What's the most popular coffee drink? While there are many types of coffee, a few have risen to the top. Here are the most popular types of coffee. They include from the most basic to more adventurous.
11 Most Popular Types of Coffee
If you're getting started with coffee – or want to try something new, this post will help. Here are some of the most popular ways to make coffee. And the pros and cons of each.
Most of the following methods are pretty easy.
Another great way to bring out the best flavor in your coffee and avoid funky flavors is to clean your coffee maker regularly.
1. Drip Coffee
Chances are, you’ve had drip coffee at some point in your life. You may have a drip coffee maker in your home or workplace, or you’ve used one in a hotel room. It’s one of the most popular methods of making coffee.
The drip method brews coffee by heating water in a tank with heating rods. The hot water then slowly passes over ground coffee beans in a filter (usually paper) and then drips below into a glass carafe. When the process is finished, you have a collection of coffee grounds in the filter and a carafe of coffee that is kept hot by a hot plate.
Drip units come in a wide variety of sizes and styles with prices ranging from cheap to expensive. You can choose one that fills only a single cup of coffee or one that provides enough brew for a party of people.
Pros of Drip Coffee
- It's easy, simple, and fast.
- You can control the strength of the brew by how much water and grounds you use.
Cons of Drip Coffee
- If you crave a richer coffee experience at home this method falls short.
- If the carafe remains on the hot plate too long, the coffee can develop a burnt taste.
2. French Press (Cafetière)
Usually a low-cost item, the French press involves a glass or metal beaker that you fill with coarse coffee grounds. Next, add hot water and wait for the grounds to steep. Then, you press the accompanying plunger down to the bottom of the beaker and hold it until the grounds are separated from the coffee. Now, you’re ready to pour the brew into a cup.
The thing about using a French press is that you need to play around with it a bit to figure out your preferred brew time.
Many like it somewhere between 4 to 5 minutes, but you may discover that going a little under or over that works best for you. Once you figure that out you'll need to set a timer each time you use your french press. But, one sip of the resulting distinctive flavor is well worth it.
Because you don’t use a filter with the French press, you get the full, natural robust flavor from the ground beans.
Pros of French Press Coffee
- You can control the brew time (and the taste).
- It’s easy and affordable.
- It requires little counter space and can be stored in a cupboard.
Cons of French Press Coffee
- It requires your attention to get the preferred taste just “right.”
- It may leave coffee ground sediment at the bottom of your cup.
3. Cold Brew Coffee
The idea of brewing coffee in cold water may seem unappealing, but the end result of this method is a strong, intense flavor with no bitterness. Because the coffee grounds aren’t heated, the acid level is very low, and bitter flavor notes are not a concern. Best of all, you get a super smooth aftertaste.
The cold brew process produces a concentrated coffee which is usually diluted with water when served, this means there is often less caffeine in a cup of cold brew than a regular cup of coffee.
Another bonus is that as long as you store your coffee properly (sealed to keep out other flavors) it will stay tasty for up to two weeks in the fridge. So all you need to do afterward is heat it up or blend it with ice and your choice of flavors.
Pros of Cold Brew Coffee
- You get a unique, smooth taste without any bitterness.
- You can make enough to stay tasty for up to two weeks.
- It's easy on those who suffer from heartburn or acid reflux.
Cons of Cold Brew Coffee
- It requires patience to let the coffee brew several hours.
- If you always drink your coffee hot you may not like having to heat up your cold brew.
4. Pour Over Coffee
Pour over is a classic tried and true method for making coffee. It basically involves adding ground coffee to a filter (usually a paper filter) that is placed in a cone-shaped chamber. Then slowly pouring hot water over the grounds, the brewed coffee runds through the filter and is collected in a lower chamber/mug.
You’ll find a wide variety of pour over devices that range from plastic to glass, ceramic to stainless steel.
Some affordable models look like simple hourglass flasks while more expensive ones include fancy accessories, but the Chemex, Hario V60, and Kalita Wave are some of the most popular models.
To get your coffee as you want it, the pour-over method requires you to be involved in the whole process. But, once try it you may never want to change methods again.
Pros of Pour Over Coffee
- It produces a smooth, flavorful cup of coffee.
- You get to see and smell the coffee bloom (if you're using freshly ground beans)
Cons of Pour Over Coffee
- It's not ideal for those who prefer to push a button while still half asleep in the morning.
- It requires some patience and practice.
Boiled Coffee: Brewing coffee by boiling it with water is among the oldest and most basic types of coffee making. All you need is coffee grounds and a way to boil water. That’s it. Here are a couple of traditional, boiling types of coffee that have stood the test of time: Cowboy and Turkish coffee.
5. Cowboy Coffee (Boiled)
If your coffee maker suddenly dies, or if you’re craving coffee while camping out in the wilderness, the old-fashioned cowboy method will at least keep you from going through coffee withdrawal.
All you need is a saucepan or tin coffee pot and a campfire (or stovetop). Put your desired amount of water in your saucepan and bring it to a boil. Stir in your coffee grounds (one scoop per each cup) and then remove from heat to allow the coffee to brew for a few minutes. After the grounds settle to the bottom of the pan, you can slowly pour the coffee into a mug and drink.
Want to make a little cowboy coffee? Check out our full Cowboy Coffee Guide.
The resulting brew depends a bit on your brewing time, 4 to 5 minutes should do it. If you don’t get it just right, your coffee could taste too bitter or too weak, but you can tweak it each time you make it until you get it just right.
Pros of Cowboy Coffee
- It’s easy and requires little equipment and skill.
- You can use it just about anywhere.
Cons of Cowboy Coffee
- It may not be the best coffee you’ve ever tasted.
