As soon as I saw It’s American Press’ Indigogo campaign last year, I knew the product would be a great success. It’s a year later and I find myself brewing with the device a couple of times a week. It’s captured my attention and is a brewer I will keep close for years to come.
Here are a few of the reasons I love the new It’s American Press.
It’s Designed to Last
There’s no doubt about the quality of the materials. When I opened the box for the first time and held the cylindrical brewer, I was a bit surprised at how heavy it was. Not because it’s bulky (it’s not at all), but because it’s built to operate for a lifetime.
The double walled carafe would probably survive being thrown from a plane and the stainless steel mesh that makes up the two filters on the coffee pod aren’t going anywhere.
It’s Easy to Use
Unlike just about every other coffee brewer, you start the brewing process by pouring water into the carafe without the coffee present. You then submerge a pod full of ground coffee in the water, let it steep for a few minutes, and plunge the rest of the way down.
As you plunge the pod down, the water below rushes through the coffee with intense pressure and sits on top of the silicon pod. It’s a visual coffee experience that I haven’t found anywhere else.
The Coffee Is Delicious
A rich flavor and medium body have characterized most of the cups I’ve had from It’s American Press, but there are some ways to change that. One cup I made using a coarse grind and a longer brew time had a lighter, tea-like body and a rich, crisp flavor. I typically stick to a medium-fine grind and a 3 minute total brew time for the heavier body.
I was concerned that the metal filters would produce too much sediment to allow me to really fall in love with the It’s American Press, but that fear was quickly laid to rest. It seems the mesh filters are very fine and capable of producing a cup that is sediment light.
It Will Go Anywhere
I’ve already taken my It’s American Press all over Texas and can say it’s been one of the easiest brewers to travel with.
- There’s no paper waste
- Clean up is very quick
- It’s cylindrical with no protruding parts
- It’ll survive longer than I will
If you’re constantly on the move and don’t need to brew more than 12oz at a time, this is a brewer to keep on your radar.
My Only Hesitation
The current press only brews about 12oz of coffee (14oz if you live life on the edge). It’s enough for me and my wife on most occasions, but some days we need a bit more. Being so easy, brewing coffee twice isn’t painful, but it’s not quick either.
Overall, I find It’s American Press to be a very capable no-fuss coffee brewer without any serious faults. It’s durable, easy to use, brews great coffee, and is a great travel companion.
Check out It’s American Press Brewing Guide to see the exact recipe I like to use.
Make sure to visit the It’s American Press website to learn more about how the device was designed and to keep up with future developments.
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 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.
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.
- Packing too light and not having enough coffee equipment. Your pack may be light, but your coffee quality may be compromised.
- 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.
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 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.
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.
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
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
Ratio: apprx. 15:1
Total time: 3:40
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.
By now you’ve seen cold brew coffee advertised on television, served at Starbucks, and even sold in vending machines. Americans are drinking iced coffee like never before. From 2014 to 2015, cold brew coffee sales increased 115%, and things have only gotten better in 2016.
Whether you’re a coffee shop, restaurant, bar, or any type of food or beverage business, cold brew coffee can transform your menu. It’s not too late to jump in on the cold brew market.
Cold brew drinks are currently all the rave. From nitrogen to whiskey, cold brew coffee pairs well and offers unique flavor possibilities. At Yellow House Coffee we have the usual cold brew iced coffee and cold brew lattes, but we’ve also taken our concentrate to some unique lengths to capture the imagination and palate of our more adventurous customers.
The High Plains Tonic is a drink crafted from an ounce of cold brew concentrate, a small bit of mocha syrup, an ounce of grape juice, tonic water and ice. Each sip gives the drinker the feeling of eating a chocolate covered grape infused with a bit of coffee and carbonation.
The Avenue Z contains an ounce of cold brew concentrate, a pump of our mocha and cinnamon syrups, a gram of orange bitters, tonic water and ice. This beverage targets that feeling of biting into an orange filled chocolate candy, with a hint of smooth coffee flavor embedded within the chocolate.
