Here at Roasty, we’re working hard to fight the culture of convenience that’s driven people away from mindfully prepared coffee and toward the quick-n-easy K-cup scene. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a time-saving device, as long as it doesn’t detract from the integrity of the brew!
The AeroPress is perfect for a great cup of coffee that’s prepared relatively quickly and leaves little mess to clean up after. It’s not ideal for groups or marathon caffeinating sessions (it only makes a cup at a time) but it’s the most convenient way to have a quality coffee without turning to your local barista. Most importantly, it makes the coffee well, without sacrificing much by way of flavor or body.
What You’ll Need
- An AeroPress
- AeroPress paper filters (some are included with the Press when you buy it)
- Freshly roasted coffee beans of your choosing
- Scale for coffee measuring (optional)
- Kettle (electric or stovetop)
- A sturdy mug or tumbler
The Standard Method
Heat Up The Water
Heat the water to 185 degrees F (85 C), or just boil it, removing for 30 seconds after for roughly the ideal temperature. Keep in mind that you really won’t needs more than a few cups of water for this brewing method.
NOTE: I’ve mentioned on this site that the perfect water temperature for brewing coffee is 205 degrees F ( 96 C) and that still holds true. However, with an Aeropress, you can play with any temperature between 185 – 205 degrees F (85 – 96 C).
Grind The Coffee Beans
While the water’s heating, grind your beans to a fine consistency. Depending on how much you want to make and how strong you want your coffee, you can grind anywhere from 2 to 4 scoops worth (If you are measuring with the provided too).
For reference, we used about 30 grams, which is roughly 2 heaping/rounded scoops or 5-6 tablespoons.
Place the Filter
Put a round, paper filter in the drain cap and rinse with hot water (optional). Then put the cap on the AeroPress. Make sure to turn the cap firmly to properly secure it. Otherwise you are asking for a huge mess.
Set Up the AeroPress
Grab your favorite, sturdy coffee mug and place the chamber with attached filter cap on the mug, filter side down. Again, you are going to be applying some pressure to this set up, so the sturdy mug thing is no joke.
Begin the Brew
Now, add your grounds to the chamber, and once your water is heated, add that as well.
Stir & Steep
You will notice that some of your grounds, along with CO2 bubbles, are coming to the top of your chamber. So grab the stirrer and give your brew a nice few swirls to make sure everything mixes in properly.
Wait 30 to 60 seconds to allow your brew to steep, extracting all of the flavors. Now, grab your plunger an get ready for the next step.
Carefully put the tip of the plunger into the chamber. Then, slowly plunge with only the weight of your hand. The finer the grind of your coffee, the longer the plunging will take. It is very important that you do not force it down.
Just take your time. We promise it’s worth every second. The AeroPress filter allows for a finer grind, which produces a stronger, fuller coffee. Once the plunger is fully depressed, remove the press from the cup.
There will be some droplets still coming out of the bottom of the filter, so make sure to hover above your cup for a few seconds to avoid making a mess.
Tip: For milder Americano style coffee, add more water before drinking. For stronger coffee, just go ahead and drink the brew as is.
The Inverted Method
Alternately, you can use the inverted method. Simply flip the AeroPress so that the filter/cap side is facing up, with the plunger on the bottom. Add coffee and water, then stir. After 30 seconds, place the cap and filter on, flip it over onto the mug, and press in the usual way.
I first learned about this method in a highly recommended book on coffee called The World Atlas of Coffee. After I tried it for myself, I actually prefer to make coffee this way.
The method combines the full extraction of the long-steeping French Press with the filtering and airtight straining of the AeroPress. However, it’s a bit tricky and could cause a big, burning hot mess if not executed carefully. So grind and heat water as you normally would. Then, follow the steps below very carefully:
Combine the Chamber and Plunger
Now, while your water is heating up and your grounds are set aside, let’s set up the inverted AeroPress. First, you are going to insert the rubber portion of the plunger into the chamber.
Once the plunger is secure and level. Invert the Aeropress so that the top of the plunger is touching the counter and the open filter-side of the chamber is facing up towards you.
Combine & Stir
Now that your chamber and plunger combo is in place, you can add in your grounds and heated water. For the best flavor, bloom your grounds by just saturating (not submerging them) for about 30 seconds before adding in the rest of the water.
This part will look pretty much the same as it would usually. However, as you stir, you should hold the joint where the two other parts are connect to keep it stable and prevent any disastrous spillage.
Once you have stirred everything up, leave the brew to steep for a minute. In the meantime, you’ll be prepping your filter and cap.
Prep the Filter & Cap
While your coffee is steeping, you will need to quickly prep the filter. While wetting the filter is completely optional for the standard method, it is a must for the inverted style. If you do not wet the filter, it will not stick to the filter cap.
