Hello again! I want to take a quick moment, and thank you all for reading, and sending in your questions! It feels great to be able to connect with folks from all over the country, and I hope my last post and comments helped you step up your French press game. Ready? This one is going to be fun!
Do you remember those cool red frisbees that were just a thin ring and were able to fly pretty far? Well that same manufacturer, Aerobie, also makes a really cool coffee brewing device called the AeroPress. There is a lot of buzz around this brewing device, and even international competitions. The brew method combines elements of French press and pour-over drip brewing. The things that I like the most about the AeroPress are its quick brew time, easy clean up, and portability. (I took this handy piece of technology to Bonnaroo last year. And if you’ve ever attended the massive festival in its entirety, then you would know that the caffeine jolt from some pure coffee enjoyment is a welcomed friend to help get you to the finish line of this music marathon.)
I decided to brew again with La Colombe’s Mexico – Atoyac De Alvarez single-origin coffee. I wanted to find out if I would be able to pull the same flavors as I did with the Frieling French press. The directions that come with the AeroPress will make for a good cup, but the result is more like a hot coffee concentrate (meaning for more of a “drip” coffee experience, you have to add fresh hot water). I prefer to brew using the “Inverted AeroPress Method.” The “Inverted” method allows for a full immersion (French press-like) of the coffee in the water.
To simplify the brew process, let me take you through it step by step. With a little prep work, the AeroPress can be easy to use, but timing is crucial.
First, I pre-soak the paper filter before adding any coffee or water.
2. I use two heaping tablespoons of coffee and approximately 1 cup of water (the water will nearly fill the chamber).
*If you’re using a scale, I would suggest 15 g of coffee to 240 g of water.
3. Just as you would in a French press, pour a very small amount of water – just enough to soak the grounds – into the chamber to create a “bloom”.
*If you’re using a scale, weigh out 40 g.
4. Allow the coffee to “bloom” for 30 seconds, then stir lightly 2-3 times.
5. Carefully add the rest of the water, and steep for 60 seconds. I usually cap the AeroPress during extraction to retain heat.
*At this point, your total brew time should be 90 seconds (30 seconds for bloom/prefusion + 60 seconds for steeping/extraction).
6. Make sure that the cap is secured tightly on the end, and flip the AeroPress over directly onto a mug of your choice.
7. Press the plunger down immediately and steadily. The plunger has a rubber seal on the bottom, which creates air pressure to force the brewed coffee through the filter and right into the mug. As the plunger gets closer to the bottom, you will hear a light hissing sound, and feel a sudden ease in pressure. This is your cue to stop pushing down. I like to take the plunger almost all the way to the bottom in about 20 seconds.
*At this point, your total preparation time should be 1 minute and 50 seconds.
I managed to hit the same notes of blueberry, honey and tobacco, but it was much more crisp from the AeroPress (thanks to its micro-filter). I really love the clean feel of AeroPress brewed coffees. Plus, the clean up is EASY. Plunge the rest of the water into the sink, pop off the filter cap, either push the coffee into your compost or wastebasket, and you are done.
Protips: Aerobie seems to send a handy “tote” bag with their AeroPress. Make sure when you are storing your AeroPress in between brews that the plunger is all the way through the chamber, or kept totally separate. If the rubber seal is kept within the chamber, it will contract and lose its ability to keep a tight seal while brewing. Hate using paper filters? That’s cool. There is a great option from Able Brewing. They have two filtering options available that I think are pretty rad. I haven’t tried it myself, but plan on it soon. (See the never-ending rabbit hole we’re heading into here?) As far as grind setting goes, I like to set my grind a touch finer than an Automatic Drip setting. For example, if an Auto-Drip setting is at #7, I grind for AeroPress at #5.5 or #6. Ask your barista which setting works best for the grinder that they use at the café. If grinding at home, I use the same grind setting as I would for a pour-over filter. The AeroPress can be tricky at first, but once you figure it out, it’s quick and easy. It all comes down to your taste, and the type of coffee that you use.
I know that this weeks post seems like a lot of info, but feel free to keep the questions and comments coming. As I mentioned previously, we’ll learn more by working together. With such a great variety of brewing styles, it’s fun to get excited, and try new things. Our coffee culture is constantly evolving, and I’m doing my best to keep up. Next time, I’ll be sharing some of my experiences with a classic La Colombe blend, Nizza. Served as the espresso of choice at all La Colombe cafés, and for good reason. Take care, and drink great coffee!