Aeropress question for experienced users.


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Nov 5, 2007
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Hi everyone, I got fed up with the terrible coffee here at work, so I researched these forums and decided to buy an Aeropress. So, I just tried it out using some decent Starbucks coffee, and I''m not sure if I like it or not. The reason why I''m confused is because I''m only a beginner coffee connoisseur, that is, i know what crappy office coffee is, but I probably can''t tell the difference between good and great coffee. Also, until now, I liked using a little cream and sugar in my coffee, I don''t if you''re \"supposed\" to do that with good coffee. So here are my questions:

1) What''s the Aeropress coffee supposed to taste like?
It''s definitely different than even using the good coffee grounds in the Bunn machine we have at work. I followed the instructions, and I added water to what I pressed to make 5 oz of American coffee. The taste was definitely smoother, but I''m also wondering if \"smooth\" just means diluted. Normally, coffee (without cream and sugar) has a pretty sharp, bitter taste to it. Now, I don''t know if that''s because I normally drink poor to medium quality brews or what. I mean, I need a reference here of what a good cup of American coffee tastes like? Is Starbucks good coffee?

2) Does Aeropress give the same caffeine kick as normal coffee?
I also can''t tell if I''m getting the same kick out of this coffee as usual. I have a pretty high tolerance to caffeine and I need a lot of it to feel an effect. And I''m a pretty energetic person in general so I sometimes don''t know if it''s the caffeine or just me. One way I can tell if it''s coffee is if my body gets hot and I sweat a little. I don''t think I''m getting that from this Aeropress brew I just made.

Maybe I just need to learn to tell the difference between good and bad coffee. Is it smooth or diluted? Is bitter bad? Does caffeine strength correlate to smoothness or bitterness? Do true connoisseurs use sugar or cream? Is there a coffee shop I can go to as a reference to see if I''m making good coffee or not?

As a long time Aeropress user (and vendor), my experience has been that Aeropress coffee can (and should be) brewed stronger (read more flavorful) than drip. I use 2 scoops of beans, ground a little finer than drip, and 300 ml of water. The cup will be too strong (even for me), so I add about 20 ml of cool water. That is still a fairly strong brew, YMMV. Even that strong, with the short time in contact with the grinds, the coffee is never bitter. Take the vendor's advice and don't use really hot water. Here at 5330' elevation I don't have a problem, because water boils at 195F which is perfect for the Aeropress. Using a microwave, at sea level, 195F takes about 2min 30 sec.
Enjoy the Aeropress, it makes exquisite coffee! The caffeine may be a tiny bit lower because the grinds don't stay in contact with the water quite as long, and the water is a bit cooler. Done correctly, however, you will more than make up for it by drinking more really good coffee. If you get a chance to grind and Aerobrew some really fresh coffee, (you can tell by the 'bloom'..the foam caused by CO2 outgassing from fresh coffee) you will *really* fall in love with coffee again.
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Thanks for the response. OK, here's how I did it differently from you:
You added 300 ml of water (10 oz). I filled the aeropress to a little above the oval marked "2" on the plastic tube. I also used 2 scoops of coffee. I filled it up to the 2 because that's what the instructions said. Then, after I had plunged the coffee out, I added enough water to make 300 ml of coffee (which is 10 oz). Again, I did this according to the instructions.

However, you added the 300 ml to the coffee grounds before squeezing through. I'm thinking that will give the coffee a stronger taste, right? What you're doing makes sense. Adding water to the coffee afterwards can make the coffee taste more watery, but again, I was only following the instructions. I will try it again your way tomorrow. I've got to have the kick! I'll try to get beans and try freshly grounded coffee one day also.
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OK, I read some reviews on about this Aeropress. I guess I have two main questions now. I like my coffee strong in taste and caffeine strength.
1) How many scoops of coffee do i need to make 16 oz of coffee?
2) How much water do I add in the plunger and how much water do i add after the coffee is pressed through?

PS What's the difference between Americano and regular coffee?
PPS Since the coffee is in contact with the water for so short a time, can I reuse the grounds for a new batch?
Making 16 oz --> recommend making 2 cups (2 scoops beans-300 ml in the plunger) x 2 , add water to taste. That would be a total of 4 scoops of beans.
Re-using grinds-->
NO! the second pass of water through the grounds would be thin and bitter (sound like Folgers?)
The important flavoring oils are extracted in the first few seconds (espresso makers extract it in 25 sec).

