Whether you prefer the delicate flavours of Italian espresso or the boldness of Turkish coffee, you can't escape the wonderful fact that coffee brewing of all types and tastes is flourishing around the world. From traditional methods dating back thousands of years, to the latest experiments in the most fashionable metropolises, intriguing and delicious coffee brews continue to capture our collective caffeine-induced imaginations. It is said that the health benefits of coffee are numerous, so daily indulgence in this delectable drink need not concern you. Why not liven up your routine with these pioneering coffee brewing techniques from around the globe?
Syphon brewing: for the coffee-loving chemist
Developed by the delightfully efficient artisans of the 19th century, syphon coffee makers allow for a level of control unseen in most other brewing methods. Using muslin cloth filters and a clear glass container for a more precise water temperature, syphon-made coffee is unparalleled in its purity.
With such a controlled method of brewing, this unusual coffee maker looks and acts almost like alchemy experiments of old - producing coffee with a clean, crisp taste: highly recommended for the finest grinds of the finest of beans. A cup made with a syphon - developed by Japanese coffee experts Hario - is a unique, luxurious experience perfect for that first taste of the day.
The revolutionary Aeropress coffee maker
Source: CC Flickr
Delightfully stylish with a “dare to be different” attitude, the Aeropress produces a striking finish, yielding a rich, buttery flavour without the bitterness of many espresso brews. Much of its popularity lies in its unusually fast brewing time; coffee created with an Aeropress is ready in under a minute, and tastes worlds apart from even the richest instant competitor.
With a gentle air pressure enriching the coffee and removing impurities, this coffee maker produces an incredibly smooth cup, and its iconic design is sure to enhance many a modern kitchen counter.
Yuanyang, a traditional beverage from Hong Kong
While the idea of mixing coffee with tea may not be for the faint-hearted, the residents of glamorous Hong Kong delight in Yuanyang, an unusual drink which brings the best of both brews together in a stunning flavour combination. A traditional combination of 3 parts black coffee to 7 parts high grade black tea (with added milk), Yuanyang enhances the natural rich taste of coffee with the light, floral taste that only the most delicious of black teas can provide.
The dark delights of charcoal coffee
Known as Kopi Joss in its native Indonesia, charcoal coffee brings out the deepest, most peaty flavours of coffee by introducing a red-hot piece of charcoal to the brewing process. Best enjoyed in the classic fashion - on a warm, enveloping Indonesian evening - Kopi Joss is designed to be consumed without sugar or milk, bringing out the richness of black coffee without any accompaniments. Rumor even has it that the red-hot charcoal imbues the drink with calming properties.
The clarity of Scandinavian egg coffee
For a coffee pot free from sediment or cloudiness, Scandinavians recommend adding egg white to the coffee grounds before brewing. With the raw egg white clarifying the coffee, a perfect mix is achieved between the grounds and the water used to brew them, resulting in a remarkably smooth cup. Somewhat bold, the flavours nevertheless hold only the silky smoothness of fine coffee, and none of the egg white remains.
A discussion of the most unusual coffee brews would not be complete without mentioning the heritage of Turkish coffee. While its name may be popular worldwide, few places outside the region offer the true Turkish experience; with elegant coffee pot, copper spoon and the finest grind of coffee imaginable. Though any beans may be used (the traditional choice being Arabica), to achieve the best flavor a medium roast is preferred.
Served in richly decorated cups, true Turkish coffee should always be served with a glass of water to prepare the palate for the rich, complex flavorings of this most prestigious of brews.
Delicately dripped pour-over coffee
Inhabiting a space between the elaborate preparation of a coffee ceremony and the ease of a convenient coffee maker, coffee drippers allow the full taste of the drink to be drawn out with minimal time required. Ideally made from copper with fine filters - a stylish statement design revolutionized by Hario - this ingenious brewing method utilizes thermal conductivity and air flow to enhance the sensations experienced with true slow-brewed coffee.
