AeroPress is one of our favorite coffee brewing methods. I don’t know what took us so long to write this guide, but we finally wrote it. As with all our tutorials, we don’t just aim to teach you how to make AeroPress coffee. Our goal is to give you the technical knowledge to tweak your own recipe. What works for some, doesn’t work for others.
I like rich coffee, (espresso is my absolute favorite), so AeroPress is a logical second place on my list. In fact, many people who like rich, full-bodied coffee, prefer it to espresso. You will see, that my recipe is tweaked to maximize coffee richness and body.
There is always a little confusion about AeroPress because the brewing concept is so similar to French press. While the idea is very similar, there are a few things that make AeroPress superior, and we have an article about it here.
Another misconception about AeroPress is that it can brew espresso. AeroPress is a great espresso alternative, and technically can be called an espresso maker since it uses pressure during extraction. However, it does not make the same coffee as a pump operated espresso machine.
What Makes the AeroPress Great
People new to it always ask: “What’s so special about the AeroPress?” There are a few things that contribute to its fame and popularity. First of all, AeroPress is an inexpensive device. With a cost around 30$, is probably one of the least expensive coffee makers on the market. But the price is not the concern of us coffee lovers. We spend hundreds of dollars on expensive equipment to get a great cup, so the cost is not the most important aspect.
Coffee enthusiasts love it because of its cleaner cup and milder taste, at the same time having a rich and complex taste. AeroPress is a milder version of espresso if brewed correctly. Some drip coffee lovers enjoy the stronger coffee made with the AeroPress, but the bolder flavor of espresso is too much for them.
Probably, the greatest advantage of the AeroPress is its versatility, and this is why is so popular among baristas. Using AeroPress is a constant surprise, you can always brew a totally different cup, yet equally great. People want to brew espresso with AeroPress; you can’t get an espresso out of it, just to be clear about this. You can get a coffee closer to a Moka pot, though. However, as a manual brewing method, you can tweak your final cup in many ways. Stick with me and you’ll find your favorite way of using the AeroPress.
We’re going back to the comparison with espresso. Even great baristas can pull a bad shot from time to time. The AeroPress coffee, on the other hand, is very consistent. If you follow the recipe, you’ll get the same taste every single time.
AeroPress is pretty forgiving as a method. You can brew a decent cup even if you don't follow the recipe. Coffee tastes decently even if you screw up.
The easy cleaning is another advantage. Spent Coffee grounds are easy to discard. When you finish brewing, you push the puck of spent grounds into the trash and rinse the press.
AeroPress doesn't cost much to start brewing. If you prefer bolder coffee, and you like your coffee espresso style, a metallic filter is all you need. You don't even need the paper filters that AeroPress recommends. But even if you like your coffee brighter, the paper filters are not expensive at all.
Lastly, AeroPress is a great travel companion. You can take it with you in your trips, and don't rely on hotel coffee for your smooth transition into your mornings. It's easy to carry, because of it small footprint, and it's almost weightless.
CoffeeGeek.com has an entire article showing why AeroPress is a great brewer. They rate this coffee maker noteworthy, give it a read, if you want to see what other people think about it.
We actually dedicated an entire article for reviewing the AeroPress, it's nice read.
- Aeropress uses immersion for the extraction. Immersion optimizes the extraction compared to drip, by extracting at a uniform temperature.
- It prolongs the extraction time, compared to espresso, and this enables a better saturation.
- The exerted pressure is way lower than espresso, and this is about the only aspect where it loses points, compared to espresso.
- The lower brewing temperature allows longer steeping and avoids extracting bitter compounds. You can still brew at higher temperatures, if your preference is a stronger taste, though.
- It is the device that is closest to an espresso maker, because the amount of pressure generated. (Amazon lists it as "AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker".)
This AeroPress tutorial is very detailed and comprehensive. The aim is to help visitors improve their recipe and skills. For those who look for a simple, reminder of the steps, this infographic is just what they need.
