Are you a coffee-lover who can't decide between Aeropress and V60 for your brew? Check out our handy comparison table below to help you on your decision!
Aeropress and French Press are two of the most popular coffee brewing methods out there. If you're just getting into coffee and don't know the difference, don't worry. Here's a handy comparison table for you to quickly wrap your head around the two methods!
What is the Aeropress?
The Aeropress is a plastic piston-style coffee brewer that gives you a cup that is medium-bodied, rich and relatively clean. Each Aeropress comes with a brewing chamber, plunger, filter cap, as well as accessories such as the stir paddle and coffee scoop.
What are the characteristics of a coffee brewed with the Aeropress?
The Aeropress is an immersion brewing method -- meaning coffee grounds are steeped in water as they brew. This is in comparison to drip brewing methods, whereby water runs through the coffee grounds and drip into your carafe immediately. As you might expect, Aeropress coffees are more full-bodied and robust than their drip counterparts. However, unlike the French Press (another immersion brewing method) that gives a muddled cup with the presence of coffee oils, an Aeropress coffee is relatively cleaner as the coffee is driven through a paper filter as it is extracted.
How to brew?
Grind size: Consistency similar to table salt.
Filter: Use with the Aeropress paper filter, though reusable metal filters are also available on the market.
Setup: Get ready a scale. Rinse paper filter thoroughly with warm water before brewing to avoid any papery tastes. When you're ready to start brewing, grind your coffee beans. There are 2 ways to brew with the Aeropress: the Original (upright) method, or the Inverted method.
The Original (upright) method is super simple and straightforward. Setup your Aeropress on your carafe with the filter cap pointing down. Place your coffee grounds inside the brewing chamber and add your desired amount of hot water. If you don't have a scale, you can use the Aeropress's number markings as a guide. Give the brew a few stirs using the stir paddle, and let steep for a few minutes. When the brew is ready, put the plunger on and press down gently to expel the coffee. Stop when you hear the hissing sound of air.
The Inverted method is slightly more complicated. First, attach the plunger to your brewing chamber, before placing your Aeropress with the plunger side down. (Meaning, you should see your brewing chamber sitting on top of the plunger.) Place your coffee grounds inside and add desired amount of hot water. Give the brew a few stirs using the stir paddle, and let steep for a few minutes. When the brew is ready, screw on the filter cap, and in one swift motion, flip the Aeropress around and place it on top of your carafe. Press down on the plunger to expel the coffee. Stop when you hear the hissing of air.
One of the best parts about brewing with an Aeropress is how flexible it is. There are just so many variables you can play around with -- apart from the usual suspects like grind size and brew temperature, you can also change the steeping time, number of stirs, how you stir and so on. Below, we share the Original Aeropress Recipe created by none other than the Aeropress founder, Alan Adler. Aeropress newbies can use it as a guide, and change it up as you go along!
What is the V60?
Invented by Hario, the V60 is a V-shaped conical coffee brewing device that slopes at 60 degrees (hence its name). You can find V60 drippers made from ceramic, plastic, glass and so on.
What's the characteristic of a coffee brewed with the V60?
The V60 usually gives a cup that is very clean and light-bodied, with its large single hole that allows a relatively fast flow rate and interior ridges that aids air flow. Many also find that the V60 highlights a filter coffee's brighter notes, and produces a nuanced cup.
How to brew?
Grind size: Consistency similar to sand or slightly finer than sand
Filter: Most people usually brew with paper filters, though cloth filters and metal filters are available as well. Confused about the difference? Check out our handy comparison table here.
Setup: Get ready a scale, or use a carafe/cup with measuring markings. Setup your V60 dripper on top of the carafe/cup, and place your filter inside. Rinse the filter thoroughly with warm water before brewing to get rid of any unwanted flavours. When you're ready to start brewing, grind your coffee beans.
Brew ratio: For the uninitiated, brew ratio refers to how much coffee grounds you use (g) to brew how much coffee (ml). At Smitten, we usually start with a standard 1:15 (e.g. if you use 15g of grounds, you should get 225ml of coffee), and adjust from there if necessary.
