In the age of excess (coffee culture included) is the Aeropress the answer we’ve been searching for?
The days when the humble plunger pot was about all you needed to make your standard coffee at home are well and truly over. Coffee culture is booming and your average home barista now probably has digital scales, a monogrammed tamper and a commercial grinder – just to make their morning fix kick a bit harder than a cup of Nescafe. So when the Aeropress came onto the scene, it made coffee aficionados scoff until they realised that it’s pretty much the simplest, cheapest and fastest home brewing method, hands down (not to mention damn fine tasting.)
If you haven’t seen one before it’s a three-part gadget that makes rich, crisp, and clean tasting coffee in just under a minute. Awesome, right? Essentially you pop a paper filter into the cap, screw it onto the chamber, place it on top of your favourite mug. Then simply spoon the desired amount of coffee grounds into the chamber, fill with hot water, give it a good stir, then press down with the plunger. Voila!
The Aeropress can make between one and four cups at a time, and it’s faster than a percolator and yields a stronger brew than your average Plunger coffee. Once you have your brew, you can drink it exactly like that – straight out of the cup – but the real beauty of it is that cleaning up is even easier. Unscrew the cap and keep pushing until the coffee puck pops off into the bin. Then rinse and repeat.
For those of you who wish to take it further than just “acceptable coffee”, you can create your own little scientific coffee brewing laboratory. Like with any brewing method, the grind and water temperature is key to achieving perfection in the cup. When making a single cup out of your Aeropress, a fine grind will do fine, but if you want to compete with the world champions you’ll need to find the best consistency that extracts the most flavours. Get yourself a conical grinder like the Mazzer Jolly (stay tuned for our grinder reviews in an upcoming post) and start refining the grind setting. You’ll want between 17g – 22g so get yourself a set of scales that measure to 1/10 of gram. Acaia Lunar or Pearl are great for this. As for the water temp, between 75 and 80 degrees celsius is perfect, in which case you should drop some cash on a Bonavita Precision Kettle which will allow you to boil the water to exactly 79 degrees and keep it there until you are ready to use it. One final essential component you’ll need: great quality coffee beans (our Panama Geisha are seriously good beans). So now I’ve convinced you about how truly awesome the Aeropress is I know you’re asking, “Right, but how many clams is this one gonna set me back?” And you’ll probably spit your coffee out on your screen when I say, “Under fifty!” AlternativeBrewing.com.au has them for $39 or you can have a squiz at Amazon and eBay, but watch out for fraudulent products, the Aeropress is so popular that countless cheeky buggers have sought to make a quick buck out of the trend.
Now, go forth and create your own recipe. If you want to know where to start, check out these world champion Aeropressers!