Modernist potions

The Best Brews from Around the World
21 Ways to Make a Cup of Coffee at Home

Written by Phil

A coffee enthusiast and traveler, Phil primarily spends his days thinking and writing about coffee. He also writes for where he explores ideas of culture, psychology, and travel, and occasionally dabbles in horror.

One theme of this website as it expands is how to make a variety of coffee styles from around the world. In that vein, it makes sense for us to begin with the various methods of brewing a cup of coffee. All of these methods can be done at home, though some will cost a bit in terms of equipment. However, even a home espresso machine can be under $100 these days.

Of course, some methods are likely to produce a better coffee than others. But with so many options to experiment with, you can have fun exploring each until you stumble upon the one that suits you best.

Let’s dig in:

Siphon / Vacuum filter

I only recently found out this existed, which initially both amazed and confused me.

Ok, so here’s how it works: You place water in a bottom compartment, which has an upper chamber connected through a small compartment. Think “Hourglass”. The connection between them has an air-tight seal and a tube that extends down into the water. The entire thing is generally made of thin glass and uses a bunsen burner or stovetop to heat the bottom vessel. Then the heat creates a vacuum that sucks the water from the bottom chamber to the top.

At this point, the grounds are added and gently mixed in. There is a filter at the bottom of the upper chamber, which will catch the grinds as the water filters back down after the heat source is turned off.

The KitchenAid one I looked at (found here, not an affiliate link) looks pretty neat, but damn, that’s some sticker shock for what likely tastes similar to an Aeropress cup in the end. Neat to watch, though.

Now, you may be wondering the same thing as me: yeah, this is cool… but what’s the point?

Well, articles (which seem to be selling the machines; so trustworthy) claim that its main benefit is making the “best tasting coffee”, though I don’t see any reason supporting this. 

The main explanation is that, due to the processes involved, the water is a few degrees shy of boiling, which experts believe is optimal for brewing great coffee.

They also say the aroma is more intense, which seems largely irrelevant to why this brewing method would be any different. But hey, I’m not a chemist – what do I know.

Bottom line: It looks neat and will probably “wow” your guests, but it seems like more work than it’s worth. The KitchenAid seems cool and easy enough to use, but without trying it, I can’t fully promote it – especially for that $200 price tag.

Clean Up

Depending on your equipment, it seems like disposing of the grinds should be as simple as a dump and rinse. But you’ll have to wash out all the compartments with soap and water.

Hassle Rating: Medium


Said to be superior, but I don’t see how it would be superior to other immersion-style brewers, like the Aeropress. Seems neat and all, but for the price and what little it adds, I’d skip it.


  • Use Medium level grind
  • Immersion-style coffee
  • Said to produce a superior cup and stronger aroma

Moka Pot

Moka pots are pretty neat and easy to use. You’ve probably seen these odd-looking, octagonal things. They’re popular across Europe, though still not too common in North American homes. They have three main compartments:

  • The Heating Vessel (bottom) – holds the water
  • The Funnel (middle) – holds the coffee
  • The Coffee Collector (top) – Surprisingly, it collects the coffee

This is also known as the stovetop coffee pot because that’s how it’s used. By filling the bottom with water, it forces steam up through the coffee in the middle, which bubbles forth into the coffee collector. Easy, simple, effective.

It works on the same principle as siphon coffee, using heat to build up a vacuum between the compartments though it uses the steam pressure to make an espresso-like final product – without the crema.

Some people don’t like this method because they think it makes inferior coffee, though this seems to be a false belief that originates from two factors:

  • the quality of the coffee beans being used
  • how clean you keep your pot. 

If they’re bad beans and/or the pot is dirty, well….

Aside from not taking up much space, these makers are really hard to break. Take care of it well and it’ll last you a lifetime.

Clean up

Fairly simple, just gotta wait for the container to cool/run it under cold water, screw it apart, and wash it all thoroughly. A little more work to clean each time than some methods, but overall not too bad. Once in a while, you’ll want to do a deep clean to remove any mineral buildup.

