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Old 28-03-2015, 05:37   #1
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Aeropress -- Impressions and some Queries

Inspired by some on here, I acquired one of these devices through Amazon, and have made a couple of cups of coffee with it.

It is a bit fiddly with a number of small parts, but it came with a storage bag.

The principle of operation is basically just like the old Melitta filter cones which we used in college, and I guess nothing very wrong with that.

The best thing about it is the absolutely brilliant handling of the waste. The biggest PITA of using a French press on board is getting rid of the grounds, which wastes water, too. This thing, just as advertised, makes a dry, fairly coherent puck out of the used grounds which is easily flipped into the trash.

Another excellent thing about this device is it looks like it will work very well at sea -- the long, narrow brewing tube should be much less likely to spill in a bumpy seaway than other devices.

The product seems very tasty -- just like from a French press. However, I don't see any way at all to control brewing time. Once you pour in the hot water, it immediately starts draining through, not waiting for you to plunge it. Maybe I'm doing something wrong? Or maybe that's just all ok -- as the coffee seemed properly brewed. Maybe the purpose of the plunger is really just to get the water out of the grounds for easy disposal?

The instructions claim that you can make "espresso", but this is nonsense. This is basically filter cone coffee, as far as I can tell. And nothing really wrong with that -- it tastes great.

I'm not sure there's any great advantage over using a regular Melitta filter cone, which likewise has easy disposal of the grounds -- just requires more consumables.

Besides what you get in the kit, I guess you need some kind of carafe, if you're making coffee for more than one person. Looks to me like you can get just about two cups out of one completely full Aeropress.

Not a question really specific to this device, but how does anyone control the temperature of the brewing water? I never worried about it with the stainless French press, as the steel would absorb some heat initially, but if you pour boiling water into this thing, it will be boiling as it brews, which is too hot, if I understand coffee brewing correctly. I will be grateful for any tips.
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Old 28-03-2015, 06:08   #2
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Re: Aeropress -- Impressions and some Queries

I allow the kettle to boil then time for 30 seconds before pouring over the coffee.

According to lots of youtube videos putting the plunger in stops the coffee pouring out, however I use the Aeropress inverted. My internet connection isn't good enough to find you a link at the moment but if you google 'Aeropress inverted method' you should come up with loads of results including youtube vids.
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Old 28-03-2015, 07:15   #3
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Re: Aeropress -- Impressions and some Queries

Although I don't have an aeropress (having seen it explained here IMO it's too much hassle to use) on board I have tried probably every other method of coffee brewing. In the end I use just two. If making it just for myself and/or my Admiral I do the turkish pot. If for a number of guests/crew French press. In both I just wash the pot with salt water in the sink and wipe clean with a wet paper towel that can immediately be use to wipe something else.

Also, for long sails where coffe prep wold be too distractive I put freshly ground coffee into a thermos (Zojirushi are the best for keeping temp hot the longest) fill up with hot water and when the time comes to pour I use a fine mesh strainer over the cups. Found good and tasty coffee to be a real crew morale picker upper during long watches.
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Old 28-03-2015, 07:40   #4
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Re: Aeropress -- Impressions and some Queries

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Once you pour in the hot water, it immediately starts draining through, not waiting for you to plunge it. Maybe I'm doing something wrong? Or maybe that's just all ok -- as the coffee seemed properly brewed. Maybe the purpose of the plunger is really just to get the water out of the grounds for easy disposal?

The instructions claim that you can make "espresso", but this is nonsense. This is basically filter cone coffee, as far as I can tell. And nothing really wrong with that -- it tastes great.
Water filters through immediately?
Until the plunger is depressed I get less than ˝ teaspoon of liquid come through before I start plunging. Wetting the paper filter first helps. I will resist asking if you have put the paper filter in and secured the cap snugly .

They actually have competitions for the best brewed Aeropress coffee. If you look at the techniques the winners used, ideal water temp is generally between 80° and 90°C. Total stirring, sitting and plunging time is about 2-4 minutes. The ordinary position tends to score higher places than the inverted, but it varies a bit from year to year.

