13 ways to brew your coffee (2023)

15 Min.

Filter coffee, espresso machine, Karlsbader Kanne or cafetière - how the water runs through the coffee determines the subsequent taste. We present 13 variants of making coffee.

Actually, making coffee is easy: For a coffee, the ground coffee has to come into contact with water. End. But how the water gets to the coffee, how long the two stay together and then separate again, that's the secret of the taste. There are 13 different ways to brew coffee. The machines required for this will be presented to you on the following pages.

13 ways to brew your coffee (1)

The boring one: filter coffee machine

Before the invention of the filter coffee machine, there really was no such thing as "quickly making a cup of coffee". In the late 1950s, when vacuum-packed, ground coffee was added to the machine in the supermarkets, the automation of coffee-making was unstoppable. The filter coffee machine imitates the manual brewing of ground coffee. The water enters a flow heater and is heated to 92 to 94 degrees Celsius. The pressure of the steam bubbles causes the hot water to shoot up in a riser pipe that ends above the filter bag. Hence the bubbling and hissing while brewing.

The duration of the brewing process can be regulated on some machines. Each manufacturer has its own imaginative designation for this: aroma switch, hot brew system, flavor system and a few more. Whatever their name, they regulate the contact time between water and ground coffee. A so-called aroma switch with the settings "weak", "strong" and "strong" regulates the flow time of the water. The longer the water can extract the aromatic substances from the coffee powder, the stronger the coffee will be. If the coffee flows into a glass pot that is heated from below, the sensitive aroma is ruined after ten minutes at most. The coffee becomes bitter. Systems with thermos flasks not only keep the coffee warm without additional energy, but also the aroma for much longer.


Mostly mild coffee with fine acidity.

Suitable for:

Everyone who needs several cups at once and wants to prepare them without spending a lot of time. This applies above all to cleaning the machine.

Which coffee is suitable:

100% Arabica varieties. The filter paper and the filter angle are tailored to this fine type of coffee.

Bottom to Top: Brew with pressure

Pressure brew systems combine a coffee maker with an espresso machine. You are trying to prepare filter coffee like an espresso. The result is not an espresso, but a strong coffee similar to a mocha. The operation is unusual for a filter coffee machine. The water is filled into the bottom of the machine, the ground coffee into a filter in the lid of the pot. As with an espresso machine, the water is heated up and then pressed through the ground coffee as steam.

Due to the short contact time between water and coffee, the bitter substances are not dissolved and remain in the filter. Pressure brewing systems, for example from Krups, have been on the market for many years, but have never been able to establish themselves.


Strong aroma, similar to a mocha

Suitable for:

Anyone who likes strong coffee.

Which coffee is suitable:

As a filter coffee machine actually 100% Arabica. If you want to emphasize the mocha taste, you can also try a mixture of Arabica and Robusta.

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The unspeakable: Press stamp jug

The name press stamp pot somehow does not do justice to the strong, fully aromatic taste of the coffee prepared with it. Rather, their other names such as cafetière, bistro pot or French press can. Their French names are no coincidence. The press can was invented in France in the middle of the 19th century.

The technique combines broths and aroma extraction. Hot, but no longer boiling, water is poured over the ground coffee in the pot. First moisten the ground coffee in a gush and let it swell for 20 seconds. Then fill up the water to a finger's width below the rim. Leave for a good four minutes. Then put on the stamp with the sieve and slowly press down. The sieve separates the water from the coffee, stopping the extraction of aromatic substances. The taste is very strong because the oils in the coffee are not filtered out. Disadvantage: the coffee cools down very quickly in the glass pot.


Strong aroma with large volume

Suitable for:

Anyone who appreciates the full aroma of a coffee and is not "sensitive to cholesterol". Since the ram method works without a filter, the coffee also contains the lipids cafestol and kawheol, which can lead to a brief increase in cholesterol levels.

Which coffee is suitable:

Here you have to try it. Dark roasts harmonize well with the cafetière's brewing process. In any case, the coffee should be coarsely ground. Anyone who uses the cafetière regularly should look around for a small coffee roaster and test different mixtures.

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The deceiver: espresso pot

Contrary to what the name suggests, the espresso pot cannot prepare an actual espresso. The "Percolator" only uses the steam principle of espresso production, but without achieving the necessary pressure for a real espresso. The percolator consists of two parts. The water and the sieve for the ground coffee go into the lower part, the actual pot for the coffee is screwed onto the lower part with a thread. Now the percolator is pushed onto a stovetop and the water is brought to a boil. The evaporating water is pressed under pressure through the ground coffee through a riser pipe. It cools down slightly and liquefies again with the dissolved aromatic substances in the pot.

