Words by Matt Carter
It will come as no surprise when I say that I really love coffee. Everything about it excites me, the way it has the potential to change the world, the way it wakes me up, and without doubt the way it tastes.
This year I have learnt to enjoy espresso, I have found that when extracted beautifully it is an amazing drink that can be delicious. As the guys from Blue Bottle Coffee Co. said, "deliciousness is our primary concern." That has become a bit of a mantra for me as I pursue the perfect cup. However I can't afford a R60,000.00 espresso machine to put in my house so at home I started collecting a variety of home brewing devises one of them is the Aeropress.
A few days ago I competed in and won the regional 2014 Aeropress competition and this is how I did it, from the very beginning...
In 2011 I travelled through Africa looking at coffee farms for 5 months and just before we left Cuth Bland from Bean There Coffee lent us an Aeropress to make our coffee with as we travelled. By the time we got back we had a fair idea how to use it and make it, however it becomes obvious the more time you spend using it that there are quite a few methods of making it, almost everything is a variable. That was one of the main reasons the Aeropress competitions came about so that we could find a way to make the perfect Aeropress.
The Aeropress can make anything from an espresso style drink to a filter drink, the competition requires that we make a filter style coffee with a minimum of 200ml’s of coffee. The judging is done blind and deliciousness is the primary concern. You may only use the coffee that the organisers provide and all the contestants use the same coffee. You get 8 minutes to make your coffee as soon as you are done you raise your hand and a runner takes the coffee in a glass to the judges where a winner is chosen. At no point do the judges know who made the coffee or how it was made. If you familiar with the TV reality show “The Voice” it is kind of like that.
I looked at what my variables were and started experimenting with them
Although I couldn’t choose my coffee I could play with the grind size and quantity.
I tried different waters and filtration devises but in the end decided to trust the Everpure filtered water on the stage. I also played with different temperatures.
3. Extraction time
I don’t think I can safely say that I have quite cracked this one yet to be honest.
Changing the amount you agitate the coffee in the water can have varying results.
5. Filter paper
This is a big one. The Aeropress comes with a pack of filters, but that doesn’t mean we have to use them. I looked at a lot of different filter papers before finally settling on the paper from the Chemex which I cut up.
The main selling point on the Aeropress is ease of use so I didn’t want to deviate from that too much, with no further ado, here it is:
Place the filter paper into the filter basket of the Aeropress and rinse thoroughly with hot water.
Attach basket back onto the Aeropress and head over to the grinder.
I used the scoop that the Aeropress comes with to measure 2 and half scoops of whole coffee beans.
I used a 2.5 grind on the Ditting Guatemala grinder to grind the coffee straight into the Aeropress.
Place Aeropress filter basket down onto a receptacle, I used a clean steel milk pitcher.
Pour in water till the water reaches just below the 4 mark, use your Aeropress paddle to agitate in a back and forth motion 4 times.
Put the plunger part of the Aeropress on but so that it just seals the unit DO NOT PLUNG. Wait 30 seconds.
Remove plunger and agitate with paddle in a circular pattern rapidly 5 times creating a whirlpool.
Reinsert plunger and plunge immediately taking +- 15 seconds for the plunge.
Continue plunging till the plunger just touches the coffee. If at any point you see coffee coming out the side of the unit plunge softer.
That’s pretty much it, not too hard.
The Aeropress remains my go-to travel coffee maker and I really like it at home as well. The competition was great fun and I was up against Ishan (Tribeca)
who won last year and Jonathan (Bean There)
whose coffee we were using but we were there to have fun and between Jono licking my hand cut filter paper and Ishan peering over my shoulder we managed to do just that.
Thank you to the other competitors, SCASA and the Aeropress team
for giving us the opportunity to have fun and pursue deliciousness.