Brew temperature: We usually start with a standard 92 degrees, and adjust from there if necessary. For those of you without a variable temperature kettle at home, there is no need to be overly worried. Just try to be as consistent as possible -- for example, if you usually heat your water to boiling point and let it cool for 5 minutes before brewing, make sure you're sticking to this every time. This way, if there is any variance in the coffee's taste, you could trace it to other factors, rather than fluctuating water temperature.
Brew time: There is no "standard answer" for this, but our V60 brews usually range from anything between 2-3:30 minutes. We would say, observe how the brew goes, taste it, and decide if something needs to be adjusted. For example, if you find that the water is flowing too quickly and you get a cup that is very weak or overly acidic, you might wish to grind finer so that the water will flow through more slowly, thereby extending your extraction. On the other hand, if you find that water is flowing too slowly to the extent of choking, and you get a super bitter cup, you might do well adjusting to a coarser grind to increase the flow rate.
When you are experimenting with your brewing, do remember to adjust only one variable each time, so you can observe the effects on the final brew. Don't be afraid to break from "conventional wisdom" -- who knows what amazing flavours you might unlock?
Perfect Daily Grind's super comprehensive history of the V60: https://perfectdailygrind.com/2015/07/hario-v60-the-history-brewing-guide/
Stumptown Coffee has a great V60 brew guide for beginners that comes with videos: https://www.stumptowncoffee.com/pages/brew-guide-hario-v60
Ready to start brewing? Check out our webstore for V60 drippers and more!
Are you looking to switch up your coffee game a little bit? Apart from exploring different brewing methods, have you considered using a different coffee filter? Apart from the commonly-used paper filters, you could also consider using cloth filters and metal filters. You'll be surprised by how they can bring out different flavours in your coffee! We've summed up the major differences in the handy table below.
The Acaia scale is one of the most ubiquitous tools you'll find on a coffee bar today. For the uninitiated, here's a quick introduction of the key differences between the different Acaia models.
The Acaia Pearl is designed for home and shop manual brewing, i.e. for making great pour overs! It can weigh up to a tenth of a gram and includes handy functions like timer mode, auto start timer and so on.
The new Acaia Pearl 2021 also features several functional improvements. We are most excited about the new real-time flow rate indicator, which helps you to visualise how fast your pour is progressing, and realise your desired extraction rate more easily.
Other than that, the weighing technology is improved to be faster and more stable. The scale now also has an adjustable brightness function so it is more readable in a range of lighting conditions.
The Acaia Lunar is designed for preparing espresso on the drip tray of an espresso machine. So, the most obvious difference from the Acaia Pearl would be its relatively compact size! But of course, the difference doesn't stop there. The Acaia Lunar's functions are optimised to withstand the environment of a commercial espresso machine. The anodized aluminum platform of the scale is sealed against liquid entry, and the electronics within have a protective spray coating to shield against moisture.
It also has an ultra-fast response time and high accuracy that is valuable in weighing shots. You could weight up to 0.01g accuracy, which can capture even weight changes resulting from evaporation.
Are you an Acaia scale user? Or are you considering to get either the Acaia Pearl or Acaia Lunar? Share with us your experiences through our Facebook page or IG @smittencoffeeroasters!
Chemex and V60 are two commonly seen coffee brewing methods, but do you really know the difference between both of them? We put together this handy comparison table to give some quick answers.
*This article is updated with figures as of Nov 2021.
For everyone who enjoys the cafe culture, we're sure this is one question that has flashed across your mind as you're sitting there enjoying the vibes -- "Hey, how much does it cost to open a cafe ah?"
With more than 10 years of experience in the specialty coffee industry, and having helped nearly 100 clients set up their cafe operations, Smitten is here to offer a glimpse into that "blackbox".
Rental, equipment and renovation are the three main setup costs you will need to consider.
Rental: A quick search on Commercial Guru for a 1000 sqft unit suitable for F&B businesses turns up a range of monthly rentals starting from S$5,000 all the way up to over S$20,000 for more central locations. Do also keep in mind that tenants are also required to put down a security deposit usually equivalent to 3 months' rent.
