How to Make Coffee: 4 Most Common Methods

Jason Gutierrez

You don’t need all the fancy equipment that Starbucks has to enjoy a badass cup of coffee in the morning. Brewing coffee at home is as simple as mustering up a couple of useful tools, grinding the beans, and running hot water through them. When you learn how to make coffee on your own, you can brew it as strong as you’d like via your favorite method. In this guide, we show you step by step how to make coffee using several of the most popular brewing methods.

Step-by-Step Instructions for How to Make Coffee

Drip Coffee

Drip coffee is made by a machine that runs hot water through a bed of ground coffee into a pot.

Drip coffee machines (think Mr. Coffee, Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach) are among the most popular devices for brewing coffee at home - they’re generally affordable, fast, and easy to operate. But for whatever reason, drip machines have a stigma about them for producing a mediocre cup of coffee, akin to nasty sludge synonymous with truckstop or diners.

At Dreamweaver, we believe you should be able to enjoy great coffee no matter how it’s brewed. And though other brewing methods may appear sexier, drip coffee machines can produce a damn good cup of coffee. Chances are, you might just need some better guidance on how to brew it.

What you need:

  • Drip coffee machine
  • Cold water, preferably filtered
  • Whole bean or ground coffee
  • If using whole beans, you will need a coffee grinder, preferably a burr grinder for better consistency
  • Cream and sugar as desired 

Instructions:

  1. Pour cold, filtered water into the drip machine for however many cups of coffee you’d like to make. 1 cup water = 1 cup coffee
  2. If using whole beans (our recommendation), grind immediately before use to a medium-fine grind, kind of like a medium-well steak but for coffee.
  3. Scoop ground coffee into the machine’s coffee bed (make sure the filter is in place). Use 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per cup of water. Use more if you like your coffee bold!
  4. Follow the drip machine manufacturer’s instructions for how to start the brew
  5. Add cream and sugar (if that’s your thing) and enjoy!

Tips:

  • The better the coffee beans, the better the coffee. At Dreamweaver, we offer only the finest beans for your brews.
  • Pre-ground coffee naturally won’t be as fresh or flavorful as whole bean coffee that’s ground just before brewing.
  • Water quality matters. If you buy quality beans and the coffee still tastes “bad”, the water you use may be the culprit. Always use filtered water whenever possible.
  • Measuring might be annoying but is key to perfecting a consistent, good-tasting drip brew
  • Keep your drip machine clean and follow manufacturer instructions for regular cleaning and maintenance

French Press



A French press makes coffee by steeping the grounds in hot water (similar to tea), and then “pressing” the grounds out, leaving only the coffee-infused water.

Low-tech and humble, the French press brewing method offers a more intimate experience with your coffee as it amplifies the flavor of the beans. It’s another easy and effective method for making multiple cups of coffee at once, and once mastered, yields some of the most unique, delicious tasting home-brewed coffee. 

What you need:

  • A French Press
  • Cold water, preferably filtered
  • A pot or kettle for boiling water
  • Whole bean coffee, coarsely ground
  • A coffee grinder (burr grinders are best for consistency)
  • Your favorite mug
  • Cream and sugar as desired

Instructions:

  1. Boil a pot or kettle of cold, filtered water
  2. While the water boils, grind beans to a coarse grind
  3. Add beans to French press. We recommend 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per cup of water. More if you’re bold.
  4. Remove boiling water and set aside for 30-60 seconds
  5. Fill your French press with the desired amount of water. See step 3 above for ratios.
  6. Stir the grounds
  7. Watch the coffee bloom and allow to brew for ~5 minutes
  8. Use the plunge to press the beans out and pour the coffee into your favorite mug 
  9. Add cream and sugar, if that’s your thing, and enjoy! 