In practice, the preparation is tricky. If the pot is removed from the heat source too early, the pressure may not be sufficient to send all the water through the ground coffee. If the pot stays on the stove for too long, the coffee will boil over in a flash. Since the percolator doesn't hold much water anyway, boiling over for a few seconds is enough to have to brew another coffee right away. Most cheap espresso pots are made of aluminum. With frequent use, harmful substances can be released from the metal. Although manufacturers have improved the quality of the materials in recent years, if you want to be on the safe side, spend a little more money on a stainless steel percolator.


Similar to espresso: small, strong, black. But without crema and the consistency of an espresso.

Suitable for:

For everyone who appreciates an aromatic, strong little coffee and only has to share it with one other person. The capacity of a percolator is not enough for more.

Which coffee is suitable:

Although the percolator does not make real espresso, espresso blends work very well. Feel free to try different blends here, including those that mix Arabica and Robusta varieties, which is often offered with espresso. The ground coffee should be very finely ground.

The Experiment: Cona Jug

How could it be otherwise: The only coffee machine that looks more like a chemical experiment than an enjoyable preparation was invented in Germany: the glass flask coffee machine, today also commonly called the Cona pot, after the best-known manufacturer of today's glass flask pots.

Invented as a glass piston machine in Germany in 1830 and over the years it has been frequently copied and patented several times. The original Cona pots are small jewels for the kitchen. They are a bit reminiscent of "the good old days" when making coffee was still a small ceremony. Plastic variants with a built-in heating plate from other manufacturers have not caught on.

And this is how it works: Two glass flasks are placed on top of each other and sealed airtight with a rubber seal. The water goes in the lower ones and the ground coffee in the upper ones. Here it can be a little more than the usual six grams per cup. Cona fans swear by ten grams. A glass riser tube protrudes downwards from the upper piston. The water is now heated. In the case of Cona pots, the spirit burner is ignited for this purpose. However, a stovetop would also suffice. The boiling water expands, the pressure forces the bubbling water through the riser pipe into the upper flask, where it mixes with the ground coffee. When the water has boiled away, the heat source is switched off. The lower piston cools down, creating a vacuum that sucks the coffee down through a filter. Complete. The story goes that Ludwig van Beethoven is said to have only prepared his "coffee" in this way.


Strong coffee with a full aroma

Suitable for:

Suitable for: For individualists who don't just want to make coffee, but want to celebrate the preparation. Glass piston machines are not built for everyday use. The pistons are fragile, the construction as a whole is delicate and cleaning is difficult. And it should be clean, otherwise the elegant machines quickly look unsightly.

Which coffee is suitable:

All kinds

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All handmade: Porcelain coffee filters

Those who were born around 1960 can perhaps still remember it when they went to grandma's for "coffee" as children. The kettle whistled, was removed from the stove and the contents poured into a Melitta porcelain filter set on a large coffeepot. Manual brewing produces a very aromatic coffee and is still the method that coffee tasters use to judge the quality of the goods. You just have to do it right: the water must not boil, otherwise the aromatic substances will evaporate and the bitter and sour components will come to the fore. A temperature of 86 to 89 degrees Celsius is ideal. Now moisten the ground coffee with a small splash of water and let it swell for 20 seconds. In this way, the roasted oils, fats and bitter substances are dissolved. Now pour in the water in small amounts every ten seconds. The process should take four to six minutes. The aromas do not unfold in less than four minutes, and they dissipate over six minutes.


Clear coffee without oils

Suitable for:

For everyone who likes things old-fashioned and bucks trends.

Which coffee is suitable:

The paper filters and the shape of the filter holder are tailored to 100 percent Arabica varieties, the type of coffee that sells the most in Germany. Now Arabica is about as accurate as "Auto". There are numerous variants from the usual blends of the large roasters to the many special roasts from smaller suppliers. There is only one thing left: try it out.

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For purists: Karlsbader Kanne

On the German market for around 100 years and still in production: the Karlsbader Kanne. At professional coffee tastings, the test coffee is often prepared with it. Perhaps not necessarily because the best filter coffee can be brewed with it, but because it always produces an unadulterated aroma thanks to its tasteless porcelain filter. The filters only hold back the coffee grounds, otherwise all aromas and lipids flow into the coffee pot.

The coffee used should therefore be of high quality, especially at the Karlsbader. The Karlsbader Kanne consists of four parts: a coffee pot, the brewing attachment with two coarse-meshed porcelain filters and a lid. The coffee, which is slowly brewed with hot water, goes into the upper part. The lower pot should be well preheated, as the coffee only flows slowly into the pot and cools down very quickly. The coffee must be ground very coarsely so that the wide-meshed filters do not clog. It should have the consistency of semolina grains. Since there are no such degrees of grinding in the supermarket, you have to grind it yourself or look for a coffee roaster with a corresponding offer.