My method:
- When the kettle has nearly boiled, put paper filter in cap and wet under the tap
- Carefully screw it onto the body, making sure the paper is sitting straight and there are no gaps
- Place it on a mug
- Add a slightly heaped scoop (non packed) of coffee (I use Lavazza Arabica Gold or Illy Espresso when good beans are not available)
- Water should now be boiling
- We have a digital thermometer and I have found if I pour boiling water into a small glass milk jug, it drops to around 85°C, which is about perfect (it will vary a bit with ambient temp, but close enough and I don't need to check this each time). It is important not to pour boiling water on, as the coffee will be bitter.
- Pour the water from the jug in slowly, stirring continually (get the coffee evenly dampened before pouring the rest in). Takes about 10 sec. I add enough water to get to the 1.5 cup level on the tube.
- Continue stirring for about 20 seconds
- Let sit for 30-60 sec (depends how impatient you are, it doesn't make a big difference)
- Very slowly plunge, aiming to take about 30 seconds total
- Don't plunge all the way (leave a couple of tablespoons in the bottom - this is very important, as the end bit is bitter)

For two cups double the quantities, but keep the time the same. Tip half into another mug when finished.
If making 4 cups I do a double lot twice. I have found that it is very hard to plunge when 4 scoops of coffee are used.

Once you have plunged all the way through to get rid of the grounds, give the bottom the lightest of rinses before removing the plunger. Otherwise some of the granules grubby the inside of the tube.

All this may sound fiddly, but it is not once you have done it a few times and it just becomes habit. Although is is not as good as Nespresso, it is better than some espresso from cafes and it is definitely nothing like filter or plunger coffee. The flavour is intensely rich without any bitterness.

SWL

PS If you consider this no better than French press coffee, then I need some tips on how best to make that .
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Old 28-03-2015, 07:43   #5
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Re: Aeropress -- Impressions and some Queries

I'm a coffee guy; a serious coffee guy, and I've used every brewing method discussed in the many posts here. There is no brewing device easier to use and clean than the Aeropress, except possibly the Chemex, which makes rather bland coffee and is quite a lot of breakable glass; only the French Press rivals or exceeds the Aeropress for taste.

For one or two people, I use the Aeropress; if I need more coffee, I use the French Press. I've been planning to bring another Aeropress or two from home for multiple guests because it's so much easier to clean than the French press.

I strongly recommend the Aeropress; it's bullet-proof, unbreakable, easy and quick to clean, makes terrific coffee, and it's only 26 bucks.

Fair winds,

Leo
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Old 28-03-2015, 07:50   #6
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Re: Aeropress -- Impressions and some Queries

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Once you pour in the hot water, it immediately starts draining through, not waiting for you to plunge it. Maybe I'm doing something wrong?
I think your coffee is too coarsely ground; try a much finer grind and very little will drip through the filter before you plunge. Let it sit for a bit before you plunge, and you'll enjoy a great rich cup.

I also recommend that you wash the filter before you add the ground coffee, just to eliminate any chemical taste; it's a subtle difference, but you can tell.

Fair winds,

Leo
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Old 28-03-2015, 08:01   #7
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Re: Aeropress -- Impressions and some Queries

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Ticheli View Post
I think your coffee is too coarsely ground; try a much finer grind and very little will drip through the filter before you plunge. Let it sit for a bit before you plunge, and you'll enjoy a great rich cup.

I also recommend that you wash the filter before you add the ground coffee, just to eliminate any chemical taste; it's a subtle difference, but you can tell.

Fair winds,

Leo
Thanks. I've also ordered the Japanese ceramic grinder recommended by SWL, but haven't received it yet. I will try grinding my own when it arrives.

I have been, actually, rinsing the filters, and using them wet.
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Old 28-03-2015, 08:13   #8
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Re: Aeropress -- Impressions and some Queries

Definitely try the inverted method. I wouldn't want to steep more than 2 minutes though. Flipping over on top of the cup is easy enough. Make sure the filter doesn't get scrunched that might allow grounds to flow around it.

