The Aeropress is the device that first got me into the world of specialty coffee. Before I knew that there were different grind sizes and origins (and to think that was only a few months ago) I wanted a device that was as simple as possible. I was interested in coffee after having an experience drinking, of all coffees, a Greggs Cappuccino. It was my first coffee this year and it felt special. I was drinking coffee again and it tasted delicious.
I purchased an Aeropress a few months ago. All of the research I done led me to the conclusion that the Aeropress was an easy-to-use device and had a short learning curve. I agree with both of these statements after brewing for a few months. I looked at methods like the pour over and I saw a lot of expensive equipment. I didn’t want to invest much money into a hobby that I may lose interest in after a week. So, I chose to brew with the Aeropress.
Getting an Aeropress
When I first got my Aeropress, I was impressed by what it said on the packaging. You can make lattes with the coffee you make but you cannot do so out of the box (unless, for you, a latte is a coffee with milk). It turns out that I’ve moved away from most of the advice the package gives. To help me get started in the world of specialty coffee, I relied on videos from Starbucks and Stumptown Coffee. Yes, Starbucks has their own brewing guides.
I settled on a recipe. I tried a few different recipes and, for a while, I settled by following the Stumptown recipe letter-for-letter. This worked well but there were so many variations on recipes out there for me to try that I felt bad just following one. I beame somewhat intimidated until I decided that my process was not as important as the coffee itself, once I had got a good process going. I followed the Stumptown recipe and adjusted for my own experience.
Unlike many of the brewing guides I have read, I do not weigh my coffee with a scale. I didn’t want to buy a scale. I do not grind my own coffee. I buy pre-ground coffee that is either fine or ground explicitly for an Aeropress. I cut corners to be fiscally responsible when I was starting in the world of coffee. Months on, I still do not have a coffee scale or a grinder. I’m happy with my process.
I use the inverted method to brew coffee with the Aeropress. I prefer the inverted method because it gives me a more consistent cup. I was always worried about how much coffee was leaking through when I used the standard method. A friend in the IndieWeb community (of all places) recommended the inverted method and I decided to give it a short. At first, I was apprehensive. I am happy that I decided to experiment a bit with my process.
I place about 15g of coffee into the Aeropress. I am not very specific about how much coffee I put in. I try as hard as I can to get a full scoop of coffee using the Aeropress scoop. This equates to about 15g. Sometimes I scoop a bit less because I’ve been trying too long to get an even scoop and I just want to make a cup of coffee. As long as I use almost a full scoop, I seem to have a good, well-rounded cup.
I boil my kettle until about 20 seconds before it would stop automatically. I have built an intuition around when my kettle boils. I don’t have a thermometer kettle. I don’t need one. The one rule I do like to follow is that I do not want to boil my water fully. Fully boiled water takes longer to cool and I think could influence the taste of the coffee. I have not done a side-by-side comparison to prove this.
When the kettle is boiled, I pour in circles until the water reaches the number two on the Aeropress. I start a timer for 30 seconds on my Fitbit watch and wait until my coffee has bloomed. The bloom lets CO2 escape from the coffee beans and results in a better cup of coffee. After those 30 seconds, I fill the Aeropress to the top with water. I wait 1:30 before I plunge.
While I am waiting, I like to pre-heat my mug. This makes sure that my coffee is not cooled too much too quickly when I plunge. I prepare my filter basket by adding a filter to the basket and pouring boiling water through the filter. This heats up the filter and takes away the papery taste. I try to pour out the water I used to pre-heat my mug before my timer goes off. I sometimes forget.
As soon as my timer stops, I attach the basket to the top of the Aeropress and place my mug upside-down on the Aeropress. I flip the device and then I plunge for around 30 seconds. When I can, I try to buy coffee that is ground for Aeropress. If I cannot find any, I go for an espresso grind (as long as I think the espressso grind will not be too fine). I have not had a negative experience in using finely-grounded coffee so far.
That’s it. I have a freshly brewed cup of coffee. I have not yet brewed a cup today. I usually have my first one during my morning work break at around 11am. I have another coffee in the afternoon. This is the process I use to brew coffee. It works for me. I find that my process results in a clean cup. You’ll find hundreds of recipes out there. I am tempted to experiment a bit to see how different factors impact the taste of the coffee. I have decided not to because I am more interested in the taste of the beans at the moment.
Coffee is as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. I like a simple brewing method. I admit that I spend quite a bit of time reading about the nuances of coffee and how coffee is roasted and brewed. I like to read about these topics but at the moment I’m fine with my Aeropress. I can brew a consistent cup of coffee with the inverted method that tastes great. I’ll talk in another post about the flavors I like with reference to a few of the coffees I have tried.