By: Simon LeMay 22 December 2017
The Aeropress is one of our favourite brew methods here at North Star Coffee. In fact, when put on the spot, I’d go as far as saying its my absolute favourite brew method!
It may be humble in size and not boast shiny gadgets and features, yet this brew method continues to hold a special place for most of the specialty coffee community.
Easy to use and clean, it is the perfect option for coffee lovers wanting a bit more flexibility with their brewing and can be used to make both an espresso style beverage and a clean filter coffee.
We’ve been experimenting with some different Aeropress recipes and documented the steps you can follow – click the link below to see how we got on.
The Aeropress offers an array of benefits for brewing coffee on the road or at home. It offers anyone the chance to make delicious tasting coffee without the need for expensive or complicated equipment. Some common praises for the Aeropress include:
• Quick and Easy
• Smoother Brew
• Less Acidic
You can use any coffee beans for the Aeropress. This is why it is such a good brew method to have around. Depending on the character, notes, and profile of the coffee you are using, as long as you use the right Aeropress recipe, it will taste great.
This is a big advantage over many other brew methods, that tend to favour a specific type of coffee. For example, espresso needs a relatively dark roast as lighter roasts and subtle flavours can get lost in the filtering. Similarly, V60 and Chemex are much more suited to coffees that have complex notes and subtle flavours, as these brew methods encourage these types of coffees to deliver all their flavours.
So, the good news is, everyone can use and benefit from the Aeropress – regardless of whether you like your coffee strong and dark, or light and full of complex notes, or somewhere in the middle.
The typical Aeropress grind size is medium-fine. This is the best place to start, but based on what type of flavours you want to extract and what coffee you are using, you may want to test with slightly finer/coarser grinds to see how that impacts the final taste.
Aeropress is synonymous with experimental brewing and for those who like to tinker with their coffee brewing, the Aeropress doesn’t disappoint.
Note of warning though, if the grind is too fine it could result in an over-brewed coffee, and taste slightly bitter (not to mention being very hard to actually plunge). Similarly, if the grind is too coarse, your coffee may be under-brewed and fail to extract all the flavours.
For more reliable grinding, using a burr grinder will ensure you get the best results. If you’re unsure what grinders on the market are actually worth it, check out this guide to coffee grinding, or feel free to send any questions you have our way.
Specialty coffee beans
Aeropress Filters (either paper or metal).
Kettle (preferably an electric gooseneck kettle).
Please be aware that the environment will always impact the conditions under which you brew. Temperature & humidity are two notable factors which may mean your grind setting or extraction time range needs to be altered.
Changes made to the grind setting have consistent results across all brew methods. A coarse grind allows water to pass through coffee without as much resistance as a fine one. It will also mean that the brew time of a courser grind will be longer to allow the flavour to be fully extracted. A finer grind results in smaller coffee particles, exposing more surface area to the brewing water which can therefore ‘access’ and dissolve the available flavours more easily.
Additionally, always take into account the high level of influence that water chemistry has in your brewing. Experiment with using different bottled waters if your tap water seems to leave you struggling to tune your brews to your taste.
The Aeropress lends itself to two different types of brewing – regular and inverted. Below describes how to brew with each approach.
The Aeropress offers quick and easy coffee brewing that delivers amazing results. To get started, you’ll need to prepare all your equipment. Start by grinding the coffee beans and weighing the coffee dose and heat your water.
Using an electric gooseneck kettle isn’t a requirement but it does make pouring the hot water into the Aeropress much easier and gives you a lot more control (which is always a benefit when brewing coffee).
Place the filter paper into the Aeropress cap and attach this to the bottom of the Aeropress. Place the Aeropress on your mug and ensuring that it is level (and somewhat sturdy). Rinse the filter and brewing equipment with some heated water to help remove the possibility of the paper impacting the taste. Discard this rinsing water and you’re ready to brew!
