The article could be drastically improved by highlighting the bisection between immersion and pourover brewing methods in hand-brewed coffee. Immersion methods, like the French Press, leave all coffee beans in the full quantity of water for the brew time, and by using filters that remove only coffee grounds, produce a flavorful, full-bodied cup of coffee with natural oils. Pourover methods, such as the Chemex or the V60, generally combine the use of a paper filter with a specific coffee grind to limit the rate at which water flows through the coffee, generally in a cone-shape, which results in a "clean" (less oily) cup of coffee with more fruity and citrusy flavors. The line between immersion and pourover coffees is blurred by hybrid brewing methods such as the Aeropress or the Syphon, which mix ground beans and water for the full brewing time, then extrude through a filter that extracts oils from the coffee.
To get started in the world of hand-brewed coffee, I suggest the Aeropress and a burr handgrinder (total <$40). This combination allows full experimentation into the effects of grind size and extraction time on coffee flavor. The next step would be acquiring a scale, to perfect the proportion of coffee and water. A thermometer would then provide insight into the variable of water temperature, which generally is about ten degrees Farenheit below boiling. Moving forward, the brewer learns about the benefits of preheating the device, the speed of extraction (here, plunging) and its effect on flavor, and about the freshness of beans based on the bloom period of the coffee.
For me, a dirty knackered Bodum french press bought in a charity shop in 1997 for £1 and the cheapest value brand ground coffee the supermarket sells works. Sometimes I can't be bothered with that and just instant.
Perhaps I'm sad but I've spent the last decade playing a game with people. When I lie about the coffee's heritage just to see, they remark that it's good. If they do know the genuine story, they make no remark. I've even thrown some instant in a cup or two next to people drinking pressed as a control and there is still a consensus.
YMMV but I think it's mainly hokum.
Suppose I better tell them all now :)
In fact, it turns out I can taste the difference between beans ground with a high-quality burr grinder and a blade grinder, brewed in an otherwise identical way.
If you can't, then I don't see any problem with continuing to use what are perceived as lower-quality beans. But assuming that everyone has exactly the same taste sensitivity as you probably isn't 100% accurate.
(Note: all of this assumes you're drinking the coffee black, that you're using at least a reasonably well-controlled brewing process, and that your water isn't utterly horrible. If any of those things aren't true, it's entirely likely it's much harder to taste the difference.)
The beauty of coffee, is that you can brew multiple cups quite easily and do proper experiments.
The visual difference between two identical-bean, identical-brew-method cups of coffee where the only variable is the grinder is, to my eye, zero. The placement of the cup in the room relative to the primary light source will be by far the most significant element.
(Note: this was cafetiere-brewed coffee, not espresso. Had it been espresso, I'd 100% agree with you that the trial wasn't appropriately blinded.)
Cheapest value-brand coffee though I will take exception to, there is a massive difference in taste between freshly roasted, roasted some what recently and dust in a packet even of the same bean variety.
I can't tell the difference between 1% and 2% milk in a blind taste test, I can tell the difference between good and shit coffee by blind smell alone never mind getting it to my mouth.
No, you don't. You drink medium roasted Colombian.
I'd be surprised if they don't prefer the "cheap" coffee.
The only exception is that some people will actually prefer old, bitter coffee made with dirty equipment because they're used to that taste. Just like some people will prefer McDonalds to a good restaurant because that's what they're used to. Still doesn't make good coffee or food "mainly hokum". :)
What I meant about wine is that there is a lot of stuff in the wine world that people obsess over, but is not detectable by even experts. For example, the differences in regions of origin, price of the bottle, etc. I'm not saying that everything in the wine world is BS but there is plenty of if. Even experts have been fooled with food coloring into describing white wines with adjectives normally used to describe reds.
One is whether wine experts are able to detect certain flavors or even figure out the grape variety and origin of a certain kind of wine.
The other is whether in blind tastings cheap wine is consistently rated as inferior to expensive wine.
I've found people in the wine industry can figure out where wine is from with surprising accuracy. But their skill is not in the least based on a judgment of how much they like the wine. It's about having an encyclopedic knowledge about which wine is associated with which flavors and production techniques, and then matching up what your nose tells you with one of those taste profiles in your head.
Once you know what type of wine you're tasting, you can infer the price category:
* French Pinot Noir is generally more expensive than New Zealand Pinot Noir.
