Tag Archives: Aeropress

How to make a perfect cup of coffee using the Aeropress

-Casey Klekas

The word addict, as in “I am a coffee addict,” comes from the latin word addictus, meaning “to surrender” or “to pay religious devotion.” My girlfriend has helped me explore new ways of devoting myself to the coffee bean. She has opened me to newer and more elaborate rituals of transforming those roasted seeds into a subtler and more intricate cup of coffee. For instance, she bought me an Aeropress, a plunger of a device that combines the advantages of the French press and the espresso machine—all for less than thirty bucks.

The Aeropress is a cylinder of two inches in diameter, five inches in length, with a screw on cap at the bottom for a paper filter. You’re supposed to put two scoops of ground coffee inside the tube with the filter locked on. You fill it half full with water, wait thirty seconds, then “press” the plunger device to push the liquid out of the grounds, through the filter and into the waiting cup below. This normally gives you a double shot of espresso, which you top with water for an Americano, or milk for a latte. I have experimented with countless techniques for using the Aeropress and have come to accept a variant of the “inverted method” as my favorite. Here’s what I do (at least three times a day):

I heat the water to just below 200 degrees F. Water should never be boiling (212 degrees) when it hits the coffee or else your liable to get stuck with a burnt flavor. If you’re using an electric kettle, let it sit for a minute after reaching boil, or if you’re as sick as me you’ll use a thermometer for perfection.

Put the plunger bottoms up and place the cylinder just over the lip of the rubber, so as to get the same water tightness as the regular method. Take a rounded scoop of medium ground coffee and dump it into the tube (use the funnel that it came with).

Pour the water so it just barely covers all the grounds, then let it sit for thirty seconds or so in order to “bloom.” Blooming is when the coffee puffs up and releases CO2 at its first contact with hot water. It’s important to let the CO2 escape now rather than slipping into your cup.

Stir with the paddle-thing it came with, then fill to an inch below the top of the brewer. Or fill then stir. Just make sure it is stirred and filled, ok? We wanna get all the coffee grinds soaking, alright? Mmkay.

Let it sit for one minute or more, but not more than two minutes because you’ll be flirting with bitterness. While you’re waiting, put the filter in the cap and rinse with your hot water. You want to rinse the filter so as to get rid of any papery flavor, unless you are one of those who liked to eat the paper as much as the cupcake. I am guilty of doing this well beyond my adolescence. Rinse the filter over the cup you’ll soon fill with coffee. You want to avoid any big temperature jumps so as not to stifle the potential flavor of your (Roma) beans.

Pour out the water in your cup, screw on the filter, then carefully but quickly flip the whole brewer on top of your mug. Press until you hear the hissing of the last bits of liquid being squeezed out of your grounds. Sometimes I press all the way, but you’ll get a “cleaner” cup if you don’t.

Fill another half of the mug with water, let sit for a minute, then pour it on your keyboard, I mean, all over your pillow—no wait, just drink it. Drink it with your mouth. Open your lips and start to suck. Once the liquid fills and scolds your entire mouth, then swallow…

Coffee, sweet nectar for the weary!

-Casey Klekas

My morning ritual consists of drinking two glasses of water and three pots of coffee. That’s not true; sometimes I forget to drink any water. Regardless, I’ve picked up the nasty habit of buying a new coffee appliance every few months. Long ago I resigned my automatic drip brewer to the cupboard. Now, my coffee station consists of three brewers: the French press, the Aeropress, and the Chemex. If I’m entertaining for Easter brunch, I’ll use the French press. If I want a single cup of coffee, Americano, or shot of espresso, I’ll use the Aeropress. When it’s just me and my old lady—I wanted to say “Me and the Mrs.,” but there isn’t a standard unabbreviated form for Mrs. (forgive me, dear)—I use the Chemex. The Chemex is essentially a Melitta, the little plastic cone that is often used for single cup brewing. I can’t squeeze four years of coffee experience into 500 words, so I’m devoting the next few posts to the elixir that got me through college.

The best beans in town at the most agreeable price is a pound of whole bean, house coffee from Espresso Roma. I’ve long thought Roma to be the best coffee on campus. In my opinion, the next best coffee in Eugene is either Stumptown or from the Wandering Goat. However, they price their coffee adjusted for hyperinflation, and they have too many “floral” coffees that I don’t fancy. No, the beans to buy are from Espresso Roma for eleven bucks a pound. Do not buy your coffee from Starbucks. A twelve ounce bag goes for nine clams. As Dr. Bill Nye will tell you, there are sixteen ounces in a pound, so two extra greenbacks will get you four ounces more of higher quality beans if you go with Roma.

Next, you’ll need a coffee grinder. It is best to grind your own coffee immediately before brewing. Do a taste test between a pot of coffee made with fresh ground beans and the one made with your usual choice of musty shavings. You’ll never go back.

For years I used a standard blade grinder, loud and messy though it was. If you’re a snob, like me, you should invest in a burr grinder. These do not randomly hack the beans into submission. The burr is like a pepper grinder, where two blades or abrasive metals revolve in opposite directions. This gives you an even consistency in your grind.

Why is the grinder important? There is a noticeable difference in taste and aroma between the blade grinder and the burr grinder. The burr creates less friction, meaning less heat, therefore less flavor lost in your grinder and more in your cup. Also, you will want to grind your beans according to the brewer being used. If you need a medium grind for standard drip coffee, your blade grinder will give you pieces, big and small. Those grinds will give different tastes according to their size, leaving you with an unpredictable cup of joe. The coffee bean is a sensitive seed that, should you treat it tenderly, will repay your respect by ten-fold.

If you’re not using an automatic brewer, you’ll need a kettle. I prefer electric to stove-top kettles, but this is only a matter of preference (my stove sucks).

Well, that’s all for now. My next post will include step-by-step instructions for various brewing methods. The coffee is good enough to make anyone into a coffee snob. I should warn you: it’s an expensive lifestyle. Remember, get a burr-grinder and fill it with Roma beans!