Ever since Achille Gaggia invented a new coffee machine in 1948 which extracted natural coffee oils and deposited a tasty foamy layer, which he termed Crema, it became the benchmark for good coffee. Soon the Crema was a distinct feature of espresso coffee.
Preparing a cup of coffee with Aeropress
Ever since its invention Aeropress has become a quick answer to the coffee lovers' needs. It has managed to form fan groups and has inspired experimentation with this little device among coffee enthusiasts.
It employs the application of manual pressure to brew a cup of coffee. It is a highly portable and instantly usable piece of equipment that uses no electric power.
Now theoretically it is pretty hard to get any crema from an Aeropress as the pressure which can be exerted manually is just not enough to get that. But there is nothing you cannot achieve with the right strategy and planned tweaks. Of course, don't expect to get as rich crema as from a professional espresso machine but the results will be satisfying. In fact, most famous baristas do not focus on getting crema with the AeroPress, like this AeroPress Brewing Guide. I just think that it's a nice touch, and if I can have my beautiful foamy layer on top of my coffee, why not?
Getting the Right ingredients
This starts with obtaining the right ingredients for your espresso from Aeropress. Although this you will have to find out yourself as there is no fixed recipe and the same things don't work for all.
But there are a few pointers which should be kept in mind that will certainly help.
- As we have already stated above the coffee beans should be freshly roast. Even otherwise also you cannot expect to achieve great coffee from stale coffee beans.
- Brew your coffee as soon as you grind it. A good thing to keep in mind is that you grind only the necessary amount of coffee. If necessary, store in an airtight package for a couple of days.
- You will have to be creative with respect to choosing the coffee beans. Don't hesitate to ask around about the bean variant that is producing the right results. And, there is always the hit and trial method you can adopt until you hit the sweet spot.
- The water you will use should be adequately hot but not boiling. The right temperature of the water is 94-96 C for the best results.
- Use a metal filter. This provides tw. - first it is able to withstand more pressure and second, it does not absorb the Crema which you have produced with great effort.
Now preparing the cup of espresso
When you have all the right ingredients set up your Aeropress for inverted operation. It is done because the oils and air are lighter and have a high concentration over your mix. When you use your Aeropress normally this portion is processed last and is usually absorbed in the filter and the coffee ground. The inverted operation will give you crema first which you should collect in the cup and then just continue with the normal operation.
Here are a few key points to remember:
- Use a generous amount of scoop full grind. It should be extra fine so as to not let the water pass through it too quickly.
- Add the just before-boil water and stir. You should wait around 20 seconds after stirring to start brewing.
- And last but the most important, press as hard as you can, keeping in mind the limitation of your equipment and the coffee cup. With fine grind, the resistance will be high and you will have to exert a little more at the end.
If you did everything right, in the end you will have a marvelous cup of coffee with that bespoke crema on the top.
So what is Crema?
Let’s start this by first understanding what crema actually is. crema is coffee oils suspended in carbon dioxide filled air produced during the roasting. It should not be confused with the foam which you may achieve incidentally or otherwise while making a cup of coffee. Such generated foam does not add any taste to the coffee but Crema adds to the richness and enhances the taste of the coffee.
Breaking it apart
So two essential attributes stem from this understanding,- first that coffee beans should be nicely roasted and second that the pressure should be enough to produce an amalgamation of the oil and air mix.
If the coffee beans that are being used are not freshly roasted, it is likely that the roast does not have any suspended air. It is highly unlikely that you will get a satisfying amount of crema with the stale coffee.
Similarly, preparation of a good espresso cup demands the presence of a good amount of pressure.