* Wine that's been in new oak barrels (evident from e.g. vanilla and toasted flavors in the wine) is more expensive than wine that hasn't been.
* Wine that tastes only of red and black fruit is probably young and thus cheap, wine that tastes of weird things like truffles and what-not is likely to be older and thus more expensive.
* Sweet white wine which tastes like marmalade and honey and nuts has a good chance of being made from grapes with noble rot, which are picked individually, berry by berry, and thus result in incredibly expensive wine.
* ... and so on.
So the link between quality and price in wine is very tenuous, but that doesn't mean professionals "can't tell the difference". They can.
Other trials use undergrads, who couldn't tell any wine from any other wine, no matter how you run the experiment.
I'm probably like the novices tested, less like the professional. Maybe you're different.
Exactly so. I just wanted to note that "expensive wine doesn't always – or even often – taste better" and "experts can reliably spot the difference between cheap and expensive wine" are not incompatible statements.
Did you keep it refrigerated? Room temperature? Dark/daylight? Sealed?
Btw, what do you mean "unlike" wine? Certainly there's a difference between wine that's been left to breathe, and the same wine straight out of the bottle (well "wine" is a bit wide, but for many good wines).
And what the other commenter said is also true. Most people can't even tell a difference in color. If you serve white wine dyed red, people describe it as they would red wine, and vice versa.
: http://www.yumsugar.com/Wine-World-Reels-2-Buck-Chuck-Wins-A... (not a citation in the strict sense, but a demonstrative reference)
That AgEcon paper actually bears that out, though obviously much less dramatically, the hoi poloi can tell the difference and they (to a small extent) 'prefer' the cheap stuff, and the experts can tell the difference and they 'prefer' the expensive stuff.
'prefer' standing in for perceived quality not necessarily enjoyment.
Yes "most" is still legit word to use here, BUT, please try to find anything, anything at all, where "most" people can unambiguously determine 'quality'.
And hell price is a piss poor predictor of quality in just about anything, what with price being some combination of supply, current profit strategy (loss leader?, cash cow?), social signaling, manufacturing cost, number of middlemen, and about a billion other things.
The color study was a group of like a dozen oenology undergrads.
A handful of oenology undergrads is not "most people". It's not a large enough N, and there are different pressures on a student in field when describing wine than a random consumer. For all we know they could all tell the difference but none of them wanted to be the asshole to look at a glass of red fluid and say "you know I don't think this is a fucking red".
As for coffee I'll go see if I can dig it up but I'm pretty sure there was a test that recently showed 'most people' couldn't tell quality either and just preferred stronger over-extracted coffee to "good" coffee.
"One of the most famous instances of blind testing is known as the Judgment of Paris, a wine competition held in 1976 where French judges blind-tested wines from France and California. Against all expectations, California wines bested French wines according to the judges, a result which would have been unlikely in a non-blind contest."
So, the judges can taste the difference, but they aren't honest unless it's a blind test. That's very different from saying there is no difference...
Now, that people can't "tell a difference in cost" should be almost a tautology -- what moron thinks that what tastes better will be more expensive, all the time? All things being equal, if you can, from a given, source, make something that tastes good and bad, with approximately the same amount of work, you'd think you make more that tastes good, and due to the benefit of producing large quanta, the good stuff would be cheaper?
In fact, if "most people" prefer the cheaper wines, I guess the wine industry people are doing their jobs, and selling most of what most people want. That doesn't mean it's what I (or you) want, just what "most people" want.
Incidentally, my tastes in coffee doesn't correlate very well to the description of what "most Americans" prefer, in the article, but that doesn't mean that I don't see that it makes a difference in taste what beans you choose, how you grind it, and how you brew it. It just means that I'll consistently make coffee "most Americans" would think is far too strong and bitter. No problem, let them drink whatever kind of coffee they prefer. But don't try and tell us there isn't a difference in taste.
a) price is suuuuper loosely correlated to quality
b) you can get some undergrad oenologists to describe (some unspecificied) whites like reds if you add food coloring
As for taste varying by how you make the coffee; I'd say that it does -- but assuming you're not doing anything "wrong" -- the differences would be subtle and dominated by the type and preparation of the beans.
Just like you can take a prime cut of meat and burn it to a crisp, you can ruin good coffee -- but the difference between getting it "just right" and "almost right" are much more subtle.
