Which form of home-made coffee is the best?

Which form of home-made coffee is the best?

Coffee is the peak of caffeinated beverages. Tea is too weak and British; energy drinks are for incels and children. Coffee is a gateway drug to becoming a functional member of society. Most students wouldn’t be able to take their exams or morning shits without it. But which method of brewing brain juice from home is the best?

Three simple metrics were used to determine which form of coffee is the best, and most effective. First, the taste, based on how close it gets to espresso. Second, the caffeine content, generally measured by dissociative feeling and urge to shit. Third, the value, measured by how much coffee is required per brew. These were then averaged into an overall score for each form of coffee.



We’ll start out with espresso because it is definitely the peak of coffee brewing. No other method of brewing can rival the taste of fresh coffee straight out of an espresso machine. This is the benchmark for other coffee, what they should aspire to. The only problem is espresso is fucking expensive.

Taste: 10/10, perfection

Caffeine: 8/10, makes your hands shake

Value: 2/10, breaks the bank

Overall: 6.7/10, not suitable for a student loan



There is no instant coffee that doesn’t taste like some form of dirt. Sure, one instant coffee might taste like wholesome garden dirt in comparison to another that tastes like the dirt at the bottom of a landfill, but the general flavour profile (dirt) is still there. Instant coffee does a mediocre job at filling you with adrenaline, with each sip usually sending a bitter taste down the back of your throat. You don’t drink instant to enjoy it, you drink it to feel something, anything. Adding to the trauma, if you live in Dunedin, you are subject to the horrors of the manufacturing process when Gregg’s spews out enough smoke to choke half of the city.

Taste: 1/10, manure

Caffeine: 7/10, respectable but still gross

Value: 8/10, cheap and cheerful

Overall: 5.3/10, enjoyable if you lack taste buds



Because the beans in the plunger are exposed to hot water for the longest time, plunger brewing has to be the most efficient way to extract the caffeine from whatever grind you have. In contrast to the weak trash most people make in a plunger, Critic has discovered if you put enough beans (a 1:5 bean:water ratio) into the jug you can reach almost espresso levels of strength and taste, without the need for a monster of a machine. Also better than other methods because the temperature of the water can be better controlled to prevent the beans from burning.

Taste: 7/10, can be done very well with the right ratio

Caffeine: 10/10, puts hair on your chest

Value: 7/10, amount of coffee required varies but generally always effective

Overall: 8/10, a solid contender



The main limiting factor for percolators is the small amount of coffee you get from each brew. Having said this, a well done percolator brew can achieve near-espresso levels of taste and richness. It is hard to control the temperature in a percolator, so the coffee does come out burnt tasting more often than not.

Taste: 9/10, getting near espresso

Caffeine: 8/10, not too shabby

Value: 4/10, coffee intensive

Overall: 7/10, requires a careful balancing act of brewing


Coffee tea-bags

Coffee in tea bags is the weakest trash you can buy. It takes about five of them to make a drink that tastes even slightly like coffee, not to mention the fact that it costs $5 for a box of ten. It seems like these were devised as some sort of scheme in a coffee rehab clinic to wean people off coffee. Just why?

Taste: 1/10, may as well just drink tea

Caffeine: 1/10, makes you actually want to go to sleep

Value: 1/10, expensive for no reason

Overall: 3/10, pathetic and lame



The capsules always seem to make the most stale-tasting coffee possible. They always leave some kind of plastic-y aftertaste. It makes you wonder what’s really hiding in those pods, plus it takes two capsules to get any sort of caffeine kick. You have to buy a machine and even the shit ones are expensive. Nespresso is a pure scam if you ask me, it’s capitalism at its finest.

Taste: 5/10, average and stale

Caffeine: 4/10, you need to use double to get some sense of happiness

Value: 2/10, a pure scam, wrecks the planet

Overall: 4/10, below average at best



Drip coffee is a bit of a dark horse really. The favourite beverage of Americans in movies, we don’t get a lot of it in Aotearoa. For personal coffee consumption it can seem like too much, but if you can get your whole flat to contribute to a drip coffee pot, it will provide warm, average coffee for an entire day, with minimal effort. While it may not be the greatest taste in the whole wide world, it for sure does the job better than some of the other options. Set these machines on a timer so the coffee is ready when you wake up.

Taste: 5/10, watered-down but fine

Caffeine: 7/10, but you have to drink a couple cups

Value: 7/10, pretty cost effective

Overall: 6.3/10, another solid option



Aeropresses are obscure devices used by holier-than-thou types that think just because their Dad got conned into buying a device that makes sub-par coffee, they are in on some cutting edge coffee secret. The reality is that Aeropresses are just glorified plungers with only a quarter of the capacity of normal plungers.

Taste: 7/10 plunger quality

Caffeine: 8/10 too small

Value: 4/10 the machine is a scam

Overall: 6.3/10 medium tier


From the in depth analysis above, it is clear we have a solid winner. Plunger coffee takes out the win for caffeine to cup ratio, as well as being tolerable in taste. So, if you are looking for the most cost and time efficient method, plunger is the way to go. Stay caffeinated, my friends. 

This article first appeared in Issue 23, 2021.
Posted 2:08pm Monday 20th September 2021 by Sean Gourley.