Aeropress Traveling – The Sacrifices and a Recipe

This guest post is written by one of my best friends, Ryan Geisbrect. Not only is he largely responsible for my entry into a love for coffee, he has educated me for years on its depths and mysteries. Ryan currently lives in Nashville, TN and is working with bands as a sound tech and industry business consultant.


I’ve brewed coffee with my Aeropress in hostels, on trails, and on the backs of cars. All situations require different equipment and different sacrifice. When the treacherous Scotland winds are beating at your back and your boots are slightly damp from the day before, there is nothing more satisfying than a cup of Aeropress coffee.

Whether hiking in the Isle of Skye Scotland, or the West Texas canyon trail, Whether hiking in the Isle of Skye Scotland, or the West Texas canyon trail, adventure can always be paired with some coffee.

Aeropress Travel

Aeropress and travel go hand in hand. Many would even argue that the two are inseparable. The small plastic design of the is ergonomic and the device makes for a meager mess and ample durability.

But when is coffee too inconvenient for travel? When will coffee not remedy the soul? For some, coffee is only a treat, but for others, it is a dire necessity. Only you can decide what sacrifices must be made on your journey.

This guide to Aeropress travel brewing will hopefully quell a great fear: not having proper coffee on a trip.

Gather the Goods

Gather up what coffee gear is available and perform an inventory check. This step is simple. It is performed during the packing phase of your travel preparations. Observe your coffee gear. Bask in its glory.

Measure Tradeoffs

How much are you willing to go through to drink coffee on the road? We must determine the tradeoffs of utility and quality. There are two common situations.

  1. Packing too light and not having enough coffee equipment. Your pack may be light, but your coffee quality may be compromised.
  2. Packing too much will make for a miserable time. You will have wonderful coffee, but you’ll be lugging around sheer excess.

Both situations are bad, so a balance must be sought out.

An Aeropress, filters, and hot water are the absolute necessities. Be mindful of the space, quality, cost, and durability of your gear. Bringing porcelain mugs or your favorite pyrex glassware would probably be unwise for an outdoor trip. Broken glass is a sad thing.

Below, the chart represents packing space. This isn’t a universal chart by any means. It is a guestimate depending on backpack/bag size.

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As seen above, the whole pie is the backpack and smaller slices of the pie are coffee gear. The “misc” space most likely includes a coffee grinder. Many people pre-grind coffee for adventures or excursions, but I would recommend against it. Freshly ground coffee is vital. Try investing in a smaller grinder for a compact fit!

Some reading this blog may not have very much coffee gear. These are the folk who enjoy the simplicity of Aeropress coffee. You scoop, pour, and drink. For others, coffee is a science and craft. Every parameter is measured so that it can be replicated.

Only you can decide which type of brewer you wish to be while traveling. Less space means more replicable cups of coffee. Less coffee gear means more space for snacks and kittens.

Check yourself

Check yourself always and be realistic. Make sure that you are packing appropriately for the occasion. Also keep time in mind. Do you actually have time to make coffee on that business trip or vacation? Maybe getting coffee at a shop would be a more reasonable alternative.

For Backpacking

The everlasting trial: how to efficiently make coffee while backpacking. Outdoor backpacking trips are usually rough on coffee equipment. Electricity doesn’t exist in the wilderness, so preparations must be made. To heat water in this situation, one could make use of a jet boil, a simple pan and stove/fire, or other traditional ways of heating.

If you are going to trek in backwoods-dead-middle-of-nowhere-bumpkin-town where the only water source is a swamp or Bear Grylls juice, don’t bother bringing a thermometer, refractometer, or scale. Just don’t. Coffee while on a backpacking or hiking trail is a luxury.

Pre-weigh your coffee in little tins or find out the approximate weight of a scoop of beans before you leave. Eyeball your water volume, and never look back.

Aeropress Traveling

I enjoy my morning coffee like any other person, and I am happy to drink ethically sourced coffee in almost any form. Good farmers and coffee distributors don’t always get enough credit for their craft. It is always an honor to support the coffee community in any way possible. If this means making cowboy coffee on the trail, then so be it.

