Thursday, 7 April 2011

Aeropress Coffee

My housemate Catherine got me an Aeropress coffee maker last Christmas. I've been intrigued about this device since hearing about so it was good to get one for myself. I use it almost every day to make myself pretty decent coffee.

The Aeropress works simply by pushing hot water through coffee grounds. The air vacuum in the plastic tube pushes the water a bit like a giant coffee syringe. You put a filter in, a scoop of coffee, hot water and then push it down over a cup.

Two things about the Aeropress make it great. The first is that it is really easy to use and clean so I'm able to use it when I'm rushing to leave the house for work in the morning. The second is that the coffee you get from it is really good. It's arguably the best way to make coffee at home without an expensive top end espresso machine which would cost a few hundred pounds and require a good thorough dismantle and clean after every use.

The thing I notice most about the coffee from the Aeropress is how smooth it is. When you use it you measure the amount of water you need for the amount of coffee your putting in. If you want more water in your coffee you add it to the cup not the press. Apparently the more water going through the coffee grounds the more bitter it is. Because your controlling the amount of water you don't get bitter coffee. The other non bitter flavours in the coffee are much stronger than when using other non espresso methods such as a cafetiere or a mocha,

Obviously you only get pure black coffee out of the Aeropress. There is no crema as you would get with an espresso machine and no frothy milk to make lattes etc unless you own seperate aparatus. That in some ways is a good thing as it forces you to drink grown up proper coffee and not Starbucksesque coffee milkshakes. Infact I would say the quality of Aeropress coffee is better than your bog standard Starbucks or Pret coffee although it's no where near as good as what you get from decent baristas.

It's best to use a coffee grind which is somewhere between fine espresso grind and rough caferetie grind. Luckily most store bought ground coffee for all coffee makers tends to be this jack of all trades grind.

Now coffee people are a bit silly and they like to have silly competitions to show off how good they are. I discovered that they actually have World Aeropress championships where baristas battle it out to show who can make the best cup using the Aeropress.

When I've got time in the morning which is normally at weekends I have a go at the world championship winning Aeropress method. Which does actually give a better brew. Although I'm not actually sure if I've just convinced myself it's better.

The first step in world champ method is putting a blind press through the Aeropress of just boiling water. This is to heat the apparatus up and also to rinse any paper taste out of the filter. The Aeropress is then turned upside down, the coffee added. The water needs to be at 75 to 80 degrees before also being added. That gets stirred, the cap with filter put on and the press is turned upside down and pushed gently. You must stop pushing the press as soon as it begins to make the fizzing noise. Your World Championship method Aeropress espresso is now ready to drink.

Weirdly enoght the aeropress is made by Aerobie the company that made all those expensive frisbees in the 80's.

Next Christmas I'll have one of these:

Now who's jealous of my whippet cup?

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