How To Use AeroPress For Coffee: 3 Minutes To A Better Brew
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If you’ve ever camped or made coffee on a road trip, you’re likely familiar with the AeroPress. Known for its portability and lightweight design, this manual coffee maker uses a unique pressurized brewing method to produce a rich and flavorful cup of coffee.
But while AeroPress coffee is not complex to brew, learning how to use AeroPress properly will ensure you’re enjoying phenomenal coffee. We recommend a few general guidelines to get the most out of your AeroPress brewing experience.
Here, we’ll explore how to use AeroPress for coffee and provide tips for achieving that perfect cup. So grab your AeroPress, and let’s get brewing.
Table of Contents
What is AeroPress?
AeroPress is a popular brewing method that has recently gained attention. While it works great when traveling, it’s a versatile coffee brewer that may also be used daily at home.
History of AeroPress
The AeroPress was invented by Alan Adler, a Stanford University engineering instructor, in 2004. He was looking for a way to make a great cup of coffee that was quick and easy. The result was the AeroPress, which uses air pressure to extract the flavor from coffee grounds.
Since its invention, the AeroPress has become a favorite among coffee enthusiasts. It’s compact, easy to use, and produces a smooth, rich cup of coffee. It’s also affordable, making it an excellent choice for anyone who wants to make great coffee at home.
Why Use AeroPress For Coffee?
There are several reasons why the AeroPress is an excellent choice for coffee lovers. Here are a few of the benefits of using an AeroPress:
Versatility: The AeroPress can be used to make various coffee drinks, including espresso-style shots, Americanos, and even cold brew.
Consistency: The AeroPress is decently fool-proof and always produces a consistent cup of coffee. Unlike other brewing methods, there’s less room for error when using an AeroPress.
Ease of use: The AeroPress is easy to use and requires minimal cleanup. Add coffee grounds and hot water, and press. It’s easy to disassemble and rinse the parts when you’re done.
Portability: The AeroPress is small and lightweight (read: packable), making it an excellent choice for travel or camping trips.
Coffee for AeroPress
When it comes to using AeroPress for coffee, choosing the proper coffee is crucial to achieving a delicious cup.
Best Coffee for AeroPress
The great thing about AeroPress is that it can work with any coffee beans. However, some types of coffee beans work better than others:
- Light Roast – Light roast coffee beans are known for their bright and fruity flavors, making them an excellent choice for AeroPress (although medium and dark roasts also yield stellar results). They work exceptionally well with the inverted brewing method (jump to how-to).
- Freshly Roasted Beans -Pay attention to the roast date on your bag of coffee beans. Coffee does expire, and fresh coffee always tastes far better than stale. Look for beans roasted within the past month for best results, and be sure to use them within 2-3 weeks of opening (and store them properly).
- Arabica Beans – Arabica beans are known for their high-quality and complex flavors (vs. Robusta beans, typically used in espresso blends due to their bitter, charred characteristics). They’re an excellent choice for AeroPress, as they produce a smooth and balanced cup of coffee.
Grind Size for AeroPress
The grind size is an essential factor to consider when brewing coffee with an AeroPress.
- Medium-Fine Grind – A medium-fine grind is ideal for AeroPress, somewhere between drip coffee and espresso. We use a few clicks coarser than our espresso setting, a grind resembling table salt.
- Consistent Grind – It’s vital to ensure the grind size is uniform, as an inconsistent grind can lead to an uneven extraction and a less-than-ideal cup of coffee.
- Freshly Ground – For the best results, it’s recommended to grind your coffee beans just before brewing. This ensures that the coffee is fresh and flavorful.
How To Use AeroPress
You’ll need the proper brewing techniques to learn how to use AeroPress like a pro. There are two main methods: the Inverted Method and the Standard Method.
This method involves flipping the AeroPress upside down and adding coffee and water. Here’s how to use AeroPress with the Inverted Method:
- Start by placing the plunger into the chamber, but don’t push it all the way through.
- Flip the AeroPress over so that the brew chamber is facing upwards.
- Using the provided funnel, add your coffee grounds to the chamber.
- Pour hot water over the coffee, ensuring to saturate all the grounds.
- Let the coffee steep for about 1-2 minutes.
- Place a filter into the cap and screw it onto the chamber.
- Place a mug upside down over the chamber, then flip the inverted AeroPress and mug over together.
- Push the plunger down slowly to extract the coffee.
This method allows for more control over the brewing process and can result in a smoother and more flavorful cup of coffee.
The Standard Method is the traditional way of using the AeroPress for coffee. Here are the steps:
- Place a filter into the cap and screw it onto the chamber and place AeroPress on top of a mug.
- Add your coffee grounds to the brewing chamber.
- Pour hot water over the coffee, ensuring to saturate all the grounds.
- Gently stir the grounds and water, then place the plunger about half an inch into the chamber. Let sit for 30 seconds.
- Push the plunger down slowly to extract the coffee.
This method is quicker and easier than the Inverted Method, but it can result in a slightly weaker cup of coffee.
Best AeroPress Accessories
Once you’re comfortable with the general setup and method for the AeroPress, you may want to play with a few optional accessories to see how they impact the flavor of your brew. Here are a few of our favorites:
Fellow Prismo Attachment
Easily our favorite AeroPress accessory, the Fellow Prismo simplifies brewing espresso-style coffee with your AeroPress. The Prismo is a pressure-actuated valve that stays sealed until you press down, creating a build-up of pressure to brew coffee with a consistency closer to espresso.
Say goodbye to the inverted method, as the Prismo allows you to brew full-immersion coffees without inverting your AeroPress! The leak-proof, drip-free seal means you can even store your brew in the fridge overnight for an easy cold brew.
