by Jeanette Kierstead
If you have already put your Aeropress to good use, you know how easy and simple it is to prepare your coffee in this way.
Using an Aeropress was always meant to be an easy and fast way to brew coffee or espresso at home under 5 minutes), and we're happy to say that it lives up to these expectations.
There isn't always the time or money to make regular visits to the coffee shop for a shot of espresso or an outrageously priced Americano, and so having an Aeropress waiting for us at home is one of life's simple pleasures.
So today we present you with our Aeropress Tips that may include even a few things that your average user may not know.
Before we look at some great tips for the Aeropress Coffee Maker, let us take a step back and see where it comes from to give our tips some context.
The Aeropress was invented by a true blue engineer who got his start designing the flying disc known as the Aerobie Pro Ring.
That engineer's name is Alan Adler, who in 2006 changed the coffee landscape forever by creating a portable and lightweight coffee maker called the Aeropress that can be used literally anywhere and was the culmination of decades of toil and research.
If you have a bit of time to spare, check out this 40-minute video about Adler and his invention the Aerobie. This video will give you some idea of just how smart this guy is.
The reason Adler invented the Aeropress was, according to him, because he saw that that the coffee market lacked any kind of device which excelled at making smaller amounts of coffee with minimal fuss, and without the aid of electricity and with the ability to take anywhere.
As we've talked about in our article "Coffee Trends In America And Around The World", the fact that North Americans have actually wasted so much coffee over the years by dumping it down the drain is one thing that lead to the Aeropress being made, as it is a more economical and less wasteful brewing device than many other machines.
By this, we mean wasteful both in terms of coffee, and also in terms of time, as Alder has found a way to brew coffee in about 1 minute without sacrificing any quality at all.
Evidently, Alan Alder has one of those ingenious minds that has the ability to spot something the world needs and bring it into creation.
Here's an "Inventor Portrait" video on Alan Alder, which gets into the invention of the Aeropress itself.
Once you own an Aeropress and learn how it works, its really difficult to argue with the results you can get and how easy it really is to use.
As we've mentioned many a time on this website, most of the actual quality of your coffee or espresso comes in the stages before you brew it.
For instance, the beans themselves are the most important thing, because that's where the flavor comes from. From there, the roast is extremely important, because if the beans aren't roasted properly, the results won't taste as good.
And then, there's the grinding. If the beans are perfect and the roasting was done right, then the next important step is the grinding of the roasted beans.
You need the best coffee grinder you can get, because if you grind the beans incorrectly or with the wrong grinder, that's it - its over! Your coffee won't taste right no matter how expensive your brewing device is.
To tie all this back in to the Aeropress, the point is that if you do all of the above correctly, all that is really needed to get the type of coffee or espresso you want is a device that doesn't mess with any of the previous stages. And that's where the Aeropress comes in, because there's really nothing to it!
Ok, so maybe you know all of this already. You know the coffee is supposed to be rich and smooth, but for some reason it isn't quite working out the way you planned. Maybe you've got an Aeropress, and use it frequently, but want some tips for how to make a good thing even better.
Not sure if you're doing this or not, but we recommend not using pre-ground coffee. Why? It just isn't going to give you the best flavor. This is a possible problem that many people face with their morning cup and they don't know its a problem. Pre-ground coffee just doesn't get the same results. For grinding the beans yourself, you're going to need a certain type of coffee grinder that lends itself to the Aeropress.
Pictured to the above left is a mill-style grinder, and those are quite adept at grinding for Aeropress, because you can grind straight into the Aeropress itself. Since hand crank coffee mill grinders are always burr grinders by nature, this also makes them a better candidate for grinding for Aeropress.
This video shows you how its done using the popular Porlex Mini manual grinder…
Yes, there are several hand crank manual grinders aside from the Porlex Mini that are Aeropress compatible.
We suggest you take a look at our section on coffee mills in order to see what's out there, and read some of our reviews. Most of the cylindrical tube-shaped models of hand grinder are ideal for this, because they can easily grind down into your Aeropress.