For the curious, it's true, most people can't tell the difference between cheap and expensive wine.
Ha! I completely agree. Drink snobbery, whether relating to coffee, beer, wine, or [insert beverage here], has always seemed like confirmation bias in action. Is Startbucks really undrinkable sludge to some people, or is only that way because of that sweet, sweet feeling of smug superiority that they feel when they say it?
I am one of the few that is nerdy enough to blind test myself and friends with things that have an entire culture of snobs around them -- a trait which I picked up after working in the audio industry for years (where people will believe and argue to the death about magical cable properties (give me measurements, or give me death!)).
If I could assemble enough coffee samples, I would love to put myself under test and see if one is empirically "better" to my taste buds. However, logistically it's not possible.
That said, beer and wine is readily available, transportable, and easily testable! So, my girlfriend and I set up a tasting night a few months ago. We grabbed a 6 pack of every cheap beer in the grocery store (pbr, miller lite, Natural Ice, bud, etc..), and then a whole range of wines -- everything from the $70 2011 wine of the year, to a $3 ABC brand bottle. We randomized each trial, poured the wines into glasses and then left the room so others could enter so we wouldn't influence their decisions (our attempt at setting up a double blind test). We had people log their impressions of each one, and then attempt to rate them in ascending order of "quality."
After 4 or 5 trials (it stopped being fun around the 3rd set of trails) we called it quits and looked at everyone's results. It was pretty interesting. In with cheep beer, there was only one consistent looser, and that with Miller Lite (I honestly expected it to be Natural Ice), the rest were all randomly distributed. No one could tell one from the other -- or if one was better than the other -- with any reliability. It actually made it a little frustrating while testing, as some people (including me) though they were being messed with by having several glasses all with the same beer.
The wine had similar results. No clear winner. Result were all over the place with the "best" tasting wine being different for each person each time. With my pallet, I couldn't discern one as being "better," so much as just "different." This one is a little more X, while this one is a little more Y. It was an interesting experience. So, moral of the story, I only buy cheap wine now, because I honestly can't taste the difference. That $70 bottle wasn't even distinguishable from the rest.
I've rambled, but I highly suggest self testing! It's fun, and I can now say that, empirically, Miller lite is undrinkable piss water to my taste buds :)
The beers you picked (PBR, miller, bud, etc) are all one single beer style, which BeerAdvocate classifies as an American Adjunct Lager. I'm not at all surprised that you couldn't tell one from another, but if you picked beers out of a wide variety of styles, I'm positive your taste buds could differentiate them.
American Adjunct Lagers: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/style/38
All Beer Styles: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/style
It was a very narrowly scoped test.
Note that is not a judgement on the roast level - obviously tons of people like it. But the more you roast, the more the char (carbon) flavor dominates. I don't know if it destroys the rest of the flavors, or just masks them, but for me it removes all of the reasons to drink the coffee. I don't see the snobbery in that statement.
What you call "char" I call "burnt", and I've seen a lot of opinions that agree and bring up multiple conspiracy theories as to why (cheaper shipping costs, higher caffeine concentration among others).
I'm agreeing that it's not snobbery to say that Starbucks wrecks some of the great flavors that properly made coffee can have. This isn't like wine where anything that isn't spoiled is usually drinkable. You can make bad coffee, accidentally or deliberately.
First and foremost, just cleaning whatever you brew your coffee in makes a huge difference. Even if you use a $9 Mr. Coffee drip machine, wash the glass carafe, drip cone, etc. with mild soap, and rinse. You will taste a huge improvement in the taste of your cup of coffee.
I've landed on a simple ceramic drip cone, kettle, and coffee mug for being the absolute best brewing system because its so easy to clean.
Freshness of the beans is a big factor. Coffee beans are exploding with flavor 1 to 7 days after they're roasted. After that it still tastes like coffee, but complexity around the flavor starts getting lost. This is why I roast my own beans, and its also really cheap ($6-$8 per pound as opposed to $14-$20). http://www.sweetmarias.com/ is a great place to buy green coffee beans in the Bay Area and you can roast them stove top without buying additional equipment.
When you start getting into roasting your own coffee or buying stuff that's 1-2 weeks from the roast it makes sense to get a decent grinder to preserve flavor. Lots of people buy blade grinders because they're so cheap, but they make it really difficult to brew coffee with a ceramic cone filter. You want to shop for a burr grinder which cost $40 for a hand grinder up to $80 for a decent electric grinder.
