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How to Make the Best Cup of Coffee Ever

August 13, 2019

Coffee is such a personal thing. You may like it strong and black while your spouse likes to load it up with cream and sugar. Maybe you like it piping hot but your coworker is happy to drink it after it's been languishing on her desk for a half hour. Or maybe you like it this way one day and that way another day, depending on your mood. See? So personal!

To help you (yes, you!) make the very best cup of coffee you can, we created this highly scientific method that'll figure out the most appropriate brewing method. Simply pick the description that best suits your personality and the guidance below will help you caffeinate in the most you-centric way possible.

If you have the patience of a saint.

So you're the kind of person who doesn't mind standing in line at the grocery store behind a woman who asks for a million price checks and then pays with an actual check? If you can stay calm during that (how do you do it?!), you'll probably take great pleasure from the zen act of pour-over coffee.

As its name implies, pour-over coffee is all about, you guessed it, pouring hot water over the grounds. Very slowly. You'll start with an initial pour, which is just enough to saturate the grounds, working from the middle and moving out in a circular pattern. You'll wait 15 seconds and then slowly pour the rest of the water, again in that same slow, swirling motion as before. It's like raking a zen gardenonly better because you'll have a perfect cup of coffee to show for it at the end.

Pour-over coffee is a simple and pure method (see our full directions here) and the necessary equipment is pretty compact compared to other coffee-brewing methods. First, you'll need a pour-over brewer, which can be as simple as a conical-shaped filter holder (like this one!) that sits on top of a mug you already have or as sleekly designed as the iconic Chemex. And while you can certainly use a tea kettle to pour the water over the grounds, a special kettle with a gooseneck spout will give you more control over your pour. If you're in the market for a kettle, allow us to suggest this gorgeous electric one.

If you're all about your alone time.

Wanna drink your coffee in peace? We don't blame you. Everyone deserves a little bit of alone time when they want it. Luckily, single-serve coffee machines make it pretty easy to carve out that space. Get one for your kitchen and you can brew the perfect cup for yourself whenever you want it and the rest of the folks in your household can do the same. On their own.

Try this K-Cup-compatable option from Cuisinart; it brews a 6-, 8-, or 10-ounce cup of coffee at the touch of a button. You just have to pick out your all-time favorite capsule (or even your favorite capsule at the moment!) and it’ll make a cup that’s only for you.

If you find comfort in others.

For an extrovert, alone time is like punishment. If you're your best self when you're around other people, you need a drip coffee machine in your life. Get one that allows you to brew a giant pot that everyone in your household can share. Look for one with a thermal carafe (rather than a glass one), which will help keep the coffee warm while you guys gather over bagels.

We have a few favorites including this Technivorm Moccamaster (a top pick from our friends over at Kitchn) and this one from OXO (the winner of Wirecutter's testing).

If you’re always down for anything.

You're the type to volunteer to help with your kid's school play, host book club, make cupcakes for the office, and meet a friend for drinks after work? You must be tired! Espresso to the rescue! When it comes to espresso machines, you have many optionsranging from little, single-serving machines to bigger contraptions that'll make you feel like a barista.

If you want something quick and easy that'll fit into your busy schedule, try a capsule or pod machine. For that hands-on-barista feeling, go for a manual machine (like the Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine). Or look into something that's more of an in-betweenlike a fully automatic espresso machine, which still looks like something you'd see in a coffeeshop but does most of the work for you.

If you’re a total planner.

Not only do you know what you're going to have for dinner every night this week, you've already done all the shopping and prep work for those meals. And your vacation for November is already booked. You seem like someone who'd enjoy a cold brew. See, cold brew coffee concentrate has to be made in advance: You steep coarsely coffee grounds in cold water overnight and you end up with a smooth, sweet concentrate that's far less bitter than the stuff brewed with hot water. Then when it's time for coffee (and you know you've got it scheduled out in your day!), you either mix it with cold or hot water or milk. (A one-to-one ratio makes the perfect cup for most coffee drinkers.)

You can make cold brew coffee in a French press or in a dedicated cold brew coffee maker. One of our favorite contraptions comes from KitchenAid. You use the same container to steep, store, and servemaking the process extremely easy and streamlined. It holds up to 28 ounces (14 servings) and sits in your fridge with a stainless-steel tap for mess-free dispensing. Just make sure to plan for a few minutes every few days (depending on how much coffee you drink) to make a new batch. 

If you love crossing things off your to-do list.

Do you add things to your to-do lists just so you can cross them off? You know, tasks like wake up and make to-do list. Check and check! If you don't already have a French press, you need one ASAP. With a French press, you can painstakingly grind your own beans, nerd out over water temperature, and get extremely technical over grounds-to-water ratios (to be fair, all of this is also especially true for pour over coffee). The thing that makes a French press best for you, though, is how much satisfaction you’ll get out of pushing down that plunger.

We stock a few models, but we're guessing you'll like the Espro P7 Matte Black French Press, which has a double-walled stainless steel carafe that'll keep your coffee warm while you finish bullet journaling for the day.