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Coffee Brewing and Tasting

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My Aeropress has introduced me to a whole new world of coffee. Every time I have walked into my home office today after brewing my coffee I have been able to detect hints of the coffee I brewed earlier. The flavor was strong; the aroma lingered for a while after I had finished drinking the cup.

When I brew coffee with my Aeropress, I feel closer to the coffee. I imagine this is how baristas must feel when they are brewing coffee in a cafe. I get to control the destiny of my coffee. That is not to say that there are not other people involved in the process. From the people who produced my coffee to those who roasted the beans, it is more of a partnership between a chain than just me. The extent of my influence is bringing out the flavor in the final beans and doing justice to everyone who was involved in getting the beans to my door.

The Craft of Brewing

I started with a cold brew recipe. I’m a big fan of cold brew and I believe that my brews are pretty close to the Costa brew that I have had in the past. I have not had a cold brew from a specialty shop. There are no local coffee shops that serve cold brew in my town. I decided on cold brew because it is simple and tasty. Also, the warm weather pushed me toward a colder coffee.

I am now going back to the basics: brewing black coffee. I feel like this is the best place to start because it lets me really get to know the coffee. I am saving my adventures in different coffee types, like flat whites with soy milk, for when I go out to a cafe. At home, I’m now focusing on black coffee.

There is a real craft to brewing coffee. I am still at the stage where I am following instructions on how to use my Aeropress well. Stumptown Coffee Roasters, based in Portland, Oregon, have a great guide (and video) on how to use an Aeropress. I have been following their brew guide. When I brew, I take care at every stage. I try to make sure that too much coffee does not flow through the Aeropress before I create a pressure vaccum and brew the coffee. I’m still practicing. I am really a beginner. I like being a beginner. I have so much to learn.

The Taste

I enjoy brewing coffee just as much as I enjoy tasting coffee. The scent that comes from brewing coffee is delicious. I cannot help but stop to smell the beans in the bag. The first scent I get when I open the plastic container in which my beans are stored is special. It’s an awakening.

I have started to use the cupping method to taste my coffee. I close my hand around the rim of the cup and take in a few deep breaths. This lets me really get to know the coffee. It’s convenient because during the first few minutes after a coffee has brewed the drink is not fit for consumption. That is unless, of course, I would like to burn my mouth. No thank you! I need every taste bud that I can get.

I am practicing my tasting skills. There are moments where I doubt myself. I ask myself whether there’s actually anything to taste in the coffee. This morning those doubts were there but I felt a bit more familiar with my coffee. It was my second warm coffee that I have made; my first without any milk. I let myself just drink it in and see what came to mind.

The big task is trying to build confidence in my own palette. There were some flavors I detected, like a fruitiness, that I was hesitant to write down in case I was wrong. I’m sure these feelings will pass once I get better at tasting. When I done some research on the region from which my coffee blend, Cafe Direct (3) Smooth, is sourced, I learned that fruit is characteristic of many of the coffees from that region.

Brewing a new cup and tasting a new cup is exciting. I’m still on my first bag of beans. I suspect things will get really interesting when I can compare the blend I am drinking now to another blend. For the moment, I want to take more notes on my blend. I have made the right choice for a starter blend. The Cafe Direct blend I am drinking is not too strong; the blend is bright and light.

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