Chow Time: Home Brewing for the Coffee Geek

If you’ve never heard of it, the Aeropress is a rather unique single-cup brewing device. It resembles a large syringe, and is made by Aerobie, a company known mostly for making flying discs. This fact alone can make the Aeropress pretty easy to shrug off as a novelty, but that would be a mistake. I’ve been using the Aeropress for over a year and a half, and I now use it more frequently than I do any other brewer. I like the level of control that I have over so many parameters.

Like with the French Press (another full immersion brew method), I can directly control the time that the water and coffee are in contact with each other. Pressing the coffee through a filter adds a bit of pressure which speeds up the extraction and really cleans up the flavour profile of the drink. However, I don’t use the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s not that they’re wrong, but what you get from them is a really concentrated beverage that needs to be diluted with hot water. This is not the coffee I enjoy drinking, and I believe the Aeropress does a fantastic job of making brewed coffee if used differently.

There are alternate instructions posted all over the internet (you can see quite a few at http://www.brewmethods.com). I’ve tried a great deal of them, and I’ve found that they all yield slightly different results. I think this is the most remarkable aspect to Aeropress brewing: the degree of control you have over so many brew parameters means you can many different flavour profiles for a single coffee.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of variables you have control over, and if you’re new to Aeropress brewing then the following method will work very nicely.

What you’ll need:

I use 210 mL of water and 14 g of coffee (about the same as one level scoop). The tricky part will be in measuring the water. The brewing chamber is quite small so 210 mL will fill up the whole chamber.

  • Put water on to boil. While you’re waiting, measure and grind your coffee.  I like to grind just a little bit coarser than I would for a drip coffee machine.
  • Place the plunger into the Aeropress just above the “4” mark. Place it upside down on the counter.
  • Place a paper filter into the filter holder and rinse under the tap. Set this aside
  • As your water reaches boiling, remove it from the heat and start your timer. Pour the ground coffee into the inverted Aeropress. Once the timer reaches 30 seconds, pour the water over the coffee, making sure to wet all the grinds. Don’t pour too quickly, or the slurry will bloom too vigorously. Stir the slurry down to make sure the coffee is wet evenly.
  • Once the timer reaches 2 minutes 15 seconds (so the coffee has been steeping for 1 minute 45 seconds), put the cap on and carefully turn the Aeropress over onto a cup.
  • Slowly press the plunger down.  This should take about 10 seconds.
  • Enjoy!

I think this is a pretty solid method that can yield a tasty cup with just about any coffee. The rub is in figuring out a good grind size. A good starting point is to use the same grind size as you would for your drip brewer. If you follow the above method, and your coffee comes out kind of weak, then I would suggest grinding slightly finer. If, on the other hand, it’s too bitter, then coarsening it up might help. If you do that and find a brew that tastes great, then you’ve already managed to take control of one of the most important coffee brewing variables! I think it’s important to mention that while you’re tweaking one variable, it’s a good idea to leave everything else constant. If you feel ready for a new challenge, try altering how quickly you plunge the brew. I find it can really affect the mouthfeel of the resulting coffee, but I’d be interested to hear what other people think.

Happy Brewing!

*Josh Hockin’s article is courtesy of the Transcend Coffee Blog.

Related Article:
The Aeropress Coffeemakers Brew Loyal Fans – LA Times

Transcend Coffee is a Canadian specialty coffee roaster and online store focused on bringing the very best coffees from around the world to North American coffee drinkers. We travel the globe, meet directly with coffee farmers, and pay significantly higher than Fair Trade prices to ensure the highest quality and encourage true sustainability in coffee growing countries. We roast in small batches and ship fresh roasted coffee to the US and Canada.
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Poul Mark founded Transcend Coffee in 2006 with a passion for great coffee and community. In a few short years, Poul has built a thriving and multi-faceted business and has established himself as an expert in coffee. He has been invited to judge several coffee competitions, including the Best of Panama, Rainforest Alliance cupping for quality, and he was the only Canadian chosen to sit on the international jury for the 2009 El Salvador Cup of Excellence. Poul invests a significant amount of time traveling to the countries where coffee is grown to meet coffee farmers face to face, develop direct-trade relationships and find some of the very best green coffees in the world.

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