I will teach you how to make good coffee easily and affordably in this article. Some time ago, I went to the supermarket to see the most economical options to prepare coffee at home, and I found a Melitta portafilter that I decided to try.
After many tests, I was surprised with a very rich cup of coffee with a pronounced body, fruity notes, and a sweet finish. This is a good option for those who want to get started in filtered coffee without spending much money on machinery.
It does not require a complex technique, so it is not necessary to have previous knowledge. You can obtain a very good result with the tips I will give you here. But you must be clear that the most important element that will define everything is the quality of the coffee.
Characteristics of the portafilter used
These cheap plastic portafilters are very similar to the old Melitta brand, which has a very interesting history.
In the old days, coffee was brewed in a pot of boiling water; when you drank it, all the beans were left in the cup. In 1908, a visionary woman named Melitta Bentz had the idea of using her son’s blotting paper to filter coffee, marking a before and after in the creation of filtered coffee.
This portafilter is cone-shaped, circular at the top, and flat at the bottom. It contains two small holes that will limit the exit of the coffee, having more time of contact with the water. This restriction in the drainage will force us to grind coarser to prevent the coffee from being over-extracted, making most of the extraction work to be done by itself.
This will be the big difference with other filtering methods like the V60 or Chemex, where the technique will matter more to get an even extraction. With the V60 or Chemex, you can grind finer to get more complex notes and flavors that will reward your efforts.
This method is ideal for a beginner or those who choose the convenience of not having to dedicate so much work and still getting a good result.
How to prepare an excellent coffee without spending so much?
In my case, I bought the plastic portafilter compatible with Melitta filters and other brands. I used some brown filters that I found, although I recommend buying the white ones because they have less papery taste.
Step by step to prepare an economical and good quality coffee
- We will start by grinding the coffee in medium coarse size, to give you an idea, the ground beans should be barely bigger than sand. You can get ground coffee with these characteristics in an online store if you do not have a grinder.
- We take one of the paper filters and we are going to fold it, one edge to one side and one edge to the other. We place it in the portafilter, and we are going to rinse it with hot, filtered water; this will also heat the portafilter and the cup, or pitcher, that we are going to use.
- We put 20 grams of coffee, approximately 4 heaping tablespoons, and 12 ounces of filtered water at 95 degrees. If you do not have an electric kettle, you can bring the water to a boil and let it stand for a minute.
- Place the coffee in the filter, shake a little to even out the coffee bed, and add about 1.7 ounces of water, or enough to cover all the beans without overdoing it.
- We will take the portafilter, and we will give it a few turns to mix the water and the coffee well; the idea is that the water reaches all the beans equally in the least amount of time possible. The filter is so fine can tear, so I do not recommend using a spoon.
- We are going to let it rest for about 45 seconds. In this stage, called Bloom, the coffee releases carbon dioxide and aromas, favoring the extraction.
- When the time reaches 45 seconds, we will start with the main pouring. We will do it slowly in the form of a spiral, trying to pass evenly over the entire surface. If you have a long-mouth kettle, it will help you control the water’s direction and volume.
- Once the 12 ounces of water are completed, we take a spoon, giving it a little turn to avoid the coffee grains remaining stuck on the walls of the filter.
- When the volume has gone down a little bit, we will take the portafilter again and shake it from the handle towards the sides; this will help obtain an even and uniform extraction. And when it drains a little more, we will repeat this step.
- Now I recommend that you pay attention to the outflow, which should be constant. If you have a transparent container, you can see it; if not, focus on the sound. If you see or hear it start to drip in the final stage, it is better to remove it to avoid over-extraction. This depends on the grind; if there are fine grains, they will block the exit. If it does not drip, let it drain completely.
The coffee bed should be flat, and there should not be too much coffee on the walls of the filter; this will indicate that it has been extracted correctly.
This whole process should take about three minutes. After this time, you can enjoy a very good cup of coffee.