Your Favorite Coffee at Home: A Definitive Brewing Guide

There are many ways to make a your perfect cup of coffee from the comfort of your home. If your favorite spot is closed, don’t panic! If you follow this basic brewing guide you can easily enjoy your coffee, whichever way you take it.

Hot Coffee:

Learning to make your own drink enables you to experiment with new methods, taste different beans and fine-tune your favorite coffee into a pinnacle of caffeinated perfection. The most popular ways to make hot coffee include: Automatic Drip (household coffee maker), Pour Over, French Press, Mocha Pot, Home Espresso Machine and Keurig cups (auto drip grind, fill with passport).

A few notes to give you the best tasting coffee possible.
– Pre-rinsing paper filters before filling them with coffee grounds can prevent any slight paper tase from entering your cup. This is not necessary, but may improve flavor depending on what brand of filters you use. Reusable mesh filters do not need to be rinsed.
– Pre-heating your cup or carafe that will hold your coffee will prevent the drink from cooling too quickly and creating excess bitterness. This is unnecessary as well, but can keep your coffee tasting fresh longer if you drink slowly over longer periods of time.
– We always recommend using clean filtered water for both health safety and the best possible flavor. Tap water varies from place to place and can drastically change the flavor of your coffee.

Automatic Drip –

This is your common household coffee machine that uses paper filters and is refilled with clean water. These machines are low maintenance and very easy to use.
Recommended grind: Auto-Drip aka “medium-fine”

  1. Refill the water reservoir with a 1 cup of water (as designated on your reservoir) for every cup of coffee desired. For example 3 cups of coffee requires 3 cups of water.
  2. Fill a new filter with 1 Tablespoon of ground coffee for every cup of coffee desired. For example 6 cups of coffee would require 6 Tablespoons of fresh grounds.
  3. Turn on your machine and start brewing.

Want a stronger or weaker cup of coffee? Use slightly more or less than a tablespoon for each cup. Feel free to experiment with your ratios and find the one that matches your taste.
Clean up ! If you forget a few times there is no need to worry, but frequently leaving used filters with wet grounds in your machine can create a hot and humid environment perfect for microbes that will add a mildew smell and taste to your mornings.

Pour Over –

The incredibly popular way of manually brewing coffee with a kettle and carafe, common in coffee houses around the world. Carafe systems like a Chemex or Cone Drippers like the Hario V60 are the most popular. Each one may have a slightly different design, but they all use the same basic brewing method.
Recommended grind: Drip aka “medium-coarse”

  1. Heat water to 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit, or just before the water comes to a boil if you don’t have a thermometer or temperature controlled kettle. (Water boils at 212°) Use the same 1 Cup water: 1 Cup coffee ratio.
  2. Fill a new filter with 1 Tablespoon of ground coffee for every cup of coffee desired, same as the Auto Drip.
  3. Slowly start to pour hot water in a spiral motion from center to the edge for the filter. Pour just enough water on the grounds to dampen them without causing them to float. No coffee should drip into the carafe yet. This allows a process called “blooming” in which the grounds release gasses and appear to expand. This takes 30-45 seconds.
  4. Resume slowly pouring water over the grounds in the same spiral pattern. Do not overflow the filter with too much water, causing the grounds to float and leave under extracted grounds on the sides of the filter. Brewing should take 4-5 minutes total. Some designs do well with a slow continuous pour, others prefer incremental periods of pouring. Experiment to find what works best for your kit. You can learn more on our blog here.

“Pour Over is viewed as the purist’s way to brew coffee among some industry circles, because it allows you to control so many variables and fine tune each brew. You can adjust flavor and brew time by changing the water temperature, pouring speed, grind size, etc.”

Things to Watch For:
– Pouring in one spot unevenly extracts the coffee and makes the drink inconsistent.
– Pouring too quickly can flood the filter, forcing under extracted coffee through or overflowing the carafe.
– Not pouring the water within the recommended time of 4-5 minutes changes the flavor.
– Not allowing the coffee to bloom causes CO2 to be trapped inside your drink and the oils can not properly extract all their flavor.

French Press –

The French Press is a very basic brewing method that consists of a carafe with a plunger. It is a very easy way to make great coffee with less effort and clean up than the Pour Over method.
Recommended Grind: French Press aka “coarse”

  1. Heat water to 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit, or just before the water comes to a boil if you don’t have a thermometer or temperature controlled kettle. (Water boils at 212°) Use the same 1 Cup water: 1 Cup coffee ratio.
  2. Remove the plunger and pour the course grounds directly into the carafe.
  3. Use 1 tablespoon of coffee per 4 oz of boiling water. (Amount may be adjusted for taste.) The plunger is made up of a filter and a handle, so no paper filters are needed.
  4. Slowly add enough water to saturate the grounds, causing them to “bloom” like the Pour Over method.
  5. After 1 minute, gently stir to fully submerge the crust of grounds that has formed and slowly add the rest of the water. Leave the grounds to steep for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Slowly depress the plunger so that all the grounds are trapped between the filter and the bottom of the carafe. Pour slowly and serve.

