee is brewed rather than the brewing device itself. Our suggestion with immersion methods is to use coarse ground coffee or brew for a shorter amount of time, unless you prefer that bitter bite.

While these are the most common craft brewing methods, there are some lesser known, perhaps more adventurous methods that are guaranteed to impress.

What’s your favorite craft brewing method? Feel free to leave a comment below.

READ MORE: Home Coffee Brewing Devices From Around the World

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