Hassle Rating: Low – various components to clean, occasionally needs a deep clean.


It makes a decent amount of close to espresso-strength coffee, though no crema. If you’re making an iced beverage or using coffee in a mixture and want the flavor to really pop, Moka pots are recommended. They’re convenient for making a decent amount of strong coffee, don’t take up much space, and are on the low end of the coffee equipment price range. 


  • When you want to stop the extraction, run the heating vessel (the lower part) under cold water while it is still attached. Trying to separate it at this point will probably burn you, and will be quite hard since the metal will have expanded.
  • Wash it thoroughly with soap and a clean sponge. It’s best to take off the filter and seal that are stuck on the bottom of the coffee collector. A butterknife may be needed to ply out the ring seal. Skipping this step can affect the taste of future brews, as the oils will build up and go rancid with time.
  • Fine Grind
  • Steam/Pressure Coffee

French press

Unlike the last method, this piece of equipment is very easy to break. My last one was shattered in a recent move. So sad.

This method is also not very common in North America in general, but semi-common in the homes of people who care about coffee. I figure it’s rare in cafes because of their fragility.

I prefer this method because it allows you to make a really strong coffee cheaply, the cleanup is pretty simple, the equipment is on the inexpensive end, and you have some control with both volume and strength. It also allows you to add more flavors and things into the mix while it steeps, which is essential for making certain styles of coffee.


Quite easy. Though if you’re a stickler, you’ll have to take apart the filters and wash those as well. If you want it to last, this is the best course of action. If you’re lazy – and I don’t recommend this – then you can just dump the grinds, rinse it out, and then add hot water with soap. Vigorously pump the plunger up and down to “clean” it, and thoroughly rinse the soap out. I totally never did this (I totally did because I was a lazy student).

Even with taking it apart, it’s as simple as dumping the grounds in the garbage and washing the rest with soap and water. Just make sure you don’t lose the screw that holds the filter in. One of mine went down the drain when it got away from me, and they often want you to buy more than just that one piece as a replacement.

Hassle Rating: Low, but be careful not to lose smaller pieces down the drain. Or… Really Low if you use the lazy method.


As strong or weak as you like it, and you can easily customize the flavors by adding spices and such. If you use finer grinds, you won’t want to let it steep as long, though it’s generally suggested to use a coarser grind, especially for the larger containers. The coffee will continue to steep until the very last drop, after all.


  • Take apart the filter components
  • Don’t lose the screw
  • Clean with soap and water
  • Experiment with various herbs and spices while steeping
  • Coarse grind is better
  • Immersion Coffee

Turkish/Armenian/Greek Coffee

This makes some damn strong, good coffee. The downsides are that the grind has to be exceptionally fine – one level finer than espresso, even. It’s gotta be straight-up powder. This is an issue since most grinders can’t provide that, so you’re going to have to splurge to get a burr/disk grinder.

In addition to needing a super-fine grind, you’re going to need to get your hands on a cezve (chez-vah/chez-vey), which seems to range on amazon from $15-30 on average.

A scale is suggested to measure both the coffee and water.

You’ll also need a tiny wooden stirring implement, some of which look like tiny boat oars.

Finally, people suggest a special cup that looks like it was designed for espresso but with a wider bottom to allow the coffee powder to form a thinner layer over a wider area, allowing you to drink more coffee without ingesting grounds.

How to Make it

The ratio of coffee to water is 1:10, so if you use 7g of coffee (recommended), you should use 70g of water. First, add the coffee powder, then pour the water on. 

The water can be room temperature, but 60C is said to be an optimal starting point. The wooden spoon is then used to help evenly distribute the powder and allow for better, more even extraction. Apparently, something about wood helps to prevent clumping. Sure, why not.

Adjust the heat to allow for the brew time to be between 2-2.5 minutes. When foam starts to reach the top of the cup, turn the heat down. If you have a temperamental stove, you can merely lift the cezve a little further away from the heat.

