How to Make Coffee

Perfect in the morning, as a midday pick-me-up, or alongside a sweet dessert, there's no bad time for a coffee break!

Perfect first thing in the morning, as a midday pick-me-up, or capping the evening alongside a sweet dessert, there's never a bad time for a coffee break. We'll walk you through the best way to brew coffee so you can get the next pot started!

How to Make Coffee

What you'll need to brew coffee in a pot:

It doesn't take much to brew perfect coffee; as a matter of fact, it only takes three things:

  1. Filtered water: the fewer impurities in the water, the less competition for the true flavor of the coffee.
  2. Correct proportions: regardless of machine-type, use two tablespoons of grounds per eight ounces of water, and then adjust to your taste from there.
  3. The right grind: it differs by machine, but generally the more time coffee grounds spend in contact with water, the courser the grind--and vice versa. Learn more about how to grind coffee beans to match the kind of coffee you're making.

Basic steps to make perfect coffee:

Here are the basic steps to make coffee—assuming you're not making it with an automatic coffee machine (in which case, you'd follow manufacturers' guidelines):

  1. Line the basket of your coffee maker with a filter. Grind coffee beans to medium or medium-fine grind size. Bring filtered water to a boil, then let it sit for a minute.
  2. Pour enough water into the filter to wet it completely, and let it drain into your cup or coffee pot. Discard the water.
  3. Measure the ground coffee into the wet filter. Pour in enough water to wet the ground beans and drain into your cup or coffee pot, then pour in the rest of the water,

If you thrill to the chill, maybe iced coffee is your jam. See how to make iced coffee.

Directly Above Shot Of Coffee Cup
Anton Eine / EyeEm / Getty Images

What's the Best Coffee Maker?

Personal preference reigns when it comes to coffee makers. No single brewing method is necessarily better than another; each coffee maker simply operates differently and might lend itself to a particular need more than another. Let's look at the most popular types and find out what each does best:

Automatic Flat-Bottom & Automatic Cone

It makes sense to look at these two side by side because they are very similar brewing methods: Water pours through the coffee filter and basket into a pot. For this method, you could use an automatic coffee maker, or you can pour in a measure of hot water by hand. Aside from differences in brands, these coffee makers differ only in the shapes of their baskets (indicated by their names).

Best for: brewing multiple cups of coffee at a time with little fuss.

Buy it: Mr. Coffee Simple Brew 4-Cup Coffee Maker, $25;

French Press

This is a manual brewing process where grounds are soaked in hot water then pressed down to the bottom of the coffee maker by pushing down on a plunger. A French press brews the fullest-flavored cup of coffee, thanks to its stainless steel filter. While a paper filter soaks up the coffee's natural oils (where much of the flavor is held), the press' built-in metal filter allows the oils through. Note: Because a French press does not use a paper filter, there will be a little coffee sediment at the bottom, so leave that last sip in the mug.

Best for: brewing one to four good-sized cups (depending on size of carafe) of full-flavored coffee that will be served right away.

Buy it: Cafe du Chateau French Press Coffee Maker, $25;

Automatic Gold Cone

This machine is similar to an automatic cone, but uses a gold-plated stainless steel filter instead of a paper one. The gold cone allows the coffee's oils to flow through the filter and, as with a French press, it produces a fuller-flavored coffee (though still not as full as a French press).

Best for: brewing many cups of fuller-bodied coffee at a time with the least fuss. It's a happy compromise between the desire for French press flavor, and wanting the convenience of an automatic machine.

Buy it: Cuisinart Gold Tone Coffee Filter, $12;

Now, the only question is, how do you take your coffee?

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