There's also the matter of doing things right vs. wrong. Whether your ground beef was from Whole Foods might matter a whole lot less than whether it was properly refrigerated or whether the cook burned it. When it comes to coffee, Americans have been trained to tolerate beans and grinds that are a bit on the old and stale side. Some people go to a shop for beans roasted yesterday or today for the improved flavor, and some go to that shop as a matter of conspicuous consumption, and for some it's a mix of the two. It's the same as any foodstuff.
The thing with wine is that, regardless of price, there is a huge variation between wines at any price point, and a huge variation between individuals' palates. Until you know what you like, then you should expect that, with a set of randomly chosen wines, there will only be a mild correlation between price and enjoyment.
On the other hand, once you know that, for example, you like aged traditional Barolos and don't care much for Napa cabs, then it won't surprise you if you like the $40 Barolo more than the $150 cab.
I'm not sure how blind testing a bunch of cheap beer helps with your hypothesis that "Drink snobbery, whether relating to coffee, beer... has always seemed like confirmation bias in action."
The wine test on the other hand, I don't think you could take issue with, as its snobbery is second only to -- I'm not even sure, whiskey drinkers? The test was set up exactly as you'd want the beer one to be
>If you put a line up of different beers of a similar style, most "beer snobs" would be able to distinguish them
Just sub in "wine" for "beer." And the snobs failed.
With hand brewed coffee the difference is much more noticeable. If are you in SF, stop at 50/50 on Geary. They spend more effort prepared their coffee than any place I've been. I think you will be surprised by the difference in quality.
Did you miss the chart about 2/3 of the way through labeled "spectrum of body and flavor clarity" and accompanying discussion? It goes into exactly this and even uses the same examples of a french press vs pourover. They also recommend a burr grinder, scale, and thermometer as you do in the your last paragraph.
I'm forced to wonder if you read the article before returning here to critique it.
Although I wrote it in 2002, the recommendation hasn't changed:
1. Buy only whole-bean coffee roasted within the last few days.
2. Grind it fresh, just before brewing. (Yes, a cheap "whirly blade" grinder is fine.)
3. Brew it in a French press or a pour-over filter using fresh water, off the boil.
That's it, in a nutshell.
I've gotten criticism for claiming that a cheap blade grinder is fine, but it's true. You can make better coffee using a better grinder, but just using any grinder lets you ditch pre-ground coffee, which is almost always stale, and switch to brewing with fresh coffee, ground on the spot. That one change produces a huge jump in quality. And I'd rather you experience that jump, even if you can't justify more than $10 on your grinder.
The other thing I'd add is that if I had written the Guide today, I probably would have included the AeroPress. It makes really good coffee, but there's a bit of a learning curve before it becomes an easy, reliable brewing method.
Still, I prefer the pourover/Aeropress style and if given the option will the standard drip machine as a pourover conversion. Just swing open the filter basket, put the coffee in a standard filter, and pour over hot water, letting it drop down into the carafe or a mug. Make it concentrated and top off with water.
i should probably do some taste testing on that myself, but it seems most logical that you need to stir at least once, to make sure all the coffee gets wet.
Good beans matter a lot. I typically like medium roasts, since dark roasts often taste burnt, while light roasts end up tasting too weak. I also tend to not like Indonesian beans, since they tend to have too much peaty taste for my liking. That said, I've been drinking Kicking Horse dark roast lately and it's quite good. Lots of flavor, nice oily beans, no burnt taste.
I boil water, then grind my beans after removing it from heat, which means that the water has cooled to around 195 by the time I pour it. The brew happens in a thermally insulated French press, which maintains the water temperature while it brews. It makes a remarkably smooth, flavorful cup of coffee.
Try a darker roast if you put cream and sugar in your coffee. If you have a lighter roast, be sure to let it cool down to appreciate its benefits. If you buy a medium roast, keep in mind that each type of bean is unique, and certain beans have unique qualities that are highlighted by their roast, so don't assume that the flavors you enjoy are particular to the "medium" roast.
Finally, keep in mind that lighter-roast coffees actually have the most caffeine. This is because heating the coffee breaks down the caffeine molecule, so the longer the roast process and the darker the roast, the more caffeine is broken down.
