Daily Grind // Aeropress Coffee

aeropress_1The mokapot originally sparked my intrigue for coffee-making, and led to my eternal fascination for all of the various brewing methods there are available to experiment with. Really though, I’m very much an espresso type-of-gal… So when I learned that the Aeropress by Aerobi was as close to espresso as you can get (short of the 9 bars of pressure essential for creating “true” espresso), it was only a mater of time before I purchased one to try for myself. It brews a coffee-concentrate, so the taste is a lot “stronger” than pour-over or other immersion/press brewers (IE: French Press, Chemex, coffee-drippers etc etc) and is very much similar to espresso.

Almost anyone one who has used an Aeropress will tell you, it makes a very “CLEAN” cup of coffee, and they’re right. You can use a very fine grind, but still not find any of the “sludge” that you often get with a French Press. And although it doesn’t make authentic espresso, the robust flavor is still perfect for for lattes, cappuccinos and americanos. Oh, if you’re just jumping in on this regular blog feature (the “Daily Grind”) and are wondering what the real difference between a concentrated coffee and “true” espresso even is, espresso produces a lot more of the oils from the coffee beans since it is extracted at such an extreme pressurized rate, and thus forms a thick crema, (a foam cap) that regular ol’ coffee is not capable of producing.

…At first, the Aeropress comes off as a little… uninviting. Not very attractive and perhaps even a bit intimidating, but the design quickly grows on you – I love the design now. It’s also the simplest, quickest and most entertaining method of  making coffee, imho. There’s really no “wrong” way to make coffee with it, which allows a lot of room for experimentation with ratios and brew-time. There are tons of methods and research for the Aeropress online, and there are even national Aeropress competitions! Pretty fun.

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I like to use what’s called the “inverted” method for brewing with the aeropress, which means placing the entire thing upside down, flip it over and slappin’ it on the mug. The standard method would be to put the device upright on the mug with the capped-end downward from the start… the problem with the method is, most of the coffee has dripped through the filter before it’s even had the chance to steep. (view a video demonstrating the Inverted Method… videos are always nice).

\\ STEP BY STEP PROCESS //

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SETUP: I like to start by pre-warming the aeropress before I add coffee grounds. Simply run some hot water over the entire Aeropress under the faucet or allow it to sit in a bowl/pot of very hot water for a few moments. Do not dry it, because the moisture will allow the grinds to plunge smoothly.

The standard ratio is about 23g coffee/4oz. water which is like a double shot of “espresso” and perfect for a 6-8oz latte. If you do not have a scale, buy one now that is about two scoops with the included scoop that the Aeropress kit comes with. If you want something along the lines of a drip coffee, simply add more water to the time of brewing, or afterwards for an americano.

GRIND: It’s typically recommended to use a slightly coarse grind, standard for “drip” – I like to grind a little finer than that. If you’re buying pre-ground coffee, don’t worry about this part… but if you want to enjoy really GOOD coffee, invest in a nice grinder. Believe me, you’ll thank yourself for it (read more about grinders here). Experiment with different grinds for different flavors and strength.

Assemble the Aeropress, sticking the plunger in about 1cm (or more), and rest it on its plunger side. Add the coffee, and gently shake to even the surface.

Add water just off the boil, about 200F/82C-95C. Water that is too cool will produce a sour brew.

AGITATE: Everyone stirs a little differently. Some don’t even stir at all, some count to 10 perfect stirs with each use, gently, vigorously, counter clockwise, etc etc… I use the paddle that comes with the Aeropress, stir a few times and call it good.

SATURATE AND WAIT: The Aeropress manual recommends about 50-75 seconds of brew time. This works well for me, but obviously, experimentation is key to discover your preference. I usually warm up my milk during this time for a latte.

After some steep time, add the filter and cap. The Aeropress comes with a generous amount of paper filters, but you can also purchase a reusable stainless steel filter from most sites that sell Aeropress accessories. There is a taste difference between the two filters. I tend to use a slighter coarser grind for the steel filter (or you can even use both together, if you are using a very fine grind like espresso, and you still wont find any sludge at the bottom of your mug!). If you use the paper filters, pre-wet them to eliminate any papery flavor.

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FINALE: Flip the whole Aeropress over swiftly, onto your mug and plunge straght away with both hands placed firmly on the top (be careful, there is a risk that the plunger can pop-up and spew hot water everywhere! Listen for the hiss, and you’re done (some like to stop just before then, saying the rest is bitter). Unscrew the cap, plunge the “puck” into the garbage… Clean and ready to go for round #2! Did I mention the insanely low maintenance of the Aeropress???

Well… Now you can enjoy! Add water, milk or even put over ice for a delicious cold coffee! Yum, yum, yum…

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