‘What is the best way to make coffee?’ This is a question I get asked at least twice a week and every time I try to answer I can literally hear my authority on coffee-related topics falling apart with my staccato umming and err’ing. ‘Ummm, I suppose it depends on what you want from your coffee’ I respond in the hope that I’ve avoided that particular trap. Answering a question about the best way to make coffee is like definitively stating what the best film ever made is (it’s the Godfather part II). You can make your case, but ultimately someone is going to fight tooth and nail to attain the bragging rights for the Shawshank Redemption. An acknowledgement is eventually made that both are great films, but that you’ll have to agree to disagree.
Obviously, the best way of making a coffee is subject to personal preference but you've gone down this clickbait rabbit hole so I am going to try and provide a definitive answer. I go through cycles with my home brewing set up where I tend to favour one more than the other and occasionally brewers are frozen out of the squad all together. The exile in my case is my Moka Pot. There’s not anything the Moka Pot has done to deserve its exclusion per se, but it just isn’t what I go for currently. My cafetiere however has made a real resurgence. I love the cafetiere for two main reasons: the first being that it’s so easy to brew - it feels slightly less complicated than brewing a V60 despite taking longer. The second is the ability to have multiple cups in single brew. I often find my second cup of a cafetiere brew more enjoyable than the first because it has had time to cool down and the flavours have become more pronounced.
That isn’t to say that I don’t use or enjoy my V60 or my Aeropress - I do, I just find myself using my Cafetiere more frequently at the moment. The V60 can provide a wonderfully delicate flavour and having one before a day of work at HQ has become something of a ritual. The Aeropress revolutionised my home brew experience when I first brewed our Ethiopian coffee Halcyon IPA. The added bonus of the Aeropress and V60 is that they are super easy to clean - far more so than the cafetiere.
All that said, and I say this begrudgingly, I think using an espresso machine is the best way to make coffee. I don’t have a home espresso setup for a few reasons, principally because acquiring my desired equipment would probably involve me selling a kidney and secondly because I don’t think pitching up at home with a La Marzocco Linea Mini and grinder would be appreciated considering the size of my kitchen. I tell myself that I want good espresso to be reserved to coffee shops and that the exclusivity of espresso makes that whole experience all the more special but it is more likely some sense telling me I can’t realistically attain that at home. There are definitely drawbacks to home espresso (besides the cost). It is a lot higher maintenance and dialling in a grinder to make the most of your coffee can be frustrating when you’re simply wanting your morning Long Black. That said, nothing else offers an even comparable range of versatility. From Espresso to Latte, you can pretty much make anything and if you’re willing to put the time, effort and money into it, you can replicate your favourite Flat White (ours I hope) at home. Personally, I’m not sure I want that at home. I want to make good coffee with minimal hassle so I think I’ll be sticking to my cafetiere.