So what type of coffee bean should you be using for Aeropress? In terms of selecting a bean prior to grinding, the big secret here is that there is no one perfect type of bean that will satisfy everyone when it comes to Aeropress.
If you're just getting acquainted with the Aeropress, we really do encourage you to try out (and by try we mean grind it yourself) lots of different types of coffee beans yourself to see what flavors you like best.
This part is mainly trail and error, and there's no way around it. Our request of you here is simply that you make sure the beans are fresh, and preferably ground at the time when you are about to brew, to maximize that freshness. The type of bean? The beauty here is that its up to you. Just remember that because you are partial to one type of bean or roast doesn't mean that others won't work better for your Aeropress.
This video shows how to use the Aeropress, and their preference is for the Dark Horse bean, which is another great choice. We also love whole bean Kicking Horse.
With grind size, it all depends what you want to make. Is it more of an espresso-type of coffee, or are you after something milder? If you haven't really spent much time playing around with your Aeropress, it might be necessary to experiment with the grind size, just see what grind you like the best. The reason is, on one hand you might know what beans you like, but there's also the grind size to consider which can affect the flavor in a big way.
But here's the thing. If you grind for, say, espresso, you'll need to be grinding your fresh coffee beans to a finer consistency, which means that when you infuse the coffee grinds with the hot water in your Aeropress, it will take less time to extract the flavor of the coffee grinds (less surface area).
Hence, it takes even less time to make espresso with your Aeropress than if you use a coarse grind. You will hear rumblings on the internet that a finer grind is better, and so you might want to start there.
There is a hot debate making the rounds these days with regards to Aeropress and espresso, where people are debating whether Aeropress can produce actual true espresso?
It all depends on your definition of espresso, but we are of the opinion that you can indeed brew espresso with the Aeropress. It really depends on how you define it. According to some, espresso can only be made with high pressure hot water going through a tightly packed puck of coffee, which only an espresso machine can provide. Others feel that definition of espresso is too strict. In any case, you can read our article "Espresso VS Coffee" to find out more if you so choose.
Prefer a coarser grind? When you immerse bigger chunks of ground coffee in water, it will take longer for infusion to happen, so that means more waiting, but not by much.
Here's a cool video that shows how one fellow does his Aeropressing. From this video you can learn much, so watch carefully.
You just know this guy is a bit nutty for the nut, since he has a Macap worm-drive coffee grinder, not to mention that he roasts his beans himself.
Clearly a dedicated home brew drinker, as he is on his third cup by 8am. Anyway, not to get ahead of ourselves here but this video is a perfect segue to…
Like the guy in the video, people everywhere are trying out this whole "inverted method" when it comes to brewing with your Aeropress.
Some coffee buffs say that by inverting - or flipping over - your Aeropress (as in upside down), you get a better, fuller immersion of your coffee grinds with the water than if you do it right side up.
Here's a quick video showing the process in action…
As you can see from this video, the so-called "inverted method" with the Aeropress doesn't look too hard to pull off, but you do have to be somewhat careful that the mug and Aeropress are flush to avoid drips.
If you're jumping in and attempting to follow along with this video, you will need to have already bought some beans, ground them up, brought water to a near boiling point, and know the basics of using an Aeropress, so you're not just flailing around in total confusion.
One minor tip that you'll figure out quickly when trying this is to insert the plunger in far enough (about half an inch) so that you don't get any leaks happening when you start adding the water to the coffee grinds.
What's interesting about this method is that while certain coffee buffs are convinced its the far better method, there are those who think it doesn't really do anything, like Gail from Seattle Coffee Gear…
In the end, you're going to have to do some of your own research to see what you think. Regular way, inverted, sideways…which way do you like to do it?
While the "inverted method" looks cool, you know what is definitely going to impact the flavor of your Aeropress coffee? Correct - its the water you're using.
Along with the type of coffee bean you choose, the grinder you use to grind it, and the grind size you decide on, there's no getting around the fact that the water you use is going to make a big difference.
This tip is one of those things where it seems so obvious, but many people like to point the finger at everything else besides the water for coffee tasting off, even though they might be using gross tap water to make their coffee.