Location and rental is one of the most crucial factors deciding the fate of your business so be sure to consider it thoroughly before committing to a location. It is not necessarily a case of cheaper is better. The following questions might be a useful start:
- Who are the main customers at this location? Is there a consistent crowd who can sustain your business on an everyday basis?
- Are there many similar businesses in the area? How would you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
- How visible is your business? A unit on the upper floor of a shophouse might be significantly cheaper, but is it easy for customers to discover you? Remember, if they can't see you, you don't exist.
- Other practical considerations such as accessibility by public transport, and whether there is sufficient parking space for your customers.
Equipment: To ensure the quality of the coffee you'd serve, you will need to invest in a good espresso machine and grinder. (Check out our other article to read more about how to choose a grinder.) If you intend to serve both espresso and filter coffee, chances are you'll need 2 grinders, one for each purpose. Top-range espresso machines easily cost over S$20,000, and grinders can go up to S$5,000 for one. (Click here to learn why espresso machines can be so expensive and how to choose them.)
For those who are worried about the hefty investment, there is an alternative you can consider. If you are getting coffee from a one-stop coffee service provider like Smitten, your supplier can likely customise a coffee plan for you which includes equipment and coffee. Don't be afraid to ask if your supplier can provide machines, and to work out an arrangement that suits your coffee needs.
Apart from the espresso machine and grinder, don't forget to budget for other appliances such as a kettle, refrigerator, ice maker and so on. If you're serving food, you should budget for kitchen appliances as well.
Renovation: Now this one's an open question -- you can go as simple and as fancy as you like. We would say it could cost anything from S$20,000 onwards. We have a few tips for those who are hoping to save costs:
- Try not to modify the existing configuration of the space (e.g. hacking walls)
- Try to see how you can come up with smart solutions to minimise expensive works such as carpentry. For example, you could opt for open shelves over full cabinets, which cost more to make.
- Try to work with standard dimensions. For example, counter tops are usually 60cm in width and tables can commonly be found in lengths of 1.5m or 1.8m and so on. Working with standard dimensions means you can buy ready made furniture items off the market, which would be significantly cheaper than having to custom make.
Operating costs include salaries, utilities, cost of goods sold and training.
Salaries: While the number of staff you need would depend on the size of your cafe, we'll say that each cafe would need at least 2 full-time baristas (even for modest shops). If you're serving food, you will need another 2-4 kitchen staff. Full-time staff draw salaries from S$1,600 - S$2,500 per month, while part-timers earn anything from S$7-10 per hour.
Utilities: Again, this will depend on the scale of your operations, but we would say budget for S$,1000 per month as a ballpark figure.
Cost of goods sold (COGS): COGS refers to the expenses you incur that are directly relevant to the goods you sell. In the context of a cafe, that would be your coffee beans, food ingredients and so on. As a general rule, it is recommended that your COGS does not exceed 20-35% of your overall operating costs.
Training: If you have no prior experience or knowledge in specialty coffee, it is recommended that you attend a foundation course in barista skills to acquire some basic knowledge and skills that you will need to run a cafe. A course like this costs around S$500, and some service providers (like Smitten) allow you to pay via Skillsfuture credits.
So there you have it! This is a rough summary of some of the costs you will need to budget for when starting up your own cafe. Do you have any thoughts or experiences to share? Connect with us via our Facebook page or IG @smittencoffeeroasters!
Smitten Coffee Roasters is offering a free 1-week no obligations grinder trial programme for cafes who are considering their grinder purchase. We will provide a Bentwood Vertical 63 for your use over a week, and you can taste the difference in coffee flavours and see how it can fit into your cafe workflow.
To find out more about the Bentwood Vertical 63's features, do check our full review here.
To apply, please drop us a note here. Do kindly note that the grinder trial programme will be on a first-come-first-serve basis as machines are limited. Thank you!
Thinking of getting a grinder for your cafe? Read on to find out why we think the Bentwood Vertical 63 is one of the most versatile and value for money pieces of gear you can get for your commercial setup.
