There is nothing that tops a chilled beer on a hot summer afternoon or a cup of steaming coffee as the perfect morning pick-me-up. Although you may over-indulge in these brews, we’ll bet you’ve spent very little time contemplating how exactly your full-bodied brews attain heady aromas and complex tastes. Without wasting time, let us delve into the art and science of brewing so that you can create and stock up your favourite brews. We’ll journey through intriguing and innovative brewing techniques to craft brews that friends and family will soon regard as your specialty. Whatever your poison, our rundown on unique brewing methods will yield only the best brews.
Understanding Brewing Basics
What Is Brewing?
Brewing refers to the process of preparing alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages by employing various techniques, such as steeping, soaking, and fermenting, to extract flavours and aromas from the ingredients. Although the fundamental principles of brewing are set in stone, these techniques can often be tweaked to achieve desirable results.
Key Ingredients Of Brewing
The list of key ingredients for brewing will, of course, differ based on the type of beverage being brewed. Let us explore these in more detail.
We’re sure you’ve stood lost before a barista at your favourite coffee shop or a coffee aisle in your local mart, overwhelmed by the array of beans and gadgets. Believe it or not, the process of turning humble beans into liquid gold is easier than it looks. We’ve kept it simple and ditched the fancy brewers to create coffee with a flavour profile that is just as rich and nuanced. Fret not, brewing the perfect cup at home is perfectly achievable and an art you can master by investing in these simple ingredients:
1. 1 cup of hot water
2. 2 tablespoons of coarsely ground coffee (1 tbsp if you like your coffee mild)
Coffee Brewing Equipment:
All you will need to follow this brewing process is a good quality French Press. If you are using fresh coffee beans and intend on grinding them, you can invest in a coffee grinder.
There are multiple techniques for brewing coffee, each yielding different results. However, the best way to brew coffee at home is by using a classic French Press. Here’s how you do it:
1. In a kettle, bring a cup of water to the boil.
2. Pour a small amount of water into the French Press and swirl it around to preheat it.
3. Add 2 tbsp of coarsely ground coffee to the bottom of the French Press.
4. Pour the remaining water to ensure that all the coffee grounds are evenly saturated, and let it sit undisturbed for about 30 seconds.
5. Place the lid on top and let it sit for 4-5 more minutes.
6. Gently and steadily press down the plunger a few times, and serve the dense decoction that settles at the bottom. You can serve the coffee black or add creamer and some sweetener if that’s how you prefer it.
Remember, practice makes perfect and you’ll soon get the hang of it. Happy brewing!
Tea has been around for centuries, and its invention is at least two millennia older than coffee. The primary way to brew tea is by steeping tea leaves in hot water to release tannins, which are believed to lend tea its distinct flavour, colour, and astringency. For the sake of convenience of novices and expert brewers alike, we’ve kept the ingredient list very simple. Here’s all you will need:
1. Hot water
2. Loose tea leaves of choice
Tea Brewing Equipment:
Invest in a resilient glass teapot crafted from borosilicate. This will allow you to see the colours of your tea leaves unfurl so that you can understand whether your leaves require a second or third steeping. It is even better if your teapot has a filter.
Making loose-leaf tea isn’t necessarily arduous and by following these steps, you can make the best tea in the comfort of your home:
1. Add 2 teaspoons of loose tea leaves inside a small bag and place it at the bottom of a glass teapot.
2. Add hot water to the teapot and allow it to steep for 2-3 minutes.
3. Remove the bag and you are ready to enjoy!
Beer lovers, we know the process of preparing beer at home may seem a bit intimidating. But we promise you - the ingredients needed for brewing beer are not that hard to source. Craft beer is becoming increasingly popular, and if you want to skillfully perfect beer brewing, here’s what you will need.
Beer Brewing Equipment:
For brewing frothy beer at home, here’s the equipment you need - A brewing kettle/Stockpot for small batches, a plate chiller, a plastic carboy, an airlock, and an auto-siphon.
Dear beer lovers, we proudly present to you a foolproof procedure to make craft beer. Here’s what needs to be done:
1. Steep the barley in hot water to extract the sugars and hydrate the grain. This is best done by stuffing the barley into a grain bag and then placing it inside a brewing kettle full of water. (Maintain a temperature of 62°C and 70°C inside the kettle for about 45 minutes.)
2. After steeping is complete, get rid of the grain bag.
3. You need to further boil the water to concentrate the mix and kill any bacteria that are present.
4. Add your hops to the boiling water.
5. Cool down the water by using an ice bath or metal plate chiller.
6. Pour the mixture into a big plastic carboy, and add in your yeast.
7. To the mouth of your carboy, attach an airlock, which serves as an outlet for carbon dioxide to escape.
8. Place the setup in a cool and dry place.
9. Keep checking the carboy to see if the bubbling around the airlock has slowed down. That’s your sign that the fermentation process is complete.