Refined cold-brew coffee
Synthetic syrups aside, many coffee lovers shy away from cold brew coffee, preferring their beverage to retain the smoothness of a hot drink. However, true iced coffee needs no additional sugary substances to be utterly refreshing on a warm summer’s day. When made with a coarsely ground, dark roast steeped overnight in filtered water, this delicious drink holds a sweetness all of its own. Chilled but not diluted, a properly-made cold brew coffee is a statement libation for the hottest of afternoons.
Ideal for the wild adventurer: Airspresso brewed coffee
A pioneering technique for creating captivating coffee while travelling, the Airspresso works by using third wave brewing and controlled air pressure, while producing a more elegant and refined coffee than a traditional French press technique. It may not be the most stylish of coffee makers, but this unusual, ingenious machine is a life saver for the jet-setting, caffeine-adoring traveller.
Artisan coffee deserves artisan… cheese
In its drinkable state, one may forget that coffee comes from a fruit. And what better way to pair a rich fruit, than an equally rich cheese? While the idea may seem unusual, coffee connoisseurs in Brazil, Switzerland and beyond say that delicately dipping some cheese in your brew for a mid-evening energy boost can’t be beaten. Of course, you must carefully select your cheese: start with hard cheeses with fruity, tropical flavours paired with a bright, lightly roasted coffee for a strikingly different flavor combination.
Stunningly simple: the stovetop selection
Source: CC Flickr
In Florence, which is perhaps the definition of a cultured coffee capital, the residents will tell you that a stove-top espresso cannot be beaten in terms of mellowness of brew. This guide to using a stove-top coffee pot details the process in depth, allowing you to enjoy this most traditional of Italian coffees. Remember to choose an espresso grind if you’re not grinding your own coffee beans for the most pleasant results.
Canadiano crafted coffee
To some, making the perfect coffee is a work of art. To the Canadians, coffee is an intensely personal experience, and the pioneering Canadiano wooden coffee maker learns over time the oils and scents of your favourite beans, enhancing your morning beverage. A simple yet statement wooden piece, this miniature coffee maker comes in different grains of wood designed to complement the diverse strengths of roasts available, from Walnut wood for dark, South Asian roasts, to the White Ash for floral, citrusy blends.
The spices of South Indian filter Kaapi
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A delight for those of us who adore the tangy taste of chai, South Indian filter Kaapi is the lifeblood of many of the region’s inhabitants. Boldly aromatic, this coffee decoction requires patience, practice and a traditional percolator. Using the finest of grinds - with a tantalizing hint of chicory - the coffee is left for 6-8 hours to slowly infuse with rich, silky flavours. Best served poured into a steel mug with lightly frothed milk, experience a glimpse into Madras culture by adding a hint of cardamom to your warm milk when preparing.
The iconic Kopi Luwak coffee
Kopi Luwak coffee, also called civet coffee, is the most expensive coffee in the world. Due to its unusual production process - in which a most unusual fermentation occurs in the belly of the civet cat, a Southeast Asian native animal - this coffee is considered the most luxurious of brews, despite its less than desirable creation. The rarest of Indonesian brews, the beans produced in Kopi Luwak coffee should always be enjoyed without added sugar or milk to enjoy the flavours produced by the world’s only living coffee makers.
Devilishly different Dutch coffee
Source: Dutch Lab
A true statement for any lover of coffee, the unusual coffee machines produced by Dutch Lab explore the relationship between the perceived coldness of metal with the coldness of traditional Dutch coffee (a variant on other iced coffee styles). Utilizing the cool metal casing and the power of gravity, Dutch coffee takes some time to prepare, but results in a fragrant, flavorful brew that is only enhanced by the slight metallic taste imparted by the machine. Cold drip coffee is surprisingly strong, and so Dutch coffees can be complemented with water or milk without losing any potency of taste, smell or quality.
Your coffee brewing story
Do you have a favorite way to enjoy your daily beverage? Have your travels yielded a most unusual way of experiencing the world's most popular pick-me-up?