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1or2lumps
Senior Member
1or2lumps
Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 120
Location: Seattle area
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus
Grinder: Mazzer Major, KitchenAid...
Drip: FP, PO, AP
Roaster: Behmor; Poppery II
Posted Tue Oct 31, 2006, 12:08am
Subject: Aeropress Question
 

I'm almost afraid to ask a question about this machine due to the heated messages I've read in prior posts.   I would like to know what amount of coffee is required to make an 8 - 10 ounce "americano" with the aeropress.  I've been using only 14 grams of coffee to make some great drinks with an old, small moka pot from Ikea.  I thought I read somewhere that more coffee is required to make a similar strength cup of coffee with the aeropress, but can't seem to find that post.

Michael
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rasqual
Senior Member
rasqual
Joined: 29 Jun 2005
Posts: 1,076
Location: Chicago area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: *$ Barista, non-pressurized
Grinder: SMP
Vac Pot: Yama, Aeropress
Drip: Porcelain Melitta 103, Hario
Roaster: "ring roaster", mod popper
Posted Tue Oct 31, 2006, 6:09pm
Subject: Re: Aeropress Question
 

If you augment the device's instructions with some of your own wisdom, you'll find that the Aeropress uses little more coffee than other brewing methods.

The device's signature brew is a somewhat underextracted cup. That's what you get if you follow the instructions, and that's to some extent by design (and explicitly granted by the inventor). IMO, this works better for darker roasts where complexity in the cup isn't always as attainable as with origins roasted closer to City.

If you increase the amount of water -- to as much as you can fit in the device, regardless of the amount of grind -- and if you increase the temperature to something closer to conventional brewing temperature, you'll end up with more conventional extraction and therefore you won't use any more coffee.

As far as "Aerocanos" go, oddly enough it's the same kind of issue as much larger brewing devices face. Huge urns generally spray a basket of grind, but the extraction is soon over and the remainder of the water bypasses the basket. Adding water to a concentrated Aeroressing is absolutely no different, in terms of what you're doing.

There's nothing magical about the Aeropress. It puts you in superb control over all the variables -- so any talk of the Aeropress using more coffee than other methods would have to be coming from someone with little experience exercising that control -- or from a reviewer who's only considering use of the device according to the manufacturer's instructions (which is frankly appropriate as a starting point in such reviews).

Hotter water, more of it, more time, finer grind -- any combination of these. It's really that simple.
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EddieDove
Senior Member
EddieDove
Joined: 30 Jun 2006
Posts: 837
Location: Gulf Coast, Mississippi
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Carezza
Grinder: Mazzer Mini, Dienes
Vac Pot: Yama w/ Cory Glass Rod,...
Drip: Technivorm, Chemex, Bodum...
Roaster: RKDrum, Behmor, Gene Cafe,...
Posted Tue Oct 31, 2006, 7:13pm
Subject: Re: Aeropress Question
 

rasqual Said:

If you augment the device's instructions with some of your own wisdom, you'll find that the Aeropress uses little more coffee than other brewing methods.

The device's signature brew is a somewhat underextracted cup. That's what you get if you follow the instructions, and that's to some extent by design (and explicitly granted by the inventor). IMO, this works better for darker roasts where complexity in the cup isn't always as attainable as with origins roasted closer to City.

If you increase the amount of water -- to as much as you can fit in the device, regardless of the amount of grind -- and if you increase the temperature to something closer to conventional brewing temperature, you'll end up with more conventional extraction and therefore you won't use any more coffee.

As far as "Aerocanos" go, oddly enough it's the same kind of issue as much larger brewing devices face. Huge urns generally spray a basket of grind, but the extraction is soon over and the remainder of the water bypasses the basket. Adding water to a concentrated Aeroressing is absolutely no different, in terms of what you're doing.

There's nothing magical about the Aeropress. It puts you in superb control over all the variables -- so any talk of the Aeropress using more coffee than other methods would have to be coming from someone with little experience exercising that control -- or from a reviewer who's only considering use of the device according to the manufacturer's instructions (which is frankly appropriate as a starting point in such reviews).

