Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Trusty Aero Press

I know I have it good when getting a quality, hassle free, cup of coffee, is one of the biggest stresses in my life.  
Back in Philadelphia I used the Keurig coffee maker for my daily dose of coffee.  I occasionally used the prepackaged k-cups when friends gave them to me (thanks Drew) or if I decided to splurge at the grocery store.  Otherwise, I filled the reusable Keurig coffee pods with Starbucks or La Colombe coffee, hit the start button, and in a minute or two I would be on my way.  

I was never convinced that the Keurig provided a superior tasting cup of coffee.  But it was quick and convenient, so I rarely gave it a second thought.  

Rachel’s parents brought a Keurig coffee maker to Ecuador.  They don’t sell the prepackaged k-cups here, so I filled the reusable Keurig coffee pods with local coffee.  But it has never worked correctly.  The ground coffee sold in stores was of the espresso grind.  This grind was too fine for the machine causing only a few ounces to drip out with each brew cycle.  The quickness and convenience of the Keurig was gone.  Instead of a minute or two for a cup of coffee, it took ten.  The longer I waited the more I became aware of not only the annoyance, but also the mediocre flavor that the machine produced.  I noticed the excessive grit left at the bottom of my coffee cup and the cloudy flavor that overwhelmed each sip.  

I put everything in my life on hold, which wasn’t difficult to do, and went on a search for the perfect coffee machine to replace the Keurig.  I found the Aero Press.  It was affordable, around $30.  It was easy to clean, a cinch to use, produced an excellent cup of coffee, and was light and easy to transport.  This last feature was important because my mom would be bringing it from the U.S., and we had already asked her to bring two fifty pound bags filled with essentials like jars of peanut butter, pistachios, almonds, diapers, and about fifteen pairs of shoes for Teo, verifying Rachel’s shoe fetish.  You’re the best mom.  

The Aero Press arrived, along with the other goodies, and I couldn’t wait to take it out of the box.  It felt like Christmas.  The simple device had six pieces, and some included paper filters.  I was not the technical type, and thought this might be too difficult for me to figure out.  I still needed Rachel’s help to plug the DVD player into the TV.  I was doomed.  I wondered if I made a mistake and should return to the Keurig with my head between my legs, begging for it to have me back.  

I took a deep breath, and read the trusty instructions.  I could do this, I told myself.  There were only seven easy steps.  After a few dry runs I gave it a try.  (See demonstration below.)  And my life would never be the same.  The Aero Press saved me from a near stress induced mental breakdown, and being shipped off to one of those Ecuadorian lunatic asylums.  I would be forever grateful.      

The process was easy.  If I could do it.  Anyone could do it.  There were no special techniques or barista training necessary.  From start to finish, with clean up included, the process took 3 minutes and 35 seconds.  Don’t get me wrong, it was more involved than pressing a button on the Keurig.  But the coffee was far superior, and worth the extra time.  

The basic cup of coffee from the Aero Press resembled an Americano, which happens to be my favorite coffee brew and could also present a bit of a bias on my part.  The coffee was clean and crisp and grit free while presenting the unique natural coffee flavors inherent to the beans.  The Aero Press cup of coffee was better than many of the Americanos that I have had at specialty café’s made with thousands of dollars of equipment and comparable to some of the better Americano’s that I have had at some of the better café’s made with even more expensive equipment.

Now that this stress was solved I could move onto the other pressing stresses in my life like not having graham crackers for the nighttime s’mores by the campfire.

What machine do you use to brew your coffee? 

Below is a Aero Press demonstration with some notes included.  Let me know if you have any questions that weren’t covered.   

The parts including a re-usable filter that I purchased separately. (The included scooper and funnel are not in picture.  I forgot to include the scooper and don't use the funnel.)

Place filter (paper or re-usable) into the filter holder and attach to the main compartment.

Inside view with filter attached.

Put one scoop of coffee with included scooper into the main compartment.
Place compartment onto the coffee cup that you will be using.

Fill with boiling water above line "2."  If you put in too much water it will make the coffee bitter.

Stir coffee with included stirrer for about 10 seconds (maybe a bit more).  If some coffee drips through which will happen if you use regular drip grind, fill it back up to above the "2" line, after finished stirring.  Espresso grind is recommended.

Put plunger on top of main compartment and push down slowly.  It will be more difficult to push with espresso grind.
After all the boiled water is pushed into the coffee cup.  The coffee cup may not be full.  Fill to your liking with boiling water.

Clean up is simple.

Remove filter holder.

Push down the plunger and force the coffee grinds (along with paper filter) into the trash.  Obviously, save the re-usable filter and clean it.

Rinse.  Finished.  Easy.  Enjoy.