Search for recipes that use cold brew and you’ll likely find barbecue sauce and coffee rubbed steak over and over again. Madesco Labs broke the monotony by creating an incredible cooking with cold brew ebook with more recipes than I could have imagined possible that use cold brew coffee. If you’re ever in need of taco, brownie, or pancake recipes that use cold brew coffee, this is where to find them.
Unique ingredients such as cold brew coffee add life to a menu and captivate customers who are searching for creative food options. The raspberry acidity of an Ethiopian coffee could be just the tang your marinade needs, and the mellow chocolate notes of a darker blend may take your cookie to the next level.
The cold brew coffee market is growing and changing rapidly. Just recently, Starbucks began serving nitrogen-infused cold brew, a trend that has been gaining popularity over the last two years in the specialty coffee niche and is now making its way to the general market.
With even more demand, bottled cold brew coffee is showing up in every grocery store. The ready-to-drink coffee market has grown double digits since 2011, with cold brew coffee being a key component of these types of beverages.
The ways cold brew coffee will evolve to please the market will multiply over the next few years, and those who venture into the cold brew frontier will be rewarded. At the very least, cold brew coffee presents an opportunity to provide a compelling and popular coffee beverage that is pleasing all times of year, especially the Summer months when coffee sales decline overall.
How to Get in on the Cold Brew Market
Introducing cold brew coffee to your menu is not difficult, but a couple systems need to be in place for the results to be consistently delicious. To begin, you need a large container to be the dedicated cold brewer. Don’t use multi-purpose containers with your cold brew coffee. Those coffee oils tend to claim their territory and like to taint other things you put in there with them.
The best option for businesses who want to make a large batch every once in a while (rather than daily small batches) is the Madesco Labs Commercial Cold Brew System. The system is made of a 5 gallon brewer and dispenser with a specialized cloth filter. The simplicity of this device cannot be overstated. The cloth filter is ideal for allowing coffee oils, responsible for rich aromatics and flavor to enter the final brew, while still filtering out all the coffee grounds.
How It Works in a Business Setting
Weigh out your coffee and water according to your desired ratio. I like to use 1:5 (coffee:water) to form a coffee concentrate. It’s more versatile and easier to store than a 1:17 ratio batch, which is what you would shoot for if you wanted to drink it straight from the dispenser without diluting.
Place the coffee, ground at a coarse setting, in the cloth filter and tighten the strings. Pour the measured water onto the coffee and give the pouch a little spin to help saturate all the grounds. After about five minutes, submerge the filter again to make sure all the grounds are evenly saturated for a balanced brew.
After twelve hours, remove the filter and dump the coffee grounds into the trash. The filter can be rinsed and air dried and is ready to be used again. As for the cold brew concentrate, it can be stored in the fridge at peak flavor and freshness for up to two weeks. The process can be started by your closers and finished by your openers and requires very little time.
The gains possible with cold brew coffee are well worth the investment and deserve a moment of consideration. If you would like to look more into cold brew coffee and how it can impact your business, check out Madesco Labs.
Coffee shops are bittersweet. On one hand, they reveal the flavor potential lying within coffee beans. On the other hand, they make it painfully obvious that our coffee at home is a long way from being where we want it to be. Let’s change that.
Some coffee lovers like the feeling they get when they pretend that there is a high barrier of entree to brewing amazing coffee. It makes them feel so strong and smart to tell people they may as well give up the pursuit of tasty coffee at home.
Don’t believe them. Cafe quality coffee is a goal within reach for anyone willing to do a bit of reading, have a bit of patience, and fail every now and then.
You may have to put some steps in place that seem silly at first. You may have to give your morning coffee ritual a little more attention than normal. In the end, the coffee in your mug will satisfy your taste buds in ways you never knew imaginable.
It All Begins with the Bean
If you follow every other step in this guide perfectly with beans that are not grown, processed, or roasted well, you won’t find what you are looking for. Good liquid coffee begins with good coffee beans. Finding high quality coffee beans is not difficult once you know what to look for.
