December 22, 2010

Sweating the Technique, Again

I've written before that my cheap little plastic Melitta cone makes a good cup of coffee. Better, I think, than many more expensive methods. There is also something to be said for the satisfaction one derives from taking a more hands on approach.

I've also covered what I think is the optimal method for brewing the perfect cup, using a Melitta cone.

1. Place your cone on your mug, and insert filter (paper or metal) in to cone. I've found that it helps to pre-wet the filter. It helps it stick to the cone, thus optimizing the flow of water once the brewing process begins.

2. Bring water to a boil.

3. While that gets going, grind your coffee, and make it fine. Not quite espresso fine, but fairly close. The amount of coffee you use is up to you, but I think the standard 2 tbs coffee/6 0z water ratio works fine. 

4. When the water comes to a boil, pull it. As soon as it stops bubbling, pour it over the grounds. Go too fast, and some water will subvert the grounds or simply go out the side. But there's no need to go at a tortoise's pace either. Your pour should be steady, and the cone should fill.

5. Stir the slurry. This ensures optimal distribution of the grounds, and thus a fuller cup.

6. Finally, stir the finished cup. This is another important step that's often omitted, but is necessary to ensure even taste.

7. Enjoy.

I stand by most of this. However, there is a minor change I'd like to highlight. Rather than pouring the water in the center, and then stirring the mixture, I now think it's better to pour down the sides. Doing this washes the grounds in to the center, which, I think, lends to better extraction.

This may sounds like a trivial detail; and perhaps it is just that. But the small things make big differences, when it comes to things you enjoy. Obviously, I like my coffee. As such, any way I can find to make a more consistently good cup is something I'm going to highlight.

Now of course, I reserve the right to change my mind again. Manual drip technique seems to vary quite a bit, based on other "how-to's" I've found online. But this, as of right now, is how I'm choosing to do things.


  1. I think pouring down the sides is fine as long as you stir well, otherwise your water will bypass the grounds and go right down the sides of the cone.