Once the brewing time has elapsed, pour the coffee slowly into your cup, and angle the cup to allow the foam to remain on top.

Wait a short while to allow the powder to settle to the bottom of the cup.


Really easy. Just wash the components with soap and water, dumping the spent powder.

Hassle Rating: Very Low – Don’t even worry about it.


One of the stronger coffees, you’ll really taste the flavor of it. That being said, it will depend entirely on the quality of your beans and the freshness and fineness of your grind.


  • What you’ll need:
    • Extra fine grind coffee
    • A Cezve
    • A Food scale
    • A Tiny wooden stirring implement
    • A Special wide-bottomed espresso cup
  • Suggested to consume alongside sweet pastries and a glass of water.
  • Boiled Coffee

Jebena coffee

Traditionally from Ethiopia and Eritrea, it seems to generally start with green beans and go through the whole process from start to finish. This is likely the strongest form of coffee on the list… or perhaps in the world.

We can skip to the point where you fine grind the beans and add them into the Jebena’s mouth, which will require either a funnel or patience.

Once in there, add water up to 50-75% of the jebena’s capacity. The ratio of coffee is much higher than most brews – some said as high as 1 tablespoon of coffee to 1 ounce of water or milk. Like I said, exceptionally strong coffee.

Boil it for a few minutes, generally 2-4 minutes, watching it to avoid boiling over. If it does, have a cup ready for the pour off, then add it back in. This can be a little annoying because the containers are generally opaque, and the neck is super narrow, meaning it’ll come rushing out without much warning.

Once done boiling, let it rest off the heat to allow the grinds to settle. Gently pour it to avoid stirring them up again.


Beats me. The information on this is sparse. I’m guessing you flush the grinds out, maybe add some soap and water, shake it, and thoroughly rinse it out. A bottle brush would probably be the most useful approach.

Hassle Rating: Medium for cleanup. Overall preparation, quite high because it requires actively watching it, fine grinding, and not the easiest cleanup.


Crazy strong! They use a super-high ratio of coffee to water, which is the only way to add extra caffeine to your brew. At that level, I don’t know how the taste will be, but it’ll probably end up tasting like coffee concentrate, for better or worse.


  • Roast your own green beans in a pan
  • Grated ginger is sometimes added, but amounts are hard to come by. Experiment a bit until you find your preferred ratio.
  • Medium-Coarse Grind
  • Boiled Coffee

Pour-over – the Hario V60 method

Pour-overs are pretty simple and don’t take up much space in your cupboard. All you need is the “coffee dripper” equipment and a standard filter. Paper, cloth, or mesh filter – whatever you want will be fine. The “coffee dripper” is usually made of ceramic, but can also come in plastic or glass.

If you’re using a paper filter, you’ll need to rinse the entire filter before adding your beans, and then toss the water that drains from it. This removes the “paper flavor”, which I have never noticed one way or the other. Experts recommend it, so who am I to judge?

The simplest approach is to add the same amount of coffee you normally would for an AeroPress single cup, which is roughly 17g of coffee for 250mL of liquid. Or, if you want an easier way, that’s roughly 2.5 tablespoons or one heaping AeroPress scoop (the one that comes with it). 

Wet the coffee and let it sit for 30 seconds, then proceed to pour in concentric circles until you’re out of water, returning to the center when you’ve reached the outside of the coffee grounds.

Methods may vary depending on who is doing it, and apparently, there is real skill to doing this method right, but this was a generally agreed-upon approach.


Toss the filter (if disposable), or empty and wash it. Wash the coffee dripper, and place it on a drying rack. Done. Real easy.

Rating: Low – Real Easy, No worries.


Basically, it makes a cup of drip coffee, so similar in strength to your standard North American brew. This method is said to be able to optimally pull the flavor of the beans if done well. In fact, they actually have competitions to see who can produce the best cup using this method. Interesting that the same beans can end up tasting different based solely on how you pour.