How to Make AeroPress Coffee – WAC 2016 Recipe [Video]
AeroPress Brew Guide - World AeroPress Championship Recipe
I have my own recipe for AeroPress, and that’s my preferred method. However, as I always say, coffee taste is subjective, so I figured I’d give you a renown recipe, one that has an International recognition. I will also show you my own recipe, later in the article.
There are many ways to brew with AeroPress, we said it, AeroPress is versatile. We will point you in the right direction, and show you how changing brewing parameters can alter your cup. But at the end of the day, you will have to play with it, and find your perfect recipe. If you are not the adventurous type, stick with our recipe, and you won’t be disappointed. I did the same when I first discovered how to make AeroPress coffee. I got a recipe and used it for a while until I was confident I was preparing it right. Only after that, I started to explore and I created my own version.
The recipe we present today is the winner of the World AeroPress Championship, and it put its creator, Shuichi Sasaki on the first place of the podium. Here are the details:
- Heat up water around 175 °F, (no hotter than 180 °F). A variable temperature kettle is very useful, but a regular kettle and a thermometer should be good enough.
- Measure 16-17g of coffee on a kitchen scale.
- Grind the beans slightly coarser than for filter coffee, (grind size is a medium-coarse, less coarse than French press).
- Rinse a paper filter, and place it in the filter holder.
- Screw in the filter holder into place, and place the AeroPress on a fitting mug, and the mug on the kitchen scale.
- Dump the ground coffee in the AeroPress, and turn on the kitchen scale. It should show zero grams.
- Add 50g of water, to bloom the grounds, (that’s about 1 and ½ oz).
- Let it bloom about 30 seconds, if needed stir with a wooden spoon, or stick. This ensures perfect grounds saturation, for a complete extraction. The easiest is if you paddle in a back and forth motion.
- Add the rest of the water slowly, aiming to sink as much grounds as possible. Aim for a 20 seconds pouring time. You should be able to pour another 250g of water.
- Take the mug and the AeroPress from the scale and insert the plunger in place.
- Press the plunge very slowly, aim for a 40 seconds press. This should bring your total extraction to around 90 seconds.
- Pour in cups, and enjoy.
If you need more ideas on brewing your AeroPress cup, check The World Aeropress Championship website. They published the recipes of all the former winners of the famous contest.
My Own AeroPress Recipe
My personal recipe is a stronger cup, and I usually dilute it into an Americano. This cup has a higher TDS, with a fuller body, and a very rich taste. This is why many people would probably find it too strong. If you are an espresso lover, and you want to try AeroPress, this is a great recipe to try. If you are a drip coffee lover, this cup might disappoint you, if you don't dilute it with some hot water. Here is the recipe:
- Use a metal AeroPress filter, as they allow coffee oils to pass through into your coffee. This, in turn, will give more flavor to your cup.
- Measure 15g of coffee on a kitchen scale. You can adjust the amount of grounds according to your taste. 3 grams up or down are totally acceptable, according to your preference.
- Grind the coffee to a coarse espresso, slightly finer than for filter coffee. You will need a perfect grinder for this recipe, or a set of coffee sifters, to make sure your coffee grind is perfectly uniform.
- Turn the AeroPress upside down, with the plunger only slightly inserted, but enough to seal the beaker.
- Dump the perfectly ground coffee in the press.
- Add 60g of water, to bloom the grounds, (that's about 2 oz or ¼ cup).
- Let it bloom for 15 seconds, and stir with a wooden stick in the meantime. Stirring ensures perfect grounds saturation, for a complete extraction. Note the lower blooming time compared to the winner.
- Pour the rest of the water fast. Aim for a 3 seconds pouring time. Note the short pouring time.
- Put the filter and the cap on, and let it steep for 60 seconds.
- Press the plunger slowly, aim for a 20 to 25 seconds press. This will bring your total extraction time to around 90 seconds.
- Pour in cups, and enjoy.
