An Adventure in Aeropress Coffee

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AeroPress ™ is a trademark of Aerobie, Inc., the name given to a coffee brewing method invented by company inventor and engineer Alan Adler. Utilizing just a plunger, a rubber seal, a paper or metal filter, and a screw cap, it’s worlds less intimidating than a siphon or Chemex.

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So enchanted is a certain group with this particular brewing method that they’ve opened Habitual Coffee, a self-described “start up coffee bar” offering beverages prepared only with the Aeropress. That’s right, there’s no espresso machine in sight, or a French press, or even the darling of the specialty coffee world, the pour over.

Kaye Ong, TJ Rocamora, and Raph Garcia, are ambitious twenty-somethings “… geeking out on the possibilities of such a simple, portable, and revolutionary device,” explains the lone girl in the group. Kaye eagerly tells me about the “lingering and life changing” cup of coffee she had at San Francisco’s iconic Blue Bottle, and how it, yes, changed her life. So she bought a bag of those magic beans to share with TJ and Raph, and new coffee enthusiasts were born. Stumbling upon the Aeropress only served to ratchet up their enthusiasm. “In just a few months, we were wide-eyed, home-based Aeropressers … and Habitual Coffee came about as a fortuitous result of ultra-accommodating lessors, sheer luck, and a drive to share our Aeropressed specialty coffee experience with as many people as possible,” Kaye says, still as wide-eyed and excited as on Day 1.

Habitual Coffee (terrific name, that) is located inside Ortigas Home Depot, and it’s necessary to wend one’s way through the hodgepodge of restaurants, car repair shops, and interior design abodes to find this caffeinated refuge. It’s located inside Edition Lifestyle Store, itself an expression of all things design.

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Truly a bar since you pull out a stool and hoist yourself up, I’m here today eager to learn my lesson on the Aeropress. We’ll be trying out beans that Kaye’s purchased on her recent trip to Hong Kong and Shanghai, and I’m thrilled to take part in the largesse.

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Brewing with an Aeropress is straightforward. A filter is inserted into the cap and screwed tightly onto the bottom of the chamber. This group head – if I may call it that – is then placed over a (must be sturdy!) coffee cup/glass.

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The chamber is deposited with coffee beans ground to a medium fineness, then some hot water is poured over all just to moisten (bloom) the beans. After several seconds, the rest of the water is poured in and the beans are allowed to steep further for a total of about 1-2 minutes, interrupted midway by a vigorous stir.

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Finally, to extract that precious fluid, the plunger is pressed down onto the brew over a span of 20-30 seconds. The coffee trickles down from the chamber into the cup, a result of air pressure and a slight pressing down on the coffee grounds.

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The spent grounds from an Aeropress brew. Shot a few years ago during a brewing session with fellow coffee enthusiasts.

The plunger is effective at extracting every bit of moisture from the grounds. Once the cap is unscrewed, out pops out a round of grounds, something people call a hockey puck but which I think looks more like a molten lava cake.

So what does the brew taste like? The brews coming from an Aeropress are hailed as rapid, robust, and rich, comparable to those from a French press, but I can’t say I agree. On the contrary, I find them thin and tea-like. This is a personal sentiment however, and brews are possible to adjust through grind fineness, steeping time, etc. My opposing opinion certainly makes for lively debate with Kaye, and I’m keen on seeing if my views will change after my succeeding visits to this coffee bar.

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Thoroughly caffeinated after all this…

Habitual is a good place to while away the time should you find yourself in the area. Whether you’re an avid Aeropress(er) or want to know what its brew tastes like, come on over and take the plunge. The cold brew coffee is quite good. The pastries look somewhat tired however, and I really think they should at least be placed under a cake dome. I look forward to seeing what other beverages, including cocktails, will be rolled out in the coming few months.


Habitual Coffee
Inside Edition Lifestyle Store
Unit C14 Building B, CW Ortigas Home Depot, Julia Vargas Avenue, Pasig City
On Facebook: /habitualcoffee
Twitter: @habitualph
Mon: 1:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Tue, Wed, Sun: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Thu – Sat: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm

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