A Recipe For Your Pleasure

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Mass coffee: 15 g

Grind size: 12/40 on Baratza Encore. Think of it as a fine v60 grind.

Water volume: 230 mL

Temperature: 208 F

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Ratio: apprx. 15:1

Filter: Paper

Total time: 3:40

Inverted Method

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Instructions:

Pour 230 ml by 45 seconds. Put on Aeropress lid upside down for time purposes (to manage temp).

Stir at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 (3 only if not getting enough agitation). Always put on upside down lid after stir. After 3:00 put on the lid the right way, then press downward until coffee is visible on the surface of the lid. Flip Aeropress around so that it is no longer inverted. Press at 3:15 until 3:40. Stop pressing when you hear a sizzle. Also, when pressing, you may have to twirl Aeropress to dislodge grinds from the plunger. Stir velocity: three cycles in 1-2 seconds.

Cheers!

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The Barista: Not Just a Job Anymore

This guest post is written by one of my coworkers, Kelci Merrick. Kelci lives in Lubbock, Tx with her husband Luke and their mind-blowingly adorable son Amos. She works as a barista at Yellow House Coffee, enjoying every bit of caffeine the job provides. You can find her at livezealous.com.


Gone are the days of the sixteen year old high school student having the privilege of making your precious cup of coffee every morning whilst getting paid minimum wage. Barista as a career may sound like a joke to many a patron who went to college, then back to college, then back once more to pursue a “real career”, but for people like me, a career is exactly what it is.

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Coffee is what I do.

Thousands of passionate, creative, and innovative people from every walk of life have made this same career choice and it is because of their dedication to that choice that coffee has earned the respect it so deserves in the beverage world.

Ryan Jarboe is one of these people. After 5 years of working his way up, Jarboe has secured a position as Director of Coffee at Palace Coffee Co in Amarillo, Texas. By investing time and money into Barista Camp as well as the Barista Guild certifications and getting involved with his local and national coffee community, Jarboe was able to position himself at the right time for the position he holds now.

Coffee is boundless, complex, and sensitive. This is why it requires extreme attention to detail paired with intimate knowledge of coffee in order to brew a superb cup (that’s not to say great coffee can’t be brewed at home by someone of a different career choice). This knowledge and experience is not something that can be attained in a short orientation, nor perfected in a mere month or two on the job though. I have been working in specialty coffee for three years and have yet to capture that elusive espresso.

Building Community

If you have earned the title “regular” at any one of your local shops, I’m sure you’ve had the opportunity to witness the vigor with which many baristas tackle each drink order, especially in the heat of a rush. It’s much like watching an artist, sure of his brush strokes, which come naturally to her. Or like a chemist who measures each variable with the utmost care and precision, taking note of even the slightest variations.

Take your observation a step further to really please your barista and ask them about their work. Watch their face light up when you ask them to explain the difference between a Chemex and a French Press, or which single origin coffee they recommend on any one brew method. This is where you will see the spark. It is in this moment that you become more than a customer, you become a kindred soul interested in more than just your daily caffeine fix.

Coffee has always bred community, which I believe remains the blood pumping heart that keeps it alive.

It’s this aspect of coffee as a career that is so appealing and addicting. I’m sure that community can be found in just about any work place, but I have yet to find one so pure and fulfilling as the one found in coffee. From the hard working, calloused handed farmers who so lovingly care for the coffee from the ground up – to the roasters who spend countless hours carefully roasting the personality to the surface of the beans – to the meticulous barista who proudly brews the cup and hands it to you with a smile – to you, the customer, who keeps coming back for more – a community is nurtured. No other career offers this. This is why I so willingly have dedicated my energies to making barista a title to be proud of.

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Though I feel very strongly about the commitment one makes to coffee when one becomes a barista, I’m also a realist. Every shop has those barista’s who simply needed a job to get them through college on their way to their decided career. I don’t disrespect these individuals in the least. I’m more than happy to have them on my team.

All I ask is that they put forth the same fervor in their pursuit of the perfect cup and respect the standards that specialty coffee has come to be known for. In return I believe that they will develop a love and appreciation for coffee that will follow them into whatever career path they choose.