Tips:

  • The better the coffee beans, the better the coffee. This is especially true for the French Brew which amplifies the flavor of the beans (bad beans = more bad flavor)
  • Water quality REALLY matters
  • Measuring might be annoying but is key to perfecting a consistent, good-tasting drip brew

Pour Over

Ah the pour over method. It’s another elegant, low-tech method to brew a clean, adventurous cup of coffee. Pour over brewing brings out the subtleties within coffee beans and is best when only making one or two cups, as it can be time-consuming to brew for multiple people.

What you need:

  • A pour over brewer and filter
  • Cold water, preferably filtered
  • A pot or kettle for boiling water (kettle works perfect for pour over)
  • Whole bean or ground coffee
  • If using whole beans, you will need a coffee grinder, preferably a burr grinder for better consistency
  • Your favorite mug
  • Cream and sugar as desired

Instructions:

  1. Boil a pot or kettle of cold, filtered water
  2. If using whole beans (our recommendation), while the water boils, grind beans to a medium-fine grind
  3. Prepare for your brew by positioning the filter into the pour over cone so that it lies flush
  4. Place mug underneath brewer
  5. Run hot water over the empty filter to dampen and preheat the brewer and discard the water that trickles into your mug
  6. Add ground coffee to the filter. We recommend 2 to 2.5 tablespoons for one cup of coffee. More if you’re bold.
  7. Pour just enough water in a circular motion to saturate the grounds and wait roughly 30 seconds to allow your grinds to bloom
  8. Resume pouring water over the grounds in a circular motion to fill your cup of coffee. Try to ensure the coffee grinds are evenly covered at all times.
  9. Give your coffee a final swirl for good measure
  10. Add cream and sugar, if that’s your thing, and enjoy! 

Tips:

  • You probably get the hint by now, but the better the coffee beans, the better the coffee
  • Water quality also matters here
  • Practice makes perfect. Take time to master the “circular” pour of this brewing technique to make the perfect cup of coffee.

Percolator

Percolators have somewhat fallen out of popularity as of late due to the bitter and dry cups of coffee they’re known for. However, percolator brewing is still a quite common method, and we recognize that some people actually enjoy a more bitter cup of coffee, so who are we to exclude this brewing method from our guide?

What you need:

  • A percolator
  • Cold water, preferably filtered
  • Whole bean coffee, medium-coarse ground
  • A coffee grinder (burr grinders are best for consistency)
  • Your favorite mug
  • Cream and sugar as desired

Instructions:

  1. Grind coffee beans to a medium-coarse grind. We recommend 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee per one cup of water. More if you’re bold.
  2. Add cold, filtered water to your percolator depending on how much coffee you’d like to make. See step 1 above for ratios.
  3. Add ground coffee to the percolator’s coffee basket. Make sure your percolator is assembled correctly! (Check manufacturer instructions beforehand)
  4. Place the percolator on your stovetop and set the burner to low or medium heat
  5. Keep a sharp eye on the heating process. You want to see bubbles occasionally pop up into the knob at the top of your percolator. A steady stream of bubbles means your water is boiling and you need to turn down the heat.
  6. Once you nail down the bubbles, set a timer for 6 to 8 minutes to let your coffee brew (longer means a stronger cup of percolated coffee)
  7. At the end of the timer, remove the percolator from heat and set aside
  8. Remove the coffee grounds from the percolator
  9. Pour the coffee into your favorite mug. If you see there are still some grounds in the percolator, use a filter during the pour
  10. Bask in the glory that is old-fashioned, percolated coffee
  11. Add cream and sugar, if that’s your thing, and enjoy! 

Tips:

  • Better beans, better coffee - you know the drill
  • Water quality is once again key
  • The trick to good percolated coffee is a slow heating process, being careful not to boil the water. Water that’s too hot can further increase the bitterness of the coffee

How to Make Coffee Is as Simple as That

Trying different brewing methods at home is a great way to experiment and learn which works best for you. Each method yields its own unique cup of coffee, and different methods tend to work with different types of beans, so it’s always a good idea to play around.

No matter which method you choose, you can always brew a damn good cup of coffee to impress your friends or enjoy for yourself.


Happy brewing!


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