Look for those “roasted on” dates. Coffee roasters that value freshness and quality in mind won’t be afraid to tell you when they roasted their coffee beans. They won’t try to trick you with misleading “best by” dates.
After that, find roasters that publish the origin information of their coffee beans. If they are vague about the origin, they may be hiding something. If they are proud to give you the name of the region, farm, or farmer, they are excited about what they are offering and are trying to share that excitement with you.
Some roasters I suggest that take great care to source and roast coffee are Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters (Texas), Cat and Cloud Coffee Roasters (California), and Perc Coffee Roasters (Georgia). Basically, any roaster featured in Angel’s Cup.
The aromatic oils in the beans responsible for a complex, delicious taste will evaporate slowly after being roasted. This process speeds up dramatically once the coffee is ground. Get those beans whole bean and as fresh as you can, and don’t grind them until you’re ready to begin brewing to prolong the incredible flavors held within the beans.
Your Most Important Gear: The Coffee Grinder
There is no substitute for a good grinder. If you cannot rely on your grinder to consistently provide you with uniform coffee grounds, you will not be able to make the small adjustments required to make each coffee taste the best it can.
While there are a few tricks to making blade grinders work better, they aren’t ever going to get you to that upper level of coffee brewing you would find in a cafe. Blade grinders merely chop up the beans, giving you coffee grounds with no uniformity. These grounds will not extract evenly and will give you an unbalanced cup of coffee.
Enter the burr grinder.
Burr grinders range from $20 to $2,000. Don’t have a panic attack; we can get you going without breaking the bank.
Hand grinders are capable of incredible precision with a variety of grind sizes for less than $100. I own and high suggest the Kuissential EvenGrind, although Hario and RhinoWares also make well-known, capable hand grinders.
These guys will require a bit of elbow grease, but if you’re looking to save some money, they are the way to go. It usually takes me about 45 seconds to grind enough coffee beans to brew a single mug of coffee.
If you’ve got a few extra dollars to spend, go with one of the electric grinders from Baratza. I use the Virtuoso model on a daily basis, which is the most grinding power you could need at home unless you’re looking to master espresso.
Choosing Your Favorite Brewing Device
At this stage your personal coffee preferences come in to play. Do you like a full-bodied coffee with a complex, rounded flavor; or do find that bright, pinpoint flavors take you to that place of coffee bliss? No answer is wrong here.
Immersion brewing methods allow the coffee grounds and water to sit together for a period of time before being filtered. The final brew is balanced, rounded, and full.
Some popular immersion devices include the French Press, Aeropress, and Clever.
Pour over brewing methods allow the water to flow through the coffee bed and out into a carafe. The final brew has a more crisp acidity that highlights brighter, sweeter flavors, but leaves behind some of the deeper notes.
Some popular pour over devices include the Auto Drip, Hario V60, and Chemex.
I often recommend the Clever to beginners. The immersion brewer has a stopper at the bottom that, when placed upon a mug or carafe, allows the brewed coffee to drain through the paper filter and down into the other vessel. The paper filter and coffee grounds can be easily disposed of, so clean up is a breeze.
It’s made of BPA-free plastic, and is basically indestructible; the paper filter gives you the full flavor of the french press without the grit; and since it’s an immersion brewer, no special pouring technique is needed to evenly saturate all the coffee grounds like would be necessary in pour over methods.
The simplicity of this device compromises no flavor quality. Some of the best coffees I’ve ever had came out of the Clever, and many coffee shops brew with the Clever (including Yellow House). It is a brewing device that is approachable, easy to use, and capable of brewing amazing coffee.
Basic Brewing Mechanics
You’ve got your well sourced and roasted coffee beans. You’ve got a solid, reliable coffee grinder, and you’ve got a brewing device. Now it’s time for the magic.
These brewing mechanics often seem like a mountain that cannot be climbed to new coffee brewers. Though they take some focus to initially understand, using them to brew amazing coffee becomes second nature after some practice.
Water & Temperature
Generally, coffee comes out most balanced when the brewing water is somewhere between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit, or just below boiling. Any lower than that and you risk under-extracting your coffee, giving you a sour and acidic cup.