  • Pour in concentric circles outward from the center
  • Let the coffee “bloom” for 30 seconds by wetting it slightly before pouring the rest of the water on
  • Medium-Fine Grind
  • Drip Coffee

Aeropress – Right-Side-Up

Standard Aeropress Kit

I use this method every day. While some people really want to complicate it, it’s very easy to make a pretty good cup of coffee.

The Aeropress comes with three main components that are absolutely essential to make coffee, while the rest just make it easier. I’ve since lost those other pieces and do just fine. The main ones are:

  • The Brew Chamber – holds the coffee and water
  • The Filter Cap – attaches to the brew chamber, holds the filter
  • The Plunger – helps to control the speed of the process and allows for easy cleaning. Essential for the inversion method.

Place a filter in the filter cap, lock it into the brew chamber, and then place that on top of a cup – with the brew chamber’s opening facing up. Splash a little water to wet the filter, then toss the water. 

Add 2.5 tbsp of ground coffee in the opening, directly onto the paper filter. Wet the coffee and wait 20-30 seconds. Fill the rest of the brew chamber with hot water. If you’re not super strict about the ratios, add more water as needed to fill your cup.

When it’s done, or you’re simply impatient, use the plunger to push the remaining water all the way down to the filter. If you want to extract longer, you can place the plunger in the top to block air intake, effectively slowing the rate of filtration.

Remove it from atop your cup, hold it over the garbage, twist off and set aside the filter holder, then push the plunger the rest of the way through. The little condensed puck of coffee will fall into the garbage. 

Rinse it off or clean with soap and water – your call. Boom. Clean up complete.


As just described, it’s super easy. Takes 2 minutes from start to finish – which is supposing you use soap.

Rating: Lowest – Easy peasy


Some suggest around 17-20g coffee, 80C/175F water. 

Pretty good, resembles drip coffee or a pour-over, but the equipment is smaller and easier to clean up. The only catch is that the AeroPress is made from plastic, though the official brand states it’s high-quality and BPA free. Still, I’m not a fan of using plastics.


  • Don’t push the plunger too aggressively, or liquid can spurt out the sides. Same goes for really hot gas. Trust me.
  • Coarse Grind
  • Immersion Coffee

Aeropress – Inverted

I’m going to assume you read #7 and skip over the basics.

This method differs from the previous by starting with the plunger in the mouth of the brewing chamber – the opposite end from where the filter attaches. Stand the whole thing on the plunger’s base, with the filter holder detached from the brewing chamber.

Dump in your coffee, then fill with hot water. They say you should aim for around 100 seconds of total extraction time. This includes bloom (the 30s where you pour a small amount of water in), the “second pouring” (the rest of the water being added), and the pressing. Rinse the paper filter before attaching it to the brewing chamber, place it in the filter holder, and screw it on.

Flip it over onto your cup, and use 30ish seconds to slowly push the plunger down. Personally, I count Mississippis for this.


Same as before – easy peasy.

Rating: Lowest – Just beautiful.


Stronger than the right-side-up method because the coffee can extract longer.


  • Don’t push the plunger too quickly.
  • Don’t stress too much about the time. Just experiment with lengths and see how it changes the outcome
  • Longer time means more extraction of soluble compounds – which does not mean more caffeine. Longer extraction times can lead to bitter or sour flavors, making the brew taste worse.


Drip – AKA the most common form of percolated coffee out there. You probably even have one of these machines either in your home or at the office. It’s great for making large batches of decent strength coffee on the cheap. How do you think Dunkin Donuts charges significantly less than Starbucks for a standard cup?

In either case, it’s easy to throw together and easy to clean up – the equipment doesn’t cost much, either.

It’s suggested to use 60g of coffee per liter of water, but if you want to play fast and loose, 1 tbsp is about 7-8 grams, so that’s 7.5-8.5tbsp per liter. 


Dump stale coffee, rinse out the pot. Dump the filter. Once in a while, do a deeper clean by running half hot water and half vinegar through the machine twice, and washing everything by hand. After doing so, run pure water through it a few times. The more often you do this, the better the coffee will generally taste.

