Saturday, January 15, 2011

Aeropress: The “Tobias” Full Cup:

In my recent review of the Aeropress, I lauded it for its espresso coffee, but expressed reservations about using it to make a full cup. The Aeropress instructions are, basically, to make an espresso and then add hot water to fill your coffee cup, the so-called “American.” Their idea does not work well for me. I think their American cup tastes rather thin.

Nonetheless, the Aeropress makes good coffee beans delicious, and it make adequate coffee beans taste better than they should. There ought to be a way to make a fine full cup of coffee, and I believe I’ve discovered it. Here’s how to make

The Tobias Cup:

Set your Aeropress apparatus over a mug or coffee cup, and make a single espresso. I recommend filling the water level to just above the circled ‘1’ on your Aeropress. (If your coffee cup holds only six ounces, use a little less water.)

After you have pushed all the water into your cup, slowly pull the two big Aeropress components apart. There’s some suction involved when you do this, so you may find that the coffee grounds rise near the top of the cylinder. If they do, tap the grounds gently with a spoon and they will fall back down onto the filter. Set your apparatus on your cup again, and a second time, pour water up to the “1” level and make a single espresso, even though you are using the same coffee grounds and adding liquid to the same cup. You are extracting more caffeine and more taste from the coffee grounds.

Repeat this process a third time. You have now essentially made three espresso cups, six to eight ounces of liquid in all, in your coffee cup. The second and third extractions are much weaker than the first one, so you have not made a triple espresso! You’ve made a fine, full cup of coffee.

Notes: If you prefer a mild full coffee cup, skip the third extraction.

I recommend using a new filter for this process. Using the filter three times like this puts a strain on the paper. I think it won’t tear, but it can crimp, and allow grounds to be pushed past it into your coffee cup. If that happens, do not despair! Simply pour your cup through a strainer to remove the excess grounds. (You may want to buy a small metal strainer for this purpose, for less than $5.) I have experienced this problem only once. The Aeropress instructions tell you to push down gently when you make your coffee. ‘Gently’ is the watchword here. Pressing hard increases the risk that the filter paper will crimp.

Tobias? That’s me. Enjoy your fine full Tobias Cup of Aeropress coffee. I think it’s wonderful.
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