Lets be frank here folks - if your water isn't tasty on its own, how is your Aeropress coffee going to be any good? To learn more about water as it pertains to coffee, here's an article about coffee and how water affects it that will give you some ideas for how you can improve its taste, and, hence, improve your coffee's taste.
Speaking of water, when you boil the water, you may want to boil it in a gooseneck kettle, which has a long slender spout.
Why? Because when you go to pour your water into your Aeropress, there is definitely some technique involved here, although its effects are subtle.
Many videos will show you people just dumping the water into the Aeropress, or, even if they don't dump the hot water in, they do it without any real finesse or strategy as to how they're pouring…and we're all about finesse, folks.
When it comes to pour over coffee, you will soon discover that the way in which you add the water to the coffee, regardless of your pour over method, matters.
Why does it matter?
Well, this is really when the water first comes into contact with the coffee, and its where the magic really happens, so the evenness, consistency, and speed of your pour all suddenly become factors in how the magic of the immersion and then extraction process takes place.
You can deny it all you want, it is a proven fact that a controlled pour is better for your cup of coffee, as everything mixes together in a smoothly.
If the argument can be made that blade grinders ought not be used due to their random slashing of your coffee beans compared to burr grinders, then a similar argument can be made for when you pour your coffee.
The less "trauma" your grinds receive, the better your coffee will taste in the end.
With a gooseneck kettle, you can do a nice, even, and controlled pour. Read our article "What's the Best Electric Kettle For Coffee" for more info. Try it for yourself, and let us know how it goes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Still on the topic of water, lets assume you happen to have a gooseneck kettle, and great-tasting water.
Now when you boil your water, make sure you don't actually getting it bubbling hot. You want to make sure your water is hot, but not boiling hot.
Boiling water will lead to scalding your ground coffee and a bad extraction. Its a no-no, so don't even try it. You can use a thermometer like this one if you like to make sure you're in the zone, as it were.
Pre-soaking is key, and many people don't bother with it at all.
For pre-soaking the paper filters, the reason you want to run some hot water through it is because this will get rid of any kind of paper dust that might be clinging to the filter itself, and this will, in turn, improve your coffee's flavor that much more, so its worth doing.
When it comes to your mug and your Aeropress, the hot water serves a different purpose.
With your mug and your Aeropress, you are pre-heating them to basically prep them for the incoming hot water and coffee that they will soon be in contact with, effectively bringing them closer to the same temperature that your coffee will be, which assists the flavor as well.
Try it yourself and you'll find it does help the overall flavor of the coffee, which of course is the ultimate goal here.
Before we explain this tip, please watch World Champ Barista Gwilym Davies as he makes some Aeropress coffee. The secret behind the "hiss" lies in this video…
Basically, when Gwilym says to stop pressing before you get to the very bottom, this is what we're referring to with this "hiss".
At this point, you will be adding nothing but over-extracted coffee into your coffee, and you will hear a slight hissing sound of air, so once you get to this point, stop pressing.
You just want the best stuff in your cup, if you stop before you reach the bottom, you will have the best of the brew in your cup and nothing besides.
So as to avoid spillage, make sure you're pressing your coffee into a mug, cup, or some sort of vessel that is sturdy. You're going to be balancing your Aeropress on top and forcing the coffee into your cup, so it ought not be a tea cup, or some thin-walled coffee cup.
Many people have made this common mistake, assuming that they can press into anything. This is also tied into the point that you should never apply too much pressure, or press too hard when you're using your Aeropress.
So concludes our article on Aeropress Tips. Thanks for reading!
We hope you enjoy your Aeropress, brew some great coffee, and we hope these tips were of some help to any budding home baristas out there!
Click here to read our own detailed review of the Aeropress Coffee Maker
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About Jeanette Kierstead
Jeanette has been testing and reviewing kitchen appliances for over six years now, so she knows her stuff when it comes to finding the best ones. In her spare time, she loves nothing more than baking cakes and cookies – especially if she can do so with one of her favorite stand mixers! When she's not in the kitchen, Jeanette is usually looking after everything homes-related; from garden tools to smart home products.