Hotter water, more of it, more time, finer grind -- any combination of these. It's really that simple.

Posted October 31, 2006 link

Scott has a LOT of experience with the AeroPress and knows what he is talking about.  He offers sage advice.

 
Respectfully,

Eddie Dove (a.k.a. eodove)
Vita non est vivere sed valere vita est
Home Coffee Roasting Blog and Reference
http://www.southcoastcoffeeroaster.blogspot.com/
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RapidCoffee
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RapidCoffee
Joined: 4 Dec 2004
Posts: 1,932
Location: Rapid City, SD
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale S1
Grinder: Mazzer Robur
Vac Pot: Yama
Drip: misc
Posted Tue Oct 31, 2006, 8:21pm
Subject: Re: Aeropress Question
 

EddieDove Said:

Scott has a LOT of experience with the AeroPress and knows what he is talking about.  He offers sage advice.

Posted October 31, 2006 link

Agreed, Scott's da man when it comes to the AP, and you should listen to him. But in my hands, the AP uses significantly more coffee than any other brewing method. For a 10oz "Americano" I use 2+ AP scoops, or at least twice the 14g suggested by the OP.

Before anyone jumps to conclusions: I'm using fresh, non-charred, home-roasted coffee, finely ground in a nice little conical burr grinder (Nemox Lux). Like Scott, I prefer it with significantly hotter water (just off boiling, although b.p. is around 205F at this elevation) and longer brew times (1-2 min), topping off the device as necessary as the bloom recedes and to replace trickle through the paper filter.

Believe me, I'd love to cut my AP coffee consumption in half! But a 14g 10oz AP brew would taste really weak to me.
________
John
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1or2lumps
Senior Member
1or2lumps
Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 120
Location: Seattle area
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus
Grinder: Mazzer Major, KitchenAid...
Drip: FP, PO, AP
Roaster: Behmor; Poppery II
Posted Tue Oct 31, 2006, 8:38pm
Subject: Re: Aeropress Question
 

Thanks for the info.  I purchased a Melitta #2 pour over device today, so I'll probably play around with that for awhile before purchasing an Aeropress.   Regarding the pour over, does anyone have a preference over 1 or 3 holes?  The one I purchased only has one.  I think I remember reading on Sweet Maria's that a single hole is inferior to the 3 hole.  I might have to charge up the drill.

Michael
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rasqual
Senior Member
rasqual
Joined: 29 Jun 2005
Posts: 1,076
Location: Chicago area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: *$ Barista, non-pressurized
Grinder: SMP
Vac Pot: Yama, Aeropress
Drip: Porcelain Melitta 103, Hario
Roaster: "ring roaster", mod popper
Posted Tue Oct 31, 2006, 9:21pm
Subject: Re: Aeropress Question
 

EddieDove Said:

Scott has a LOT of experience with the AeroPress and knows what he is talking about.  He offers sage advice.

Posted October 31, 2006 link

No, no -- cardamom. Sage bad!   :-P

1or2lumps Said:

I purchased a Melitta #2 pour over device today, so I'll probably play around with that for awhile before purchasing an Aeropress.   Regarding the pour over, does anyone have a preference over 1 or 3 holes?  The one I purchased only has one.  I think I remember reading on Sweet Maria's that a single hole is inferior to the 3 hole.  I might have to charge up the drill.

Posted October 31, 2006 link

A drill is your best friend with the lamer pourover cones out there.

I have NO idea why designers keep obstructing flow on these things, and trying to pass it off as a "feature." "Allows the coffee to extract fully," and such nonsense. I'm merciless on this one, because their doing this robs the brewer of control of variables. You're forced by a limitation on throughput to limit your grind to a certain range, or the amount you can brew in a given cone to a certain range. It's ridiculous.

The best cone is the cone with utterly unrestricted flow -- and that means not only bowling ball sized holes in the bottom (preferably at least three if they're that small), but superb fluting on the sides. Unfortunately, few reviewers are equipped with microscopes of sufficient power to assess the merits of the fluting in service on most available cones.

