As far as using equipment goes, the aeropress is without a doubt the fastest way to a cup of coffee (about 2-3 minutes). The aeropress isn’t only the fastest way to a cup of coffee but it is also one of the most durable and portable options out there.
- Boil water to about 165-175 degrees F. Make sure to have enough water for your coffee vessel and for the aeropress.
- Put the paper filter (they do make metal mesh filters) into the cap of the aeropress.
- Weigh about 15 grams (or 2 1/2 Tablespoons) of coffee beans.
- Grind your coffee to fine grind (about table salt size).
- Put your aeropress together. (Make sure that every time you use it you are drying it out because the left over moisture will compromise the seals in the aeropress)
- Stand your aeropress flared side up and add your ground coffee.
- The rule usually is to add twice the amount of water to your amount of grounds. Let’s say you have 15 grams of coffee, you need to add 30 grams of water. People say that 200 degrees F is the optimal temperature for this but I find that leaning towards a cooler temperature (165-175 degrees F) is actually better.
- Next, gently immerse the grounds with a butter knife or some sort of bamboo stirring stick. At this point, the goal isn’t really geared toward stirring the grounds, it’s is more toward the goal of even saturation of the grounds. Then let it sit for 30 seconds.
- Then add another 160 grams of water and let it sit for one minute.
- Now, use the remainder of the water, which should be around 200 grams, to wet your filter and cap. This serves three purposes actually. One, is to kind of make the paper stick to the filter. Second, it will get the paper taste out of the filter. Third. it will actually heat your brewing vessel.
- After that minute, give your grounds several good stirs.
- Cautiously screw the cap on your aeropress.
- Now it is time to flip your aeropress over. Put the aeropress on top of your brew vessel and begin to apply downward pressure. Ideally you should be feeling about 30 lbs of pressure. If pushing feels too easy, that is probably an indication that your coffee bean grind was too coarse. If the pushing feel way to hard, that is probably an indication that your coffee bean grind was too fine. Your coffee should be fully brewed when the assembly begins to make a hissing sound, meaning that there is no more water to push through the device.
- After that is completed, unscrew your cap and push the aeropress’ interior section the final inch. This will push out the filter and the puck of ground coffee beans.
- Enjoy your cup of coffee!
Wait there is an even faster way to make coffee…
Instant coffee! I am sure you have heard of that! Instant coffee is often referred to soluble coffee. All you do is heat up water (or milk) and stir in the instant coffee and that’s it! In the 1970’s, about a third of the United States’ coffee was converted to instant coffee. Did you know that about 15 percent of coffee consumed in the United States is actually instant coffee? There are pros and cons to this option though!
It is a very fast way to make coffee. There is no need for equipment, which means no carrying around a coffee maker or grinder; no affect on your electricity bill; little labor; and of course no messing with filters, cleaning equipment nor having to worry about throwing away damp grounds.
Although it is a fast way to make coffee, due to the processing of this product, you lose some aromatic experience, definitely essential coffee bean oils and of course you lose the freshly brewed coffee taste. All these things are part of what makes coffee taste great. But the instant coffee industry is working on fixing all of these. Only time will tell if they can do it.
Very Brief History
The earliest documented version of the idea behind instant coffee was in about 1771, in Britain. The first product made in America was in 1853. Then others got better at it and it eventually grew into the instant coffee we have today. Instant coffee still has some work to be done to but the goals of the industry seem to have it going in a solid direction.
There are 50 known species of coffee beans and only 2 of them dominate the coffee industry.
- Coffee Arabica Varieties- mainly grown in Latin America, India and Indonesia. They are mild in flavor but are expensive to buy because it requires a greater amount of labor because every ripened coffee cherry needs to be hand-picked at their ripeness peak.
- Coffee Robusta Varieties- mainly grown in Africa, India and Indonesia. They have a much harsher flavor and are cheaper to buy and grow. They can be harvested at a range of ripeness and more resistant to insects and diseases. For this very reason, the Robusta’s are the more widely used variety in the manufacturing of instant coffee.
Coffee beans are roasted over 300 degrees F to drive out the moisture in them.
Instant Coffee Manufacturing Process:
- First and foremost, extraction takes place. Coffee beans are pre-brewed in highly efficient extraction equipment. Softened water is passed through a series of columns of ground coffee beans. The water first passes through several “hot” cells (284-356 degrees F) and then it passes through 2 or more “cold” cells (212 degrees F) to extract the more flavorful elements. Then the extract is passed through a heat exchanger to cool it to about 40 degrees F resulting in 20-30% solids.
- After filtering, the extract undergoes a process to increase concentration. There are 3 technical ways to do this but the underlying point is to separate the lighter water from the heavier coffee extract.
- During this whole process they try to keep the aromatic elements so that they, at a later time, can return them to the product. They do this by removing oxygen from the extract.
- Then they take the liquid coffee extract and convert to a dry form. This can be done in 2 ways. One is called spray drying. Here, a cooled clarified liquid concentrate is sprayed through a nozzle at the top of a 75 foot tower. Air that has been heated to about 480 degrees F is blown downward through the mist to evaporate the water. The coffee particles are tumbled in the air in this mixture. The second method is by free drying it. Here the coffee particles are cooled gradually in several steps and then once formed into ice it is ground. Once it is ground, it goes through a drying chamber where vacuum and heat are applied and the ice vaporizes and is removed.
- Then after all this is done the aromatics that they were able to keep, are introduced to the product.
- Then the product is packaged in a low moisture and low oxygen level place- a moisture proof container. This product absorbs moisture very quickly and so it needs to be packaged in such a container. On top of that, they use nitrogen or carbon dioxide in the package so that there will be less oxygen in the container to preserve the aromatics in the product.