Coffee: A look at the AeroPress, with a new addition

Those of you that know me know I love my coffee.  Any time I can find a way to get better coffee, I'm going to try it.  I have had what many consider to be the best coffee maker no one has ever heard of for a couple years, and just received a great new product to make it better.

In 2005,  Alan Adler (famous for his Aerobie line of flying disks), invented a new way of brewing coffee.  He dubbed this contraption the AeroPress.  Combining the pressure brewing of espresso with the steeping process of a french press, the AeroPress makes the best coffee many people have ever tasted.  The AeroPress is the resulting of years of applied research by inventor/engineer Alan Adler. Adler’s numerous brewing experiments demonstrated that proper temperature, total immersion and rapid filtering were the keys to obtaining excellent flavour. He then designed and tested dozens of brewing methods before settling on the AEROPRESS design.

Up until now this has meant changing disposable paper filters after every brewing, an expensive prospect for folks who drink a lot of coffee.  The new product I received this week is a stainless steel filter, which promises to smooth this process out, and breathe new life into my AeroPress.

A company here is Portland called Able Brewing has made a permanent filter for the AeroPress, and it has made a great product even better.

The concept of the AeroPress is a combination of pressure forcing the water through the ground coffee combined with the coffee steeping much like a french press gives you the most flavor in the least amount of time.  The other advantage is that you have total control over the temperature that the water is at when you add it, so you can experiment with different temp ranges to get the cup that fits your taste perfectly.

Making coffee with the AeroPress is quick and easy:

1. Place filter into the cap.

2. Lock cap onto the end of the brewing chamber.

3. Place the chamber on top of a coffee mug. (Make sure the mug is large enough to hold all of the coffee you want to brew!)

4. Add a scoop of coffee for every cup of coffee you want to make.  I like my coffee strong, so a full chamber makes me one cup with 4 scoops of grounds.  You can vary the strength of the coffee by adjusting the grind.  A smaller grind will allow more of the oils and flavor to be released.  Don't be afraid to play around with the grind, the worst thing that can happen is you have to add a little more water to back the strength off a bit.

5. Pour heated water slowly over the grounds.  You'll want to make sure the grounds get wet before you have too much water in the chamber.  The cooler the water, the smoother your brew.  I usually use water at around 180 degrees, but again, this is a place to experiment.  The company recommends 165-175, but there are people who swear by temps closer to 200.

6. Stir the grounds into the water to help speed the extraction, as they will naturally float to the surface of the water.  This is one place where people tend to make mistakes.  Unlike a french press, you don't want to steep the grounds for too long in this brewer.  30-50 seconds is about right, any more than that and you have too much bitterness in the coffee for my taste.

7. Carefully place the plunger into the chamber, and rest your hand on top of the plunger to start forcing the coffee through the filter.  The more pressure you exert, the faster the coffee will be done.  One thing to remember though is that the slower you go the less oil you force through the grounds, and the smoother your cup.

8. If you like it espresso strong, you are ready to drink.  If you are looking for a more traditional american cup of coffee, you'll want to add about 4 ounces of hot water for each cup marker you used at the beginning of the process.  A full chamber of water will get you about 9 ounces of espresso (or coffee concentrate if you prefer).

9. Enjoy the best cup of coffee you'll ever drink.  If it doesn't meet your expectations, go back and experiment with the grind, temp, and speed of extraction until it does.