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The Best Way to Brew Coffee (According to Roast Profile)

Finding the right brewing method can be daunting, especially when you realize how many different coffee brewing methods there are! Here we break down some of the most common and popular based on which roast profile they fit best with.

Side note: The term “roast profile” refers to how the coffee bean was roasted or how long it was roasted. You can choose from four roast profiles: light, medium, medium-dark and dark. If you want to further your coffee hobby, consider roasting your own coffee at home, so they’ll be as fresh as possible, with one of these popular coffee bean roasters.

Best Brewing Method for Light Roast

Characteristics of Light Roast
  • Color: Light brown
  • Sheen: Dry, dull, no oily residue
  • Taste: Mild, fruity with a strong aftertaste
  • Acidity: High
  • Bitterness: Low

Pour-Over

Light roasts are best brewed using a drip method, such as the popular pour-over. Pour-overs are a cost-effective, easy way to make a perfect cup of coffee. They are best when done with freshly ground beans, creating a clean, rich and light-bodied taste with subtle flavors throughout.

To make pour-over coffee, all you need is medium-fine ground coffee beans, boiling water, paper coffee filters and a pour-over container. One of the most commonly used pour-overs is the Chemex coffee maker. Fold the filter into a cone and place it in the pour-over coffee maker. Place the grounds in the filter and then pour boiling water over them in a circular motion, until all the water has seeped through the grounds.

Pour-overs have a general brew time of 3 to 5 minutes and make an average of 4 cups per brew.


Best Brewing Method for Medium Roast

Characteristics of Medium Roast
  • Color: Medium brown
  • Sheen: Dry, dull, no oily residue
  • Taste: Full-bodied with a strong aftertaste
  • Acidity: Medium-high
  • Bitterness: Low

Here is one of the exciting things about brewing coffee: you have some flexibility! Some brewing types are great with a few different types of roasts, like the pour-over. While most people use a light roast, a medium roast also works well with a pour-over.

Cold Brew

Cold brew is one of the cheapest and easiest brewing methods, and it yields a great cup of coffee that is both smooth and sweet. Cold brews are less bitter with a lower acidity, which is perfect for those coffee drinkers who can’t handle too much acidity but still love that good ole coffee taste.

To make cold brew, immerse coffee grounds in cold water in a mason jar, French press or cold brew coffee maker. Basically, anything with a lid works. Stir the contents to mix them fully. Let the coffee steep for 12 to 24 hours. When it’s done, simply strain the coffee grounds out of the coffee and enjoy your cold brew!


Best Brewing Method for Medium-Dark Roast

Characteristics of Medium-Dark Roast
  • Color: Dark chestnut
  • Sheen: Some oil
  • Taste: Beautiful balance of brightness and aroma with a full-bodied flavor
  • Acidity: Medium-low
  • Bitterness: Medium

French Press

A French press is an affordable coffee maker that uses immersion brewing to create a silky, smooth, full-bodied cup of coffee. French presses come in many different sizes, which means you can make either a single serving or 4 cups at a time. It’s important to note that because French presses use a filter, you must use coarse grounds only, otherwise you may end up with sludge in the bottom of your coffee cup.

To use a French press, take the filter out and place coarsely ground coffee inside the press. Add hot water. Then, place the filter back in the press without pushing it down. Allow the grounds to steep anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes. Then, push the filter down slowly and pour yourself a cup!

Espresso Maker

An espresso maker provides a much different taste than any other brewing process. Espresso makers amplify the taste of the coffee grounds, creating a concentrated, strong and smooth shot of caffeine. AKA espresso is good for those who like a quick, strong jolt of caffeine in the morning. Be warned, though, they are expensive machines.

While an espresso maker’s brew time is only 30 seconds, they take between 15 to 40 minutes to warm-up, so you’ll have to plan ahead to make your coffee on time. Don’t use light roasts in an espresso maker because they can’t withstand the pressure used to create the espresso.

To make espresso, press finely ground coffee into a porta-filter and attach that to the espresso maker. Then, press a button and wait for your espresso!


Best Brewing Method for Dark Roast

Characteristics of Dark Roast
  • Color: Dark brown to black
  • Sheen: Oily
  • Taste: Smoky
  • Acidity: Low
  • Bitterness: High

Here’s another flexible brewing method! If you’re brewing using a pressurized method, either medium-dark or dark roast will serve the purpose. This means that you can use dark roast for an espresso machine, too!

Aeropress

An Aeropress is a magic machine for dark roast coffee. It allows you to make quality regular coffee, cold brew, and an espresso-like drink. The best part is that the size of the grounds doesn’t matter. The brew will always be clean, smooth and rich. Think French press minus the grounds on the bottom of your mug. It also brews your coffee in 60 seconds, making it the perfect on-the-go coffee maker.


Summary

Knowing the right brewing methods for each roast profile is important. It can make-or-break your perfect, morning cup of coffee. But, there’s also enough wiggle room for you to be able to experiment, especially with the medium to dark roasts. The most important part to remember is the size of the coffee grounds based on the brewing method. While you can get away with using a light roast with a French press. You can’t get away with fine grounds in a French press.

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