Coffee Brewing Methods Compared: How You Should Brew Coffee at Home

Coffee Brewing Methods Compared: How You Should Brew Coffee at Home

In The Science of Brewing Coffee, we covered the different brewing variables (time, temperature, grind, turbulence, filter) that contribute to coffee extraction and how each impacts the taste of coffee. The type of equipment or device used to brew coffee will also significantly impact how the coffee tastes. This is due to the shape and size of the brewer, the batch size, and the technique by which the coffee is brewed. Let’s explore the coffee brewing methods. 

Knowing what you want to get out of a particular coffee and understanding what each method has to offer will help you brew better coffee at home. Below are some of our favorite brewing methods and how they influence flavor perception. How do you brew?

French Press 

Fellow Clara French Press and two glass drippers lifestyle image

  • Cup: Emphasis on body/mouthfeel; full-bodied, rich, textured, creamy.
  • Recommended coffee: Medium to dark roast blends with chocolate and bold, roasty coffee flavors.
  • Staff Pick: Special Dark Blend — Dillanos Coffee Roasters
  • Filter type: Mesh
  • Grind size: Coarse
  • Brew type: Full immersion
  • Ease of use: Beginner
  • Great for brewing: 2-3 cups


  • Easy to use & clean
  • Makes multiple cups
  • Rich & full-bodied profile
  • It doesn’t require any fancy kettles or techniques


  • It takes over 5 minutes to brew
  • It isn’t ideal if you enjoy a clean and sediment-free cup of coffee
  • Full  immersion brewing is not as efficient at extracting flavors

The French press makes a great cup of coffee, and we’d recommend it to anyone looking to transition from an automatic drip brewer to a manual brewing method. Why? Because it’s the easiest method to brew delicious coffee and the most challenging method to mess up. One other thing to consider is how much coffee you plan to brew at one time. The French press is great because it can brew either a single cup or multiple cups (as opposed to your single-cup methods, such as the AeroPress or Hario v60 pour-over).


AeroPress and kettle setup hero image

  • Cup: Versatile: clean and bright or rich and bold coffee 
  • Recommended coffee: Medium roast single-origins and blends.
  • Staff Pick: Southern Weather | Onyx Coffee Lab
  • Filter type: Paper 
  • Grind type: Fine to Medium 
  • Brew type: Combines full immersion and percolation brewing 
  • Ease of use: Intermediate 
  • Great for brewing: 1 cup


  • Versatile
  • Easy to pack for travel & is virtually indestructible
  • Efficient 
  • Combines the perks of full immersion and percolation brewing


  • It isn’t ideal if you are looking for more than 6-10 oz of coffee at a time
  • Filter expenses

We recommend the AeroPress if you are looking for versatility. Not only is it one of our go-to for brewing at home, but it’s the best option for camping or taking on the road to brew a single cup. Nearly indestructible, light, and easy to pack, the AeroPress seems to do it all. It combines the full immersion brewing (grounds are fully immersed in water like a French press) with percolation or pour-over brewing (water moves directly through the coffee grounds). Also, it introduces the pressure variable, making it highly unique. With the AeroPress, you can manipulate the flavor and character of a coffee based on how you use it. 

Filter Pour Over Methods (Chemex, Hario v60, and Stagg X-XF)


  • Cup: Emphasis on acidity and flavors—clean, bright, crisp, lively, less body, smooth texture, and more nuance
  • Recommended coffee: Light to medium roast single origins with citrus and fruity flavors
  • Staff Pick: Little Buddy Blend by Olympia Coffee Roasters
  • Filter type: Paper (see Shop Chemex filters)
  • Grind type: Medium-fine to Medium-coarse
  • Brew type: Percolation (drip)
  • Ease of use: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Great for brewing: 1-3 cups


  • Elegant design
  • Great flavor clarity


  • Difficult to perfect extraction
  • Filter expenses
  • Less durable as glass can break

Filter pour-over coffee produces an enjoyable brew that showcases the natural features of a coffee best. Whether using the Hario v60, a Chemex, or a Fellow Stagg X-XF, you’ll pour hot water over a bed of coffee grounds and allow the brew to drip through the grounds, letting gravity do its thing. The pour-over is ideal to use anytime you want to taste coffee for what it is, without trying to increase or decrease body, mouthfeel, or acidity. A filter pour-over is excellent for anyone looking for a clean, crisp, lively, or complex cup of coffee. 

