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What's the Best Way to Brew Coffee at Home?

When you come to a San Francisco Coffeehouse, you should expect your coffee to be pretty close to perfect. Prepped with a precise ratio of water to coffee, made with our own house-roasted beans, and brewed fresh every hour, our hot coffee is unmatched.

Of course, even if you live outside the Atlanta area, you can always enjoy a cup of fresh San Fran coffee at home! A variety of exclusive blends and single-origin roasts are available to order straight from our website. The real question becomes, what's the best way to brew coffee at home?

I get this question a lot, and to tell you the truth, there's no perfect answer. As long as you abide by a few simple rules of thumb, the best way to brew coffee at home is however you like to brew your coffee.

That said, let's consider some of the main at-home brewing methods, and what you should keep in mind when making your morning cup.


Generic Mr Coffee Press Button Coffee Maker

A standard coffee maker is a fixture of most kitchens, and if you buy the right kind, it's all you need to enjoy a delicious pot of coffee. But not all machines are equal. I hear from a lot of customers that they've just spent money on a new maker, only to find it makes weak coffee. No one wants that.

The reason some coffee makers produce bland, flavorless coffee has to do with water temperature. The hotter the water, the more of the bean's profile gets extracted. If the water is under-heated, all the rich aroma and flavor you expect, will never make it into the cup. The ideal temperature for water is somewhere between 200 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. In other words, just below boiling. Unfortunately, many machines have a lackluster heating element, brewing coffee at a sub-par 195 degrees.

So how do you know which coffee maker is worth the money, and which will leave you unsatisfied? Do your research before purchasing. Read the customer comments online before ordering to see if anyone complains about weak coffee. That's definitely a red flag – the water is likely lukewarm.


Chemex Coffee Maker, with a filter and coffee, being filled with hot water.

The pour-over method has been around for years, but only recently has become a national trend. Pour-overs allow you to make a single, perfectly-brewed cup of coffee, which is why it's become a dependable standby in most coffeehouses.

That's because most cafés brew a big supply of coffee using several gallons of water, but it's only fresh for about forty-five minutes. As a result, on slow afternoons, customers get a below standard cup and baristas end up tossing out tons of liquid coffee that didn't sell. The pour-over method, however, lets you prepare a single cup that tastes just as good as the stuff that comes from a commercial drip machine. Hence, the Chemex and other pour-over devices have become indispensable tools.

Once again, water temperature is imperative if you're using a pour-over device at home. If you own an electric kettle with a digital thermometer, you'll want to heat your water to the magic 205 degrees. If you're using a traditional kettle, however, and you don't own a thermometer, try this trick: bring the water to a boil, then let it sit for thirty seconds. It will settle to the ideal pour-over temperature.


french press filled with hot coffee

Another great super simple way to make coffee at home is with a french press. The history of the french press is a bit of a complicated one. But, the press we know and use most often today was patented by Faliero Bondanini in 1958 and known as the Chambard, in France. 

This is a very simple and inexpensive way to get a great cup of coffee at home. Just like with the pour over method, you are able to control the temperature of the water. A good rule of thumb when making a french press is using 1 gram of ground coffee (around 3 tablespoons) per 15 grams of water (around 1 cup). But of course, like all things coffee- experiment with the ratio to decide what works for you and your taste level.


two moka pots, one large and one small- both silvermoka pot with the lid off, brewing espresso on top of a stove.

My personal favorite method for a home brew is the moka pot. It's such an easy little gadget, but it makes perfect espresso-style drinks in minutes. You don't even need electricity to make it work!

If you've never seen one, a moka pot is a small metal contraption with three chambers. The bottom chamber is where you put the water. In the middle, there is a tinier compartment for the coffee grounds (ground almost as fine as espresso). On top, there is a chamber where the brewed coffee will froth over.

So how does it work? You place the pot on top of a stove, and let the water heat up. As it heats, it will rise through a thin tunnel in the middle, interacting with the coffee grounds. Soon, luscious hot coffee will emerge into the top chamber, ready for drinking.

If you like espresso, simply pour the coffee into a cup and enjoy. Alternatively, combine the coffee with an equal amount of milk, and you have yourself a little at home stove top latte. You can also try making a Cubano, which combines strong coffee, a generous helping of sugar. Add some hot half-and-half and you won't regret it.

Of course, if you still feel anxious about brewing your own coffee, you can relax. Come by one of our coffeehouses any time, and let us do what we do best!


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