Technical Notes: The short pouring time, combined with the short blooming time, will maintain a higher brewing temperature than the WAC winner. We aim to maintain the brewing bed as close as possible to the 180 °F, where we get some of the bite associated with espresso. The finer grind and the reusable metal filter will also increase the TDS, and provide some more bite to the final cup, but it won't render it bitter.
You will have a little less volume for your brew, because the plunger takes some of the space in the beaker. However, if you find the coffee too strong, just dilute it with some hot water. Ad the water little by little, and taste it each time until you find the sweet spot. Writ down this total coffee volume and use it next time you brew.
AeroPress Brewing Tips
AeroPress Brew Methods Regular vs Inverted Method
Whatever recipe you are using, you can brew it regularly, as described in the AeroPress manual, or use the inverted method.
The regular method starts with the filter and the screw cap on. You dump your coffee in, pour water, insert the plunger and press. The problem with this method is that coffee can leak through the filter before the steeping cycle is complete. With metal disk filters, the leaking is even more likely to happen.
The inverted method starts with the filter and screw cap off, and with the plunger slightly inserted, just enough to seal the beaker. The brewer stands on the plunger; you dump your coffee, pour water, place the filter and screw on the cap. Flip the brewer, and the press. This way we avoid the leakage, and we give the grounds time to expand. After coffee particles fully expand, they won’t pass through the filter anymore.
The Perfect Grind size for AeroPress
I said it before, and I repeat it: "AeroPress is on of the most versatile coffee brewing methods." You adjust a few brewing variables and you get a totally distinct cup. This is the reason that grind size for AeroPress can vary a lot. It can vary from fine grind - espresso style, to medium coarse - Chemex style. Yes - that coarse... It all depends on the recipe, that means the other brewing variables.
When it comes to grind size for AeroPress, the best thing you can do is to experiment a lot with a recipe. Pick a recipe that you think you would like, and tweak it to your taste. The next best thing is to stick to the recipe. Don't change a recipe if you are not prepared for at least a dozen of failed attempts.
As a general rule, if the grind size is coarser, you need hotter water, otherwise you risk getting an under-extracted cup, that translates into sour coffee.
Many people can’t get out of the hot coffee routine, and they use hot water with their AeroPress. Yes, AeroPress coffee is slightly colder than drip. Firstly because of the low brew temperature, and secondly because of the small volume that allows a faster cooling. Resist the urge to use hotter water. Coffee will taste much better if you use the temperatures recommended in the recipes. Typically, AeroPress uses water between 175 °F and 185 °F. With darker roasts using colder brewing temperatures, and light roasts using the high-temperature range.
But there are a lot of recipes using higher water temperatures. These recipes adjust down the the immersion time, and the result is a coffee that tastes a lot like American coffee. If you don't follow the recipe and you use incorrect brewing parameters, the hot water will make your coffee bitter.
Again, the proverbial AeroPress versatility...
How Much Coffee to Use?
Using the AeroPress scoop is probably the easiest way to measure your beans amount. On Aerobie.com you will find out that a heaping scoop can hold 14 grams of coffee. In fact, depending on the roast level, and origin, coffee can vary a lot in density. So you can have a few grams difference between light roasted beans and dark roasted ones. The best way is to weigh your beans at least when you first use them. You can use the scoop, but use a scale at least the first time you use a particular blend or bean. After the initial volumetric calibration, you can use scoop based measurements.
The amount of coffee used depends on your taste, and the way you drink your coffee. This can be anywhere between 12 grams and 18 grams, but most people prefer to brew around 15-17 grams.
How Much Coffee Does AeroPress Make?
You can get about 8 fluid ounces of coffee with the inverted method, and just under 10 fl oz with the regular brewing method. The reason is because the plunger takes some space in the beaker, when inserted. This is strong coffee, espresso strength. This means you can make about two coffee cups of drip-like strength, after diluting it with some hot water.
AeroPress Brew Time
The 1 ½ minutes steep time might seem like too long. The concern is over-extraction. However, the low brewing temperature will prevent over-extraction.
