Your Essential Guide to AeroPress Coffee
An AeroPress is an inexpensive and easy to use device for making a perfectly brewed, clean cup of coffee. It first made an appearance in 2005, being the brainchild of American inventor, Alan Adler, whose inventions have included a number of aerodynamic toys, notably the Aerobie Pro Flying Ring. The fact that the AeroPress is lightweight, compact and portable, makes it ideal for travelling, overnight stays and camping trips. It's also simple to clean and eco-friendly. It's a great device for making one or two cups of coffee at a time, but can easily be used over again if multiple cups are required. The components of an AeroPress consist of two durable polypropylene cylinders, one with an airtight seal, that form a brewing chamber with a plunger, and a filter cap to fit on one end. A coffee scoop, funnel and stirring paddle are also included when purchased. The filters used are disposable, biodegradable paper ones, but a reusable disc-shaped metal filter can also be bought separately if preferred.
There are basically two ways to use an AeroPress. With the first way, a paper filter is placed in the filter cap, then moistened, and the cap screwed onto the bottom part of the brewing chamber. This is then placed on top of a mug. Ground coffee is scooped into the brewing chamber, and hot water poured on top. The mixture is stirred, and the plunger carefully placed on top to create a pressure seal. After the coffee has brewed for the required time, the plunger is pushed down slowly and steadily in a syringe-like motion until a gentle hissing sound can be heard. The lid is then unscrewed and the filter and coffee grounds, that have formed into a pod, are easily discarded. The brewing chamber and plunger can then be rinsed for further use. Alternatively, the whole brewing chamber with plunger attached can be inverted and coffee fed through the top, followed by the water. After stirring, the filter cap with moistened paper filter is screwed onto the top of the column. Once brewing is complete, the AeroPress is turned right-side-up onto a mug and plunged. The advantage of this method is there's no danger of coffee dripping into the cup before it's had a chance to brew.
It's really a matter of choice and personal taste as to the ratio of coffee to water used, and also the length of brewing time, so some experimentation may be required. One scoop, or 17 g of coffee to 220 ml of water is a good place to start. Ideally, the temperature of the water should be between 176ºF to 194ºF (80ºC to 90ºC) and brewing time no longer than a minute, as lower temperatures and shorter brewing times prevent the coffee becoming too acidic or bitter. As the AeroPress uses filter papers, the most suitable grind to use would be a medium grind, such as those recommended for filter coffees. However, some people prefer finer grinds more suited to espresso coffees, and use less water to create an espresso-type coffee without having to use an espresso machine.
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