While fancy capsules and expensive coffee machines might have been all the rage a few years back, there is a renaissance in the classical methods of coffee brewing which are much simpler. The Aeropress is a massively successful invention from a company that originally made sports toys and is the coffee maker of choice amongst connoisseurs, bloggers, and regular travelers. It’s so popular that there is even a world championship!
The other thing that makes it great is that for a fraction of the cost of regular coffee makers, one can make some of the best tasting coffee in the world.
The advantage is that you can control each step of the coffee-making process and tweak it to your desired taste, changing the amount of coffee used, water volume and temperature, as well as pressure, and if you perfect the art, will produce a fine cup of espressoesque or Americano coffee each time.
I first heard about it in Tim Ferris’, “The 4-hour chef“, and then I started seeing it referenced everywhere online from sites such as Lifehacker and The Guardian. After tracking down a seller in Taipei I came home and tried my hand at the art of coffee-making. This required watching many a YouTube video, but the fun of it is that you can track how each coffee comes out and fine-tune them to your taste.
Here are the steps that I use to make the perfect cup of coffee each morning (See pictures below)
1. Source good beans from a local vendor and ask for medium/fine grounds or do it yourself using a Hario burr grinder for the freshest flavor.
2.Set the Aeropress in an inverted position and place on some electronic kitchen scales and set the scales to 0. Measure out 12g of coffee for 1 cup which is about one large scoop.
3. Boil water to 79 degrees. You can use a kettle that has preset values or just wait for the water to cool slightly. Temperatures between 78-85 tend to reduce the bitterness of the coffee while maintaining the flavor.
4. Pour water into the Aeropress and stir until you get a slightly frothy caramel head and then leave for a total of 1 minute.
5. Add the paper filter to the cap and rinse under water to remove any residual flavor from the paper.
6.Secure the cap, flip over the Aeropress onto your favorite mug and press firmly on the plunger for 20/30 seconds until you hear the rush of air begin to escape from the vacuum.
7.Wait for the last drips to enter the cup, remove the Aeropress cap and pop the coffee “puck “into the trash or read up about other uses of coffee grinds.
8. Enjoy your cup of coffee.
If you want an Americano, just add some water to the cup
- Relatively cheap compared to alternatives.
- Can take with you on holiday and recreate identical coffee wherever you go.
- Can control each step of the brewing process.
- Is a nice ritual that teaches you mindfulness.
- Comes with hundreds of paper filters that can be used several times if thrifty, (you can also buy a reusable metal filter).
- Quick and easy cleanup.
- Inconvenient for more than two cups of coffee at a time, (add 24g for two cups and split the filtered coffee into two cups near the end).
- Labour intensive.
- Hand grinding can be tiring, (get the coffee shop to grind them for you).
- True espresso requires much greater pressure than the Aeropress provides, but it’s the next best thing.