Americano is simply dilute espresso and *can* be pretty tasty. If I'm out someplace and REALLY need a cup of coffee I get an Americano (usually with an extra shot or 2 of espresso) It is clearly superior to coffee that was brewed an hour ago, and left to aquire that "old socks" flavor that only a hot plate warmer can give! There are exceptions!!
Most of us look at *$s as a "fast-food" version of coffee, but some *$s will prepare a french press of pretty much any coffee they carry. (I think it's inconsiderate to ask for a french press when there is a line of people). Some of the newer ones won't even know what you're talking about! A French press should be made with fairly coarse coffee, steeped for ~5 minutes and pressed just before you pour it into your cup. It will make a "Venti" plus a "Tall". Great to share with someone. There will be some coffee which gets through the plunger screen forming coffee 'sludge'.
Some people actually prefer a bit of residue in their coffee and it definitely boosts the caffeine.

You can duplicate this with an AEROPRESS!

First go to Target or Wal-Mart and buy a gold mesh cone filter. ~ $5
1) Using one of the Aeropress filters as a pattern, cut (kitchen shears work well) a circle of mesh exactly the same size as the paper filter.
2) * Note it gets different here !
3) place the mesh in the black filter holder, but don't put he filter holder on the barrel yet.
4) Place the plunger slightly into the barrel and turn the whole assembly upside down.
5) put (coarsly) ground coffee into the barrel.
6) add (Hot! ) water. should be ~200F (quite a bit hotter than you would normally use for Aeropress) If you boil water at sea level, let it sit for about a minute and it will be pretty close to 200F.
7) Stir, let steep for 4-6 minutes
8) Put the filter holder contaning the mesh filter on the barrel and tighten it. Be careful, the whole assembly is a little precarious at this point, and it is full of very hot coffee.
9) Invert the whole thing over your cup and push the plunger down. Voila!
the french press result and a heck of a lot easier to clean up.
Obviously you want to salvage the mesh screen for re-use.
10)This will yield quite strong, well caffeinated coffee (and that sludge in the bottom of your cup that some find so appealing)

I share your angst about company coffee rooms, Initially, no one drank his coffee as strong as I liked it. This place used air-pots, some dreck and I would brew (some of my own roast) 1/2 a pot using 2 to 3 times as much coffee grounds as they would. I labeled it "Al's special xxx' - Strong , dilute to taste." and left it in the coffee room. Surprisingly, many people started drinking it and were upset when the 'Special' was missing. I also kept an Aeropress in my desk for an 'emergency'.
About caffeine..and taste
If the company's coffee service provides the usual fare (little packages of very stale coffee-like substance), it is probably a Robusta. Robusta coffee contains almost twice as much caffeine as Arabica, roasts easily, stores well, and is what most of us grew up with (Folger's, Maxwell House, MJB, etc. etc.) It's difficult or impossible to reproduce that taste with Arabica.
There, I said it!
The shift is a bit like going from Boone's Farm Apple Blossom to Beaulieu Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. Lot's of people don't like cabernet! No matter how badly you brew the Arabica's they will never taste quite like Folger's. The question then becomes which do you prefer?

BTW, some respectable Espresso blends include a small bit of premium Robusta to pull the flavors together and produce better crema (foam) when extracted. In this case, espresso blends may have a bit more caffeine than single origin coffees.

Also, to gain the maximum taste, the coffee should be freshly more than a week out of the roaster. You can achieve this from a neighborhood roaster, on-line from places like Intelligentsia, Stumptown, Paradise or many of the members of this forum OR..
Roast at home ..which almost everyone can do.. ($70 roaster +$10 green beans = the best coffee you will ever drink). Currently I'm enjoying a cup made from green beans that were just processed a week ago. This is a Puerto Rican Jayuya 2007 crop. I pay a bit more($8/lb) for these because a) the coffee is outstanding and b) it helps another small producer stay in the coffee business.
Thanks for sitting through another long post, I do get carried away at times...
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Thanks for the replies cloudsipper. I'm off to try a batch of coffee again. I tried French Press coffee a few times and I liked it, and it was strong to boot. But if I can get this Aeropress to be strong also, then I do prefer it because it is so easy to use.

By the way, for hot water, I use the hot water faucet that is on the front of the Bunn coffee maker at work. Do you guys happen to know what temperature the water is on those faucets? Is it boiling or a little lower? I don't have a thermometer anywhere.

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OK, sorry, one more issue...

I was just measuring 300 ml (which is about 10 oz) and it doesn't fit in the aeropress plunge?! The plunge holds about 8 oz if you fill it to the top. Am I correct here?
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OK, I just tried it again, and it's much better with adding all of the water in beforehand and then plunging. The taste is stronger and so is the kick. But, I have to say, not much coffee comes out of it. First of all, if I fill the plunger all the way to the top, I still don't think it's 300ml. And by the time I'm done plunging, there's barely half a cup of coffee. I added a little bit of water on top of that, but not as much as yesterday. And on top of all this, I had to use a lot of groups to make this half-cup of coffee (2 scoops for half a cup!).

Anyway, the taste is good. I'll have to wait to see how much kick there is to it. Maybe I'll add more water, but I don't like the taste of diluted coffee. I like tasting strong coffee. I don't know...I probably don't even know what good coffee tastes like yet.

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