And of course, polyester instead of paper.  ;-)

RapidCoffee Said:

Agreed, Scott's da man when it comes to the AP, and you should listen to him. But in my hands, the AP uses significantly more coffee than any other brewing method. For a 10oz "Americano" I use 2+ AP scoops, or at least twice the 14g suggested by the OP.

Posted October 31, 2006 link

Yikes!

I've been wanting to buy a Brix meter (too broke to do that -- I want one like Alan Adler has, not the non-digital ones that sell for 1/8 the price) to help with all this. Dang.

Before anyone jumps to conclusions: I'm using fresh, non-charred, home-roasted coffee, finely ground in a nice little conical burr grinder (Nemox Lux). Like Scott, I prefer it with significantly hotter water (just off boiling, although b.p. is around 205F at this elevation) and longer brew times (1-2 min), topping off the device as necessary as the bloom recedes and to replace trickle through the paper filter.

Believe me, I'd love to cut my AP coffee consumption in half! But a 14g 10oz AP brew would taste really weak to me.

Hmmm. If there's enough trickle to need replacing, I think your grind is pretty coarse.

"Wash-through," as I call it, is one of the oddest phenomena with this device. I think it's a lot like the talking dog thing. You call your neighbor and tell him your dog can talk; "c'mon over, I'll prove it." He comes over, and "woof," and that's about it. In the same way, we incredulously hear each other tell these tales of our own experiences, and I'll wager that if we all got together with our grinders and other unique-to-us accoutrements, that "the dog would just bark," so to speak. But which of all of us would have our experience borne out, and whose dogs would just go to sleep? Ah, mixing metaphors. Since we're already doing that, then, it's like the joke about toast falling butter side down and cats landing on their feet: if you tied some toast to a cat's back and dropped it, which universal law would win?

I have almost no wash-through, myself. That's at the market. I do two 10 gram scoops for a 12 ounce cup, and three 10 gram scoops for a 16. That might sound like a weird proportionate increase (50% more coffee for 33% more brew), but remember that extraction efficiency reduces as the concentration of coffee increases, so the lower the ratio of water to grind the less efficient the extraction will be unless you can move the water through the grind and replace it with fresh, as quickly as it becomes concentrated (there's the logic for throughput in a cone, so darned contrary to the notion that you want to leave that concentrating coffee sit in the darned cone; immersion, yes -- lack of throughput, heck no). That and the bloomin' bloom.

Now that's with paper. No wash-through to speak of, using a Solis MP set two or three notches finer than drip. Maybe a teaspon or two, tops. I also stir with the stock Aero stirrer -- since I sell Aeros during market season, I want customers to taste exactly what the thing brews, done in a stock way. Well, almost stock -- max water and hotter water.

For my own brews, the inverted method makes it impossible to think about wash-through in terms of how varying the grind would eliminate it; poly's flow rate makes wash-through a dramatic fact of life, thus requiring inversion. But for my own brews I use the electric stirrer to suppress bloom, so that accelerates extraction significantly.

One other thing I've done that might have some effect on relative concentration of the brew -- with poly, you can withdraw the plunger to let some air into the column. Using the inverted method, I do that. One approach is to let a lot of air in, and tilt the plunger now and then while pressing to keep the plunger darned near the top of the Aero. Then when the puck is solid and the brew is through, the plunger may be tipped out without sucking the puck up the column, and a bit of additional water can be dropped in, then pressed through. This allows the concentrate that's stuck in the puck to be pressed into the cup, replaced by the fresh water. Lest anyone suggest this could result in over-extraction, remember that this is all about calculating -- mostly by intuition and experience -- just when the extraction is complete. If you plan your press to allow time for this before over-extraction is a real concern, it works fine.

Agreed, that's a marginal increase in efficiency, but anyone using their last gram of a fine coffee until the following season for that origin, knows what it's like to not want to leave anything good in a silly puck when it could be in the cup.    ;-)
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