This post is intended for anyone who loves and appreciates a good coffee and is interested in finding out about some cool coffee-making techniques. If you don’t like coffee, heck, you can still read. It’s free.
If you are a regular reader of The Food Blog, you would know that I left the world of employment in January and am currently self-employed. This change has had a hugely positive impact on my life. I am healthier and more energetic; I have more freedom with my schedule and am spending a huge amount of quality time with my family. Though this may be a short lived state of being, seeing that I will more than certainly have to go back to employment at some point, I am doing my best to enjoy the here and the now.
Though things are all rosy at the moment, there’s no denying that employment did have its benefits. There’s the professional side of things. My previous role did wonders for my skills in software development. You learn so much when you are surrounded by people who know more than you do. Then, there’s the social aspect – the friends you make, the lunches and the coffees. Oh man, do I miss the coffee. You see, my previous employer was a short stroll away from one of my favourite cafes, Mecca Espresso on King Street, Sydney. I wrote about these guys previously, discussing Mecca’s wonder machine, the Clover, which can brew coffee under extremely accurate conditions of time and temperature. In my opinion, their espresso is one of the best in town. But alas, their coffee is no longer a daily ritual of mine.
It seems the dream of having readily available, high quality coffee is one that I constantly approach and then always see drift away. I live in Flemington – a barren wasteland populated by an atheist, coffee-bastardising society waiting to hear the good word according to the Gospel of St Bean. But it wasn’t always like this. I had it good, goddammit! I lived in Newtown for 4 years, literally two doors down from Campos Coffee. I visited these guys so often that I could have put down a deposit on a house with the money I spent there. But there are no regrets. Campos pours an amazing cup. Owner Will Young was one of the first people in Sydney to produce coffee of such excellent quality and consistency. In fact, the first coffee/god moment I ever experienced was from a Campos coffee. I never knew coffee could taste that sublime.
(1- Campos Micro-Lot Coffee. 2- The parts of an Aeropress. 3 and 4 – Coldpressing with an Aeropress)
Will Young is experienced at raising the bar, if you get my drift. He recently opened a cupping room above the Newtown premises where people can go and sample different types of high quality beans. He is also supporting small growers that grow beans exclusively for his shops. On a recent visit, I nabbed the last bag of his most expensive single origin coffee ($15.00 for 250grams, way too much for a self-employed person to spend), labelled “Guatemala Finca, El Triangulo” following a suggestion from Ben the Barista Man. To appreciate this coffee, I went for a cold drip method, but instead of “dripping” the coffee, I pressed it with my Aeropress.
The Aeropress is one heck of an invention. My father in law bought me one as a present and it has been well used in the Kassab household. It’s basically a cylinder with a filter that gets filled with coffee and hot water, mixed and left to extract for 10 or 20 seconds and then pressed, like you would with a syringe, by the process of vacuum (see pictures). I own a Gaggia espresso machine which I no longer use, and instead, I stick with the Aeropress. It’s that good. If you’re not convinced, consider this. Both Mecca and Campos sell an Aeropress. If they think it’s good, chances are, so will you. My advice is that you get one. It’s cheap (I think it’s around $30 or less), easy to use, easier to clean and makes surprisingly sensational coffee.
To produce a cold-pressed coffee, I mixed 3 Aeropress scoops of plunger-ground coffee with 1 cup of room temperature water and left it alone for 12 hours. I then extracted the coffee using the Aeropress. A bit of ice and half a cup’s worth of coffee, and we’re done. Iced coffee like you’ve never experienced. The beauty of cold-pressing or cold extraction is that the entire aroma in the coffee stays intact, instead of being destroyed by heat. The method really showcases the flavours of this wonderful single origin: loads of fruit (I tasted blackberries and cherries), low acid, almost no bitterness and a huge hit of chocolate and caramel. And a good caffeine hit to boot.
Have you been to Campos or to Mecca? Have you tried Aeropress coffee? Leave a comment and let me and other readers know about it.