This being said, I believe the percentage of those who have forsaken other career paths to pursue coffee would surprise most customers.

With millennials opting for jobs that they find fulfilling, rather than enduring the office and corporate life,  the average baristas has become far more educated, and these baristas are looking to move up the coffee ladder. To do this one must invest in some coffee education and training, but the opportunities exist.

“I can’t stress how important education is to a career in coffee. That includes the formal learning programs, like the SCAA Pathways, or the self-taught route using resources like the Barista Hustle,” recommends Jarboe.

An entry level position may pay around $8.00 p/h depending on where you live, but in a full fledged career, some positions can pay out as much as $50,000 a year. Sprudge, a leading industry online publication, reports that the average wage for US baristas with more than one year of experience sits at $15.00 p/h, well above the living wage in most states.

Being a barista is the best job in the world. I encourage anyone with a passion for coffee and a love for people to look into the opportunities it provides. It’s more than just a job. Who knows, maybe it’s the career you’ve been looking for.

Hario V60 Essentials – Building Up Your Pour Over Coffee Kit

This guest post is written by Justin from the Alternative Brewing. He is a pour over nut! His favorite brew method is easily the Chemex, especially using it for making iced coffee to battle the Aussie heat!


So you’ve begun to explore some coffee brewing alternatives and decided that the Hario V60 pour over is the method for you. Now whether you’re a complete coffee brewing novice or you’ve dabbled in the home coffee brewing arts before, it always helps to have a bit of a roadmap of what kit you need to get started for your method of choice.

Hario v60 glass olive wood

Now some coffee snobs lovers will tell you that you cannot begin brewing without a fully comprehensive kit that features all the bells and whistles on offer. But let’s be honest, the average home barista’s love of coffee grows with time, and so should your kit.

Running the Alternative Brewing site, we often get asked what our favorites are; or what are the must haves for Hario V60 coffee brewing, so we’ve put together our ultimate Hario bundle to help you get everything you need to make a cup of coffee that rivals that of your favorite barista.

Hario V60 Pour Over

This is pretty much a given. You can’t brew without it and is therefore the ultimate must have for making your perfect pour over brew. You can pretty much pick your V60 based on your personal style and budget, with the only main difference being the size (1 or 2 cup), and the material (glass, ceramic, metal, or plastic).

The ribbed side walls; the cone angle which helps the coffee to sit in the container ensuring all coffee grounds are utilised; the large flow hole in the bottom, ensuring your coffee flows properly into your cup for you to enjoy are all standard across every model.

To get brewing, simply fold your filter paper along the seam and insert. For best results, pour hot water over the filter paper, this not only preheats the coffee decanter, but also removes any paper tastes. Dispose of this water.

Hario Skerton Grinder

Facilitating an advanced Ceramic Coffee Grinder mechanism, its results are a gorgeous true coffee flavour that hasn’t been altered in the grinding process ensuring a flavorsome, pure cup of coffee. Not only does it produce superior coffee, it will never rust and will give you superior life-long use. With a capacity of 100g it is great for pour over, cold brew and French press coffee applications. Which is handy if you plan on branching out your brewing methods as your coffee passion grows.

This grinder is fully adjustable for your brewing preferences from fine to coarse, depending on your taste. To adjust, turn the locking screw counter clockwise to remove it, remove the handle and stopper, and then turn the grind adjustment to the desired grind level.

For best results we usually recommend to grind your coffee as fine as salt as a rough guide. If it drains too quickly the grinds are too coarse, or if it’s taking too long, the grind could be too fine.

Add 15g of ground coffee to the V60 and tap gently to settle the coffee grains. 15g of coffee to 240mL water should take about 2 minutes to drain through and produce a flavoursome brew.

Scales with Timer

How are you supposed to measure such an exact amount you ask? Premium coffee scales are expertly engineered to the second decimal, making it easy to make accurate, finite measurements to improve your V60 brew one decimal point at a time! Many coffee scales on the market boast USB charging, and Ethernet connectivity which may seem over the top, but once you start experimenting, they become very useful features.

hario scales

Our favorite coffee scale is the Hario metal drip scale. Designed for up-market professionals, and you at-home coffee masters; this scale is very user friendly with many useful features included in its smart design.