The Key Is the Grind: The metal mesh filters on a French Press do not filter fine grounds as well as paper filters. A course grind prevents your drink from becoming a sediment filled sludge, while still creating a strong flavorful cup of coffee.

Mocha Pot –

This method involves a three chamber stove top espresso maker that uses pressure to brew coffee closer to an espresso than a normal cup of black coffee. It takes more experience and time to master that a French Press, but is a great option for those who do not want the larger cost and maintenance required with home espresso machines.
Recommended grind: Espresso aka “fine”

  1. Fill the base with hot water just below the fill line or valve.
  2. Fill the middle funnel section with grounds, being careful to level them flat across the top but do not compress them. “Tamping” or packing the grounds densely will severely effect the brewing and create bitter coffee.
  3. Check that there are no grounds on the gasket before screwing on the top chamber. This allows for a proper seal which is incredibly important when brewing with pressure. Any gaps will leak steam and fail to brew your coffee grounds up into the top chamber. You can add an optional circle Mocha Pot filter onto of the grounds to brew a cleaner cup.
  4. Heat over low or medium heat roughly 2 minutes or until you hear a gurgling noise. That noise signals that the coffee has finished flowing up into the top chamber. Gas stoves are best for temperature control, but electric ones can be used as well. A heat differ may help electric range users. Carefully watch and listen while brewing to prevent a burnt and bitter drink.

Check our blog post for steaming milk. here

Home Espresso –

A smaller version of the professional machines found in coffee houses and barista competitions. These machines are costly but yield the only true espresso experience at home. High temperature steam is forced through a puck of compressed grounds to extract a concentrated shot of coffee called and espresso shot.
Recommended Grind: Espresso aka “fine”

  1. Fill the portafilter with a heaping portion of grounds, about 1-1.5oz.
  2. Tamp or compress the grounds down inside the portafilter with enough pressure to press the grounds into a firm smooth puck.
  3. Reattach the portafilter and begin brewing. An espresso shot should brew or “pull” for 21-27 seconds and have a medium colored crema.
  4. Steam your milk using the wand. Read our article to learn how here.
  5. Combine your espresso and milk in whatever combination desired to create a cappuccino, late, etc…

Check our blog post for steaming milk. here

Things to Remember: Too fast of a pull will create a light blonde crema and bitter taste. This can be cause by too coarse of a grind or improper tamping. Too slow of a pull creates a dark brown crema and bitter espresso. Too fine of a grind or too much pressure when tamping can cause this.

Keurig –

The incredibly popular pod system that brews coffee with the least amount of effort. The steps are so simple listing them is unnecessary, but did you know there are reusable Keurig pods? These inexpensive metal mesh pods allow you to brew your favorite Passport Coffee while decreasing your environmental footprint.

Cold Coffee:

When hot coffee cools it becomes bitter and sharp. The acidic taste is greatly increased and can be overpowering. Cold brew coffee is never heated so it remains smooth and allows for other types of drinks such as Nitro.

Cold Brew –

The cold brewing style of coffee comes once from the innovators in Japan around the 1600’s, and was called “Kyoto-Style” for its popularity in the city of Kyoto, Japan. Originally produced in drip tower setups, today is is produced by soaking grounds to create coffee that is less acidic than hot drinks.
Recommended grind: Coarse

  1. Add 4 oz of coffee grounds to a 1 quart container.
  2. Soak the grounds with 3 1/2 cups of cold water for approximately 18-24 hours at room temperature.
  3. Strain the finished brew through a filter.
  4. This creates a concentrate, we recommend serving 1 part concentrate to 2-3 parts water.
  5. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

We sell a fresh roasted Passport Cold Brew Blend specifically made for this process here.

Nitro –

This is not another brewing method, but an infusion that introduces nitrogen into cold brew coffee. This creates an incredibly smooth coffee who’s crema of small gas bubbles add a frothy head similar to nitro beers. Normally served with nitro beer keg systems, this type of coffee is difficult to create consistently at home. The difficulty to clean or expensive cost of home kits make this a very prohibitive method to make coffee. We recommend purchasing this unless you are willing to invest a significant amount of time and money.

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