Making Coffeehouse-quality Java in Your Own Home
(ARA) – When it comes to holiday entertaining, don’t overlook the impact of a great cup of coffee. A top-notch cup of America’s favorite beverage can add an unexpected and much appreciated quality touch to a festive gathering.
Our search for the secrets of coffee-making led us to Alan Adler, an engineering lecturer at Stanford University, who has spent the past several years researching the science of coffee brewing. The first thing we learned from Adler was that making great coffee is surprisingly easy. "In fact it takes less time to make a smooth cup than a bitter cup because a shorter process yields a much sweeter cup," Adler says.
Adler explains: "Over the past several centuries the coffee brewing process has steadily become quicker and better. In the beginning, people boiled the water and coffee together for a half hour. The result was a terribly bitter and acidic sludge. Even the popular home percolators of the 1950s over-extracted the coffee by passing the brew through the grounds several times. An improvement came in the latter part of the 20th century with the drip brewer. Its brew tasted better because it passed hot water through the grounds only one time."
Adler evaluated brews with laboratory instruments and expert tasters. He found that shortening the brewing time and reducing the brewing temperature resulted in a rich flavor with very low acidity and bitterness. But he also found that dripping water through a bed of grounds was far from optimum. "Although drip brewing is better than percolation, it still takes three to five minutes and uses boiling water,” says Adler. “All of our tasters agreed that the optimum brewing time is about 30 seconds and the optimum brewing temperature is 175 degree F."
As Adler's research continued, he found that drip brewers run too hot in the center of the bed and too cool around the sides. His solution was to stir the coffee and the water together for about 10 seconds. To hasten filtering, he applied gentle air pressure which reduced the time to about a half minute.
Adler's final discovery was that coffee tasted much sweeter when he used a small amount of water to brew espresso-strength coffee, then added hot water to dilute the espresso to American-strength. He explains: "Pushing too much water through the grounds makes the drink more bitter but doesn't add flavor."
Although Adler's work began purely as a research project, it led to an ingenious brewer called the AeroPress. The AeroPress embodies all that he learned in one very simple device. The AeroPress is placed on a mug. Hot water and coffee are stirred together for about 10 seconds. Then gentle air pressure pushes the mix through a micro filter and into the cup. The resulting espresso-strength brew is diluted with hot water to make American coffee or with milk to make a latte. It makes one to four cups in a single pressing.
Laboratory tests found that AeroPress brew has one fifth the acidity of drip brew yet the flavor is richer than drip. With rave reviews appearing online every day, the AeroPress has quickly become the darling of internet coffee lovers. One online retailer reported selling an AeroPress every two minutes after it was reviewed on gizmag.com.
Lewis Singer, manager of Cook's Junction in Los Altos, Calif. was particularly enthusiastic, "It makes the absolute best cup of coffee I've tasted in my entire life,” says Singer. “And it does it in one minute." Our staff was skeptical and had to try it. To our surprise, everyone in this office agreed with Singer.
To learn more about the secrets of making top quality coffee, visit www.aerobie.com.
Courtesy of ARAcontent
Check out our reviews and ratings blog for more on the Aeropress Espresso Maker.