Timer l Scale

The weight is displayed on the right side of the scale, and the extraction time is shown on the left side of the scale. Couldn’t be easier!

LED Black Light

Reverse LCD with white numerals on top of black matte, ensures readability in low light conditions.

Stainless Steel Weighing Platform

This feature allows the weighing platform to withstand heat and contains materials to insulate it and stop heat transferring to the base plate. The flat acrylic plated top of the main body allows water and coffee spills to be wiped off easily.

Non-Slip Main Body

Rubber feet are fitted to ensure the platform remains stable enabling brewing consistency and accuracy. It can also be stored when not in use on its side to save space.

USB Friendly

Charge it up with your USB for 4 hours and you will get 80 consecutive hours of running power.

You may think to yourself that you can live without scales, but don’t fall into this trap! The only scientific way to a better brew is by measuring and experimenting. Coffee brewing is as much a science as it is an art!

Hario Buono Stove Top Kettle

A stunning addition to your kitchen with good looks and great performance. The Hario Buono Stove Top Kettle is the ultimate in accuracy and sharp precision circular motion pouring, guided by one finger. It has a super comfortable easy to grip handle, most important for drip brewing methods. The fabulous slim goose-neck allows you to achieve the perfect pour over grounds by not agitating them to produce a rich non-bitter flavour.

The Hario Buono Stove Top Goose Neck kettle has a strong light-weight stainless steel body with a flat bottom suitable for electric or gas cook-tops. Capacity is up to 1 liter of water. A 1.2 liter capacity kettle is also available.

When pouring your water onto your grounds, start by pouring just enough water to wet them evenly (about 40g). This is called blooming. Hot water forces the coffee to release trapped gases. Once the coffee has bloomed (we let it sit for around 30 seconds), begin pouring in the remaining water in a small circular motion around the center of the dripper. Keep the water level even and avoid pouring around the edges of the filter.

For Enjoying Your Brew At Home

hario range serverHario Clear Range Server

Add this elegant heat-proof, microwave proof glass coffee server to your V60 Hario Brewing collection. Not only is it an elegant coffee server, the lid can be utilized with the V60 series as a stand for the Hario dripper. Available in 360ml, 600ml and 800ml capacities to suit your every need.

We love these servers as they do a great job of keeping your fresh brew hot and make the brewing process just that little bit easier. We all enjoy a stress free environment especially pre-coffee!

For Enjoying Your Brew On The Go

Hario V60 Travel Mug

In a hurry? Take your freshly brewed coffee with you in the Hario V60 travel mug. The stainless steel and ceramic construction with a double wall design ensures you don’t get burnt, while being completely leak proof. It works flawlessly with any V60 dripper and has a capacity of 350ml. Great addition if you like to take your coffee for the morning commute.
There you have it, absolutely everything you need to brew the perfect pour over coffee! Remember, building your kit doesn’t have to be a race but more a journey of discovery! Start with the your v60 and scales and build up your kit as your budget allows.

Happy brewing!

The History of the Siphon Pot

This guest post has been written by the fine folks at CoffeeKind.com. Home baristas, coffee geeks, and those new to specialty coffee will find CoffeeKind.com to be an exceptional resource in their exploration of fine coffee.


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If you’re the type to notice the latest trends in café service or if you follow the specialty coffee media mavens, it’s probably not news to you that the siphon coffee brewer is making a huge comeback. Siphon coffee makers are a bit of an anachronism – a throwback to a past where they were cutting edge coffee technology making a comeback as cutting edge coffee technology.

There are a lot of reasons to love vacuum brewers, not the least of which is that they make awesome coffee. They also look cool, make a great tabletop exhibition and, for all you women’s history buffs out there, women played an integral role in their development and adoption.

