Beginner's Guide to Coffee (Part 3 of 3)

Beginner's Guide to Coffee (Part 3 of 3)

Now that you've seen where your coffee comes from[COFFE PART 1 PAGE URL], how its roasted[COFFEE PART 2 PAGE URL] to its final format, let's make some coffee. As mentioned in the last guide, coffee is essentially a solution in which the soluble material from bean is diluted in water. Let's take a look at different forms of absorbing soluble material, and the finalized drinks it can make.

Cold Brew

In terms of energy efficiency, the most economical way to brew coffee, as no heat is necessary for extraction. Room temperature water and coffee grounds are combined. Without the aid of heat, a higher ratio of beans to water must be used than other means listed, generally a 1:4 ratio. The benefits of this process include much lower acid production and the concentrated nature allows for some of the lighter flavors of grapefruit, or apple to shine through. As a result, however, the body suffers, cold brew is notably less viscous, and lacks some of the aromatics present in other extraction methods.


Cafe in Bangkok specializing in Pour Over (photo: Takeaway)


Pour Over


So this category has a wide range of variances, be it Chemex, pour over, dad's ol' drip, or siphon; however, the idea all works on the same principal, sub-boiling water (ideally 95 Degrees) is dripped, or poured over coffee grounds for percolation. Less coarse grounds are used, and a higher amount of water is used for each part coffee, 1:16. The result however, is well worth it, for a velvety, full-bodied brew, which will allow the flavors of the coffee bean and the roast to shine through.


Single shot Espresso (Photo: Jeremy Ricketts)




This method works off of percolation, like the above listed, however, the process happens in a fraction of the time. The pressure and heat react with nitrogen inside the coffee beans, creating a rich crema at the top of the shot. Coffee to water ratios are a point of contention among top baristas. The standard ristretto espresso calls for a ratio of 1:1, with the emergence of single origin brews and lighter roasts, that ratio has increased to 1:2 or higher to allow for greater clarity of flavor. Classic Italian espresso calls for a 1:3 ratio.

Now that we've gotten the espresso, you'll probably want to add milk, correct? Modern coffee revolves around the combination of the two, but do you know what goes into your drink? Look no further.


A Latte elevated with Latte art (Photo: Frank Lanigan)


  • Espresso Macchiato: This is for the lover of espresso flavor, just a touch of steamed milk should be used with this preparation, just to add a bid of discoloration to the crema. The beverage should be made with 1oz steamed milk per 2oz shot.
  • Cappuccino: Arguably, the pinnacle of coffee creations, this one hits all the notes of savory and sweet, when prepared correctly, can be life changing. There can be local variations with this one, but typically, the cappuccino should be a balance of equal thirds. 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, 1/3 foam, it should be about 6 oz.
  • Cortado: Trendier coffee shops will call this a Gibraltar, due to the glassware it is served in. Coffee to milk ratio is 1:1-1:2, this is the happy medium between Macchiato and Latte
  • Latte: The stand by order for most, began as a breakfast treat in Europe. A lot of variation exists on this one, the classic recipe calls for one part coffee to three parts milk, however, many coffee ratios serve it with as large of a ratio as 1:5.