You also need to brew with water from a source that is not over-saturated with minerals. Calcium often causes a problem and is responsible for muting many flavors in coffee. If you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to check your water source mineral count against the SCAA’s water standards, just buy some purified water and mix a little bit of tap water in with it. That should be about right.
Coffee to Water Ratio
Coffee brewing ratios are some of the least-understood, but most empowering tools a coffee brewer can take advantage of.
Generally, 1 gram of coffee to 15-18g of water is a great place to be. This range of ratios promotes balanced extraction and concentration for a cup of coffee that tastes great without being overpowering or weak. See my guide for using coffee ratios to brew any amount of coffee you’d like.
Don’t pass up ratios! They are easy and life changing.
The best way to measure your coffee and water is using a digital kitchen scale. Volume measurements aren’t very precise because not all coffees weight the same. Mass is the way to go, without a doubt. Need some extra convincing?
Grind Size Adjustment
Adjusting your coffee grind size is another thing that is often overlooked, but it is a non-negotiable. Quality grinders will enable you to make adjustments with ease, giving you incredible control over your brew.
The Clever uses a medium-coarse to coarse grind, meaning the coffee grounds themselves are larger particles than grounds used in other methods. Since the coffee and water sit together over time, the grounds need to be larger so they don’t extract too quickly.
- Finer Grind = More Surface Area of Coffee Bean = Quicker Extraction
- Coarser Grind = Less Surface Area of Coffee Bean = Slower Extraction
It’s all a balancing act. Fine grinds require quick brews (30 seconds for espresso). Coarse grinds need longer brews (4 minute french press). Small grind adjustments here and there are what enable home brewers and professional baristas alike to “dial in” each coffee to discover its sweet spot.
Trust Your Taste Buds
It all comes down to taste, so let your enjoyment of your coffee have the final say. Here’s how you can use your taste to guide you to better coffee:
Over extracted coffee tastes bitter, dull, and lacks any flavor or sweetness. It means you’ve taken too much from the coffee grounds, and need to pull back a bit. You can coarsen the grind to reduce the surface area and slow down extraction. If you’re using a Clever or any other immersion brewer, you can also simply reduce the total brewing time.
Under extracted coffee tastes sour, acidic, and sometimes salty. It means the coffee beans needed to give away just a bit more for a balanced brew; you were almost there! Fine the grind just a bit or brew the coffee just a tad longer to balance it out.
Play with the variables over the course of a few brews to get the hang of how changing them works. Try to only change one at a time so that you can get a better understanding of them one at a time.
You’re Almost There
With a consistent grinder, a brewing device that empowers you as a brewer, and the ability to make small adjustments over time to your grind and ratio, you are just a bit of patience and practice away from being a master home coffee brewer.
Like with anything, manipulating the variables to achieve a full, incredible flavor in your coffee will take a bit of playing around with. Every grinder works a little differently, and every coffee brews a little differently.
It’s up to you to find your ideal grind size range with your particular equipment, and it’s up to you to determine if you would rather extract a little more or a little less from your chosen coffee. Maybe do some experimenting now and then.
What’s your top cafe quality coffee at home tip? If you have any questions, feel free to ask away in the comments or via email!
I find myself in the car for about 45 minutes each day between work, home, and other various destinations. To make the most of this time, I began listening to podcasts about six months ago, a move I didn’t realize would be so rewarding. Podcasts keep you engaged mentally on the road and give you an avenue to learn passively.
As a coffee shop manager and enthusiast, I naturally gravitated toward coffee related podcasts and found a several I’ve really enjoyed. From humble home enthusiasts to importers of the world’s finest coffees, these podcasts are hosted by coffee people in every part of the supply chain, meaning there’s a wealth of information to gain from these podcasts that you would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
There are many great websites and blogs for continued coffee education, but podcasts offer a different, equally valuable experience. You don’t want to miss these opportunities for learning and growth.