When plunging the coffee into the cup, I stop when air starts coming out. It may be my imagination but it seems like those last few drops are extra bitter. I press those into the sink.
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Old 28-03-2015, 08:24   #9
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Re: Aeropress -- Impressions and some Queries

We have been using an Aeropress since 2008, both onboard and ashore. It works best with espresso ground coffee. For inexpensive store-bought, we use "Café Bustelo. It is not the best, but very good for the $$$ and it comes expresso ground.

After stirring, I always add water again to the top before plunging. This gives it a bit more volume, which I mostly do to make splitting between two mugs easier.

Chris


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Ticheli View Post
I think your coffee is too coarsely ground; try a much finer grind and very little will drip through the filter before you plunge. Let it sit for a bit before you plunge, and you'll enjoy a great rich cup.

I also recommend that you wash the filter before you add the ground coffee, just to eliminate any chemical taste; it's a subtle difference, but you can tell.

Fair winds,

Leo
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Old 28-03-2015, 08:32   #10
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Re: Aeropress -- Impressions and some Queries

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We have been using an Aeropress since 2008, both onboard and ashore. It works best with espresso ground coffee. For inexpensive store-bought, we use "Café Bustelo. It is not the best, but very good for the $$$ and it comes expresso ground.

After stirring, I always add water again to the top before plunging. This gives it a bit more volume, which I mostly do to make splitting between two mugs easier.

Chris
Funny, because I do exactly the same thing. I have three Aeropresses now, two at home because I'm in a hurry and one one the boat, where I'm not in a hurry.
I make one cup a day with the aeropress full and a heaping scoop of the bustello, the rest of the 16 oz mug I fill with steamed milk, sort of like a large espresso
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Old 28-03-2015, 08:36   #11
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Re: Aeropress -- Impressions and some Queries

I also got an aeropress after hearing good news about them on the forum, and they are incredibly inexpensive. Coincidentally they just had the 2015 Canadian Aeropress championships in Calgary last weekend. They all use the same coffee just vary their brewing techniques.

I use the inverted method. Fill with water all the way to the top before putting on the filter. I brew for at least two minutes. It does make great coffee, but not as good as my Rok for expresso or lattes. It is now my go to method for travel. I also purchased a Porlex mini hand grinder. Works great.
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Old 28-03-2015, 08:37   #12
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Re: Aeropress -- Impressions and some Queries

I will second Seaworthy Lass's process. That is the exact process I use. It is important to wet the paper filter first.

Another tip. I reuse the filters for about 4 cups. Maybe I'm being cheap.
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Old 28-03-2015, 08:46   #13
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Re: Aeropress -- Impressions and some Queries

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I will second Seaworthy Lass's process. That is the exact process I use. It is important to wet the paper filter first.

Another tip. I reuse the filters for about 4 cups. Maybe I'm being cheap.
Me too .

The filters are dirt cheap, so I am not sure why I rinse and reuse them, except I have my Mum looking over my shoulder every time I think of throwing away a paper bag and I am sure she does the same when it comes to paper filters LOL.

Actually, they are so very easy to rinse (I just leave them at the base of the cap) and it makes zero difference to the end result and it is less to buy and less to take ashore to discard, that I reuse them about a dozen times.

SWL
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Old 28-03-2015, 11:20   #14
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Re: Aeropress -- Impressions and some Queries

There are steel filters available for the Aeropress. I keep one on the boat in case I run out of the paper filters.

Fair winds,

Leo
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Old 28-03-2015, 11:46   #15
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Re: Aeropress -- Impressions and some Queries

We have two Aeropresses on the boat, so we can do multiple mugs at a time. We assemble the filter, cap, and grounds in the main body, pour in the hot water, stir, pour in a bit more water as we rinse the stir stick, and then put the plunger in place at the top of the water line. This prevents the water from straining through. Set the timer for 4 minutes then plunge. Voila, great coffee, if we want it weaker add some additional water, and creamer. Heaven in the morning with "wake up juice". I can't (won't) live without it.
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