What’s in Your Cup: Gigante, Columbia

Ever since I broke my V60 three weeks ago, I’ve been longing for a new brewer to add to the collection. One option was to buy another one along with a few accessories (a server, and a fancy kettle.) A second option was to try something new, so I decided on something new.

After motorpacing on Monday, followed by a now very exciting group ride the following day, my body recognizes that along with putting in a more intense effort (and going back to calorie counting) that it will need more attention paid to recovering  (i.e. more rest & more massages.)

Side note: the reason this Tuesday ride is getting more exciting is because a local shop in Burbank will be expanding to another location in Granada Hills. A few of my good friends from the shop have been showing up to this ride thereby creating friendly competition between two other local shops (ours included.) Will more team tactics be implemented in weeks to come? Will there be prizes at the end? Will I get back to talking about my coffee experience? Most likely.

I knew I was going to get some new beans today (since I had been stalking my mail man the day before) so I took it upon myself to head to my local coffee shoppe to buy and new toy.

Upon arriving to the shoppe, I noticed the bike racks were nearly full. No surprise since I made it out there around lunch time. Most rides will be finishing up and riders will be rendezvousing for coffee and lunch. One thing I did notice was that a few peculiar looking bikes I couldn’t stop staring at.

Is that bamboo?
Is that bamboo?

I’ve seen my share of nice bikes before, but this is a real conversation piece. Oh well, onto the coffee.

Yup, that's bamboo alright
Yup, that’s bamboo alright

I spoke with one of the owners about the bike. He mentioned that bamboo has similar riding properties as carbon does. The bike was constructed with large tubes and a massive headset. Both their aluminum and carbon models came with disc brakes and enough clearance to fit a cross tire on. This along with the bamboo riser caps seemed like the most stylish, crunchy type bike I have seen all year. Who knows what the future has in store for me and my plans to acquire a bike I can ride both on and off the dirt.

Once I got home from my leg stretcher recovery ride, there was a box of coffee waiting for me to be brewed. That along with my new toy made the afternoon all the more enjoyable.

IMG_0410

What better way to try a new brewing method than with new beans.

Aeropress
Aeropress

Some may be wondering what type of sexual enhancing contraption this may be. Fear not, this is meant for brewing and nothing else. Without further adieu, here’s the skinny on the specs I tried on my first attempt at aeropressing:

  • Grounds: 32g, very fine
  • Water: 12oz (2 to bloom, 8-10 to brew)
  • Bloom: about 30 seconds
  • Brew: roughly 15 seconds while stirring saturated grounds
  • Plunge: 20-30 seconds
  • Method: un-inverted style

I didn’t want to move to the advanced popular upside-down method before learning how to use it right-side up. Based on the functionality of it, the best comparison I can come up with with this brewing process would be that of filtered espresso. Maybe this picture will help explain things a little better.

Upright and assembled Aeropress
Upright and assembled Aeropress

A filter is placed between the bottom device and the mug (which is held with a plastic porous clip that screws into the bottom.) From there the grounds are added and a little bit of water to get the grounds to bloom and begin the release of gases. After about 30 seconds (depending on how fresh the beans are) the remaining water is added with handy numbers as reference to how strong you want the coffee. For an espresso style, fill up to the number 2. For a regular coffee style, fill to 4. For a latte or other milk induced coffee beverage, fill to 2 with water, then finish off the space in the mug with milk.

After the remaining water has been added, stir the saturated grounds for about 15 seconds, allowing for an even distribution of water to grounds. Once finished stirring, you are ready to press. The gasket on the plunger makes a pretty tight seal so it is best to do this on a flat & firm surface. There should be a sound of air escaping when all of the water has been pressed through the filter and into the mug. From there, there should be a gap in between the remaining grounds and the end of the plunger. Next you can begin the cleanup by aiming and shooting the remaining grounds into the trash like a nerf gun. Cleanup is pretty simple, and the assembly doesn’t take as much time as a typical pour over style of brewing.

As mentioned before, the taste resembled that of an espresso, but with a less gritty strength to it. I ended up filling my first cup to the 4 to go for a more traditional coffee cup. Filling it to the 4 makes for about 8 ounces of coffee. The coffee had a medium to dark roasting profile with the husks still shedding in the bag. The front of the palate received most of the brighter notes, while the middle and back ends got the sweeter notes. There was a distinct brightness to this particular batch. Not the same type that comes from over extracting, but one that resembles the punchy mouthfeel of espresso. This makes sense since you are using air pressure to push the water through the saturated grounds (not nearly with the same amount of force as an espresso machine can create, but the idea is very similar.) While this coffee was a bit on the brighter side, the paper filter balanced the taste out with a smooth but full body.

This method of brewing seems to be very popular here in Los Angeles. I’ve heard of Aeropress competitions that take place which has participants using an inverted technique I have yet to try. This is smaller, plastic, and comes with a cool carrying case meant for coffee brewing on the go. I’ve always had a soft spot for full immersion styles of brewing while at the same time admire and am intrigued by the technique that comes with pour overs.

I am a happy Aeropress owner and would recommend this to anyone interested in a new style of brewing. If you like espresso, and french pressed coffees, than this brewing method is a happy medium in between the two. While it is not particularly meant for groups (maybe just you and a significant other) the outcome is worth the time. Next I’ll be trying the inverted technique along with seeing how it makes an espresso style along with a latte or cappuccino. Until next time.

-dfj

 

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