Coffee and cycling go together like bread and butter and, as many of you will know, I am a bit of a coffee obsessive or a coffee snob - I’ll happily be called either given that I have all the apps on my phone to try and find the best speciality coffee stores wherever I am.
Unfortunately this still does not always throw up anything that I would call “good coffee.” That problem, however, is becoming less common now in the UK, which I am pleased about, as our country is being hit by a coffee craze.
However, it still isn’t possible on the morning of races to go and get my coffee fix. So I am going to give you a little run down of what I take with me to training camps and races and give you some brewing ideas to try at home.
My favourite method when I am away is a filter coffee. Filter has a bad rep as most people associate filter coffee with those stale, reheated batch brews that have been sat on the top of a heater for hour upon hour - just like the ones you see in the films in an American diner.
However, proper filter coffee made correctly makes a delicate sweet brew. and there are two main methods I opt for when travelling:
1: Drip filter.
Drip filter sees your brew water slowly dripping through your coffee grounds and a filter paper. At home I often use a Chemex for this method, but it's a little delicate and large to chuck in my kitbag and so I pack either a v60 or a Kalita. Both are very similar drip brewing methods and work in the same drip style, but the V60 is conical in shape whilst the Kalita has a flat bottom. My skills aren't good enough to make this a noticeable difference in taste to my pallet, I probably need to drink more coffee.
2: Immersion Aeropress
Coffee brewed using an AeroPress undergoes the immersion brew method. Essentially you add some coffee to a plastic chamber, add water and let the grounds steep for a number of minutes before pushing down on the handle to force your brew through the grounds and filter paper, and into your cup or decanter.
What do you need for filter coffee?
1: AeroPress, V60 brewer, kalita to name a few,
2: V60, AeroPress, Kalita filters - they are special in their design (don’t forget these because I have on many occasions!)
3: Amazing coffee: buy fresh and whole bean! People ask me my favourite coffee, I don’t have one as such, but I do have favourite roasters who source the best green (unroasted) coffee seasonally and roast it fresh. These can come from greater producers in great producing countries like Kenya, Rwanda, El Salvador to name a few. They then roast them to get the best from the coffee. Lighter roasted coffees are in my opinion a lot better and usually show the quality of the coffee actually having a flavour, not like the dark roast that the chains use. My fave roaster is Workshop Coffee in London. They change up their range constantly as fresh coffees are harvested in different countries and they roast fresh to order. Postage is also included on their subscriptions. Spot on!
4: A grinder, various options available, when you go away a hand grinder is very useful. I use a Porlex, It gives a great grind work really well it light and fits in the AeroPress. Links are at the bottom.
5: Scales. Sounds odd but it's like making a cake - follow a good recipe, get some great ingredients and you’re not going to go to far wrong.
8: Something to time on.
9: Something to put your coffee in.
10: Water - often overlooked! Good quality water, such as Highland Spring or Acqua Panna. Very important!
How I brew: AeroPress
Step 1: Get all you equipment ready.
Step 2: Weigh out 16g of beans, stick your kettle on to boil. Then grind your coffee - to start wit, aim for a caster sugar texture/size
Step 3: Make sure you rinse the paper out with plenty of hot water. Assemble the AeroPress and set up like the pic. Then add your coffee grinds, give a little shake to settle the grind and make level. Tare/zero your scales.
Step 4: Hopefully your water is just off the boil, around 95 degrees. Start you timer and add 250g of water to the Aeropress. Running water over any dry bits of coffee that may appear.
Step 5: Give you AeroPress a quick stir, be careful not to hit the paper filter or you will have a mess on your hands, as I've done this a few times when rushing. Then put your plunger in the AeroPress and give a slight lift up creating a vacuum, stopping the coffee just dripping out.
Step 6: Remove plunger at about 1:30 min give a stir and push the plunger back down over about 30 seconds to extract your brew. When/if you hear a hiss STOP!!
Remove AeroPress clean up and enjoy
I tend to give the pitcher a swirl and put couple of mouthfuls in a cup and leave it for 30 seconds. It lets the coffee cool rapidly and let's you realise how coffee changes and the different flavours you get from the brew as it cools.
Hopefully you will have hit the sweet spot and got a great brew, but if it is tasting bitter you'll have probably over-extracted (taken too much out of your ground coffee) and will want to make your grind a bit coarser. If it's sour or under whelming that's a signal you've under-extracted (leaving too much of the good stuff in your ground coffee), so make your grind a bit finer and that will allow you to extract more. Make small changes one step at a time, otherwise you won't know what made it better (or worse!).
I have borrowed this off someone who know a lot about coffee, you can follow him and many other coffee Pro on https://baristahustle.com/blogs/barista-hustle there is tons of info on there!
If you are new to brewing a great start would be the package on the link below. it has pretty much all you need to start brewing some great coffee!!!
If you already have some parts and want to add more to you collection, or need more filter or amazing coffee the link will take you to a great place to start.