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Where to, after the Aeropress?

Postby RadishingInGray on Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:59 am

I've been making coffee with an Aeropress (my first venture into coffee) for about a year now. It's been a great way to learn about coffeemaking, and the coffee's been great, but I think it's about time that I explore new ways to brew coffee. What other methods do you suggest? I'd like to try something that extracts a different flavor profile from the Aeropress. Preferably dorm-friendly. I've got a Hario Mini-Mill for grinding, if it makes any difference.
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Postby Randy G. on Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:29 pm

Espro Press (my favorite non-espresso method)
Sowden SoftBrew
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Postby jonny on Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:30 pm

Other very popular/common methods that are relatively simple and cost effective and with practice, can produce exceptional results are french press, pour overs (paper in Hario V60 or similar, Chemex with paper or the very cool Coava Kone) and siphon or vacuum pots. If you enjoy the coffee making process and attention to detail, try a vac pot. A basic pour over set-up with a nice kettle will run you about $70. Vac pots, if you have a stove are around $30 or so. If you don't have a stove or don't want to use it on a stove, a alcohol burner version is about $50. French presses are the cheapest at about $20-$40 depending on the size, brand, and type (glass vs. steel vs. double wall). A couple other less common but also popular methods are the Clever Coffee Dripper and Eva Solo. Then of course we have Espresso, but if you don't want to lose your wallet (and possibly your mind, as many of us have!), you may not want to venture in that direction, though a small lever machine like a La Pavoni (if you have the patience) or La Peppina (if you like straight shots) might just be perfect for dorm life. Enjoy!

EDIT: I forgot also the mypressi twist has received a lot of praise for extreme compactness with excellent espresso results.
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Postby jbviau on Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:38 pm

Randy G. wrote:...Sowden SoftBrew

Aside: Randy, have you compared the SoftBrew to the Eva Solo? Seems like a similar design in many respects. And the 8-cup version seems to be on sale here.

To the OP: the Clever is a good budget option that would work well paired with your Hario Mini.
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Postby yakster on Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:14 pm

I think that some of the options previously mentioned that utilize metal filters and yield more body might be interesting after trying the Aeropress with the paper filters, or you can actually just purchase the Able Brewing Disk from Coava Coffee for use in your AeroPress.

I find the AeroPress is a very versatile brewing platform that will work with many techniques and adding the Disk might be worth considering. The reason that I don't stick with the AeroPress for all my coffee brewing is batch size. When I'm brewing for two (400 ml) I'll use the Clever and for three or more I'll use the Chemex. I'll normally use the Clever with a paper filter and the Chemex with the Gen 2 Kone, but I'll sometimes use the Kone in the Clever and paper in the Chemex depending on the situation and coffee. I like to brew in a siphon on my days off.

I think for Dorm life, the Clever or a metal press pot would be ideal. Not too sure about using a Chemex or siphon in the dorms. You could also look at other filter cones like the Hario V60, Beehouse, or even the Kalita Wave, but I haven't tried any of these. What's your desired batch size and are you looking for more body in your coffee?

If you want a real departure, you could consider a Mypressi Twist portable espresso machine, that's what I use at work paired with a Kyocera CM45 CF grinder. Not sure if the mini-mill is up to the task for espresso, I should try it out today (I've been meaning to give it a try) and if I do I'll report back. I made a hard travel case for my Twist which can be seen here.
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Postby Randy G. on Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:13 pm

jbviau wrote:Aside: Randy, have you compared the SoftBrew to the Eva Solo?

Interesting in that it has been around for so long yet this is the first time I can remember seeing it. A duh moment for me, I suppose. I have contacted the US representatives for it so we shall see. The glass carafe would possibly be problematic in a dorm room, but they do have a stainless version I think. They are expensive, though from what I have seen.

I do like the Espro for its full body and near-total lack of sediment in the cup. Add to that the vacuum double-wall stainless carafe and two-stage stainless filter system and I think it is a great way to get a sediment-free cup and have a nearly unbreakable device for dorm use. I mentioned the Sowden, and the sale you linked is an excellent price. I have only used my Sowden a few times but prefer the clean cup and fuller body from the Espro. BTW, a larger Espro Press is in the works and should be available this year.

So many methods... so little time. :wink:
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Postby yakster on Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:45 pm

Since this morning was the first day back to school for my Wife and three girls, I went to bed late and got up early, and was feeling the need for some more coffee in addition to the Chemex / Kone of the Panama Elida Natural I brewed up this morning for myself and three others (800 ml batch).

Instead of the smaller Kyocera CM45-CF grinder I normally use for espresso, I pulled out the Hario Mini Mill Slim that I picked up NIB at a thrift store for $5 (couldn't believe my luck) that I normally use here at work for pour-over and dialed it in for espresso. The first shot of Panama Elida was a total gusher. Didn't even try the shot after I cleaned up the counter. I dialed the grinder in two more clicks and had a nice shot of the Panama Elida Natural (scant two days of rest from roast, taken to Full City+, darker than I planned) followed by another nice shot of previously frozen Evocation Coffee Spitfire espresso blend.

The shot of Panama Elida Natural as espresso was much nicer then the brewed Chemex batch. I had intended more of a City+ roast for this fine bean, but was roasting a rather large batch and it got away from me. The espresso shot brought out more of the sweetness so that it wasn't dominated by roasty toasty flavors.

I'd say that my preliminary testing supports the hypothesis that the Hario Mini Mill Slim will work for espresso with the Twist. I believe that there are mods out there to make it more of a stepless grinder, but I've not modded my hand grinders in any way. If you want to try the Twist, I say go for it.

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Postby yakster on Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:39 pm

Ah, the grinder I tried is the Hario Slim, not the Hario Mini Mill. The Slim did an acceptable job for espresso and the burrs are very similar to the Kyocera CM45 CF, not sure about the Mini Mill. Sorry for any confusion.
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Postby RadishingInGray on Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:35 am

First off, thank you all for the helpful replies. And now to business:

I'd love to try out a vac pot. From what I've read, they make excellent coffee, and I love the mad scientist look. But glass pot plus open flame equals dorm disaster. I'll keep it in mind, though.

The Espro Press looks really, really cool. I'd like to try a brewing method that gets a lot of body out of the coffee -- something I haven't managed to do with my AeroPress. It looks pretty bullet-proof, too. If I go the press pot route, I think I'd prefer the cleaner cup of the Espro to a French press. Or maybe try a Coava Disk. (But that would be less fun than trying something new!)

The Eva Solo looks kind of expensive, and I don't love the glass. I'll consider it, though.

A full-blown espresso machine is out of the question at the moment. I'll wait till I'm rich and famous.

As for the Clever and drip methods: what flavors do they extract? They do look dorm-friendly, so I may want to look into them.

The myPressi Twist looks interesting, and I've heard a lot of good things about it. Unfortunately, there's nowhere I can get the pressure cartridges around here, and shipping them regularly would get expensive, and fast.
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Postby Charbucks on Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:45 pm

RadishingInGray wrote:First off, thank you all for the helpful replies. And now to business:

I'd love to try out a vac pot. From what I've read, they make excellent coffee, and I love the mad scientist look. But glass pot plus open flame equals dorm disaster. I'll keep it in mind, though.

You could check out the cheaper stovetop models like the Yama. We had one for a while and it made pretty good coffee, but as you say, it's made of glass, and it eventually broke. For bulletproofness, nothing really beats the Aeropress.

RadishingInGray wrote:A full-blown espresso machine is out of the question at the moment. I'll wait till I'm rich and famous.

Yeah, I said something along the same lines... didn't even make it past grad school though!
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