Drip Coffee Maker 

Ratio Six coffee maker setup lifestyle image by clive coffee

  • Cup: Similar to pour-over methods, balanced taste profile, rounded body, and acidity
  • Recommended coffee: Medium to dark roast blends with chocolate and roasty flavors
  • Staff Pick: Creamery Blend by Ruby Coffee Roasters
  • Filter type: Paper
  • Grind type: Medium
  • Brew type: Percolation (drip)
  • Ease of use: Beginner
  • Great for brewing: 3-12 cups


  • Comforting, convenient & easy to use
  • Makes a balanced cup of coffee
  • Makes multiple cups of coffee at one time
  • It doesn’t require any fancy technique or extra equipment


  • Many drip machines don’t reach ideal temperatures for brewing and extracting coffee flavors.
  • Not ideal for brewing a single cup of coffee
  • Filter expenses

Drip machines can and do make great coffee. They are also the most convenient and easy way to make multiple cups with just the push of a button. Remember that many of the cheaper machines on the market must reach high enough temperatures to effectively extract all the delicious flavor compounds within coffee. This can be an issue, especially with lighter roasts that require higher brewing temperatures so that coffee may taste a bit sour from your drip machine. If you want to upgrade your coffee machine, the SCA has a great list of certified brewers we’ve come to love. The Ratio Six, Ratio Eight, and Technivorm Moccamaster coffee makers all meet the SCA’s exacting standards for excellent coffee brewing. 


LUCCA A53 Mini pulling a shot knockout by Clive Coffee

  • Cup: Emphasis on versatility from coffee choice, flavor profile, and drink selection. Espresso makes a concentrated and complex beverage on its own, but it can be combined with milk to create contrasting flavors.
  • Recommended coffee: Any coffee on the roast spectrum can be used for espresso 
  • Staff pick: Phantom Limb Blend by Huckleberry Coffee Roasters
  • Filter: Metal portafilter basket (various sizes)
  • Grind size: Fine
  • Brew type: Espresso 
  • Ease of use: Beginner to advanced 


  • Machine setup can be modified depending on the user's experience level 
  • Can make café style drinks at home 
  • Interactive and intentional workflow 


  • The most expensive way to brew coffee at home
  • Requires additional accessories 
  • It has a larger learning curve than other brew methods 

Making espresso at home is our bread and butter, and even though it is the brew method that has the most upfront cost and the most considerable learning curve, we specialize in how to build confidence and teach home baristas no matter what skill level you’re at. Are you having trouble making espresso at home? We’ll assign you your own Clive Conceriege to build your confidence and pull the best espresso of your life. That said, making espresso at home is simply a game-changer. The first time you make a hand-crafted cappuccino for a friend and see that smile as they take their first sips—there isn’t anything better in the world. Espresso making is a craft that has cut out a sub-culture of its own in every major city in the world, forging new ways of making coffee and espresso-based beverages. Espresso is limitless. 

Choosing a particular brewing method ultimately comes down to your preferences. If you have a medium or dark roast coffee that is lower in acidity and are looking for a full-bodied and rich brew, the French press will be a great option. If you have a lighter roast with a complex and vibrant quality and want to preserve its acidity, you could gravitate toward a pour-over method such as the Chemex or Hario v60. These methods showcase a coffee’s nuanced flavors and make for a clean, crisp cup of coffee. Looking for a little of that and some body and richness? The AeroPress is our choice when looking for the best of both worlds, and the combination of full immersion brewing with pour-over brewing makes it highly versatile. Espresso will always be our number one love, and if you want to throw down and learn, we suggest you contact us right away to learn how to brew espresso at home.