10. Transfer your beer to bottles or kegs using an auto-siphon.
11. For the beer to reach peak carbonation, leave the bottles undisturbed in a cool place for at least a week.
In recent years, discussions around gut health and the positive effects of fermented foods and drinks on gut microbiome have drawn everyone’s attention to Kombucha, which is a type of zesty and flavourful fermented tea that works wonders for your body. By combining the following ingredients, you can brew kombucha at home:
1. SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast)
3. Tea of choice (preferably teabags)
4. Starter liquid (residue from a previous batch)
Kombucha Brewing Equipment:
To brew kombucha at home, you’ll need a regular glass vessel for fermentation, pressure-resistant glass bottles for bottling, and a cheesecloth.
Making Kombucha at home is easier than it looks, and by following these steps, we are sure you won’t mess it up:
1. Immerse the SCOBY in the starter liquid.
2. Boil water in a saucepan, add your teabags and sugar. Wait for 6-10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the tea has released its flavours.
3. Remove teabags from the liquid.
4. Add the rest of the water to the liquid and ensure that the temperature does not rise above 35°C.
5. Pour the liquid into a glass vessel, followed by the SCOBY.
6. Cover the jar with a cheesecloth and secure it using an elastic band.
7. Let the kombucha rest for up to 2 weeks before bottling. If you prefer fizz, leave the bottles untouched for a few more days for higher carbonation.
Common Brewing Techniques & Methods: Expert Tips
Tips for Brewing Coffee:
1. If you plan on using fresh beans, invest in a good quality coffee grinder that will lower the chances of fine coffee passing through the filter, yielding only coarse coffee grounds.
2. The consistency of the grounded coffee should resemble that of sea salt.
3. The ratio of coffee to water should be 15:1. For 600 ml of water, use 40 g of coffee.
4. It is important to preheat the French press by swirling around some hot water to maintain a stable temperature throughout the brewing process.
5. The water should be hot and just below boiling point. When a food thermometer is immersed, it should hit the 90°C mark.
6. Pour a small amount of water over the coffee grounds to jump-start the process. This process is known as “blooming.”
7. Make sure the coffee grounds do not stick to the sides of the filter.
8. Immediately pour the coffee out of the press pot so that it does not overextract and turn bitter.
Tips for Perfecting Tea:
1. It is advisable to choose a glass teapot so that you can see what happens as the tea steeps.
2. Depending on the type of tea or tea blend you are using, you need to adjust the temperature of the water accordingly.
3. Freshly blown water works best for black tea, whereas white, green, and yellow teas require water around the 80°C mark as they are more delicate, and boiling water often burns these leaves.
4. Do not squash the tea leaves if you have placed them inside a bag. It’s a common misconception that squashing the tea bag will help release the flavours faster.
5. Good quality leaf blends can be steeped several times for more depth of flavour and aroma.
6. For black tea and herbal infusions, 2-3 steeps are recommended. As for green tea or oolong, you can steep them up to 4 times.
Tips for Craft Beer:
1. The optimal temperature for steeping the malt is somewhere between 62°C and 70°C. You can use a food thermometer to take the right temperature.
2. Mashing at a lower temperature helps make the wort more fermentable, leading to a higher alcohol percentage.
3. The longer you boil the hops, the more bitter the brew. For an aromatic brew, minimize your boiling time.
4. For ale, cool down the water to 20°C and for lagers, 12°C is the optimal temperature.
5. ALWAYS use fermentation-grade bottles that can withstand pressure.
6. Flip-top bottles with stoppers will save you the hassle of investing in bottle caps and a capper.
7. Add some sugar to the bottles to activate the remaining yeast, induce carbonation, and make your beer more bubbly.
Expert Tips for Kombucha:
1. For a bull-bodied kombucha with a fruity taste, go for black tea.
2. The starter liquid is essentially leftover kombucha from an old batch. You can ask a friend who is a fellow brewer for the starter liquid.
3. It is important to leave a gap of at least 5 cm at the top of the container to allow SCOBY growth.
The art of brewing is all about precision, and with our foolproof techniques, you can get started or add a few tips up your sleeve if you’re seasoned. We’ve unveiled the nitty gritty details of brewing your beloved beverages. You can now over-indulge all you want with these homemade brews.
What are the steps involved in brewing a beer?
The main steps involved in brewing beer are - malting, milling, mashing, lautering, boiling, fermenting, conditioning, filtering, and packaging.
How to brew as a beginner?
If you are just getting started, it is important to work in a sterile environment and work on smaller batches to reduce wastage. Gather information on the internet and slowly ease into your brewing journey.
What are the different ways of brewing coffee?
There are multiple ways of brewing coffee. There’s the classic French Press which we’ve just discussed, Chemex coffee-making which involves using a pour-over cone for slow and controlled extraction, or the Aeropress method in which a combination of immersion and pressure creates a concentrated brew.
Now that you've got the brewing part sorted, it is important to serve these delicious brews in a presentable manner. Check out Nestasia's superb collection of glassware. From slender beer glasses to embossed champagne glasses and fluted tumblers, find glasses to complement your favourite drinks. You can also check out our ceramic trivets and coasters for a seamless beverage experience that won't tamper your surfaces.