Beyond the basics with my first Aeropress
My home setup (Aeropress, scales, thermometer & cheap grinder)
I love coffee, a lot. Luckily, I live in London town where the current crop of brilliant cafe’s and roasters has left me spoilt for choice. I’ve sampled the basics from the likes of Monmouth all the way to the ultra refined from Prufrock, Dunne Frankowski and Workshop to name a few.
I’ve nurtured a taste for the humble filter coffee. Actually, humble is a major understatement as the flavours are as complex as vintage wine. Brewing a filter is a delicate business something that a Hario V60, Kalita Wave and the awesome Chemex do really well. Not to mention the clean finish that you get from Siphon brews.
However, when it comes to taste the only device that has genuinely captured my imagination is the clever, simple and durable Aeropress!
I have been procrastinating about buying one for well over a year now. Last Friday (8th of Nov 2013), it finally arrived. 10 mins later I was off making my first brew.
This started with a quick google, leading to The Brew Methods site, then viewing a ‘how to’ Video from Verve Coffee Roasters. I’m sad to report that the first brew just didn’t make it. Yes, I was still familiarising myself with the equipment but I’ve tasted what’s possible and had brilliant beans that could deliver way more on flavour.
I needed to practice and I needed tips that went above the basics of how to operate an Aeropress. After a bit of research I found the World Aeropress Championships site. A brilliant find indeed. This is a competition that’s been running for a few years now. The site contains great interviews and brewing recipes from previous winners.
Armed with this knowledge, my trusty scales, a thermometer and a recipe from Jeff Verellen I started testing and tasting.
- I can now taste what I smell before brewing or grinding the coffee.
- The process is simple yet highly concise.
- A thermometer is mandatory - water temperature has a huge impact on which solubles are extracted.
- A timer is a must.
- Blooming the grounds for a small amount of time before pouring all the water really matters.
I have to master a lot but one thing I didn’t appreciate was how hard it is push down an Aeropress in 30 seconds - I average around 50 - 60.
Jeff has a good tip on how to improve: go Kaizen and make 1 best method as a standard and 1 challenging method every day. Use the challenging method to experiment. If it proves to be better than the standard make the challenging method the standard and find a new challenging method.
I would add that for a beginner it probably makes more sense to practice one standard for a couple of weeks until you get comfortable with the brewing techniques. I personally will be practicing a handful of recipes for a few months before emabarking on my own experimentation.
I’ll be sharing everything I learn as I do so.