By James Gallagher for Steampunk Coffee
Some argue that coffee tastes next level when drunk outside - home brewer James Gallagher experiments.
Yesterday, I had an idea: I could try and brew a coffee in the park. I could not find a flask to keep my water warm, however, so I had to delay the idea. I later found a flask that would be suitable for brewing so I thought I'd give brewing coffee away from home using my Aeropress a try. After all, the Aeropress was designed not just for home use but to be used outside, too. It's the perfect brewer for brewing coffee while you are away from home. The Aeropress is portable, compact, and requires little equipment to use.
Before I set out on my journey to brew with my Aeropress away from home, I had to make sure I packed the right equipment. I double-checked all of my equipment before I went to make sure I had not forgotten anything. It would have been awkward, if for instance, I had forgotten my Aeropress filters, which were the last thing on my mind before I left the house. I ended up taking the following:
- A bag to store my equipment.
- The Aeropress brewing device.
- The Aeropress scoop and stirrer.
- A bag of coffee.
- A mug.
- My Hario Mini Mill hand grinder.
- A flask with some hot water inside.
I boiled the water I used for brewing just before I left the house and I preheated the flask. This approach, I later found, was sufficient in keeping my water to a suitable temperature for brewing. As soon as I had put the water in my flask, I set off for the park.
When I arrived, I took a seat at one of the benches and prepared my equipment. Part of me wondered what the people walking by would be thinking when they saw me bring out my grinder and start brewing coffee. But I ended up being quite immersed in the brewing process. Grinding the coffee was not easy as I forgot how much energy it takes to grind enough coffee for one cup by hand. In this case, I used 15 grams.
I ground 15 grams of beans at a medium setting, slightly on the coarser side. I then prepared the Aeropress by putting a filter paper in the device and screwing on the filter cap. I poured my coffee into the Aeropress, shook the Aeropress to level the bed of coffee, and then I started brewing. I poured approximately up to the number 4 on the Aeropress, which is enough for a full mug. I used a slightly improvised recipe, which looked something like this:
- Pour in water to the 4 marker on the Aeropress.
- Stir the coffee.
- Put the plunger on top of the Aeropress and pull the plunger back a bit.
- Wait for about a minute.
- Push the Aeropress.
Brewing outside was not the same as being at home. I measured my coffee using a scoop. I had to eyeball the water measurements. I did not use a timer. However, I enjoyed this improvisation. One of the reasons I set out to brew coffee outside of my house is that I thought my coffee brewing skills would be tested. Indeed, they were. I had to think fast. I ended up with one cup of freshly-brewed coffee, using coffee beans I had ground moments before brewing.
You may ask: what was the result? I must say the coffee was not my best. I ground a bit fine so it took me a while to push the Aeropress down. I could taste the flavour notes on the bag but at home I have made better. The coffee was a bit silty toward the end and I wish I had left the last sip in the cup. With that in mind, this was my first try brewing with the Aeropress outside. I hope to do this again on another sunny day and improve my brewing skills. I loved sitting in the sun with a warm cup of coffee in my hands and I sipped leisurely as the birds chirped and people walked by.
If you are looking for an activity to do outside related to coffee and have an Aeropress, try brewing somewhere other than your home. All you will need is the equipment I mentioned above. You could even take pre-ground coffee to skip a step but I'd recommend grinding fresh (the fresher the coffee, the tastier it will be). Not only is brewing outside a test of your skills, it's also an incredibly fun activity.
Contributed by James Gallagher, a home brewer and coffee enthusiast. View his excellent blog at jamesg.blog
Are you looking for equipment to brew coffee on the road? We have two Aeropress options available on our website: the classic Aeropress (£28) and Aeropress Go (£32) which is smaller and folds into a cup - perfect for throwing into your backpack.