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I've noticed that coffee made with my Aeropress has a much richer flavor even though I use the same water temperature, number of scoops, roast, etc.

Is this because the Aeropress method produces crema (the tawny substance found in espresso shots)? And, if so, is there a way to optimize crema extraction with an Aeropress?

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    What is the other method(s) you are using that you find inferior? – Evan Sep 10 '15 at 0:54
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    See also the never-ending quest for AeroPress crema. – hoc_age Sep 10 '15 at 4:28
  • There is no crema produced during Aeropress extraction, which makes your question impossible to answer. I would not attempt to explain the chemistry behind coffee roasting and what happens when you pull an espresso shot, but one of the main contributing factors to the formation of crema is the 9 bars of pressure that an espresso machine can generate. Not sure how you'd do that with an Aeropress... – Stanimiroff Sep 10 '15 at 17:02
  • I am not sure for the link between cream and oil, but given that the Aeropress relies on a micro-filter, I believe (no ref) that the drink contains less oil actually, filtered out by the filter. – Eric Platon Sep 14 '15 at 4:29
  • @Evan Specifically the french press. I would let my coffee brew in the french press for the same amount of time as the Aeropress, but the taste would be quite different. Tsturzi suggested that the difference is due to the increased solubility from the extra pressure of an aeropress, and I believe he is correct. – Devon Yarbrough Sep 21 '15 at 16:13
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The aeropress does not produce crema. There is no where near enough pressure using the aeropress to produce crema. Crema doesn't make coffee better, its typically a sign of good espresso, but isn't found in any other form of brewing nor is it what make the coffee actually taste better. French presses don't create crema either, and its a misleading yet common belief that they do.

The aeropress likely has about the same amount of oils as a pour-over cup of coffee if you're using the paper filters. The aeropress get it's richness from its style of brewing known as "immersion brewing". Longer contact with the grounds extracts compounds usually left behind by pour-over/drip methods. Combine with pressure, the aeropress, in short, just extracts more flavor by having a longer brew time and an environment which increases solubility with pressure.

Clarification:

The AeroPress has a short "brew time", however what I was meaning to say is that the aeropress and other immersion brewers have a longer contact time of the bean and the water. Therefore you have more extraction. The aeropress, unlike any other immersion method uses pressure to increase solubility. It's known that if you increase pressure that you extract quicker, and your solvent(water in this case) is able to achieve higher saturation.

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Whether or not the Aeropress creates an actual espresso crema is a subject of intense debate. What you certainly can get from an Aeropress is a tawny brown foam layer on top of your coffee. I think of my Aeropress brew as near-espresso rather than actual espresso or regular coffee.

To do this, I use a ceramic burr hand grinder (because I'm cheap) on one of the finest grind settings it will do. I use good whole bean coffee, and the cheap paper filters it came with. I heat water to around 175 degrees and only fill the water to just above the 1. I do wet the filter first and give it a little stir, but I only let it sit for a few seconds before pressing. I press as hard as I can. This goes against the Aerobie instructions but the more pressure, the more oils you get from the coffee grind (and the more tawny, creamy foam ends up on top). The very fine grind is critical here; you will not get the tawny foam from a coarse grind.

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