Strong, genuine taste with a large volume

Suitable for:

Certainly only for a minority of coffee lovers who like to try different, always high-quality roasts. The effort is high compared to other types of brewing, strictly speaking you strain the coffee with the Karlsbader. The pot cannot be used without the coarsest ground coffee, and not only does the coffee filter have to be thrown into the organic waste for cleaning, but the entire filter set has to be cleaned well under running water.

Which coffee is suitable:

All Arabica varieties. The higher quality the better. It is best ground very coarsely by hand.

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Please turn now: Napoletana

The principle of the reversible jug is simple and therefore ingenious. It consists of only two parts: a water pot and a coffee pot with a metal filter. Both are screwed together. If the water boils in the lower part, the pot is turned, i.e. turned upside down. The water now runs through the filter container and extracts the coffee into the pot. The coffee is ready. There are different explanations why the turning pot is called Napoletana of all things. Some say it was invented in Naples, others say it was invented in France but is now almost exclusively used in Naples. Either way: It is definitely still available everywhere in different versions. If you want to drink your coffee from the Napoletana more often, you should choose models made of stainless steel.


Strong taste

Suitable for:

Only something for occasional drinkers and two-person households. As with both espresso pots, the amount of coffee here is also very limited. In addition, the coffee cools down quickly, so it should be drunk quickly.

Which coffee is suitable:

The higher quality the better. The degree of grinding should be medium-fine.

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The time machine: Ibrik

Coffee preparation doesn't get any more original. The Turkish mocha comes straight from the primeval days of coffee, so to speak, when the roasted bean from Arabia began its triumphal march in metropolises such as Baghdad, Istanbul and Damascus in the 16th century. Their preparation was exported along with beans. And even today, about a third of the world's population uses the small pot to make their coffee: in the Orient, in Turkey, in Greece, in the Persian region right down to southern Russia. This type of coffee preparation is even common in parts of China and India.

That's why the small pot, which holds four cups at most, has many names. The Turks call them Cezve, the Greeks Ibrik or Briki. The jug with the long wooden handle pointing upwards is usually tinned on the inside and is made of copper or brass on the outside. The water is mixed with about 15 grams of extremely finely ground Arabica and sugar and boiled. When the foamy coffee begins to rise, the pot is removed from the fire. Depending on the country, it is either served immediately or boiled a second or even third time. You drink while sipping to take away as little of the coffee grounds as possible.


Very strong, very sweet, very exotic

Suitable for:

For everyone who likes to celebrate making coffee. The taste is unique and the recipes varied. In Egypt, mocha is also often seasoned with cardamom. Properly prepared, Turkish mocha is like a small dessert.

Which coffee is suitable:

All Arabica varieties. The degree of grinding should be dust-fine. Depending on your preference, both light and dark roasts can be used.

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Revolutionaries: coffee from pods and discs

Almost ten years ago, the engineers at Philipps and the experts at coffee roaster Douwe Egberts probably did not realize that they would be co-founders of a new trend in coffee preparation. The cup of coffee at the touch of a button. Precisely measured, without bitter substances, but with a light crema. Made for them increasing number of single households and small families with one child where both parents work. Sold as a lifestyle product and not as a flimsy coffee maker. Pre-portioned pads instead of loose coffee. Seven grams per pad. A usual amount for a good cup. And a stroke of genius for the coffee roaster. Pad coffee was up to four times more expensive per gram than loose coffee. And for Philips: the pads only fit in the Senseo machine.

The customers didn't care. Pad coffee and Senseo struck a chord when they were launched in 2002. Over five million Senseos were sold in Germany alone. The functional principle is simple: With the Senso, only cups are brewed. One pad is placed in the machine for each cup. At the push of a button, a precisely measured amount of water is heated to 90 degrees and pressed through the coffee pad for 40 seconds at a pressure of one bar. In principle, like an espresso is conjured up, but with water that is not as hot and much less pressure. However, as with espresso, the bitter substances and tannins remain in the filter with Senseo coffee. This makes the coffee very digestible. Pad machines are now also available from other suppliers: The Tassimo system from Bosch, Krups offers the Nescafe Dolce Gusto and DeLonghi the Latissima system.


Taste: All tastes that the pads give: from ok to goodness gracious!

Suitable for:

Singles and two-person households with a moderate thirst for coffee

Which coffee is suitable:

Only the one that is also available in pads.

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Encapsulated: Nespresso

Nespresso - the highest development of coffee culture without having to deal with coffee. Open the machine, insert the cartridge, press the button and your espresso, cappuccino or latte macchiato is ready. And things taste good too. One might think that coffee in small aluminum portion cans is a typical lifestyle invention of recent years. Not even close. The system is almost 40 years old. It was invented by Nestlé in 1970, then disappeared into the drawer, was launched in Switzerland in 1986 and flopped there.

