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eieio
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Joined: 17 Apr 2013
Posts: 31
Location: New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Apr 19, 2013, 11:16am
Subject: Aeropress: What might be a logical next "best improvement"?
 

Dear All:

I've long been a coffee lover but have only very recently started to make coffee at home again, having been drinking tea for roughly the last 8 years, and only having coffee "out".   Previously, I've used my French Press for roughly 5-10 years.

Just bought the Aeropress and the Baratza Virtuoso and finding that the coffee is very good indeed!  Btw, I am trying to use mostly decaf beans as i have high blood pressure, and i enjoy a 10+ ounce cup of coffee, i.e. an Americano (espresso isn't enough volume of liquid for me to sip).

May I ask the knowledgeable good folks here for advice on how best to make my next step to improving upon my Aeropress?

I was thinking that possibly, the Eva Solo Cafe Solo might be a good next step improvement.

Far greater a commitment would be the Bunn Trifecta at $550, or a higher quality espresso machine to pull 2 shots and adding water to make Americanos (or Americani?), which would be possibly in the $1,000 range+.

Any advice would be most appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,051
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Apr 19, 2013, 11:54am
Subject: Re: Aeropress: What might be a logical next "best improvement"?
 

Aeropress makes a coffee concentrate, similar to a stovetop mokapot (though i my opinion, much, much better).  There's not really anywhere to go from there...for the same thing.  You seem to want something different...perhaps espresso, but maybe siphon, high-end pourover, drip or presspot?

Before getting too deep, can I ask where you purchase your beans, and how long post-roasting you use them?

It would be more helpful if you could say what you do and don't like about the Aeropress brew (other than volume)...and I suppose one must assume you have exhausted the various methods of brwing with the Aeropress and/or have maxed out on optimizing technique.  

There are newer press pots with better filtering systems than the standard Bodum chambord (like the Espro press for instance).  If it's an ultra clean cup full of flavor you seek, well, maybe you do want siphon (such as from a Cona or Yama).

The Bunn Trifecta has great reviews and a following.  

If you have absolutely no interest whatsoever in frothing milk, you should look seriously at SBDU espresso machines...for espresso (which you could use to make an americano).

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Netphilosopher
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Joined: 14 Jan 2011
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Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Apr 19, 2013, 12:22pm
Subject: .
 

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eieio
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Joined: 17 Apr 2013
Posts: 31
Location: New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Apr 19, 2013, 12:56pm
Subject: Re: Aeropress: What might be a logical next "best improvement"?
 

emradguy Said:

Aeropress makes a coffee concentrate, similar to a stovetop mokapot (though i my opinion, much, much better).  There's not really anywhere to go from there...for the same thing.  You seem to want something different...perhaps espresso, but maybe siphon, high-end pourover, drip or presspot?

Before getting too deep, can I ask where you purchase your beans, and how long post-roasting you use them?

It would be more helpful if you could say what you do and don't like about the Aeropress brew (other than volume)...and I suppose one must assume you have exhausted the various methods of brwing with the Aeropress and/or have maxed out on optimizing technique.  

There are newer press pots with better filtering systems than the standard Bodum chambord (like the Espro press for instance).  If it's an ultra clean cup full of flavor you seek, well, maybe you do want siphon (such as from a Cona or Yama).

The Bunn Trifecta has great reviews and a following.  

If you have absolutely no interest whatsoever in frothing milk, you should look seriously at SBDU espresso machines...for espresso (which you could use to make an americano).

Posted April 19, 2013 link

Thank you, emradguy and Netphilosopher, for a considerate, thorough reply.  Clearly, you are indeed trying to be genuinely helpful and not just give a flip answer!  Much appreciated.

While I actually enjoy the coffee i'm able to achieve via my Aeropress, I thought that I ought to experiment a bit and see if I'm actually able to do better, or do something different and yet still highly enjoyable.  I enjoy a good sized volume of liquid, so i'd want 10 oz+ of coffee, with a little half and half, no sugar.  The really excellent coffee I've been able to enjoy is from La Colombe (nyc) and i get an Americano from them.  I buy their decaf beans (due to my high blood pressure), and i'm also trying out Porto Rico Imports' (also nyc) numerous decaf options.  i went to Porto Rico Imports due primarily to buy 1/2 pound beans in order to "season" my Baratza Virtuoso Burr Grinder as they recommended in their manual, rather than using my most costly La Colombe beans.  I'd love to get more recommendations on what decaf options (as well as non decaf from time to time as well) i can buy/order.

btw, my preference is a very full bodied, rich, non-bitter cup of coffee, roughly 10 oz+, with a little half and half.

i fail to understand pourovers, but that may well be due to my ignorance.   i don't "get" why pourovers can be THAT great.  if anyone can educate me briefly, that would be swell!

i do understand espresso shots and, when adding hot water to it, it will result in a beautiful Americano that is super to my taste.  Problem is that it requires a machine which, in turn, requires cleaning, servicing, etc.   I am trying for the least amount of effort possible - that doesn't mean no effort, but minimal effort.  Hence, i started with the Aeropress.   Clean up with the Aeropress is 30 seconds of rinsing under the tap water.   I can't imagine any espresso machines that wouldn't required flushing this or that, due simply to its myriad of pipes, gaskets, etc.  On the other hand, it is possible that the quality of an Americano that is produced that way is NOT reproducible any other way, and that one would need to use either the Aeropress or xyz in order to get somewhat or a facsimile.

