Manuel brewing has taken over the coffee world by storm. There are so many different ways you can brew. But, what is immersion coffee? I will explain exactly what it is and cover all the different types of immersion brew methods.
What is Immersion Brewing
It’s just simply immersing your coffee grinds in the water until the coffee is extracted.
It can provide great results with less effort because there is no need to stand over it to perfect technique like with Pour Over brewing.
You are in full control when brewing with an immersion method. You control the water temperature, the size of the coffee grounds, and the time that they immerse.
Tools to Help with Brewing
Before we go over all the different methods, you will probably need some special tools to get started.
A quality coffee grinder is my first choice in essential tools. You will want to control the size of the grind to make sure it’s uniform and correct. It can negatively affect your end result.
The proper sizes are different for each method. Finer grounds work better with shorter immersion periods and the larger grounds work best with the longer immersion times.
You can make adjustments to your grind size when you choose a method and experiment. That’s the wonderful thing about brewing manually at home.
Another tool that you will want to have is a kettle. The one I have lets me control the temperature of the water. Most of the time you will want your temperature to be around 195°F and 205°F. For the AeroPress, however, it needs to be 175°F.
The last thing you can purchase is a scale. You don’t have to have one but it can help you measure grounds and water to be sure you have the ratios correct. I personally don’t use one but if you are starting out, you could try one.
Don’t forget the Water
One important thing to consider is picking the right water. Contaminants can negatively affect how your coffee tastes. I use my well water but that is because it’s what I like. The best choice is filtered water for coffee brewing, especially immersion style.
A few things come into play when choosing a brewer. Heat retention is important because it affects the overall extraction of the coffee. Immersion brewing requies you to dump all the water in at once so the carafe needs to hold the heat in.
Keeping the grounds completely immersed and removing them before you consume it also affects the coffee. Each brewer has a filter of some kind to help with this.
The French Press is one of my personal favorites. It’s so easy to use and it makes an excellent cup of coffee.
To use it, all you need to do is add your grounds and water, then steep. Finally, press the grounds to the bottom with the mesh filter and pour it to enjoy.
A course or slightly smaller grind is recommended for this method.
For ultimate heat retention, I would recommend a stainless steel french press.
The Aeropress is another great immersion brewer. You can make a single cup of coffee or an espresso style cup from it. You could even call this a hybrid brewer.
There is no set grind to the AeroPress. You can adjust the time based on the grind size. Example: For a medium grind that resembles drip coffee you would extract for 2-3 minutes. With a fine grind, you would extract for one minute.
To use the AeroPress, you would assemble it and add your grinds. Then add the water and stir. Next, when the time has lapsed, you plunge it using steady pressure into your cup.
I have a detailed article on the AeroPress Immersion Brewer.
It’s a great compact versatile brewer that can be used everyday or when you travel. If you are looking for more than a single cup, I wouldn’t recommend it.
This immersion brewer is considered a “vacuum brewer”. It can be used with different grind sizes similar to the Aeropress. It looks like a fun science experiment.
The Siphon works by allowing the water from the bottom to rise to the top by vapor pressure. The vapor turns back into water and mixes with the grounds to create the vacuum.
This is what you do when you want to evaluate different coffees. You add hot water to your grounds, wait a few minutes, break the crust, skim the oils, and drink.
You can also do what is referred to as polished immersion brewing which is basically cupping but you filter the coffee after you break the crust and skim the oils off.
A medium to coarse grind is best for this brewer.
You start by placing a #4 filter in the brewer, adding the grinds, and pouring the water over. You would let it steep for up to 4 minutes, then place the dripper over your cup, and when the release valve is engaged the coffee drains into your cup.
This immersion dripper is very simple but with the open and close feature, it will keep your water hot while it immerses.
You use it very much like the Clever. It requires a #4 filter as well. Then follow the directions just like the clever.
A medium to coarse grind is recommended for this method.
The Cezve looks like a copper pot but can also be silver or brass. It’s used for making what is called Turkish Coffee.
To make this coffee you will want very fine grounds.
Start by adding 1 tbsp of your finely ground coffee beans to 1 cup of water and stir. Then, you will place the cezve on the heating source and heat for 2 minutes. When the foam appears right before it starts to boil, take it off and serve. You could wait until the grounds settle to pour but this is personal preference.
This is a beautiful specialty brewer that makes a wonderful cup of coffee.
The cafe solo is great if you want to brew a flavorful cup of aromatic coffee.
You would start by warming your carafe and remove the filter. Then you would add the coffee grounds and put in 1 tbsp of coffee for every 3 oz of water.
You will want a medium to coarse grind for this method.
After the grounds are in, you add your water. Stir to make sure the grounds are fully immersed and let it steep for 3-4 minutes.
After it has steeped, you put the filter in and rotate it as you pour the brewed coffee into your cup.
The American Press is a triple threat as it is an immersion, percolation, and pressure brewer. It makes a hefty cup of coffee and leaves hardly any sediment behind.
You can use a variety of grind sizes for this maker but medium is preferred.
To make, you will want to take your preheated brewer and add the coffee grinds to the basket. Attach the basket to the bottom of the plunger and pour your hot water in. Pressing the plunger down slowly, you will want to pull it back up slowly after it has reached the bottom right before it can touch.
Continue this motion for 3 minutes and plunge it all the way down before you pour to serve.
The only disadvantage I have found compared to the French Press is that you have to plunge it while it immerses.
The Twist Press is a relatively new brew method that any coffee lover would enjoy. It helps keep the bitterness and acidity to a minimum. You can brew in as little as 30 seconds much like the AeroPress.
It’s so easy to use. You just put the bottom piece on your cup, add the coffee grounds, then pour the hot water in. Finally, you put the top piece on and twist. The coffee comes right out into your cup and is ready to enjoy.
Immersion Cold Brew
Cold Brew coffee is wonderful when made with immersion style brewers. I have used a French Press to make it. When I do this, I use tap water and let it steep for 16 hours or so. It’s so delicious and less acidic.
While coffee can be made in all types of devices, the immersion method is one of my favorites. It’s how the coffee and the water interact to produce the perfect cup and the best part is…you are in full control.
Let me know in the comments below what your favorite brew method is and what you have done to perfect it.