Clive·Coffee: Great coffee at home

Americano vs. Drip and French Press

Postby cinichol on Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:39 am

Hi all. I'm a newbie home enthusiast, and hope you'll forgive me if you've seen this question on other boards. :oops: At home I drink espresso shots or else Americanos made with an Aeropress, mypressi Twist, or moka pot. For the Americanos, of course, I make the shot, usually a double, and add hot water till the taste seems best. I do this with all roast levels. Am I missing anything by not using a French Press or drip maker? After I got the Aeropress, I figured I didn't need a French Press, but the brew process and concept is quite different between the two, and so I'm just wondering if I'm missing a different coffee experience by not have the press in the house.
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Postby Lady Croft on Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:57 am

Hi cinichol!

Well, I consider myself an enthusiast also, though probably not an expert my any means... but I've had a lot of experience with brewed coffee for the last 2 years, whilst I've been espresso-machine-less!

I have almost every kind of brewing apparatus exept turkish and a chemex. In my opinion, you are missing a different coffee experience with EACH type of brewing! They are all a bit different, and lend their own special qualities to the cup.

I usually go in phases. Right now I'm in a manual pourover and vacuum pot phase. Before that I was using the Aeropress quite exlusively for awhile. And I've been turning to my french press every once and a while too for that unique experience one can only get from a french press. I find that I need ALL these different types of brewing methods to give myself options, and to keep myself constantly interested and surprised.

The french press will give you an entirely different experience from an americano made with an aeropress. The aeropress makes a very nice, smooth, clean cup. sometimes I really enjoy that. Although I also have found that sometimes the aeropress seems to mute or hide certain flavor layers...so that it's very smooth but some fruity flavors seem to be hidden a bit more. The french press will create a VERY rich full-bodied cup, and usually the fruity flavors will be clear and pronounced. It's not a "clean" cup - but it's a GOOD one. Completely different, and definitely something not to miss out on. I had stopped using mine for a long time, but now I'm back on it, realizing how amazing it can be!

A pourover is also different from the aeropress but in more subtle ways than the vast difference of a french press. It's also a clean cup, but just different. I like using my Hario cloth drip pot too, alternating with my usual paper filter melitta pourover.

In short, I say that yes indeed you should get a french press and enjoy the very unique experience it provides in a cup of coffee, and in my opinion you should try other brewing methods as well. You're missing out on them if you don't! :) don't limit yourself to just the aeropress!
mmm coffeeeee. I want some now...

~Jessie
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Postby yakster on Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:14 pm

Marco in Ireland, and presumably the SCAE would tell you that you are missing something. There's several very interesting presentations click here (http://www.marco.ie) that compare the two beverages, but I think that someone has a stake in the filtered coffee market.

Personally, I never really enjoyed an Americano like I do a good filtered or pressed cup with a 4+ minute contact time and I agree that your missing something if you don't try the other prep methods. It's been too long since I've made Turkish coffee.
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Postby zin1953 on Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:38 pm

yakster wrote:Personally, I never really enjoyed an Americano like I do a good filtered cup with a 4+ minute contact time and I agree that your missing something if you don't try the other prep methods.

+1
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Postby CoffeeOwl on Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:12 pm

yakster wrote:Personally, I never really enjoyed an Americano like I do a good filtered or pressed cup with a 4+ minute contact time and I agree that your missing something if you don't try the other prep methods. It's been too long since I've made Turkish coffee.

Opposite for me. I enjoy very much Americanos, though lately almost not drinking them at all - but never really liked a cup of brewed coffee. That's exactly what put me into espresso: I loved coffee smell, but never taste. I was even trying boiled coffee, eh everything. And Americano was the first time I really enjoyed the drink - a friend advised me to have a try (Thank You Bartek!!) - the moment after first sip I was decided to buy espresso machine.
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Postby JohnB. on Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:40 pm

For me an Americano made with a nice shot of Ethiopian or Kenya S/O is my favorite cup of coffee with cloth filtered vac pot brew bringing up a close second.
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Postby cinichol on Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:23 pm

THANK YOU everyone for the excellent replies. I learned a ton. Jessie--I probably haven't done enough testing, but I think I've had the same experience with the Aeropress: slightly less flavor or less dimension to the flavor (as compared, anyway, to my Americanos). Chris: really interesting article link. It's true, though, the writer works for a filter machine company, and he never actually says how/why a correctly made filter coffee is better than a correctly made Americano--just that both tend to be made incorrectly in restaurants. But I did read it through pretty quickly. May go back and look at it again.

This stuff is fascinating :D

I'm sure I'll wind up getting a press pot (and who knows what else--though my kitchen is already starting to look like some kind of coffee machine warehouse). My curiosity will get the better of me, I'm sure. (I have to admit that I have had delicious coffees doing the Americano route. In fact I had my first "Oh Wow" moment drinking Peet's Major Dickason blend recently. Never tasted so many layers of flavor in coffee before!)
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Postby CoffeeOwl on Sat Mar 06, 2010 7:14 am

As for the article: comparing brewed coffee with americano the author writes about weak coffee. Firstly, my experience with drinking americanos (the correctly made ones) is that I much more experienced the force of the coffee then in espresso. Of course, to brewed (or boiled) coffee my organism's response is much stronger.
And secondly, making americano is art in itself, it's not just diluted espresso. You need perfect espresso shot, then you need amount of water, the temperature of the water is very important for the taste and so is the espresso - an ideal on its own espresso shot doesn't necesserily have to make best tasting americano. And it's best actually to brew the espresso directly to the hot (at appropriate temp) water, but that is not always possible for all machines.

Pawel
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Postby cinichol on Sat Mar 06, 2010 12:10 pm

I really agree with Americiano-is-an-art-in-itself, Pawel. In my different home experiments so far, the Americano varies quite a bit depending on water temp, water quantity, quality of the espresso shot, etc.
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Postby sweaner on Sat Mar 06, 2010 1:38 pm

I like americanos and brewed coffee, as they have a different flavor. I also like a "Red Eye" (coffee + espresso) for a really good jolt. Try everything! If you need to add a drip method try the Clever Coffee Dripper....cheap, easy and fantastic.
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Man does not live by coffee alone...we need beer too.
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