You suggestions all sound quite interesting and possibly great!  The only one I don't quite get, as mentioned, is possibly the Clever Coffee Dripper, but then again, i have not yet fully investigated it and i already see that it has a valve built-in, so it is not merely a simple drip.

Oh, btw, i might also need a BPA-free water kettle.  My current several years old Breville is NOT BPA-free, i just discovered!  Yikes.  on the other hand, i've always wondered:   wouldn't all the bad BPA have leached out over the past several years?!?   In that case, isn't there no incremental harm done by using it now?

I am willing to go to a Bunn Trifecta or a costlier, proper espresso machine.   I'm just hoping that I might not need to, or can find something that is deeply satisfying yet doesn't need that much servicing/maintenance.

Thanks again!
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Netphilosopher
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Joined: 14 Jan 2011
Posts: 1,602
Location: USA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Apr 19, 2013, 1:31pm
Subject: .
 

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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,051
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Apr 19, 2013, 1:49pm
Subject: Re: Aeropress: What might be a logical next "best improvement"?
 

eieio Said:

While I actually enjoy the coffee i'm able to achieve via my Aeropress, I thought that I ought to experiment a bit and see if I'm actually able to do better, or do something different and yet still highly enjoyable.

Posted April 19, 2013 link

certainly reasonable.  I mentioned the other comments about maxing out Aeropress becasue of the methods people have described (largely in the owner's thread here), and the comments that the creator, alan Adler, has made to help many people get the most out of it.

eieio Said:

I enjoy a good sized volume of liquid, so i'd want 10 oz+ of coffee, with a little half and half, no sugar.  

Posted April 19, 2013 link

This is close to where I was for many years with coffee.  I'm almost pure espresso-based milk drinks now.  so I can understand where the leap from americano to espresso comes from.  i thinkyou'd be best to have a fair number of espresso based drinks at great cafes before deciding to jump down that rabbit hole. There are guys here who've spent more money on espresso gear than their car (seriously)!

eieio Said:

The really excellent coffee I've been able to enjoy is from La Colombe (nyc) and i get an Americano from them.  I buy their decaf beans (due to my high blood pressure), and i'm also trying out Porto Rico Imports' (also nyc) numerous decaf options.  i went to Porto Rico Imports due primarily to buy 1/2 pound beans in order to "season" my Baratza Virtuoso Burr Grinder as they recommended in their manual, rather than using my most costly La Colombe beans.  I'd love to get more recommendations on what decaf options (as well as non decaf from time to time as well) i can buy/order.

Posted April 19, 2013 link

I don't know the local places in NYC, so I can't comment on them.  However, I think you can get great results sticking with this list (last updated October 2012).  Many/most of them offer decaf.

Click Here (www.home-barista.com)

eieio Said:

btw, my preference is a very full bodied, rich, non-bitter cup of coffee, roughly 10 oz+, with a little half and half.

Posted April 19, 2013 link

Regarding bitterness; there are several things you can do to decrease that...lower your brew temp, shorten your extraction time, grind coarser, try a lighter roast.

eieio Said:

i do understand espresso shots and, when adding hot water to it, it will result in a beautiful Americano that is super to my taste.  Problem is that it requires a machine which, in turn, requires cleaning, servicing, etc.   I am trying for the least amount of effort possible - that doesn't mean no effort, but minimal effort.  Hence, i started with the Aeropress.   Clean up with the Aeropress is 30 seconds of rinsing under the tap water.   I can't imagine any espresso machines that wouldn't required flushing this or that, due simply to its myriad of pipes, gaskets, etc.  On the other hand, it is possible that the quality of an Americano that is produced that way is NOT reproducible any other way, and that one would need to use either the Aeropress or xyz in order to get somewhat or a facsimile.

Posted April 19, 2013 link

yeah, espresso is messy and you have to do regular maintenance (some daily), no way around that...but like you said (and I do think you've hit the nail on the head), there's no comparison to real espresso.  So, you have to decide if it's worth it or not.

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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eieio
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Apr 2013
Posts: 31
Location: New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Apr 19, 2013, 3:23pm
Subject: Re: Aeropress: What might be a logical next "best improvement"?
 

emradguy Said:

certainly reasonable.  I mentioned the other comments about maxing out Aeropress becasue of the methods people have described (largely in the owner's thread here), and the comments that the creator, alan Adler, has made to help many people get the most out of it.

This is close to where I was for many years with coffee.  I'm almost pure espresso-based milk drinks now.  so I can understand where the leap from americano to espresso comes from.  i thinkyou'd be best to have a fair number of espresso based drinks at great cafes before deciding to jump down that rabbit hole. There are guys here who've spent more money on espresso gear than their car (seriously)!