Also, if the filter is not secured to the cap, it will fall into your brew when you have it upside down, and you will probably get grounds all in your cup. Gross!
Once your filter is prepped, go ahead and attach the filter cap to the chamber.
Flip & Plunge
Now for the tricky bits. Grab a light mug and hold it at the top of the set up, over the filter cap.
Next, the real magic is in the careful performance of flipping both the mug and the AeroPress in one fluid motion. One hand will be securing the mug to the chamber while the other is responsible for keeping the chamber and plunger together. It’s especially important that you keep a tight grip on the bottom connection because the flip will cause them to split apart otherwise.
Once you try it, you’ll see that’s it’s pretty easy to do!
If you use the inverted method, the coffee will have more body and flavor. Steeping times are the same as the French Press. Try blooming for one minute and steeping for three. Of course, try different times to see what you like best.
My friend and writer, Jeff Goins uses this method every morning when he makes his coffee as he talks about here. Jeff also gave me a great tip:
Stop plunging once it starts hissing. It’ll be smoother that way.
The Cleanup Process
Cleanup is a breeze. Simply remove the drain cap and depress the plunger over your trash or compost to pop out the grounds. Rinse everything with hot water, and call it a day.
The AeroPress is a great compromise between devotion to quality coffee and the need for speed that we all face from time to time. When you’re in a bit of a rush, you can’t do better than an AeroPress at home- beats the hell out of the vending machine, anyway.
Varying Your Brew
Coffee to water ratio for Aeropress
The Aeropress is actually a rather unique tool because it comes with its own measuring tool. The set includes a scoop and the press itself has ovals with the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4. These numbers correspond to the number of scoops you can use and where you should fill the water to for each amount.
So rather than having to weigh your grounds and water to get the right ratio, you can simply use these guidelines to get the job done. While you definitely could whip out your kitchen scale, to do some serious tweaking and experimenting to find the perfect brew for you, it’s not necessary. You can get a great cup without all of that.
How to make stronger Aeropress coffee
Thanks to those handy measurement markers, you can switch up your ratio to achieve anything from an espresso-like concentration to something resembling your average brew.
The brand recommends filling the press even to the 1 or 4 numbers if you use 1 or 4 scoops. If you are using 2 or 3 scoops, you can either fill to the bottom or tops of the ovals. Filling to the bottom will create a richer brew for something like a Latte and the tops will weaken the brew a bit to be more appropriate for an Americano or Long Black.
Can You Cold Brew?
Chances are if you are interested in manual brewing tools like the AeroPress, you probably enjoy exploring different types of brewing. One of the most popular home brews to make is the cold brew, simply because there are so many ways you can make it.
So the question is, can an Aeropress become a part of your cold brewing routine? Actually, yes! You can use this tool to some extent. Let us explain:
In order to make cold brew in your Aeropress, you will need to use the inverted method. You would simply follow the same steps as described above, except you would use room temperature water instead of near-boiling water.
Stir the grounds and put the setup in a safe corner of the kitchen or the fridge where it won’t get bumped in the next 14 to 20 hours. You can’t fit a lot in this little press. However, if you only want one or two servings, it is a great option. It’s a strong, crsip brew.
Now, for those of you who are weary about leaving your Aeropress set up in come corner of your kitchen, you can simply utilize it for the sake of filtering, much like you would with a Chemex. However, this would be a tad tedious. You would likely have to press at least two rounds of the concentrate to finish.
Also, if you have enough grounds in your cold brew, you might have to empty out the Aeropress and put in a new filter midway through.
Should you try it?
If you are only brewing for one or two people, this is a pretty good way to accomplish a nice, light cold brew. The paper filter makes for an extra smooth mouthfeel that is really a delight to experience.
So, for those of you who can manage to keep from knocking this contraption over while it sits on your counter or fridge, it could be a great choice for cold brew. However, for the klutzes and serious cold brew enthusiasts out there, this probably isn’t the best option.
Lastly, if you like the sound of the taste that comes with this method, you can still use the Aeropress to filter the cold brew. It may just take more than one go to get the job done. Overall it’s not a bad tool to use, especially if you are only shooting for one or two servings.
The Prime Grind
One of the easiest things to mess up when brewing any kind of coffee is the grind size. So it is important that you check exactly what sizes will work for your brewer.
For the AeroPress, the best size is going to be a fine grind, similar to what you would use for espresso. The paper filter will prevent any of the ground from seeping through and making your coffee gritty.
With just a little bit of practice, we are sure that the AeroPress can become your new favorite brewing tool. It’s versatile and simple to use. Plus, it is super portable, so you never have to be without your favorite brewer!
Best of luck on this brewing adventure, and as always…