There are many options for brewing coffee, including espresso, filter, plunger, percolator, instant, and others. Coffee is a bean with a wide range of possibilities. Each method requires different equipment, timing, temperature, pressure, coffee ground, and water needs. Brewing methods might be chosen for cultural, social, or practical reasons.
But how much of an impact do they have on what's in your cup?
It all depends. When it comes to caffeine concentration, espresso methods are often the most concentrated, delivering up to 4.2 mg/ml on a milligram per milliliter (mg/ml) basis. This is around three times more than other methods, such as the Moka pot (a sort of boiling percolator) and cold brewing, which are both around 1.25 mg/ml. Plunger and drip techniques, such as the French and Aero-press, are roughly half that again.
While other techniques brew for longer, caffeine is unaffected. Caffeine is released early in the brewing process because it is easily extracted and water-soluble.
The power of coffee can only be partially explained by its caffeine level. Numerous substances are removed that contribute to flavor, fragrance, and functionality. Each has a distinctive extraction pattern, and they can interact to reduce or intensify effects. High temperatures, pressures, and fine grinds make it easier to extract the oils that create the crema, the rich brown foam that sits on top of the coffee (another potential win for espresso and Moka).
These techniques also result in larger concentrations of dissolved solids, which gives the finished beverage a less watery consistency, but once again, this all relies on how it is served and diluted.
The receptors that detect coffee and other bitter substances differ greatly between people due to genetics and training from our typical exposures, which further complicates matters. This implies that different persons may experience various levels of bitterness and intensity from the same coffee samples.
The degree to which each of us is sensitive to caffeine's stimulant effects varies as well. Therefore, what we seek from a cup and what we receive from it rely on our individual biology.
So, is there a healthier brew? Coffee may be promoted as either a healthy or unhealthy beverage. According to certain research, the health effects of coffee depend on the brew method. For instance, filter coffee has been associated with better cardiovascular results in elderly people.
There is some evidence that filter coffee is healthier because more diterpenes-a chemical found in coffee that may be linked to raising levels of bad cholesterol-are left in the coffee and the filter, meaning less make it to the cup. This association may simply be a coincidence based on other habits that coexist.