Not a day go by that I don't marvel at the creation of the Aeropress, and the Inverted Brewing technique! There sometimes is an issue with using the paper filter, where even though it does produce a very clean cup of coffee, mouthfeel-wise, more grounds have to be used to get a fuller taste. When I started to venture into Turkish coffee with an Ibrik, I realized that it's the sediment that I miss. As a tea drinker, I'd never filter my tea through that finely. I guess it's the same with coffee for me. I'm home roasting, stone-grinding, using Aeropress for maximum taste value, only to filter the flavor elements out at the last stage?
So, the other day in Chinatown, I was actually looking at a bottom ball-release tea/coffee brewing thing where the filter is actually removeable/washable. I'd also noticed a manual open hopper coffee grinder that cost $8.99. I purchased the tea-maker, and a $1.99 skimmer for broth. Got home, 1) found the tea brewer's nice removeable filter works well, except that it had had a rip in the mesh. 2)Took a scissor to the $1.99 skimmer, using the Aeropress paper filter as a guide, cut out that circle, put into the aeropress, made myself a cup of stone-ground coffee. My heart beat a little faster! (not literally) The foam around the inside of the cup is brown instead of cream color (pictured) The taste is what i had been missing! It's full body, and had a nice mouth feel yet not muddy or gritty. At the bottom of the cup after finishing the coffee this is a little pool of black, glossy syrup (pictured), which is like a smooth but intense coffee ice cream. That, whatever you call it, is a treat in itself! That also gives you an idea how fine the filter/screen is.
So, I brought a few coffee beans with me, went back to the store (HK market), returned the tea-maker, ($10.99), went to the manual coffee grinder, put in a few beans and tested it. It grinds easily and quite evenly. Sold! I took the coffee grinder ($8.99), and another of the $1.99 skimmer (for my future replacement filter in case I needed one), and came home to another coffee test. The manual grinder is not too labor intensive. The open hopper made it easy to load and grind. It grinds fine enough for French press. Just had to remember to empty the wooden drawer after 65-70 turns. I empty it into those silicon egg poacher that stands up but is soft enough to make pouring easy. I made the coffee with my new metal filter. (for both stone ground and this ground I'd still use the inverted method, and have to be extra careful when inverting otherwise the liquid could spill) It has a sweeter taste. Though it's not as full body as the finer stone ground it still had more flavor than when using a paper filter.
Anyhow, it's been over a week since I've been using the metal filter. Due to its thinness it stays in place quite well. Washing is simple. I'm using less grounds now that the flavor isn't compromised by the paper filter.
The manual grinder is great for those of us who don't know whether we really want to spend a lot of money on a burr grinder. It gives more people a chance to explore freshly ground coffee at home without too much investment. (ground pictured)