The upswing only began in the early 1990s with a new marketing strategy. Nestlé now sold the system as a high-quality lifestyle product. The encapsulated coffee is linguistically placed in a line with first-class "Grand Crus" wines. For example, coffee from a growing area, so-called "single origin", is referred to as "Special Club Grand Crus". Coffee as a luxury and a scarce commodity: Nespresso capsules are only available in elegant Nespresso shops and online as a Nespresso member. And coffee is indeed a luxury. A pound of Nespresso coffee would cost around 25 euros. It didn't matter to the otherwise price-sensitive coffee customers. Nespresso has been growing at around 30 percent annually since 2000.

Nespresso machine owners drink around three billion capsules a year. Nestlè alone uses 3,000 tons of aluminum for the capsules. No luxury for the environment. This is where the competition wants to start and offer compatible capsules made from biodegradable corn starch. In France, the largest Nespresso buyer, the alternatives are already on the market – in normal supermarkets.


All the flavors that the capsules give. The quality of the coffee is always high.

Suitable for:

Singles and two-person households with a moderate thirst for coffee, above-average income and below-average environmental awareness

Which coffee is suitable:

Only the one that is also available in capsules.

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Mother of coffee culture: the espresso machine

If you want to prepare a perfect espresso, you have to be patient. In any case, an expensive espresso machine alone does not make it. Although a high-quality device is already half the battle, it depends on the coffee, the degree of grinding, the water and your own experience. Not every coffee suits every machine. Here it sometimes takes a long time to try before you find a type of espresso that suits the machine. For a "real" espresso, it definitely has to be a so-called portafilter machine.

Six to eight grams of very dark roasted espresso ground go into the sieve. It is pressed firmly into the screen with a tamper, which is then locked in the machine. In the machine's boiler, the water is heated to around 94 degrees. With a pressure of eight to ten bar, the water is now pressed through the very fine ground coffee for around 30 seconds. The aromatic substances in the coffee are dissolved, the experts speak of extraction, and the high pressure combines the coffee oils and the water into an emulsion. The espresso should come out of the machine after a few seconds with a frothy consistency. Only then will he succeed.

Depending on the model, espresso machines range in price from 100 euros to almost 2000 euros. A basic distinction is made between single-circuit systems, dual-circuit systems and thermoblock machines. In the single-circuit system, a single boiler produces scalding water and steam for frothing the milk. In the dual-circuit system, this work is carried out by two boilers. Thermoblock machines use a continuous flow heater instead of a kettle. Advantage: You are ready to start after just three minutes, boiler systems need 15 minutes for the first espresso.


20 big drops of coffee. A dream with crema - if it is prepared correctly. Furthermore, espresso is the basis for such popular drinks as cappuccino, café latte and latte macchiato

Suitable for:

For everyone with a firm will to induction.

Which coffee is suitable:

Sometimes it takes a long time to test until you find a type of coffee that, with a certain degree of grinding, suits your own espresso machine. Coffee brands that hobby baristas should know about include: Diemme, Schreyögg, Illycaffè, Mocambo Mauro, Izzo, Costadoro, Nannini, Mokaflor and Lavazza

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Presto Knopfo: The fully automatic

The fully automatic coffee machine: Fill in whole beans and water at the top every few days, tap a cappuccino or an espresso or a latte macchiato or just hot milk at the bottom at the push of a button. The machine also dumps the coffee grounds with it and the better models clean themselves after the coffee has been made.

The demand for luxury coffee machines has increased rapidly in Germany over the past two years. Regardless of the high prices of 1500 euros and more for a kitchen appliance. There is a great desire to drink a macchiato or cappuccino at home like in the café around the corner. Every major electronics store now stocks at least one row of shelves with coffee machines and accessories such as water filters and cleaning sets.

Although it's called a "coffee" machine, it works like an espresso machine. The whole beans are ground in the machine, the selected portion of flour then falls into a sieve, is pressed there and hot water flows through it. At the same time, milk is drawn from a second container, frothed up and poured into the mug or glass in the correct mixing ratio together with the coffee. The machine then automatically empties the coffee grounds into a collection container.

The offer ranges from entry-level machines from 300 euros to 1800 euros for top products. In this case, more expensive usually means better. The machines last longer, can do more and are usually tastier. How much money should be invested depends on the number of cups brewed per day and the type. The right model is then quickly found in the consultation.


Depends on the machine

Suitable for:

For lovers of coffee specialties with a high income.

Which coffee is suitable:

As with an espresso machine, the fully automatic machine also means trying it out. It's best not only to get provisions in the supermarket, but also to browse the online coffee shops. Many shops offer trial packages from different brands.

Portafilter machine test: Click here for the portafilter machine comparison.

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