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Aerobie Aeropress
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CaptainCowPie
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CaptainCowPie
Joined: 12 Dec 2005
Posts: 75
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Mypressi Twist
Grinder: Super Jolly
Vac Pot: Not Yet
Drip: Aeropress & Bonavita...
Roaster: Heat Gun / Bread Machine
Posted Tue Feb 18, 2014, 12:39pm
Subject: Re: Aerobie Aeropress
 

MWJB Said:

I personally,  add the water first, but have little luck doing this with the non-inverted Aeropress ;-)

Posted February 18, 2014 link

What are the advantages of adding the water first? I almost always do an inverted Aeropress, but have always added grinds first.

My routine now is to heat the inverted Aeropress for about a minute with boiling water (something relatively new to me), add a scoop of coffee (only one Alan ;) ), and then the water, and stir only if necessary. The Kaffeology filter has been my choice for quite a while.

I have been trying not to stir the mixture unless I have to. I will pour in a way that soaks most of the grinds, and then I rotate the mixture with the cap on to get the rest if necessary. I originally got the idea from a Sweet Maria's video, and then Alan mentioned that he sometimes does not stir, so maybe I am on the right path.

Vince
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MWJB
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Joined: 1 Jun 2013
Posts: 192
Location: UK
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: Rocky, Lido, Porlex, Hario...
Drip: Not enough room to list...
Posted Tue Feb 18, 2014, 1:32pm
Subject: Re: Aerobie Aeropress
 

I wouldn't go so far to say there was an "advantage", more of an option, but I find better clarity by adding water first. I sometimes find I get too much body & oily mouthfeel in Clever Dripper & Aeropress when pouring water onto the grinds (which others may like) & this can blunt juicyness/acidity...putting the water in first, then wetting the coffee (gently but quickly folding in - I don't let a crust form & never dig in & stir, maybe just a quick swirl at the surface?) seems to better preserve this. I guess it reduces stratification in the brew (especially in the Clever as you can get a slug of thick, concentrate nestling under the paper)?

With a full ~230g of water in the inverted Aeropress, you'll be better off adding around half the water, give the grinds a quick dunk, then the rest of the water, to stop the blooming coffee from overflowing the brewer.

I don't really know why, but with French press & Sowden, I also seem to get less silt in the cup by doing things this way around. Once the grinds are well wetted & steep proper starts, I submerge the grinds & give a quick 1cm pump on the plunger or two, then I don't disturb the bed/grinds again. Perhaps the waterlogged & sinking grinds act more like finings themselves? I grind fine for steeps, about half a turn to 0.75 out on the Lido 1 and get very little silt in the cup.

I also "feel" that the grinds hit the water at a more even temp this way, rather than being blasted around by a scalding hot jet of water (in a somewhat cooler pot/slurry)...but I'm quite able to accept that's possibly just something that helps me sleep at night, rather than science! ;-)
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jpender
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jpender
Joined: 11 Jul 2011
Posts: 719
Location: California
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: OE LIDO
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Drip: Aeropress
Posted Tue Feb 18, 2014, 2:26pm
Subject: Re: Aerobie Aeropress
 

Normally when you add hot water to the coffee the grounds are initially exposed to the full brew water temperature. Pretty quickly the slurry equalizes at a lower temperature and then continues to slowly decrease over time. But if you pour in the water first, heat is transferred to the plastic and so the water is cooler when the coffee grounds are first exposed to it. If you used the same initial water temperature the slurry will equalize to the same temperature but the initial transient exposure temperature will be lower. Preheating the Aeropress will reduce this effect somewhat.

In my own limited experience with this method I've found that I could use hotter brew water and thus achieve a higher temperature profile. With brew water above ~200F I usually get unwanted bitterness in the cup. But adding the water first has allowed me to push the temperature into a higher range. I can't say this has improved the coffee but I've only experimented with this technique a handful of times. I will say it's nice to have the option.

The Aeropress is so small that there isn't much room to add the grounds and fold them in. An alternative is to add part of the water, then the grounds and then the rest of the water. But that's already starting to sound too complicated for my usual morning cup.
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rasqual
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rasqual
Joined: 29 Jun 2005
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Location: Chicago area
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Espresso: *$ Barista, non-pressurized
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Vac Pot: Yama, Aeropress
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Roaster: "ring roaster", mod popper
Posted Tue Feb 18, 2014, 8:37pm
Subject: Re: Aerobie Aeropress
 

Since I'm a fan of hacks, I'm enjoying (as ever) this thread.

In response to "what if" about finer grind and such, my intuition is that various brewing methods showcase various advantages with respect to some -- but not all -- variables. Remember the saying, "You can get the job done cheaply, with quality, or fast. Pick any two."

Coffee brewing devices are AMAZINGLY varied in how they work. Some control splendidly for lesser-thought-of variables (the Trifecta's agitation). Most don't. Some allow for rapid termination of extraction using accelerated separation of grind from water (FP, Aero, Siphon). Others don't (percolator, automatic drip). Some DRAMATICALLY send one variable into extreme territory (cold brew, with extremely long extraction times relative to hot methods).

The point would be that hacking devices that seem to specialize in some advantageous ways might work dandy -- but in doing so some of those advantages might be compromised. Weird analogy, but if you medicate a savant for related mental illness, s/he might not perform those amazing tasks so remarkably any more.

I think the hacking is utterly valuable to explore the possibility space for any given device. At the end of the day, many of our hacks bow humbly to the core technology and find their place in our memories. Some of them extend the state of the art, enhancing that core technology and remaining a favored accessory in regular use. And then, on top of adaptations of method, there are variations on technique.