And, unlike the AeroPress flow control filter cap, the Prismo comes with a fine mesh stainless steel filter included, eliminating the need for AeroPress paper filters and providing quick and easy cleanup at an affordable price point.
Able Disk Metal Filter Set
AeroPress has a stainless steel filter that you can certainly use, but we prefer these filters from Able Disk. Not only are they a better value than the AeroPress filter, but you get two different filters (standard and fine) to experiment with. These are high-quality, stainless steel filters at a reasonable price point.
Using a metal filter instead of paper is better for the environment and results in a more robust brew with a richer, more full-bodied flavor. Give them a try and see how the flavor compares to a brew with a paper filter. (note: if using the Fellow Prismo, you do not need an additional filter)
Bamboo Organizer for AeroPress
If you’re someone who uses your AeroPress at home regularly, then this Bamboo Organizer is for you. This ingenious little caddy makes storing your AeroPress convenient and attractive. With plenty of space for parts to dry, this caddy lets you clean your press and place it directly into the organizer for storage.
This attractive bamboo organizer looks great on your kitchen counter and helps keep small parts and accessories organized and accounted for.
Troubleshooting Common Issues
If you’re comfortable with how to use AeroPress for coffee yet aren’t getting the results you’d hoped for, here are some common issues and easy fixes to try:
Weak or Watery Coffee
If your coffee is weak or watery, your coffee-to-water ratio is likely off, and you may not be using enough coffee grounds. Ensure you use the recommended amount of coffee, about 17 grams or two scoops.
You can also try adjusting the grind size of your coffee to make it finer. This will increase the surface area of the coffee, which can help extract more flavor. As you can see in the following video, too much water flows through the grounds immediately when the grind size is too coarse.
There will be some dripping; however, the water shouldn’t flow freely. If this looks familiar, try using a finer grind setting.
Bitter or Over-Extracted Coffee
If your coffee is bitter or over-extracted, you may be using too much coffee or grinding it too finely. Try reducing the amount of coffee you’re using or using a slightly coarser grind. You can also try reducing the brew time or lowering the water temperature.
If your coffee tastes bland, it could be due to uneven extraction. This can happen despite using the proper grind size and AeroPress ratio if your coffee is not evenly distributed in the AeroPress or the water is not poured evenly. Try stirring the coffee before brewing to ensure even distribution, and pour the water slowly and evenly over the coffee.
Difficulty Pressing the Plunger Down
If you’re having difficulty pressing the plunger down, it could be due to too much resistance from the coffee grounds (aka your grind is too fine). Try using a coarser grind or reducing the amount of coffee you use. You can also try wetting the plunger before pressing down to reduce friction.
Leaking or Dripping During the Brewing Process
If your AeroPress is leaking or dripping during brewing, it could be due to a faulty seal or a clogged filter. Ensure the seal is inserted correctly, and check the filter for any clogs.
Remember, troubleshooting your AeroPress can take some trial and error, but with patience and experimentation, you’ll know how to use AeroPress like a coffee pro.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Cleaning and maintaining your AeroPress is crucial for ensuring you get the best-tasting coffee every time. Here are a few tips for keeping your AeroPress clean and well-maintained:
After each use, rinse your AeroPress with hot water to remove any remaining coffee grounds or residue. Disassemble the parts and wash them with mild soap. You can use a sponge or brush to scrub gently. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and let the pieces dry before reassembling. Alternatively, you can place the parts in your dishwasher on the top rack.
If your AeroPress chamber has residue buildup, it’s time for a deep cleaning. Here are a few steps to follow:
- Disassemble the parts and soak the chamber in white vinegar for 2-3 hours.
- Use a cloth to wipe the chamber gently.
- Rinse the pieces thoroughly with hot water and let them dry before reassembling.
Here are a few tips to help you maintain your AeroPress:
- Store your AeroPress in a dry and cool place to prevent mold growth.
- Replace the rubber seal on the plunger periodically to ensure a tight seal.
- Avoid using abrasive cleaning liquids as they can damage the plastic parts.
- Clean your AeroPress after every use or at least once a day (if used frequently) to prevent residue buildup and coffee stains.
Following these simple cleaning and maintenance tips ensures that your AeroPress lasts longer and always produces great-tasting coffee.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I make espresso with AeroPress?
While AeroPress is not designed to make proper espresso like an espresso machine, you can make a concentrated coffee similar to espresso. Use a fine grind and a shorter brew time to brew AeroPress espresso. You can also experiment with different brewing methods, such as the inverted method, for a more robust espresso-like flavor.
What are the top-ranked coffee-making methods, and how does AeroPress compare?
There are many different coffee-making methods, and AeroPress is one of the most popular due to its ease of use and versatility. Other top-ranked methods include French press, pour-over, and drip coffee makers. AeroPress is unique because it is not only lightweight and easily portable, but it also allows you to experiment with different brewing methods and variables, such as water temperature and grind size, to achieve a customized cup of coffee.
What is the recommended coffee grind size for AeroPress?
The recommended coffee grind size for AeroPress is medium-fine. This allows for a balanced extraction and a smooth, flavorful cup of coffee. However, you can experiment with slightly different grind sizes to find the best one for your taste preferences.
Do I need to use special coffee for AeroPress, or can I use any type of coffee?
You do not need to use a specific coffee for AeroPress, but it is recommended that you use high-quality, freshly roasted coffee beans for the best flavor. If you’re a fan of dark roast, use dark roast. If you love the brightness of a light roast, use a light roast! You get where we’re going with this. There is no wrong answer here. Just avoid using pre-ground coffee, as it may not be ground to the correct size and is already stale, leading to a less flavorful cup of coffee.