According to a study earlier this year, it was found that 64% of Americans drink coffee every day. That’s roughly 400 million cups of coffee, with an average cup containing 95mg of caffeine. That’s a lot of caffeinated people, not to mention the decaf drinkers.
Are you part of the at-least-64%? If so, how do you prepare your coffee? There are so many options for coffee preparation that you can use a different method every day of the week for your making your cup… at least that’s the situation in our home.
We’ve gone through a number of drip coffee makers, including one that had a timer that ground the beans and brewed the coffee before we even wiggled a toe out of bed… but it sounded like a jet engine taking off, and we decided the convenience wasn’t worth the rude awakening.
After the jet-engine drip machine found its way to the local thrift shop, we switched to Keurig with refillable pods. We exhausted three of the refillable Keurig machines, before switching to manual pour-over and French press coffee makers, while the big and little Moka stovetop espresso brewers sat mostly unnoticed in a cabinet.
Our latest coffee-making tool is an AeroPress. The AeroPress is made up of a cylindrical chamber that holds your ground coffee, a plunger that fits inside to push out the coffee and water, a detachable filter cap and comes with lots of paper filters. You also get a paddle for stirring and a coffee scoop designed for this. It uses full immersion of finely ground coffee and perfectly extracts coffee’s flavor in a short period of time, resulting in a super smooth, rich cup of coffee.
I know that sounds like a lot to tackle pre-coffee, but once you get the hang of it, it’s quite easy. I don’t plan to drink hotel-room coffee ever again, now that we can pack the AeroPress. It’s also terrific for camping, where you might not have access to hot water but you have access to finely ground coffee and a bottled water for almost-instant cold brew. I see our future road trips with AeroPress cold brew in the making.
Here’s how you do it. Get your water heating to about 175 degrees F (this is when the bubbles first start to appear). Take the plunger out of the chamber (I don’t store ours inside the chamber since I read it was bad for the rubber part of the plunger). Put the filter in the cap (wet the filter to remove any “paper” taste). Reattach the filter cap on the chamber and stand it on a study mug.
For one serving, put one rounded scoop of finely ground coffee into the chamber, and give it a shake to level the coffee. Put it back on the mug, and add 175 degree F water to the number 1 that’s printed on the side of the chamber (there’s 1 through 4), or room temp water if you’re making a serving of cold brew.
Using the stirring paddle that comes with your AeroPress, stir it for about 10 seconds for hot brewing and 1 minute for cold brewing. Insert the plunger and press gently, until you feel resistance and hear kind of a hissing sound. That means you’ve pressed all the coffee beverage out of the chamber.
At this point, you can drink it as a shot of espresso, add water to fill an 8 oz. mug for American coffee, add milk to fill the 8 oz. mug for a latte, or add ice water to fill that same size mug for cold brew.
I love the taste of the coffee that comes out of the AeroPress – there’s much lower acidity, no bitterness, and it can be used to make rich and smooth American style coffee, espresso or cold brew coffee.
The best thing, in my opinion, is that you can make one to four cups of coffee in about a minute. I always thought that four minutes in the French press was fast. One-minute coffee without bitterness is amazing, especially when you’re bleary-eyed and trying to make the morning beverage.
But, in case you need some cold brew tomorrow and don’t have an AeroPress, here’s how to make cold brew the old-fashioned way that I’ve used since I discovered cold brew, and will probably still use if I need a large amount. And remember, you don’t have to drink cold brew cold – you can add hot water to the concentrated coffee – it’s just brewed with cold water.
Cold Brew Coffee at Home
1 cup coarsely-ground coffee beans
4 cups cold water
Add ground coffee and cold water together in a large container (bowl or in a one-quart mason jar). Stir briefly to combine. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours (or up to 24 hours), or leave it on a safe spot on the kitchen counter.
Remove the container, and place a strainer covered with a cheesecloth in a second bowl or jar. Pour the coffee (and grounds) over the strainer, and wait a minute or two until the liquid has filtered through the strainer. Discard the grounds and remove the strainer.
Serve the coffee over ice, stirring in water to dilute the coffee at a 1:2 or 1:1 concentrate/water ratio, or to taste. Refrigerate the remaining coffee concentrate in a sealed container for up to 1 week.
To make iced coffee, pack a glass full of ice cubes. Fill glass 2/3 full with coffee liquid. Add healthy splash of half-and-half. Add 2-3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (or use maple syrup, honey, plain sugar or your sweetener of choice instead) and stir to combine. Taste and adjust half-and-half and/or sweetener as needed.