As someone who appreciates the art of overnight meat prep, hovering around a smoker for hours on end with a beer in my hand, and countless trials in order to get it “just right”, naturally brewing coffee has also hit my radar.
It started with a trip to Traverse City, MI where my wife and I visited a fair trade coffeehouse called Higher Grounds. They brewed using a Chemex (a vessel that I also have grown fond of), and the coffee that they produced was a level of deliciousness that I didn’t know was possible with coffee. It’s amazing how different beans from various regions of the world can produce such different natural flavors. Vanilla, chocolate, lemon, orange peel, on and on. This intrigued me, and as soon as I got home I ordered my Chemex, thus beginning my quest for homebrewing High-quality coffee.
In this post, I’m going to cover coffee brewing using a neat little vessel called an Aeropress. While I love my Chemex, the Aeropress produces a nice full-bodied cup, while also being quick and consistent. In total, I can brew a cup of coffee in my Aeropress in about 5 minutes.
I’ve really come to appreciate the purity of brewing coffee, and it’s amazing how every variable can impact the cup. Water quality, bean freshness, grind consistency, 1:00 brew time v 1:10 brew time, and so on.
With that being said, let’s get into it.
The beans that I’ve been using come monthly to me from Blue Bottle Coffee Co, based in Oakland, CA. They have a service that you can order coffee delivered to your door monthly, weekly, etc. I highly recommend it for the freshest coffee short of roasting it yourself.
I start by filling my coffee mug with filtered water (do not use tap water, trust me) and pouring it into my electric kettle. I’ve found that 202°F is pretty good for most beans, however some may do better a little colder, others a little hotter.
Next I take 2 scoops of beans and drop them into my Baratza Encore and grind to setting 11. I didn’t realize the impact of grind consistency until I got this grinder. The difference is incredible, and you can even see this in how the water saturated the grounds.
Next, you pour about 6oz of the water that has been heated to 202°F and make sure that all of the grounds have been saturated. You may need to use a stirrer to help the water to some dry grounds. You’ll be able to see them through the side of the Aeropress. I also usually poke the stirrer down into the middle of the grounds. You’ll be able to feel any dry lumps. But do not “stir” the grounds.
This process, called the Bloom, wets the grounds and helps them to release CO2 prior to brewing. The fresher the grounds, the better the Bloom.
Let the grounds bloom for about 45-55 seconds. I start the timer once all of the grounds are wet, not when I start pouring. You’re going to want to have a stopwatch handy, because seconds count. I use my phone for this. As the grounds Bloom, I wet the paper filter.
After the 45-55 seconds has elapsed, pour additional 202°F water into the vessel. Filling it. I like to pour the water in a back and forth manner, while spinning the Aeropress with my other hand. The coffee seems to get a nice even brew in this manner. You may then need to stir GENTLY side to side to make sure that all of the grounds are being touched by the water.
Fix the lid and filter to the Aeropress and let brew for 1:15.
Then, add a few ounces of the hot water to the mug to get it heated, and flip the vessel over onto the mug and press the plunger gently. It should take you about 30 seconds with light pressure to extract the coffee.
Right now you’ve got yourself a double shot of espresso. Add water to fill the rest of the mug and you’ve got an Americano!
Discard the used grounds into the trash or compost. And rinse the Aeropress.