Rating: Generally low; It’s very easy, but requires a deep clean once in a while… and your house will smell like vinegar for a bit.


It makes fairly strong, average-tasting coffee, though it most likely will not be over-extracted, so there’s that bonus! Similar to a pour-over, particularly if you rinse the filter before putting the coffee through. Less control, however, but more ease of use.


  • Wash more often for better coffee
  • Optimally measure out your coffee, but no one will judge you for eyeballing it. 

Espresso machine

Standard in virtually all cafes worth their salt, this kind is likely unavailable in most homes. There are relatively cheap home espresso machines, but you’ll either need to get the beans ground real fine at the store (Starbucks will do it if you ask them – their beans only, of course) or have a special grinder at home that will grind your beans extra fine, such as a burr grinder. You could probably make do with coarser grinds, but do so at the risk of potential damage to your machine.

Fill the portafilter with extra-fine coffee grounds (about 6-8g), and tamp it down with a tamper until it is pressed into a “puck”. There should be no loose grounds. The tamper is the flat part that allows you to press it flat. Attach it to the slot on your machine (note: couldn’t find the proper term for this slot. High-pressure filter?) and twist to lock it in. 

Generally, your machine will tell you how to do this properly, and they can vary after this point, so I’ll let you pull out your instruction manual or google it. Sorry, not sorry, but they’ll just be more helpful, and this post is already long enough.

The machine will force pressurized steam through the grounds, allowing it to quickly absorb the caffeine into a condensed form, and create the wonderful beverage we know as espresso. As well, it’ll have the rapidly-dispersing, highly-desired crema. Sip it quickly, as they say it only stays good for about a minute, or until the crema dissipates.


Lazy: not a hassle; Diligent: a bit of a hassle You gotta knock out the coffee puck into the garbage, which is the easy part. Then you gotta purge the machine by re-attaching the portafilter and running hot water through it, and if you feel like really going to town, you should use a toothbrush to really get in there.

Rating: somewhat of a hassle.


Some say it’s the best coffee possible. It depends if you like really strong, small amounts of coffee, or to enjoy a leisurely time sitting around sipping it. Since espresso is said to expire so quickly, this is more of a quick breakfast thing. But it is also great for making all those milk-based drinks, so I really have no complaints.


  • Make sure the grind size is consistent, very fine (espresso grind)
  • Double shot is 25-35 seconds (2.25oz)
  • When tamping the grounds, make sure it’s evenly distributed and flat
  • Turn your machine on 15-30 minutes before use to heat up the water

Vietnamese Phin

If you want a durable, filterless coffee maker that’s easy to clean, then look no further than the Vietnamese phin. You gotta make sure to use coarse grinds because, due to the lack of a filter, the finer powders may slip through. Not a huge issue, but something to be aware of.

I wrote a post on this (found here), but I’ll briefly go over it here. The phin has 3-4 parts:

  • The Spanner – like a small saucer, which is sometimes fused to… 
  • The Brewing Chamber – looks like a small metal mug
  • The Filter insert – can be screwed in or held in place by gravity
  • The Lid – used to keep it hot as it brews, and often can be used to set the phin after it’s done brewing.

They recommend using 3 tsp of coffee grounds, which is exactly 1 tbsp. 

You may want to experiment a bit with the strength, as I prefer stronger cups. Put the grinds in the brewing chamber and knock it a couple times until the grounds are evenly dispersed. Do this over the trash or sink, as some finer grounds will fall through. 

Place the filter insert on top of the grounds either by screwing it until it’s snug then backing off a little bit, or by simply placing it on top (gravity filters). Place the spanner on top of your cup, and the brewing chamber on top of the spanner.

Pour in enough water to cover the grounds and wait 30 seconds. Then, fill the phin with hot water and place the lid. The wait is to allow the beans to soak up some water and swell, causing them to sit more tightly under the filter and reduce the amount of debris that makes its way through.


If you don’t feel like cleaning up immediately, you can place the phin on top of the upside-down lid on the table and clean up after enjoying your cup.

