In the coffee world, manual brewing methods are king right now. This is something that I will not complain about because quite often these manual methods give the user greater control over the relevant variables at a much lower price point than any suitable automatic brewer.
I’ve always found the aeropress to be among the most finicky of our current generation of manual brew methods. I think it may be that because of it’s low brewing volume (220 grams of water is about your max), minute changes in each variable are much more noticeable than if you are brewing at higher volumes. This is good because it gives the user a chance to learn about brew variables, but bad because it can be tough to nail a spot-on brew.
The aeropress comes with thin paper filters, which have always been my preference. I don’t like sediment in the cup. Filters that allow sediment do usually deliver a greater spectrum of flavors to the cup but in my experience these additional flavors are not desired. While eco-friendly practices are a worthy pursuit, coffee filters have never seemed like a big enough source of waste to prod me towards a more “green” method. If the right solution came along however, I would be game.
Enter the DISK Fine, made by a company named Able Brewing. It is a thin mesh-like metal filter that aims to deliver eco-friendliness (reusability), low amounts of sediment in the cup, and flavor benefits of metal filtering. Additionally, a reusable filter has the potential to save money in the long run, and this particular one is made entirely in the U.S. In my opinion this is an impressive value chain that Able Brewing has tied into this ~$15 product. I give them props first and foremost in this space.
My thoughts on the Disk Fine:
There is a trade-off compared to the original DISK; durability. When I first opened the DISK Fine, I was a little scared to handle it. I was expecting a thin metal plate, but the the DISK Fine is closer to a piece of circular-cut metal mesh. I don’t think it will break, but I fear it getting accidentally bent or crushed. Though, this one sacrifice proved worth it in the long run.
Brewing with the DISK Fine is not really any different in practice than with the original disk, or the aeropress paper filters. (See my brew recipe below). The difference is quite noticeable when it comes to what is in the cup (isn’t that what coffee geeks like us are supposed to be excited about anyways?). As you can see in the picture above, the amount of sediment in the cup is negligible until you get to the last sip. I choose not to take the last sip, and am usually quite pleased by the cup overall. I think it’s important to note that because of the pressure exerted on the filter, there has always been a little bit of sediment in my aeropress brews, even when using the paper filters.
Besides sediment volume, there are some differences in the cup. First off, remember that the DISK and DISK Fine deliver an immersion/metal-filter style cup. So, body is increased, and acidity decreased. Similar to Kone v2 style brews, you end up getting a very “soft” cup. It’s gentle and respectful, but it doesn’t lack flavor. The one thing I’m always trying to balance is over-extraction vs. under-extraction; the aeropress has a small sweet-spot, and a metal filter with low sediment gives an even stronger sense of extraction to the user. Finding that extraction sweet-spot will be key for a user of the DISK Fine.
I digress. The DISK Fine is a great product. It’s better than the original DISK (less sediment, just as much flavor/body) it’s reusable, it’s perhaps more eco-friendly than paper filters, and it’s completely made in the U.S. So, as long as I’m careful handling it, I’m one step closer to my lifelong dream of tasting immersion brewed coffee without the grit. By avoiding the last sip in the mug, I’m pretty much there
My Aeropress Recipe:
Inverted. I don’t claim to have come up with this originally. I’ve tried a lot of others’ brew methods, tweaked them, and tweaked some more. This one is probably derived from another recipe that I saw online.
15 grams of coffee ground slightly coarser than standard filter drip
220 grams of water @ 201 degrees Fahrenheit
1:55 total targeted brew time
- Set up your aeropress so that is it inverted. Fill with boiling water to preheat. Preheat mug and Disk Fine as well.
- Place coffee grounds in aeropress, then place aeropress on scale and tare.
- In about twenty seconds, pour 100 grams of water into aeropress and stir 3 times (clock is now at 0:20)
- Using another twenty seconds, pour in the remaining 120 grams of water (clock is now at 0:40)
- Place DISK Fine (along with black filter harness)
- Steep coffee in aeropress until clock reaches 1:10
- At 1:10, flip aeropress and slowly press coffee. Aim to finish the press at 1:55
- As soon as you hear air being pushed through the grounds into your mug, STOP!