Coffee: all the extraction methods and why to choose them

Coffee: all the extraction methods and why to choose them

Coffee is not all the same, a lot changes from one extraction method to another: we tell you all about them so you can choose the coffee that’s right for you.

One of the most fascinating aspects of coffee today is the diversity: of origins, processing processes, roasting profiles and extraction methods. The barista and customer have a great impact on this last factor. The first will use all his art to serve an excellent coffee and enhance the characteristics of the variety or cultivar , while the second will decide what he wants to drink. It is not easy. Espresso or Chemex? V60 or French Press? Here we list the best known extraction methods by grouping them by operation: pour over or dripping, pressure and infusion .

Pour over or dripping

Pour over is an umbrella term used to describe different extraction methods. They have in common the percolation : the water passes through the coffee and slips into the cup, taking the flavor with it . Together with the infusion it is one of the most primitive brewing systems . The novelty in pour over came with Melitta Bentz , in 1908, who introduced paper filters instead of fabric and gave the impetus to the diffusion of manual filter coffee , to the detriment of preset coffee machines. The coffee extracted in this way will be rich in aromas, medium-bodied, very pleasant.

V60 : it is the filter coffee par excellence, much loved by the new micro-corrections and by enthusiasts. The reason is the result in the cup: the V60 manages to restore the characteristics of the coffees used, without altering them with extreme water temperatures or excessive pressure. The coffee will be delicate, with a clear profile and acidity present. It is called V60 because of the extractor cone, a V perforated underneath – which can be made of copper, ceramic, glass or plastic – at an angle of 60 degrees, patented by the Japanese company Hario.

Chemex : Much like the V60 but more aesthetically appealing, the Chemex is an hourglass-shaped glass jug with a sort of brown wooden collar around the central choke. It is the work of the German Peter Schlumbohm in 1941 and is an icon of modern design exhibited at the MoMA in New York. It is made of borosilicate glass and works like the V60 with the appropriate paper filters.


The extraction methods that use pressure have one thing in common: intensity. The coffees extracted with mocha, Aeropress, espresso machine and lever machine have a powerful, strong taste (but not for this they contain more caffeine).

Moka : invented by Bialetti in 1933, together with the cup of espresso it is the symbol of Italian coffee. Once it was the rule in Italian homes, today unfortunately the mocha has been displaced by coffee in capsules. But do you remember the perfume that spread around the house? The third wave is rediscovering tradition, also creating events for the enhancement of this method, such as the Professional Moka Challenge.

Aeropress : a decidedly modern system, patented by a Frisbee manufacturer in 2005, the Aeropress, if known how to use, gives full-bodied and aromatic coffees. If you don’t know how to use it, however, and you throw yourself into the inverted method , it gives you only a floor sprinkled with coffee. It is an instrument composed of two cylindrical containers that slide one inside the other, like a syringe. Coffee and water, after being in contact for 30-50 seconds, pass through a paper or aluminum filter with the pressure exerted by the hand. So it is a system that uses both pressure and infusion.

Espresso machine and lever machine : the result is the classic made in Italy coffee, strong, rich, complex, exaggerated in everything (90% of the time even in the bitterness). Both use pressure with a difference: in the lever type the water pressure is increased by means of a manually operated mechanical piston (one lever to be pulled down) while in the other it is an electric pump.


However, some of the methods described above take advantage of the infusion, which is really the most intuitive and simple extraction method to make with ground coffee. For example, in the Aeropress the coffee remains in infusion in the water before the plunge , the V60 and the Chemex have a stage in which the water and the ground remain in contact. However, French press and Ibrik have taken this extraction system to the nth degree.

French press : the French cafetière , French press in fact, was invented by the French in the nineteenth century but patented as we know it in 1929 by two Italians, Attilio Calimani and Giulio Moneta. It consists of a filter, a plunger and a collector jug. The ground (coarse) and water are poured into the jug and remain immersed for a long time. After about 4 minutes, the plunger is pushed, which filters through a retina. The result will be a strong and bitter coffee.

Ibrik : also called cezve is the typically Turkish coffee widespread in many countries of the Middle East. Unlike espresso, which is made and drunk very quickly, ibrik takes a long time. Pour cold water and very fine ground coffee (finer than espresso) into a copper or brass saucepan. Then it is put on a direct flame, more rarely in the sandbox, until it boils. When it is ready, it is poured into the cup and waits again: the impalpable coffee powder must settle on the bottom, to avoid ending up on our lips.

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