I actually drink my coffee black (for health reasons; I realized that I was taking in a ton of daily calories in milk and sugar) which is what motivated me to find better coffee. When you're masking the flavor of the coffee with additives, it's easier to get by with bad coffee, but when it's just the brew itself, the tastes matter a lot more.
The lighter roast = more caffeine thing is actually (kind of) a myth; you get less caffeine per bean, but since the dark roasting process removes more water, you actually end up with a higher caffeine-by-volume content in darker roasts. If you're using the same volume of coffee per pot (say, 4 tbsp), then you may actually end up with more caffeine from a dark roast, since substantially more of that 4tbsp will be the coffee itself rather than water left unextracted from the bean. However, the caffeine differences between something like a robusta vs an arabica bean are very significant, so if you need more or less caffeine, you can pick a roast you like with a bean that gives you the caffeine you desire.
Then again, this article is primarily about brew coffee, not espresso, so how it brews an americano is worthwhile contribution.
EDIT: Jeez, downvoters clearly have never read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
Here's why: http://blog.bumblebeelabs.com/social-software-sundays-2-the-...
Witty comments might be funny but promoting them is anathemic to serious discussion (in the long run). You can always go to Reddit if you're out to be witty and funny. I realize this sounds harsh and dismissive, I apologize for the tone. (Interwebs and all.)
One simple 'hack' for using a french press, as I prefer, is that when pouring the water over only pour enough to cover the grounds. Then stir/shake this around and let it sit for 30 seconds. Then pour over the rest of the water and leave for 4 mins without stiring.
I don't know the science behind it I'm afraid as I read this tip a long time ago, but that inital absorption rather than drowning - leads to a smoother cup. (in my opinion.)
Oh, and support your local roasters! I'm lucky that in my small city there is half a dozen independent companies knocking out great quality beans. For all the staff in their shops may look like the kind of people you don't want to ask a question of, do it, they probably really love coffee and will be able to help your home brew immensely.
--Edit : Beans from Peru are my fav at the momement, give them a shot. :)
If you only have one french press it might be difficult to experiment; but like the top comment says; if you want to find out why, getting a thermometer might help (or a timer -- boil water and leave it to cool for x minutes before pouring -- would be somewhat harder to replicate with different ambient temperatures and different vessel, though).
It affects mood & brain function rather strongly compared to other legal non-prescription drugs (alcohol for example being another). I am not surprised there are quite a few people who shell out thousands of dollars on hand crafted espresso machines.
It is pretty interesting. I can see why. I drink coffee and tea and I find myself day dreaming about my next cup of coffee. That is pretty weird. I never did any drugs so I guess that must be a one of the "signs" of addiction? ;-)
Speaking of perfect coffee, there is this latest craze out there and that brewing cold coffee. Not ice coffee as in brewing coffee with hot water and pouring over ice but instead let coffee steep in the refrigerator for 8+ hours with cold water. This is nothing new but I feel I keep hearing about it more lately. I tried it and it is actually pretty good. It is like a completely different drink. There is minimal bitterness and just a different taste profile. Try it the next time, put the grounds in your french press with cold water, stir it, but don't press it, put it the refrigerator for 8+ hours and then pour it over ice.
I kind of feel bad asking this bc I have lived my entire life in the south (Dallas, Texas) so I feel like I should already know the answer; yet I don't.
> They should be whole beans, sustainably farmed, and roasted within the past few weeks.
Roasted within the past few weeks? How about the past few hours? Seriously, if you haven't had coffee on the same day it was roasted, you don't know what you're missing. All the other variables of preparation method fall by the wayside in the face of the freshness of the roast.
Of course, roasting yourself is not really an option. Still, if you can find someplace that roasts their own on a regular basis, go for that. (For my part, I've been spoiled by the fact that almost every dry goods store where I live roasts their own, usually right in the shop...)
"When the coffee is roasted it develops a lot of CO2 gas inside the beans. This gas will make the coffee taste smokey and ashy immediately after roasting. It is absolutely crucial to let the coffee degas and rest for a while before use to ensure maximum flavour."
He gives a great talk on sourcing high quality beans here:
Why do you say that? I've been meaning to try it after I saw Michael Johnston describe it as his hobby. He bought a 300$ machine that by his math will pay for itself since green bean is cheaper than roasted. Amazon also seems to have a few cheap and well reviewed home roasting machines.