I still do believe that the Aeropress is about the most darned versatile, hackable, fruitfully extensible brewing device there is. I do far more Hario pourovers nowadays for my own cups, but we've reverted at the farmer's market from using the Hario to using the Aero, after a two year hiatus -- and embracing that even though it's a bit tougher in a sink-less environment to clean between presses.

What I'm really excited about this year, is dialing in the new Breville Smart Grinder I picked up to replace the now-dilapidated veteran of 8 years of market grinding (Solis Maestro Plus). By my calculations that thing ground over 600 lbs of coffee in its life. No burr replacement. Stunning. But the Breville is a better grinder, judging by the grind itself. Whether it can hold up, I don't know. Anyway, it grinds more consistently and interestingly enough, that's challenging my knowledge of the Aero. I knew the Aero's capability with a fine whirly grind (travel kit) as well as the Baratza, but neither of those approach the Breville's consistency across a significant range of grind.

Yada yada.
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CaptainCowPie
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CaptainCowPie
Joined: 12 Dec 2005
Posts: 75
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Mypressi Twist
Grinder: Super Jolly
Vac Pot: Not Yet
Drip: Aeropress & Bonavita...
Roaster: Heat Gun / Bread Machine
Posted Wed Feb 19, 2014, 7:40am
Subject: Re: Aerobie Aeropress
 

jpender Said:

Normally when you add hot water to the coffee the grounds are initially exposed to the full brew water temperature. Pretty quickly the slurry equalizes at a lower temperature and then continues to slowly decrease over time. But if you pour in the water first, heat is transferred to the plastic and so the water is cooler when the coffee grounds are first exposed to it. If you used the same initial water temperature the slurry will equalize to the same temperature but the initial transient exposure temperature will be lower. Preheating the Aeropress will reduce this effect somewhat..

Posted February 18, 2014 link

That makes sense. I am going to have to experiment with that a little to see if I notice a difference or not.

Thanks,
Vince
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CaptainCowPie
Senior Member
CaptainCowPie
Joined: 12 Dec 2005
Posts: 75
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Mypressi Twist
Grinder: Super Jolly
Vac Pot: Not Yet
Drip: Aeropress & Bonavita...
Roaster: Heat Gun / Bread Machine
Posted Wed Feb 19, 2014, 7:42am
Subject: Re: Aerobie Aeropress
 

Very eloquently stated rasqual.

Vince
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AlanAdler
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AlanAdler
Joined: 31 Dec 2005
Posts: 719
Location: Palo Alto, Calif
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: AeroPress
Grinder: Baratza - Virtuoso
Roaster: Fresh Roast SR-500
Posted Sat Feb 22, 2014, 6:01pm
Subject: Re: Aerobie Aeropress
 

jpender Said:

For the official Aeropress recipe of very fine grind and short steep time this isn't arguable. But let's suppose you decide that a coarse grind, a steep of 4-5 minutes and a metal filter is what makes a coffee taste its best to you. In that case would you still think drip through doesn't matter?

Posted February 17, 2014 link

In this case, it would probably drip through without pressing.

Do you prefer to brew this way?  Or is this just a hypothetical example?

Best,

Alan
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AlanAdler
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AlanAdler
Joined: 31 Dec 2005
Posts: 719
Location: Palo Alto, Calif
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: AeroPress
Grinder: Baratza - Virtuoso
Roaster: Fresh Roast SR-500
Posted Sat Feb 22, 2014, 8:04pm
Subject: Re: Aerobie Aeropress
 

Hi All,

A bit of a chill goes up my spine when I read about pouring boiling water into an inverted AeroPress.  The seal normally contacts air, not boiling water.

The various "hacks" discussed here often increase temperature and time.  We think AeroPress brew tastes good because it works with moderate temperature and has a short wet time.

When I first discovered that 175F was the preferred temperature, the tasters based their preference on espresso-strength brew made from French roast beans.  From time to time I wondered if we should repeat the tests with American strength (SCAA "Gold Cup", TDS=1.25%) and a lighter roast.  Well, we finally got a chance with two professional cuppers.  One about my age, the other about 30. The beans were Full City roast with just a hint of shine, but not oily.  The cups were pressed per our instructions, then diluted to exactly 1.25% TDS.

The taster's point counts were the sum of five criteria* and their scores were quite similar.  They both scored in this order:  

175F best
165F a close second place
185F third place

If 185F had outscored the lower temps, we would have tested higher temps.  But we didn't because it finished last.

Best,

Alan

*Their five criteria were: Aroma, Acidity, Mouthfeel (body), Flavor and Finish
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MWJB
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Posts: 192
Location: UK
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: Rocky, Lido, Porlex, Hario...
Drip: Not enough room to list...
Posted Sun Feb 23, 2014, 11:03am
Subject: Re: Aerobie Aeropress
 

Hi Alan,

What are your concerns with boiling water contacting the seal/bung? Are you saying we should be avoiding this?

1.25%TDS alone does not = "gold cup", it's hard to determine anything from the details of this test other than the coffees were brewed as per your typical instructions, at one of 3 temps & tasted good...? Surely a wider sample would be required? I don't doubt your panel's findings, nor that the brew method achieves what you specifically aim for, it just seems a limited test sample.
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squaremile
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Joined: 6 Jan 2011
Posts: 87
Location: Portlandia
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Feb 23, 2014, 11:32am
Subject: Re: Aerobie Aeropress
 

Huh... I always pre-heat the press with near boiling water for a minute or two so that when I add the brew water, the press will retain the temp of the brew water better.

Obviously any temp, grind size, steep time, agitation combination can ultimately produce a cup with the desired TDS/Ext. My guess is Alan's method works best at that temp but there are many other configurations that would work just as well but produce a different profile.
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