For the cleanup itself, you just have to remove the filter, dump the brewing chamber wherever you put your spent grounds, and wash it with soap and water.

Rating: Easy. Not a hassle.


Generally, it’s made with robusta coffee, so it’s often quite strong. However, this would depend on the beans you use. It’s like an older model Aeropress. If you want to avoid whatever chemicals may sneak into your coffee through the Aeropress’ plastic, this may be a good alternative for a cup-top brewer.


  • Use robusta beans or chicory coffee, and sweetened condensed milk if you want to make a Vietnamese-style coffee.

Cold brew Infusion

The easier form of making cold brew, infusion involves immersing the grinds and the water together in one compartment. It’s easier because you can do it a few ways quite easily, but my preferred method is to use:

  • a large mason jar
  • Cheesecloth
  • a rubber band

Measure out the amount of coffee you want, generally suggested at 75g per liter of water for infusion brews. Dump the coffee scoop by scoop into the jar, alternating water and coffee. Between scoops, allow the coffee to soak up some water so that you don’t end up with any dry pockets. Stir as you see fit. Place a large cheesecloth square on top of the jar, place a rubber band that fits snuggly on the mouth of the jar.

Wait 12-24 hours.

Pour the liquid coffee out of the jar into the container you will keep it in afterward. This is through the cheesecloth to filter out the grinds, so make sure it’s on there real snug. Make sure you pour slowly, or the rubber band might slip, and the grinds will come rushing out.


Real easy. Toss the cheesecloth (unless you want to use it again) and the grinds. Wash the jar with soap and water.

Rating: Don’t even worry about it


Cold brew tends to be a little sweeter, they say, though I don’t fully understand the chemistry behind it. In either case, it’ll be fairly strong because of the length of time it’s soaked.


  • Add other flavorings, such as pan-fried coconut shavings or cinnamon powder. Knock yourself out!
  • See the “Nitro Coffee” section (#19) below for further uses of cold brew coffee

Cold Brew Percolated

This differs from the above method because the water is slowly dripped down and then through the grinds instead of merely steeping them together. This will require a contraption full of ice that has a spigot on the bottom, allowing for control over the flow of water. 

The water will drip slowly as the ice melts, dripping into the coffee grounds in a middle chamber, which will then slowly percolate down into the bottom chamber.

Generally, you want a few drips per minute, and it will also take between 12-24 hours to finish. I haven’t had great success with this because you have to keep changing the ice and making sure there’s water still available to drip down. One option is to put it in the fridge, but it often requires a fairly tall space.


The ice compartment should be clean enough, but give it a wash for good measure, dump the grinds, and wash the compartment with the grinds. Since these contraptions are often made with thin glass, it can be a chore to be so careful with them, but there are more durable plastic ones you can also get.

Rating – a little inconvenient.


According to one coffee expert on Youtube, James Hoffman, counter-intuitively states in this video (around the 7min mark) that percolated coffee (drip) requires less coffee than infusion coffee. He recommends 60g/L of water for percolated, 75g/L for infusion (#12).

Anyway, the coffee will likely be similar to that of the infusion method in flavor and strength.


  • Add other flavorings, such as fried coconut shavings or cinnamon powder, if you want flavored coffee.
  • See the “Nitro Coffee” section (#19) below for further uses of cold brew coffee

Single-Serve Disposable Drip Coffee Filter Bags

I wasn’t really sure what to call these, but this is what amazon seemed to call them. Quite the mouthful. And before you say “coffee teabags”, which is what I first thought, that’s apparently a thing already.

While it’s not as good as freshly ground coffee, these bags are still far better than instant. If you want coffee on the go and don’t have many options, some supermarkets or convenience stores may have these in stock.

They’re actually a neat idea; I like the design. The top of the pouch tears off, allowing you to pour in hot water to percolate through, and the cardboard sides extend out and hook on either side of the cup.

If you’re as dumb as me, you may have attempted to make it by simply pouring water on top of the bag or steeping it in hot water.  This method does not work so well.