Brian Beyke and Bryan Schiele talk coffee brewing and the industry in an approachable way that leaves no man behind. Their combined coffee knowledge and connections make this an excellent podcast for the esteemed home brewer.
Episode 22 – Populace Coffee Projects with Andrew Heppne
Levi Anderson has quite a coffee history and shares it gladly through his podcast. This one is particularly insightful for anyone curious about what it takes to open a shop, provide excellent service, and enable great experiences around coffee.
Episode 35 – Gordie Bufton, Lessons from a Valet
Brought to you by Jared Truby and Chris Baca, the Cat and Cloud Coffee Podcast covers topics from all over the industry, from innovative brew methods to espresso recipes to service styles. They are hilarious, informed, and are an excellent resource for insights into the specialty coffee industry.
Truby and Baca Talk About Espresso Brewing Philosophy and Scales
Drew Pond and Christian Ott the esteemed Stone Creek Coffee in Milwaukee, WI reveal all their secrets in this podcast for professionals and consumers alike. Learn about coffee science, sourcing, and service in this great podcast.
Tasting Notes: Acidity
This podcast is the handiwork of Bjørg Brend Laird, co-founder of Supersonic Coffee in Berkley, CA. Her travels cause her to meet some interesting people with interesting jobs in the coffee world. Though sometimes a bit formal, the podcast has much to offer anyone curious about the origin side of coffee in particular.
Tim Wendlebow – Part 1
There is enough content within the archives of these five podcasts to last you all year, but that doesn’t mean these are the only podcasts you should explore. If you find any others that stick out to you, drop a comment down below!
Never stop learning.
Brewing coffee is a game of balance. You buy well-roasted beans, carefully designed brewers, and research techniques to improve the quality. Unfortunately, many home brewers forget a key step in the brewing process.
When you notice that the coffee you brew is consistently bitter, flat, or otherwise just not right, you’re first thought might be the coffee beans. Not a bad place to turn, but the coffee beans themselves aren’t the primary thing ingredient you’re drinking. As it happens, water makes up roughly 99% of your coffee, so the flavor of it actually matters significantly. To the surprise of many home-brewers, even local tap water can be taste-altering in unpleasant ways.
Here are some of the major factors that can affect the taste of your water:
Staleness & Quality
The water you use should always be fresh, smell, look, and taste clean. Cold water from the facet is usually fresher than the hot water and more likely to taste cleaner. Giving the water-kettle a jump start with warm water from the facet isn’t such a great idea after all.
Old water, used water or water that has been heated and cooled will have lost some of its oxygen, which makes the flavor a bit flat and changes the way that the coffee and water react to one another. In addition, don’t ever use water that you would be unwilling to drink by itself. A simple, affordable filter can really improve your water quality and decrease the presence of a lot of the larger minerals.
Water hardness specifically refers to the amount of calcium and magnesium in your water. If there is too much of either of these metals in the water, the flavor compounds (which are attracted to them) will attach themselves and form solids that will decrease the amount of flavor in the liquid in your cup.
Also problematic is the fact that, when heated, hard water creates limescale at a much faster rate than soft water does because of all of the minerals. This can build up in your coffee machine very quickly, and damage the whole system.
To combat these issues, many people use water softeners – but be careful! Water softeners increase the levels of salinity, which can affect the flavor. Test your water ahead of time to see whether you actually need a softener. According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America, target sodium levels are about 10mg/L.1
Chlorine content is something that you definitely want to avoid during the coffee brewing process. Chlorine, even in small amounts, can affect the flavor profile of your beverage and can even change the smell. It will reduce the pH balance of your coffee, making it more acidic. On top of that, the substance can actually corrode any metallic parts on your machine, causing you to search for a replacement much sooner than you might like. Use a carbon filter to avoid this particular problem.
When you are trying to provide the best office coffee service for your employees or guests, water quality is just as important as your choice of machine. Use filters and test your water for the best possible brew!
Brittany Goodwin is a digital marketing professional and freelance writer in Philadelphia. She enjoys traveling and making a positive impact on the environment. Brittany holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Rutgers University. Connect with Brittany on LinkedIn.