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Whether or not you've cultivated a craving for coffee, knowing how to make it is a useful skill. Hank will teach you the basics and then go over 3 methods for brewing a cup of joe.

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I'll be honest, I don't drink a lot of coffee because it freaks me out. And when I do drink coffee I drink decaf because it actually has quite a bit of caffeine in it.

But whether or not you have cultivated this craving, knowing how to make coffee is a valuable skill. And to make your very own cup of joe, you're gonna need three things. You need coffee, you need water, and you need some brewing method. Like some way of heating them up together and then separating out the stuff you don't wanna have in the coffee.

  Coffee! (0:35)

Coffee comes in a variety of roasts and is either ground or whole bean. If it's ground, you don't need the added expense of getting a bean grinder. However, if you have a bean grinder, or you want to get one, whole beans tend to hold more flavor because you can grind the beans right before you brew.

Most coffee aficionados recommend a burr-grinder, but a blade-grinder is more affordable and the difference between the two isn't going to ruin your day. 

Either grinder might have some setting that controls the coarseness to fineness of the grind. You might also find that this happens in the grocery store. You can actually buy the whole beans and then grind them with the grocery store grinder and you can also set the coarseness of the grind there.

As a general rule of thumb, the longer your coffee is in contact with the water, teh coarser you'll want the grounds. So your brewing method usually dictates the coarseness of your coffee.

If the intimidatingly hip coffee roaster asks you what kind of grind you want for your beans, you can confidently tell them your method of coffee brewing and they will produce the grind that corresponds.

  Roasts (1:31)

Now let's talk about roasts! These exist on a spectrum that goes from light roast to dark roast. Maybe somewhat counter-intuitively, light roasts have more caffeine in them and they taste more acidic, like citrus-y and bright.

Light roasts will also retain a lot more of what they call the "flavor information" from the place where they were grown. So a light roast from Ethiopia will probably taste different than a light roast from Guatemala. If you can tell the difference at all. Which I can't.

Dark roasts, not so much. The flavor of a dark roast is much more dependent on the roasting process itself than where the coffee was grown.

In general, a darker roast will taste less acidic and contain less caffeine. Think: dark and smoky and bold. Like a lot of people will say that it's like nutty or chocolatey, but if you're expecting this to taste like a Snickers bar, you will be disappointed. Unless you put a lot of sugar and cream in, which is what I do.

And as you might expect, medium roasts are in the middle.

  Water! (2:24)

Water is easy to overlook, but bad-tasting water will result in bad-tasting coffee, so use the best-tasting water that you have available. That might be a water filter in the fridge or bottled water or cold water from the tap if you live in a place where you really like the tap water like I do.

Now many people believe that hard water, or water with more minerals, brings out the flavor of the coffee. So keep that in mind when selecting your water source.

  A Brewing Method (2:45)

Finally, you must select a coffee brewing method, with all of its trappings. There are a bazillion ways to brew coffee. Just a brazillion.

Overnight steeps to make a cold brew, methods that involve fancy espresso machines... But we're going to focus on three methods that are relatively affordable and available when you are in a hurry.

 Drip Coffee (3:05)

Method one is drip coffee. It's this one right here. It uses an electrical drip brewer or a filter coffee machine. It's the automated version of a pour-over. I'd call it a coffee maker.

This method is also going to need some coffee filters, which you can get from any grocery store. We're going to use the kind that you can turn into a snowflake or compost. But there are reusable filters out there.

Make sure that you get the right size for your coffee maker. A tiny, baby coffee filter in a giant basket will result in much sadness.

To make the coffee, you first decide how much coffee you want and fill accordingly with water. Then you place the filter in the basket and the coffee grounds in the filter.

A good rule of thumb is 1-2 tablespoons of coffee grounds per 6 ounces of coffee, but I've definitely just eyeballed this before, so I promise it's not the end of the world if you just throw some coffee in and you're like, 'that seems about right'.

If you're feeling, like, super fancy or scientific, you can take out a kitchen scale and measure out a ratio between the water and the coffee of 1-15 to 1-18. So like, we're talking, one unit of coffee to eighteen units of water.

Then all you have to do is turn on the coffee machine and voila! You are the bathrobe person in that coffee commercial!

  The French Press (4:12)

Method two is called the French press or cafetière or coffee press or a bunch of other names depending on your geography. For this method you will need this object, which is basically just a cup with a piston and a disk on it and the disk separates the grounds from the drinking part.

You will also need a kettle or some other way of heating your water. First, determine how much coffee you would like to make. Measure out the corresponding amount of coffee grounds to water.

With the disk-piston portion out, layer the grounds at the bottom of the cylinder. Then, heat your water. If you're feeling extra fancy, you can use a thermometer to get the water to about 195 degrees Farenheit or 90 degrees Celsius.

But if you don't have one, just boil the water, then turn off the stove and wait a little while, like 30-60 seconds for it to cool off some.

With the water at the correct temperature, pour about half of it in and set a timer for 4 minutes. 30-60 seconds into the 4 minutes, use a spoon or a chopstick or whatever sanitary utensil you have around to break up the crust of coffee and mix it all up. 

Then, pour in the rest of the water and, with the piston pulled all the way up, put the lid on. Wait to plunge! Meditate. Take an Instagram photo. Practice your catchphrase. Whatever you need to do until you've made it to 4 minutes.

Now, slowly push that piston down and savor the moment. Once you have pushed it all the way down, pour it into your mug or a craft so it doesn't steep too long and get bitter.

 Cowboy Coffee (5:30)

Our last method requires the least amount of equipment, so, very little investment, but you have to be careful so you don't find yourself with a bitter and crunchy brew.

If you have coffee grounds and water and some way to heat the water to boiling, you can make cowboy coffee.

Grind your beans, or select your grind at the store, somewhere between the coarse grind you'd use for French press and the slightly less coarse grind for electric brew. Then measure out your coffee to water ratio.

Heat the water alone in your kettle or pot or can to boiling and set it aside for 30-60 seconds just like you would for the French press coffee. 

Set a timer for 4 minutes and then add the grounds to the heated water and stir thoroughly to get a good steep. You might want to give it another good stir when you're halfway through your 4 minutes.

Finally, since you don't have that French press plunger, take a handful of cold water and sprinkle it on the grounds to encourage them to sink to the bottom of the pot. Now, carefully pour the coffee out of the pot and take care to avoid getting grounds in your mug.

You'll probably want to pour out all of the coffee you'd like to drink at this point, because if you let it steep in there any longer, it will ultimately result in jet fuel. But, like, I'm not here to judge.

Regardles of whether you brew your coffee over a campfire or in the fanciest of machines, you are now participating in a ritual humans have been performing for hundreds of years.

 Outro (6:45)

If you have any coffee-making tips or tricks that you'd like to share or have a topic you'd like us to cover, that's what the comments are for. They're down there. We will also be in them. Seeing what you have to say.

And if you want to learn more about adulting with Rachel and me, you can go to and subscribe.