You can assemble them yourselves by ordering the bags off amazon (here (non-affiliate))


Real easy. Grab the cardboard holders, shake off the excess liquid, and drop it in the trash.

Rating: Forget you even had to clean.


Varies from company to company, but can be steeped as long as you like, since you can leave the bag to steep a little longer.


  • Tear off the top
  • Extend the cardboard hangers and attach them to either side of your cup, bag hanging inside the cup, of course.


The ubiquitous pods. While they perform quite well when it comes to making coffee, I have never had a very satisfying cup made from one of these machines. Then again, some machines have the option to reuse the pod and fill it with your own coffee, so that’s an improvement.

Far as I’ve read, the machines still lack capabilities on the “white” side of coffee, meaning anything to do with milk. As such, you could probably make a decent cup of drip coffee, but a latte or flat white’s going to require a bit more effort and equipment.

Also, the pods are terribly wasteful, but hey, that shouldn’t need to be said at this point. However, some companies are actually making pods made out of the shell of the coffee bean and other biodegradable materials. Who says we’re not improving?


Super easy. Just toss the pod.

Rating: This is its primary benefit.


Generally mediocre to bad, and similar strength to a weak cup of drip. According to Google, a typical pod will have 5-6g of coffee, which means ~60-80g of caffeine. Standard 12oz of drip coffee is said to have about 120g caffeine.


  • Drink it only if you really can’t be bothered to use any other method
  • Buy an AeroPress (#7 and #8). Seriously, it’s cheaper and better than this. Or a Phin (#11)

Neapolitan Flip Coffee Pot

21 Ways to make coffee from home - both recommended and not suggested!

An interesting variant on the Moka pot. It doesn’t force steam through the coffee; instead, it needs to be flipped on its head once the water has boiled. You can find a fairly cheap one on amazon here (non-affiliate link). 

It has three compartments:

  • The Water Basin – where the water is placed and boiled
  • The Coffee Filter – the compartment that contains the grounds
  • The Coffee Collector – where the coffee ends up

As the name implies, you make the coffee by flipping it upside down once the water boils. The water is placed in the bottom basin, the coffee is stored in a twist-off part of the long coffee filter tube, and the coffee collector is placed on top.

The water compartment has a hole that will release steam, letting you know it’s time to flip the maker over. Once it’s flipped, the hot water will percolate through the coffee grounds and fall into the coffee collector. Remove the water basin and coffee filter, then you’ll have a sort of stainless steel coffee pot.


About the same as the Moka pot.

Rating: Average. Make sure you get in there real good to remove the oils, as they will add flavors (often undesirable) to future brews.


Similar to other forms of hot percolated coffee, it’ll be unlikely to over-extract and will make a decently strong cup of coffee.


  • Instead of flipping it immediately after it boils, let it cool slightly, as the best brew temp is said to be around 91-96ºC ( just under boiling, 100ºC)
  • Use a cloth to remove the water basin and filter, as they will still be hot, and might be tough to get loose if the metal has expanded unevenly.
  • Keep the handle(s) away from the heat source, as they’re often also made from stainless steel

Microwave Coffee Brewer

I honestly can’t find anything explaining how this thing works (non affiliate), I just found it on amazon one time when it was a targeted ad. They clearly know I search for coffee-related things a lot. Anyway, if you can figure it out or if you buy it, please let me know. I doubt they deliver to China.

The only instructions I can find are this wikihow page.

So… since the company doesn’t even seem to have an internet webpage for the product, I wouldn’t recommend it. I’m just keeping it on the list as a novelty.


Seems easy enough, I guess.


Probably not great, but low effort.


  • Read the instructions that (hopefully) come with it


Not that we’d recommend it, but there’s always instant. It’s convenient when you don’t want to carry too much, and hot water will be readily available. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been living in China for a few years now, and if you’re ever in this neck of the woods, you’ll find that there are hot water machines in most restaurants. The default here is scalding hot.


Non-existent, aside from cleaning the cup and tossing the package.