The Early History of the Siphon Coffee Brewer

The earliest known patent for a siphon coffee brewer was filed by Loeff of Berlin in the 1830s, but it was a French woman, Marie Fanny Amelne Massot of Lyons, France – better known as Mme. Vassieux, the name she used on her patent applications – who designed and patented the first commercially successful vacuum brewer in 1840. Mme. Vassieux’ coffee brewer featured two glass “balloons” held by a frame. It was an ornate delight for the eyes, capped with a metal crown and featuring a spigot for serving from the bottom vessel.

siphon4The design makes it clear that the coffee maker was meant for display in a dining room or drawing room, not for making coffee in the kitchen. And for those who love little tidbits of history, there’s also a strong possibility that Mme. Vassieux was a courtesan who held court in one of the salons beloved by the French nobility and men of wealth. She had the leisure to develop her design, and the connections to have it manufactured in fairly large numbers – large enough that some of them are still in existence.

At about the same time as Mme. Vassieux patented her siphon brewer, a Scottish inventor was also creating a version of the vacuum pot. Unlike the good madam, Napier never patented his brewer, but it was quite popular for some years, and was presented an award by The Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1856 for “exhibiting the Napier Coffee Pot and for his gratuitous entertainment of their guests with coffee” at the first meeting of the institution in Glasgow. The Naperian differed significantly from the double balloon brewer, but it operated on the same principle, which is explained in the instructions which accompanied the brewer:

The theory of the process, like many other clever things, seems very simple when explained. The air which fills the glass globe must be expelled in order to make room for the liquid coffee. This result is obtained by the lamp forcing the heated air through the metal tube, the expulsion of air being actually visible in the bubbles rising in the jar; when these cease to rise, we conclude that the air has been almost entirely expelled from the globe. Now, extinguish the lamp, whereupon the steam which the globe contains becomes condensed by the colder air surrounding it. The vacuum being now completely formed, the liquid coffee immediately ascends to fill the space formerly occupied by the air and steam.

Like the French double balloon vacuum pot, however, the Naperian was also meant for display, as is made clear by the broadsheet that advertised the brewer which “may also be had elegantly fitted up with silver frames and globes if desired.”

The Siphon Brewer Comes to America

These early brewers made their way to the new world via import, but it wasn’t until the early years of the 20th century that there’s record of vacuum brewers being manufactured in North America. In 1910, Mrs. Ann Bridges and Mrs. Sutton, a pair of sisters from Salem, Massachusetts, filed a patent for a device they called the “Silex,” a vacuum brewer made of Pyrex glass being manufactured by the Corning Glass Works of New York. Mrs. Bridges and Mrs. Sutton most prsiphon2obably did not develop the Silex brewer themselves, but they did acquire the patent, arrange for their production and set about marketing them to inns, coffee houses and other commercial establishments.

The design of the Silex was much less elaborate than the earlier versions of the vacuum pot – and it’s a design that has continued nearly unchanged since it was introduced in the early 1900s. If you put a vintage Silex vacuum brewer side by side with a Hario Next Siphon Brewer, they look like first cousins. Over the next decades, a number of patents were filed for Silex coffee brewers, many of them by the Silex Company of Hartford, Connecticut and many of them bearing the names of women as the inventor of record. Among the biggest changes were those that made the Silex more amenable for use in the home kitchen: a wider, flat bottom on the pot so that the apparatus could rest on a burner, and a narrower upper globe for better balance.

Speaking of Balance…

No discussion of the history of vacuum brewers would be complete without mention of balance brewers, a variation of the vacuum pot that places the two coffee vessels side by side instead of one atop the other. Unlike standard vacuum brewers, which rely upon you to extinguish the heat source at the correct time, the balance brewer is designed to automatically extinguish the flame on the burner when the water chamber is empty. It does this via a rather elegant combination of balance and a spring-loaded lid.

Balance siphons were highly popular at European court functions during the mid-1800s, and then faded out of favor as people opted for convenience over showiness. But as in all things coffee, the renaissance of interest in vacuum pots also renewed interest in the balance siphon. At least one company is now manufacturing and selling a variety of modern-day balance siphons.

Today’s Siphon Brewers

The market for siphon brewers today is largely dominated by two Japanese glass companies, Hario and Yama, who each sell a variety of vacuum pots and siphon brewing systems for both tabletop and stovetop brewing. The consensus on siphon coffee is that it is showy, elegant and uncommonly good, thanks to the mechanism that uses physics to determine when the coffee is properly brewed.