Let’s go beyond the Keurig and Mr. Coffee to explore the different brewing methods of the Aeropress and Clever Drip.
I can tell you exactly when I started exploring the world of coffee. Embarrassing, but I began with sugar-filled Mocha Frappuccinos at the UF Library West Starbucks. Hardly coffee… I know. But that was the first “coffee drink” I’d tried. It wasn’t until I began college that I gave it a try. I have to say, I don’t understand why high schoolers think they need coffee. Yet, at the same time, I look back at my high school years, waking up at 5-something, at school by 6:45AM, class all day, then practice until 5:30PM… how did I survive without coffee?
Since my Frappuccino days, I’ve discovered a whole new world of coffee. I love searching out new coffee shops, learning where their beans come from, their different brewing methods, and not to mention tasting their drinks.
Because there are so many different brewing methods that the average person isn’t even aware of, I thought I’d give you an inside look into the how-to for two methods that are new to me, as well. My friend Alfonso, owner of Know Where Coffee in midtown Gainesville, FL, was kind enough to give me a little live tutorial of the Aeropress and Clever Drip methods. His knowledge of everything coffee never ceases to amaze me.
Before this tutorial, I sure had never heard of an Aeropress. Similar to a French Press, it uses a plunging technique to thrust brewed coffee from their grounds through a paper filter.
Here’s how to achieve the perfect Aeropress coffee, as told by Alfonso of Know Where Coffee:
1) Turn the Aeropress upside down and insert the plunger just enough to seal the bottom.
2) Put the ground coffee into the chamber and add hot water until the desired volume is reached.
3) Steep for 1:45-2:00, stirring once or twice.
4) Screw the filter on and press just until a blond crema-like head appears on top.
5) Carefully invert the entire apparatus and place onto your mug or server, pressing down slowly for about 30 seconds.
The Aeropress is compact, easy and versatile. It allows to experiment with different
brewing parameters. We really enjoy using the Aeropress with complex coffees. For
these, we make use of the pressure applied by the Aeropress to highlight the most
subtle characteristics. This method also brings the best out of bright coffees; the
short brew time accentuates these characteristics.
To me, the Clever Drip is very similar to the pour over technique. The difference is that the Clever Drip uses a stop and release process that marries the water and coffee until they are ready to be served.
Because of this time of coffee-water interaction, it’s considered a full-
1. Place the filter (Melitta #4) in the cone, give it a thorough rinse with hot water, and then decant to warm and rinse your server or mug. This allows for the vessel and cup to be pre-heated and rinse any paper taste from filter.
2) After grinding the coffee, add it to the Clever.
3) Pour hot water (and simultaneously start timer) over the bed of coffee evenly until the desired volume is reached. We like to break the crust immediately after pouring the desired water. This increases the rate of extraction.
4) Place the lid atop the cone to retain heat, and after 1:30 place the Clever on top of the receiving vessel. Draw-down should take about 1:30 seconds, for a total of 3 minutes.
It combines pour-over and immersion brewing to consistently produce a clean and
well-extracted coffee. This method can produce a great cup from the get-go.
Any coffee is well-suited for the Clever, given its flexibility.
It amazes me that the human race has constructed so many methods of brewing coffee. Each one unique in its own way, producing a different result. My go-to orders have evolved to a sweetened almond milk cappuccino, an Ethiopian pour over with almond or skim milk, or a cold brew on a hot day.
I’m not going to sit here and say that I don’t give Starbucks my money. I do. It’s convenient when I’m in a hurry, I do enjoy their flavors, and it’s one of very few coffee shops near where I live in Tampa *sobbing*… but let me just say that if there were a Starbucks and a local coffee shop right next to each other, I will almost always choose local.
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