Generally, garbage coffee, which is why they dump tons of whitener and sugar in it. Good if you like a sweet, coffee-like beverage. Caffeine content may vary, but most instant coffee is made with the stronger robusta bean, so it could actually come out pretty strong.


  • Don’t drink it unless you’re in desperate need of a caffeine fix or an all-nighter.

Nitro Coffee

You’ve probably noticed signs around for “nitro coffee” popping up around coffee shops lately. I didn’t realize that this was a method of making it; I thought it was just a brand. Nope!

At its core, it is cold brew coffee that is infused with nitrogen and served cold on tap, like beer! The nitrogen is said to bring out a creamy mouthfeel and produce a head on it, similar to a stout or Guinness. The desire here is to create a coffee that tastes like there’s milk in it, but it’s actually black coffee.

While most people are not going to have their own nitro coffee kit, which would require kegs, tubing, and nitrogen gas tanks, it’s an interesting method. Since the coffee is sealed inside a keg, it won’t oxidize, allowing it to stay fresh for a couple of weeks.

The mix is generally around 70% nitrogen, 30% carbon dioxide.

To make a cheap approximation at home, you’re going to need a Nitrogen (N2O) cartridge and a reusable whip cream can (something like this (non-affiliate link)).

The easiest way is to follow the cold brew brewing method seen above. Once you’ve done that, fill the whipped cream dispenser less than half full with cold brew coffee, attach the lid, then follow the instructions using an N2O cartridge. Pour straight into your glass.


Well, if we don’t include the cold brew, then the cleanup is super simple. Simply wash out the whipped cream canister.


The coffee is as strong as cold brew, which is variable depending on how they make it, but the nitrogenation/carbonation process makes it taste more creamy, and almost like milk has been added. 


  • Since it’s always cold, maybe save it for the warmer months?

Coffee Teabags

Yes, teabag-like coffee. This seems like a recipe for weak, watery coffee, but hell, I came across it while writing this, so might as well throw it on.

The idea is, “why can’t we make coffee like teabags? In theory, it works; in general, you need more coffee than tea leaves to make equal volumes of the final products.

According to the startup Steeped Coffee’s website (found here), you make it like a teabag. Stick it in a cup, pour on water, teabag it, then let it sit for a bit.

I’d like to give it a shot, but I’m skeptical.


Rating: Super easy. Just toss the bag.


The writing on it is pretty sparse, but I’m going to speculate coffee on the weaker side. Will update as I try it.


  • Ever made tea? Do it like that.

Cowboy Coffee

Ever feel like going back to the simpler ways of the wild west or people today who like to rough it? Well, this is yet another style where you can make coffee for yourself the way they did when settling down for camp. The best flavor is said to some from seasoning the pot, kind of like cast iron – aka don’t wash it with soap and water and let the oils build up.

You add the water up to the bottom of the spout and let it warm up before adding the coffee to it. They measured it in handfuls, suggesting three handfuls. I have no idea how large his coffee pot was. ¼ cup of grounds to one quart of water was what was suggested. That’s ¼ per roughly a liter.

When it starts to boil, let it simmer for a short while on low. Let it sit for a little while, allowing the grinds to collect in the bottom. They recommend you pour a little down the spout and around the edges to stop the grounds from sticking to the outside. As it was explained, the cold water in the spout will pull all the grounds to the bottom. I don’t know about that, but there you have it: cowboy coffee.

Clean up

Since you want to season the pot, it won’t take much. Simply pour out the spent grinds, rinse it out with clean water, and let it dry. Make sure there are no leftover grinds clinging to the sides, and you should be all set.

Supposing you use an actual fire, after the soot builds up around the bottom of your kettle, take a rag damp with a little oil and wipe it down.

Rating: Real simple.


Once you get near the bottom of the coffee, you might want to consider using a fine strainer to catch any large grounds that come through.

In Closing

Well, I don’t know about you, but that was a long read! I think I covered every kind of brewing method of coffee I can think of. If I missed any, please let me know in a comment so I can finish my comprehensive guide to making coffee!

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