Next Level Coffee Snobbery

I haven’t brewed a typical ‘cup’ of coffee at home for over three years. I drink 1-3 cups a day but in a particular coffee-snob kind of way.

I’ve been exclusively brewed using an Aeropress.

An Aeropress is basically a vacuum plunger where you attach a filter to the bottom of a plastic tube, load grounds into the tube, and after adding water and stirring the grounds, plunge water through the grounds. I wasn’t initially using a particularly ‘nice’ kettle and so wasn’t regulating the water temperature very rigorously. Despite this, the simple shift from a coffee maker-made coffee to Aeropress represented a a massive step-up in my morning coffee experience.

Enter a Proper Kettle

A few years ago I bought the Cuisinart CPK-17 PerfecTemp Cordless Electric Kettle so that I could precisely heat my water to the temperature I wanted. This kettle will let you select one of six preset temperatures (160°, 175°, 185°, 190°, 200°, and Boil) whereas a normal kettle is far less specific in the temperature it can consistently reach.

The Aeropress plus Cuisinart combination plus good coffee beans that were recently roasted (i.e. within a week or so) has always resulted in pretty good coffee. But if you spend time looking at the Aeropress championships that take place around the world, and the recipes that the baristas use, you find that they measure out the beans and water by weight.1

Weighing Everything Out

I got a scale for Christmas to weight out the amounts of water and coffee beans I use in making coffee. I’m using an American Weigh Scales (SG-2KG) Digital Pocket Scale. After trying it out I learned something profound: I’ve been using almost the precise amounts of boiling water and coffee beans as many of the most popular Aeropress recipes!2

I’m guessing that the scale will ensure that I’m better able to control for quality each time, and so instead of almost nailing the perfect balance of water and beans I’ll have a ‘perfect press’ more regularly. I’ll also be able to try out other recipes with accuracy and confidence. But it was surprising to learn that despite adding the extra coffee gear it’s actual improvements may be less significant than I’d expected.

Now I just have to upgrade to an even better burr grinder…

  1. They also have a specific number of times they’ll churn the water over the coffee, break up when they add water, and more. It gets pretty complicated and ritualistic.
  2. The technique varies between the recipes I’ve looked at, but weights are pretty consistent.