As promised earlier in the week, a quick catch up on the stuff I’ve missed while being: knee deep in code, colour charts, product photos (and goodness knows what else) whilst being surrounded by numerous empty coffee cups and pizza boxes; or in four words: building the new website.
Archive for the ‘Brewing Methods’ Category
We are now stocking the Aerobie AeroPress in our webshop. The coffee maker is £21.95 and the Micro-filters are £3.95 for a pack of 350.
What is the AeroPress
For me, the AeroPress has to be one of biggest breakthroughs in coffee making history since Achille Gaggia gave birth to the modern day espresso machine. I’m not the only one to think these coffee makers are great, a group of coffee professionals where so inspired that they started the World AeroPress Championship (WAC).
Last week I posted about a new brewing method I was experimenting with, aimed at keeping the water temperature of the brew in the optimum extraction range (i.e. 90-95°C) for longer.
What’s wrong with the standard method?
In the standard method, you allow the water in your kettle to cool after boiling to around 95°C before adding to your cafetiere (french press). The problem is that once the water is poured into the cafetiere, the cafetiere sucks heat out of the water until the cafetiere and water are at the same temperature. Even with pre-heating the cafetiere, inside a few seconds of adding the water, the temperature has already dropped by 4-5°C. As the temperature will continue to drop by 2-3°C every minute during the brew, the time spent in the optimum extraction range could be less than 1 minute.
..drinking too much coffee!For the last week or so, I’ve been trying to come up with a new method for brewing with a cafetiere. It all started when I was testing our new thermal cafetieres (french press) for a previous post. I notice something that is really obvious, but hadn’t crossed my mind before: when you add water to a cafetiere, the cafetiere immediately sucks some of the temperature out of the water.
Even if you pre-heat a cafetiere, its temperature is still lower than the water in your kettle (which of course you’ve left to cool down a bit after boiling). So as soon as you pour the water into the cafetiere, it absorbs heat away from the water until they’re both at the same temperature. As cafetieres are usually made from conductive materials (glass or stainless steel) this heat sync occurs within seconds of pouring water into it.
One of the biggest problems when describing a brewing method is getting across what size of ground coffee to use. The trouble is that each grind setting on a coffee grinder will produce a range of sizes rather than one exact size.
How coffee grinders work
The reason we get a range of sizes from a grinder, is that grinders use a crushing action to break the bean into smaller pieces. On a conical burr grinder, there are two discs: a female cylindrical disc and a male dome shaped disc. Each disc has ridges (know as teeth) running across its surface, and it’s these ridges which crush the bean. Obviously crushing isn’t an exact science. Irregular sized pieces break off from the bean each time it’s crushed between the grinder’s teeth.
If you look at the cross section below of a burr grinder: the bean enters at the top and as it progresses down, the gap narrows between the two discs, breaking the bean into smaller and smaller pieces. The ground coffee cannot escape from between the grinding discs until it’s small enough to fit through the gap at the bottom (indicated by the two red arrows).
If you haven’t already seen this brewing guide, it’s definately worth watching. It has to be the most ingenous way to brew filter coffee.
I wonder if they’re missing a trick by not using a heavily soiled sock to filter the coffee through?
Of course it’s a joke. But if you do try this method, and survive (with only minor gut rot!), let me know how it tasted.
What is the best way to brew coffee? Well I’m afraid to say I’m sitting on the fence with this one. Each brew method produces a different taste so in my book they’re all good (well most of them). It’s like cooking an egg: fried, poached, scrambled, boiled; they all taste different.
Today, I’m going to focus on filter (sometimes called drip) and cafetiere (French press), as they are the two simplest (and cheapest) ways to brew coffee at home.
The cafetiere produces a rich full bodied cup in comparison to the filter method. With a cafetiere the grounds are steeped in hot water (like brewing tea) and this extracts more compounds from the coffee. Steeping extracts oils, which add a creamy/buttery rich flavour to the cup. With the filter method hardly any oils are present.
So what is body and what difference does it make to the taste? Well body refers to the feeling in your mouth. Filter coffee, with its lighter body, just coats the tongue as it gently slivers down the back of your throat. Whereas, the fuller bodied cafetiere, coats the whole of your mouth making the flavour far more enduring. A good analogy is water (with its light body) in comparison to milk (heavy bodied).