Reply:  just to clear it up, i'm not jumping from Americano to espresso.  i actually enjoy the larger volume of liquid of an Americano or drip or French Press, et al.  Just wanted to clear that up because i might have been insufficiently clear.  i actually do not even prefer a cappuccino over an Americano w/half and half or an Aeropress w/half and half.  i find that the addition of half and half to a robust cup of 10 oz+ coffee gives me more personal enjoyment over an espresso (too little liquid for me).

I don't know the local places in NYC, so I can't comment on them.  However, I think you can get great results sticking with this list (last updated October 2012).  Many/most of them offer decaf.

Click Here (www.home-barista.com)

Regarding bitterness; there are several things you can do to decrease that...lower your brew temp, shorten your extraction time, grind coarser, try a lighter roast.

yeah, espresso is messy and you have to do regular maintenance (some daily), no way around that...but like you said (and I do think you've hit the nail on the head), there's no comparison to real espresso.  So, you have to decide if it's worth it or not.

Posted April 19, 2013 link

Well, even if there is no comparison to a "real" double shot of espresso plus hot water,  might there be a method that comes closer to that than my current Aeropress?   THAT was what I was questioning.

Regarding the Clever Coffee Dripper:  may i ask why pourover is that much superior to standard drip coffee please?   it would seem like drip coffeemakers are already dripping the hot water very very slowly!!   is it merely the fact that with pourover, one drips the hot water over the grinds EVEN MORE slowly?   something makes it difficult for me to comprehend.   i'm not sure if i'm being clear in explaining my brain block here ;)

Re:  BPA - are there other harmful chemicals emitted by various plastics besides BPA?  or, is BPA the only one we need to be concerned about currently?

Electric Water Kettles:   my Breville of several years, while visually entirely made of stainless steel, actually has a window with plastic on it that allows one to see the water level, and Breville has stated that it is NOT BPA-free.   The best electric kettles that I can find is the Bonavita Variable Temperature models - there are 2 models:  a gooseneck version with no plastic window, and a non-gooseneck one with a plastic window (but Bonavita emailed me to tell me that NO Bonavita products have BPA, though i'd still find the 100% stainless gooseneck one to be the safer bet).   The advantage of these Bonavita ones, besides being BPA-free, is that they are said to be accurate to +/- 1 C degree.   That is very convenient for my green tea brewing as well as my Aeropress, as i'm trying to fine tune my technique with the Aeropress.

Aeropress final temperature:  i don't even like my coffee super hot but i find that when i'm done with my Aeropress, the resultant coffee is a bit too lukewarm for even me!!   i wonder if i should microwave it just a few seconds to bring the final temperature up 10 degrees?
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,051
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Apr 19, 2013, 4:47pm
Subject: Re: Aeropress: What might be a logical next "best improvement"?
 

Anything closer to espresso than Aeropress? Not to my knowledge, but with a mokapot you can make a higher volume and it may be hotter.

Why is pour over such as Clever better than routine drip. I'm no expert on the method, but all but a few drip machines have poor water temp control and lousy distribution of the water over the grounds, with pour over you can drastically improve both of those factors. I've seen some people post that you must have a gooseneck kettle to make good pour over

I know little to nothing about plastics and food safety.

I personally would never put anything "coffee" in the microwave. Others may support that idea...I don't know.

 
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rasqual
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rasqual
Joined: 29 Jun 2005
Posts: 1,071
Location: Chicago area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: *$ Barista, non-pressurized
Grinder: SMP
Vac Pot: Yama, Aeropress
Drip: Porcelain Melitta 103, Hario
Roaster: "ring roaster", mod popper
Posted Fri Apr 19, 2013, 8:48pm
Subject: Re: Aeropress: What might be a logical next "best improvement"?
 

eieio:

One can't answer the abstract question of why (or how) a manual pourover is better than an standard drip (you mean auto, I assume?), without getting into particulars. Generalizations just aren't helpful.

Someone doing a manual pourover without literacy in the brewing variables is going to get a good cup only by happy accident or by vague intuition. And automatic drip machines vary widely in their rate of flow and temperature, not to mention drip pattern (showerhead efficacy) and so forth.

If a person's literate, a manual pourover offers control, whereas the automatic drip machines -- all gazillion different cheap ones designed by junior engineers -- leave control in the hands of those engineers. Since all the designs vary widely in their performance, it's nonsense to assume that each of them could be "right" or "ideal." In some cases it might matter how much effort you put into dialing in a grind for 'em, if their temperature and water flow suck.

Coffee geeks often prefer manual methods for the same reasons that sport plane pilots prefer really, really responsive controls. It puts the user in control. You're entirely responsible for the outcome. That's bad if a person is illiterate -- but good if they're not.

Laypersons can profit from automatic drip machines -- but they profit most when those machines are selected based on the recommendations of knowing coffee geeks who can at least spot a crappy machine quickly, and can cite a few known excellent ones.

Something like that.
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Netphilosopher
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Posted Sun Apr 21, 2013, 1:18pm
Subject: .
 

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