Place your carefully measured ground coffee into the Aeropress chamber and distribute it evenly. Tare the scales and start timing. A good starting point is a brew time of around 2 minutes 30 seconds. Gently pour water over the coffee until you have added all the brewing water according to the weight in your brew recipe.
Stir gently for a few moments and then carefully place the Aeropress plunger into the top of the Aeropress. Press down with a vertical motion to push the brewed coffee into the mug. Remove the Aeropress and serve.
The inverted Aeropress brew method is an alternative way to use the same Aeropress equipment. Many believe this offers additional benefits.
The instructions below are taken from our Inverted Aeropress Brew Method.
Start the same way you would if using the regular Aeropress brew method. Prepare all equipment before grinding & brewing. Weigh your coffee dose, and ensure that you heat more than enough water than you need for brewing. Place filter paper in AeroPress cap. Rinse with brewing water in your cup/mug then set aside.
Next, place the Aeropress plunger into the chamber, but only slightly, to ensure the maximum amount of room for brewing in the chamber. Check for a tight seal. Place the AeroPress upside down on your scales. Grind & add coffee dose.
Follow by distributing evenly & level the coffee bed. Tare scales & begin timing. Slowly & evenly add twice the weight of your coffee in water. Gently agitate the grinds to immerse them evenly in the water. Allow to swell & bubble.
When bubbling ceases, add the remaining brewing water as evenly as possible. Gently stir the brew then carefully attach the filter cap to the AeroPress.
Push very gently & slowly down on the upside down AeroPress until you have closed the space between the filter & the brewing coffee. Gently move the AeroPress in a gentle stirring movement to immerse any grinds stuck to the plunger to aid even extraction.
Discard any water from your cup/mug then hold it in place upside down on top of the AeroPress. Holding the cup/mug tightly against the AeroPress, quickly flip the AeroPress upside down & place the cup/mug onto the work surface with the AeroPress the correct way up. Press down with a vertical motion to push the brewed coffee through the filter into the cup/mug, then remove the AeroPress & serve!
1. Water Quality – The water used in brewing coffee will always impact the final cup of coffee. In some instances, it may be worth experimenting with bottled water, if tap water is having undesirable impacts in flavour. This is particularly relevant for those who enjoy making more filter style coffees with their Aeropress, that will include more water in the brewing process.
2. Inverted Method – Another Aeropress tip to try, is giving the inverted brew method a go, if you haven’t already. Although not the intended way to use the Aeropress, many baristas and home coffee enthusiasts believe it actually produces the better brews. If you are using the inverted method, try squeezing out any excess water before plunging the brewed coffee into a cup.
3. Experiment with Filters – Although the standard Aeropress brew guide suggests using 1 paper filter, adding an additional paper filter, or buying a metal filter extension, can totally alter your experience with the device, and allow you to create a wide variety of brews, from heavy-textured full-bodied drinks with a metal filter to very light, high clarity brews with 2 x paper filters per brew.
4. Focus on the Science of Brewing – If you’re not getting the desired flavours and tastes from your Aeropress brewed coffee, chances are it has something to do with the coffee-water ratio, grind size, or timings. This is why using scales, timing the brew length, grinding coffee to the correct size and precisely pouring the right amount of water for the coffee used, all need to be done with accuracy and precision.
If you search high and low, you may struggle to find many negative reviews of the Aeropress. Although it may never compete against commercial grade coffee machines and brew methods, for the price, and ease of use, this piece of kit is hard to argue against. As a result, it boasts some impressive reviews and ratings.
Particularly for those that enjoy espresso style drinks, and may not be able to afford an espresso machine for home use, the Aeropress is a fantastic alternative.
For those who want to take their Aeropress to the next level, using a metal filter, instead of the paper filters can offer additional benefits.
The North Star Academy has been hard at work this week, experimenting with different brew recipes.
Something many people ask us is how to create different Aeropress recipes, so we wanted to demonstrate just how easy it is to make different types of coffees using the Aeropress.
We’ve documented this into this handy PDF E-Book.