- You may get coffee grounds in your cup unless you have something to strain your brew.
- There’s a chance you’ll burn yourself or the coffee.
6. Turkish Coffee (Boiled)
A traditional coffee drink in the Middle East, Turkish coffee is boiled on the stovetop in a special, wide-bottomed coffee pot called a “cezve.” Turkish coffee is known for its frothy foam that is formed by boiling water and powdery-fine coffee grounds.
This type of coffee is for those who love strong, black coffee.
A Turkish made copper pot like this one will help you make this specialty coffee at home.
The way it works is you slowly bring the coffee grounds and water to a boil, watching as it builds a dark foam on top. Just before boiling, you scoop off some of the foam into your coffee cup. After the coffee boils, you pour half of it onto the foam in your cup. Continue boiling the remaining coffee for about 15 to 20 seconds and then use it to fill up your cup.
If sugar is desired in Turkish coffee, it is stirred in with the grounds before boiling. The amount of sugar used is described in these Turkish terms:
- “Sade” (No sugar, or plain)
- “Az şekerli” ( A little sugar, or a half to one teaspoon)
- “Orta şekerli” (Medium sugar, or one to two teaspoons)
- “Çok şekerli” (A lot of sugar, or two to three teaspoons)
Pros of Turkish Coffee
- It's fast and easy.
- Minimal equipment is required.
Cons of Turkish Coffee
- It requires your undivided attention.
- If you don’t watch the pot closely, your coffee could boil over and burn.
7. Percolated Coffee
Percolated coffee is brewed in a stove-top or electric stand-alone unit.
Boiling (or nearly boiling) water is continuously cycled through the grounds until the desired strength is achieved, usually for around 7 or 8 minutes.
Because the brew is boiled multiple times, it tends to over-extract from the grounds and results in a bitter coffee. If bitter coffee is your thing, this is a great method.
Pros of Percolated Coffee
- It's fast and easy.
- It’s really aromatic and makes your home smell nice.
Cons of Percolated Coffee
- It produces a bitter taste.
- The percolator must be cleaned frequently.
Expand your coffee vocabulary: Read 241 Flavorful Words to Describe Coffee
8. Infused Coffee
If you’re a DIY coffee lover, you may appreciate infused coffee. French press coffee (talked about earlier on this list) is often referred to as an infusion method but in this section we're talking about using an infuser to make coffee.
This method is similar to steeping tea. You simply put coarse coffee grounds inside an infuser that is placed inside a carafe. Add hot water and let the brewing magic begin.
Paper filters aren’t involved to absorb the oils from the coffee grounds, so you get the full flavor effect. Another great thing about the infusion method is that it gives you control over the brew time. Whether you like it mellow or strong, you can tweak your brew time to provide you with the perfect cup of coffee every time.
With the infusion method, you can keep it simple with an affordable hands-on gadget.
Pros of Infused Coffee
- You have control over steeping time.
- You can watch the brewing process.
Cons of Infused Coffee
- Stray coffee grounds often escape into the coffee.
- Water must first be heated before adding it to the infuser (unless it’s an electric one).
9. Vacuum Coffee
First created in the early 1800s, a vacuum coffee maker involves a complex system of glass flasks and siphon tubes that look more like a chemistry lab.
This method uses a combination of full water immersion and siphon action to produce what fans swear is a pure, clean and delicious taste.
It requires an enormous amount of practice, effort and time, so it’s not something you can just throw together in the morning before work. You’ll need to gauge the water temperature and know just the right time to turn on the vacuum. But, if you enjoy the art of making coffee or impressing your friends, you may enjoy the vacuum coffee method.
Pros of Vacuum Coffee
- You have control of vacuum time and brewing process to achieve optimal taste.
- It looks impressive to your friends.
Cons of Vacuum Coffee
- Setup takes time, so it’s not a quick coffee-making method.
- The vacuum pot system may be difficult and tedious to clean.
- It requires practice and patience to get your preferred brew just right.
10. Moka Pot Coffee
An Italian invention from the 1930s, the moka pot is an electric or stove-top pot that brews coffee by passing water through finely ground coffee by pressurized steam.
Bialetti makes a great moka pot in 5 sizes (1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 cup capacity).
While the moka pot is sometimes called a stovetop espresso maker, it doesn’t exactly match true espresso results. But, the moka pot does offer you the bittersweet/strong concentration that gives you that energy kick of a true espresso. So, if you can’t afford an espresso machine, the moka pot is the next-best thing. To get the flavor even more like espresso, try double brewing your moka pot coffee.
Pros of Moka Pot Coffee
- Affordable and portable
- Quick to brew
- Nice flavor and texture
Cons of Moka Pot Coffee
- Requires experimenting with grind to reach desired taste
- Inferior to true espresso
11. Espresso Coffee
The espresso machine uses high pressure to force a small amount of hot water through a “puck” of finely ground coffee with quick speed. The result is a thick brew that's full of rich flavor and topped with a creamy foam (called crema).
Pros of Espresso Coffee
- It's quick to brew.
- It delivers a flavorful caffeine jolt that gets you through the day.
Cons of Espresso Coffee
- It's a small serving which if not consumed slowly may lead to another, and another…
- It requires a hefty machine that is tedious to clean and takes up counter space.
Which type of coffee are you going to try next? Did I miss your favorite type of coffee drink? Let me know what you're drinking and loving.
- About the Author
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Dena Haines is a co-founder and blogger on EnjoyJava! – and is working to make it the best coffee blog in the world. She also blogs about travel at Storyteller.Travel and photography at Click Like This. Dena is partner at Storyteller Media, a publishing company she started with her husband, Bryan.