By and large you'll want to wait a few days. I find it depends on the bean - some are great just out of the roaster, some are pretty bad. Some take a day or two, some take 5 to really come into their own. Or so I perceive, with non-blinded tasting.
I've prepared coffees with french press (we call them "plungers" in Australia) and a mini espresso machine. Recently I've been playing with cold brew as well. Like the article suggests, different methods bring out different notes in the coffee.
For the next 10 days I am on decaf-only, so cold brewing has made life more tolerable. Decaf in the espresso machine is like liquid dirt. As a cold brew it has revealed surprising tastiness.
I freeze my beans, grind 5 days worth at a time, but keep in a extremely air tight container during those 5 days.
Edit: What I love about AeroPress is that I can buy it from many, local, independent retailers. The girl I bought it from didn't even know what it was, or that her store sold it!
A surprising number (1/3..1/2) glance at it and ask: "How do you make
coffee with a breast pump?" I should start replying: "Follow the instructions: press slowly and gently."
If anyone wants to make splendid coffee, and doesn't fear learning a significant new art I'd suggest roasting your own beans. You can do it with a heat gun or an air corn popper, modified. It's not simple and it's a bit of a fire hazard, but you can get satisfying results blasting some hot air at beans in a pot. Roasting can be more fun and aromatic than making coffee. It is amazing.
For a brewer you could get a sock pot aka woodneck (or just the sock without the pot -- or just muslin cloth if you want to make your own); or, a ceramic cilio-freiling cone, or an inexpensive melitta plastic cone. Both sock & cone are considered pour over methods but they taste different.
For a grinder there are too many choices to pick just one, and the good ones are expensive. For the grinder it may be safer to avoid mass-market products, just because it's too easy to make a mistake and buy an inadequate product.
[Edit: there is another effective trick to get better at brewing. Coffee brewing competitions. It is surprising how effective these are at improving the art. Watching videos of what the contestants are doing is one important tool for improvement.]
Article does not mention types of bean. Beans are themselves also dried in different methods. The most expensive coffee in the world is scooped up from poo after digesting in an animals stomach.
Also getting different types of air to blow over the coffee after roasting can change the taste a lot.
Finally... what you drink as 'coffee' is mostly water (and milk for many). Better quality water goes a long way. Your tap water probably tastes very different to mineral water, or rain water. Different types of blends mix well with different types of milk too. With milk, you can usually get away with a more bitter coffee.
The pour and grind are important I guess... it's what lets people make a ristretto for example. But not as important as the roast.
Finally, what many of these coffee articles fail to consider are asian methods. I guess it is either racism, or ignorance. Try Viet, and turkish styles for example :)
Coffee snobs! There is no 'good' coffee, just different methods and tastes.
It's not hard to get nor to operate a small espresso coffee maker, and as a bonus you get to make not only perfect coffee but wonderful cappuccios. They go for about €120 on amazon, and for €20 more you can get a reasonably good electric grinder.
That's it for the hardware, now the coffee beans. As others mentioned, it's very important you get the good stuff. My taste is 100% arabica medium roast, yours may differ. BTW, what's your favorite coffee beans?
Anyway, no matter what beans you choose you have to grind them thin otherwise you won't get out of it those incredible flavors you're expecting due to lack of pressure.
After all this talk I'm having the need for a ristretto... So it's coffee time! :)
I'm currently working my way through a perennial favorite, Tanzanian Peaberry, with occasional changes to Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and sometimes Kenyan.
Yeah, I like East African coffees. Although I'm less thrilled by a bag of Rwandan I picked up -- it's not great hot, but it does reasonably well cold-brewed.
I forgot to mention that I drink Italian arabica coffee which is usually is grown in South America.
Thanks for the tip on East African coffees. I'll look for it in my next buy! :)
To me it's simply the equivalent of a foodie's interest in preparing good food.
"How Unfiltered Coffee Can Cause Heart Attacks"
The original study:
There's at a certain stage a level of subjectivity, the perfect cup of coffee is the one that makes you smile. There's a similar argument made in photography that a perfect photo conforms to rule of thirds/perfect whitebalance/correct exposure triangle/tripod shot, but it's not always got enough soul to work.
I've tried plenty of methods, and for me, the easiest way of making 20 ounces is a Yama stove top vacuum pot. Look it up, it takes mere minutes to produce quality coffee.
 See upcoming articles about how to make a perfect tea (involves drinking a perfect coffee).