AeroPress is similar to French press from this perspective. Long steeping times are perfectly acceptable, when you lower the brewing temperature.
On the other hand, if you stop brewing too early, you might get an under-extracted cup. The 90 seconds total extraction time is a good rough estimate. You can play with it, maintaining everything else the same, and experiment. I personally tend to extend the brewing time over the 90 seconds. The water cools down anyway, and the risk of over-extraction decreases.
The filter choice comes down to preference, at the end of the day. If you like a clear cup, or you want to filter out coffee oils, the choice is the stock paper filter. If you want a cup that resembles more to espresso, get the metal filter. Firstly, it will get you a fuller bodied coffee, with a higher TDS. Secondly, it is a permanent filter, so no need to buy filters anymore.
Remember, for paper filter brewing you need to ground coarser, for metal filters you need to grind finer. The disk type of metal filters need an espresso grind, and the paper filters need drip and coarser.
The AeroPress Brew App
We only covered here two recipes, which I believe, can be the starting point for many other original recipes. If you would like to check some more tested recipes, instead of exploring yourself, check the AeroPress Brew App. It has a lot of recipes, with instructions, and it helped many beginners to find their favorite way to make AeroPress coffee. You can pick the app for Apple devices here or the app for Android devices here. The app helps with step by step instructions, and wit timing your steps.
Why is AeroPress coffee so good?
AeroPress has a milder taste, and is sweeter than coffee brewed in other ways because of the combination of immersion, great filtration, fine grind, lower brewing temperature, and pressure during brewing.
Is the AeroPress BPA free?
Early models, sold between 2005 and 2009 contained some BPA plastic, but lab tests showed that they did not leach the BPA in the coffee. Recent models, from August 2009 on, were made from copolyester, and from July 2014 on were made from polypropylene. Both these models are BPA free.
Does AeroPress make good espresso?
AeroPress does not make espresso because the pressure obtained with the plunger is too low. It does create an espresso alternative, strong and with a distinct flavor that can be used in many coffee recipes that call for espresso.
What are AeroPress filters made of?
The original AeroPress filters are made of paper. Aftermarket filters include wire filters and metallic perforated disk filters.
Can you reuse AeroPress filters?
Yes, you can rinse and reuse the paper filters from AeroPress, although we don’t recommend reusing them more than once.
What grind is best for AeroPress?
AeroPress is one of the most versatile brewing methods. There are countless recipes; everybody can create their own recipe. If we were to choose the grind that is used most often in recipes, that is drip grind size. This is counter-intuitive given the fact that AeroPress is considered an espresso.
How much coffee do you put in an AeroPress?
Most recipes call for 15-20 grams of ground coffee for a batch.
Does AeroPress coffee have more caffeine?
AeroPress has more caffeine than espresso and about the same caffeine as a drip coffee.
How much water do I put in my AeroPress?
If you don’t have a recipe, you can start with 60 grams of water to a level AeroPress scoop of coffee grounds.
What is the AeroPress funnel for?
The funnel helps with transferring the coffee grounds into the brewing chamber. This avoids spilling grounds on the chamber’s top where the filter cap screws in.
Does AeroPress make good coffee?
AeroPress brews one of the best coffee cups of all brewing methods. The strong cup has a mild taste, sweeter than most methods, that is greatly appreciated by both professionals and home baristas.
How many cups does an AeroPress make?
AeroPress can brew about 8 oz. of coffee at a time. Many recipes brew half of that amount, and even less at a time. This means you can only get one cup of coffee at a time.
How big is AeroPress scoop?
A level AeroPress scoop holds 11.5 grams of coffee or about 2.5 tablespoons. A heaping (rounded) scoop of coffee holds 14 grams or 3 tablespoons.
Is there a larger AeroPress coffee maker?
There is no larger version of the AeroPress. If you need coffee to serve more people, make a concentrated batch, using 3 scoops of coffee and add hot water to create American style coffee.