Sunday, April 06, 2014

Coffee and Capitocalypse

I am  a late comer to specialty coffee,  or to coffee in general. My idea of coffee has been shaped my Nescafe with milk to stay up during PHD or that gruesomely bitter burnt Starbucks coffe that I could only tolerate with a lot of cream and sugar back in my Austin days (exactly here to be precise). I do not like Turkish coffee, since it is even darker than Starbucks coffee.

All of this changed when my friend and soon-to-be sister-in-law Deniz sent our office a filter coffee machine for end user tests. I slowly moved from Starbucks, Nero, Tchibo up to the only speciality coffee shop in Istanbul Kronotrop (link). I have also tested different brewing methods such as using Moka pot (link). Moka pots seem to accentuate the flavors in the beans, and more suited for fresh grinds and for preparing espresso-like substrate for latte variants.

Being the geek that I am, I soon came across Aeropress, which was invented by a geek for geeks (here is a link to an article about the history of Aeropress). After inventing the best Frisbee, Alan Adler decided to invent the best single-shot coffee brewing method. He came up with a plastic chamber that relies on pressure for extraction of flavors. The coffee made with Aeropress has the longest lasting flavors I came to experience in my life. If you are after quick, good-tasting, cheap and clean method of making coffee, Aeropress is the way to go. For those interested, here is a good introductory video:

Aeropress Coffee Brew Guide : MistoBox Series from MistoBox on Vimeo.

I also came across this article (link) discussing how coffee and related experiences are used by the same forces that drive gentrification to create "experiences" for the advantaged classes, exploiting the service sector employees on the way. From this perspective, Aeropress can be seen as liberating as well... OK, I'll stop here and let you enjoy your coffee without diving into social critique.


thuan said...

Osman, I've gone through the french press, aeropress, and moka phases, as one supplanted the other for superior coffee status.

problem with all 3 is hassle of grinding beans and/or clean up.

im now happily settled with nespresso system. utter convenience and extremely good on the taste front, too. makes much more sense for office environment = flavor selection, high use frequency, minimal cleanup.

Ahmet Cihat Toker said...

how would you rank them in terms of quality?

i buy coffee already grinded in small quantities. plus, the inverted method with aeropress is in my opinion the cleanest of all.

ill give nespresso a try. but the thing is damn expensive in turkey.

thuan said...

the machines are not inexpensive in the US, but cost just half in the EU market. not sure how they're priced in TK.

since their patents expired 3rd parties have started producing compatible alternatives. i like Ethical Coffee Company pods which are both cheaper and biodegradeable. there's even a reusable pod that you can pack with your own coffee ground.

flavor and intensity varies per pod - some are optimized for single shots, double shots, or longer americano style. overall i find them tasteful. try them at the 'boutique' there should be one in istanbul

Mehmet said...

Any capsule system will limit you in terms of quality and new experiences, I found a grinder by DeLonghi which is quite easy to use and clean up: