As I sit at my home office thinking about a clever way to start off this article with, it suddenly hits me when I pick up my mug of home brewed coffee. The only two brewing methods that were used in my house until very often (when my mom received a moka pot for her birthday) were automatic drip and pour over. I think it is safe to assume that, like myself, a lot of people choose between these two methods, without even considering fancier devices like French presses, Aeropresses or Percolators.
The main argument in favor of either of these two methods of brewing coffee is the simplicity they entail. With very little knowledge of coffee and its quirkiness, a rookie can brew a high quality and delicious product. The grind needed for these processes is a fine one, and paper filters are, of course, a must for either. Some machines include a cloth one. For these, you will not need anything else.
The beautiful simplicity of these methods is especially notorious with automatic drip machines, since the temperature of the water and the amount of time the beans are exposed to it is all programmed in the coffee maker. The water is poured into the compartment cold. The machine will heat it and start filtering it through the ground beans once it has reached the perfect temperature. Usually, these machines include a little guideline from where you will be able to see how many cups of coffee the amount of water you poured will produce. With these, there is no need to fuss over stoves -like with moka pots- or with blooming and timing -like with French presses-.
Though pretty easy to use too, the pour over method is a tiny bit trickier than automatic drip. This is because this method calls for a little more user interaction. Now it will be necessary to heat the water beforehand, and then it will be time to pour it over your coffee.
In a way, I feel automatic machines are great for starting, if you’re interested in learning about brewing coffee, grind size and everything that entails. With these machines, you only need to worry about buying the proper size of ground beans and to stock up on filters, since the resulting beverage is delicious. As time passes, you can maybe move up to a pour over method, with which you will be able to control more variables of the coffee-brewing process and customize your drink to fit more properly to your own wants and needs.
When it comes to coffee, a lot of it comes down to feeling capable of handling the equipment without burning yourself or the coffee itself. There is absolutely no shame in using an automatic coffee maker: they are easy to use, practical, and couldn’t be better with timing. Pour over can be a bit trickier since there is more calculation involved, but they are easier to use than fancier gadgets and a great way to introduce yourself to the world of more gourmet or perhaps high end coffee.
As always, the choice is yours. As long as you are able to enjoy your coffee just the way you like it, the method used for obtaining it should not be a bigger issue.