Vertical Flat Screw-less Burrs, Perfectly Aligned Out of the Box
The Bentwood Vertical 63 has vertically aligned burrs like the EK43. It is a flat burr grinder, meaning it produces unimodal grind distribution, which notably gives more even extraction. (Our guide on how to choose grinders shares more about the differences between flat and conical burr grinders.) Unlike other burrs, the Bentwood's burrs feature a screw-less design -- there are no screw holes on the burrs -- and this again contributes to a more even grind distribution as burrs are perfectly symmetrical.
As we know, excess heat during grinding can cause the loss of flavours. The Bentwood is equipped with a double ventilation system for its powerful motor, which helps to eliminate this problem.
If you've used an EK43 before, you'll know how hard you have to work to align its burrs so as to optimise grinder performance. In the Bentwood's case, we totally appreciate the fact that it's factory aligned, meaning your machine's good to go once it's out of the box. The burr carrier is installed with super tight tolerances to minimise wobbling. Also, no shimming is required to achieve a tight grind consistency.
Minimal Grind Retention & Super Clean Workspace
The two biggest issues we have with our EK43 are retention and how messy it is to use. The Bentwood Vertical 63 has a significant advantage over the EK43 in these areas.
Thanks to the vertical setup and screw-less design of the burrs and a declumper, the Bentwood Vertical 63 grinds extremely clean with minimal retention. We did an experiment by dosing 20g of coffee in, and got 19.9g out -- definitely not bad. The declumper works to reduce static so your coffee grounds are falling neatly into whatever you're dosing into. The resulting grounds are also extremely fluffy! Hardly any grounds got on our workspace, which is of course great, especially if you have a busy cafe.
Which brings us to the next point...
Hybrid Grinder: Effortless Switch Between Espresso and Filter in Commercial Settings
Switching between grind sizes on the Bentwood Vertical 63 is effortless -- just turn the adjustment wheel, which is smooth and easy. The stepless grind adjustment by micron size is intuitive and makes grinding precise every time. You could switch from grinding for an espresso and a filter (by single dosing) in a matter of seconds, and it would work in a commercial setting because of the Bentwood's low grind retention, meaning you won't have grounds from your last cup getting into the next and messing it up. This would be great for using omni-roast coffees in a cafe setting.
Apart from the cafe setting, the grind adjustment by micron size also works for our roastery setup when we need to do quality control and cupping. Grinding by micron size standardises the way we communicate to our partners and makes things precise and less ambiguous.
The Bentwood Vertical 63 allows three programmable grind-by-time settings, which helps to speed up workflow in the cafe. It's also a pretty speedy grinder -- we tested that it can grind more than 20g of coffee in 5 seconds.
We would say the Bentwood is great for small cafes that do not want to compromise on cup quality, but have budget constraints, as you can now fulfil the demands of both espresso and filter with one single grinder.
Flavour: Significant Sweetness Without Sacrificing Body and Clarity
The most obvious difference in flavour we've observed is that the Bentwood brings a marked increase in sweetness in the coffee. This is consistent with countless other reviews we've seen on the Internet. In terms of clarity and body, we would say the Bentwood gives more body but less clarity than the EK43.
Beautiful, Sleek and Modern Design
With its sleek matt black body and elegant oak or walnut panels, the Bentwood Vertical 63 is a beautiful addition to any cafe countertop. Other colours and wood finishes are available for customisation upon request as well.
You can check out the Bentwood Vertical 63 on our webstore. Do contact us if you'll like to give it a try. We'll be happy to host you at our office cum academy at Seletar!
Idle Speed: 1400 rpm
Burr Diameter: 63mm
Burr Material: Steel
Max. Nominal Power: 660 W
Dimensions (W x D x H): 198 x 415 x 550 mm
Net Weight: 21kg
Hopper Capacity: ca. 600g
Portafilter Support: Included
Standard Color: Black, other colors upon request
Standard Wood: Light Oak, Dark Oak, Walnut, other woods upon request