Let me begin by saying this: I really like good coffee, but I am also very lazy about making it.
As the guy who used to drive me to high school would most certainly tell you, I am not a morning person. My brain, upon waking up, works like the slow loaner computer that IT gives you when your laptop is being repaired. Once it starts up, will it even connect to WiFi, or are you going to have to find an ethernet cable? The only solution, other than the passing of an hour or so, is of course to consume a cup of tasty hot caffeine water. And ideally, I’m making that cup using a method that my Windows 96 of a morning mind can handle.
Until recently, I would use one of these two simple methods: a standard drip coffee maker if I’m making coffee for more than myself, or a pour over if I’m flying solo. While these methods are standards, they’re imperfect. Drip coffee from a coffee maker, I’ve found, is often not hot enough. And a great cup of pour over requires a level of precision that’s incompatible with my head before 9am – you really need to measure the beans and grind them fresh to make a consistently not-bitter cup.
With all of this in mind, I say to all my fellow lazy coffee people: you need to try an AeroPress.
To the uninitiated, the AeroPress is essentially a $30 plastic contraption with a vacuum suction plunger doodad. It’s sort of like a French Press-pour over hybrid, that was invented by a retired Stanford engineering professor. If you’re a keep-it-simple coffee maker, that probably sends you running. I get it. With a name like “AeroPress,” a bunch of different parts, and the knowledge that many coffee geeks were obsessed with this thing, I had written off the AeroPress as too complicated. But when staying at an AirBnb recently that had one in the cupboard, I tried it out, and became a convert.
There are tons of “recipes” for the AeroPress, most of which involve precise measuring, grinding, and timing to produce the perfect cup of coffee. Professional baristas even enter their methods into international competitions. I admire that immensely, but as you already know, I was not about to do that.
I basically eyeball the simplest AeroPress brewing recipe I could find, and still end up with a perfect cup every morning.
I make my cup based on Stumptown’s “on the road” method, which is designed for an imprecise situation, like camping (and incidentally, my kitchen). I then use one scoop of ground coffee (I know, I’m supposed to be weighing and grinding it myself, but I don’t!), and estimate the timing in my head. I usually add a bit of extra hot water to fill out the cup and make sure it’s not overly strong. And every morning, I get a smooth, hot, delicious cup of coffee. I almost intentionally f*ck it up, but I cannot. The coffee is always good. It also takes maybe 5 seconds to clean up: you just plop the filter into the trash when you’re done and rinse it off.
To coffee pros and purists who may shudder at my lack of interest in weighing, grinding, and timing, I am sorry and I am impressed by you. At least I’m not using a Keurig! But to my fellow non-morning people who want to make a foolproof cup of coffee in approximately 2 minutes, do not be afraid of the AeroPress.
Hillary’s AeroPress Recipe For Lazy, Non-Morning People
I know that 11 steps seems like a lot, but do it for a few days and you’ll have mastered the method. You can skip rinsing the filter and the second stir if you absolutely must, but I do find I get a better cup if I follow all steps.
What You Need: - An AeroPress - Ground Coffee - Hot Water Kettle - Mug
- Boil water in a kettle.
- While water is boiling, put paper AeroPress filter into cap. Screw cap tightly onto chamber.
- Once water has boiled, rinse filter quickly with hot water to remove paper-y taste.
- Place chamber on top of mug.
- Using AeroPress scoop, add one scoop of ground coffee to chamber.
- Add hot water to chamber, up to the “1” marker and use paddle to stir while counting to 10.
- Add rest of hot water, up to the “4” marker.
- Place plunger in top of chamber, pulling up slightly to create a vacuum seal that will stop the coffee from dripping into the mug. (It’s OK that a little bit dripped in).
- After about a minute, remove plunger and stir for a moment with paddle.
- Place plunger back on and push down until all coffee is pushed into mug.
- Add more hot water (and milk) to taste.
If you do want to make two cups at once, you can add some extra coffee to the chamber to make a very strong brew and then dilute each cup with more water.
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