How to use an Aeropress Coffee Maker
- What You Need
- How to Use an Aeropress
- Step 1 – Assemble Your Aeropress
- Step 2 – Grind Coffee and Set Aeropress on Mug
- Step 3 – Heat (and Cool) the Water
- Step 4 – Pour and Stir
- Step 5 – Plunge Your Coffee
- Step 6 – Clean Up
- The Takeaway
Aeropress produces a low-acid, tasty cup of coffee. It’s easy to use with its no-muss, no-fuss design (1). Rather than producing 12 cups of percolator coffee, you get a single, small cup of expertly-brewed tastiness. When you first look at your Aeropress, you may feel like it will require a complex process. Rest assured: learning how to use an Aeropress is not so bad! Follow these simple steps and check out our guide for the inverted method as well.
What You Need
First: coffee! While this is up to you, I recommend a Mexican or Nicaraguan single-origin. For roast, aim at the lighter end of what you typically like, so either a light or medium roast)
You’ll clearly need your Aeropress to make this work, but it can’t hurt to also have:
- A wide-mouthed mug
- A butter knife (for later coffee ground removal)
- A burr coffee grinder, set to fine grind (may require a little experimentation)
- An electric kettle or microwave for your water
How to Use an Aeropress
Step 1 – Assemble Your Aeropress
Begin by assembling your parts, and grabbing a single Aeropress filter. Place it in the filter cap.
Many people wet or rinse their paper filter gently before assembling the Aeropress. Just place the paper filter in the filter cap and pour hot water through it gently over your mug. The mug becomes warm too, ready for your cup. Then screw the rinsed filter in the filter cap onto the Aeropress chamber. (You’ll need to pour out the hot water after you grind your coffee).
Step 2 – Grind Coffee and Set Aeropress on Mug
Select fine grind on your burr coffee grinder and place one scoop of coffee into the Aeropress chamber. There is some variation for this: according to 4 Aeropress Champions (2), “fine” can be a range from “a fairly course drip coffee” to “slightly finer than Chemex.” You’ll want to experiment.
Shake it gently to settle the coffee in an even distribution. Set it on a standard coffee mug – 12 ounces makes sure there’s plenty of room. Aim for a coffee mug whose top is bigger than the Aeropress with the cap on, since balancing it on top of a smaller coffee mug ends up with lots of drips and mess.
Step 3 – Heat (and Cool) the Water
Using your electric kettle or other water heating device, pour 80` C (175` F) water in. If you use the electric kettle, you’ll need to wait 2-4 minutes for the water to back down from boiling, but rest assured that it is worth the wait to avoid scalding the coffee.
Call out box: If you notice a big difference in quality depending on water temperature with your particular favorite beans, get a candy thermometer that can clip onto the side of a measuring cup. This way, you know exactly what temperature you’re working with and can record ideal temperatures.
Step 4 – Pour and Stir
Pour your water into the main chamber slowly up to the number 2, paying attention to the bloom. If your ultra-fresh coffee fluffs up a lot, consider letting it puff up and settle back down after you hit the halfway point before finishing your pour.
Begin stirring using the Aeropress stirrer for 10 seconds. Remove stirrer.
Step 5 – Plunge Your Coffee
Place the plunger into the top of the Aeropress. This may require more effort than you expect, so be very careful not to topple the cup and Aeropress as you do so. Once the plunger is fitted into the Aeropress body, push gentle for 30 seconds or so. The goal isn’t to quickly or forcefully remove the water, but rather to use the pressure to get more out of the beans. This results in a more espresso-like cup than your standard brew.(2)
Too quick of a plunge time can make the coffee muddy and less clean. Too slow a plunge time can make it too watery (in sense of mouthfeel).
Step 6 – Clean Up
Your coffee is ready! To clean your Aeropress, I tend to set the device aside for a few minutes, since it tends to stay pretty hot for a little while. After you finish your coffee, remove the cap, trying to keep the filter stuck to the bottom of the puck of coffee. Push the plunger while standing over a trash can so that the puck cleanly breaks away and falls in the garbage.
You’ll want to rinse your Aeropress every time you use it and give it a thorough cleaning at least every few times, if not every single time, to ensure that it remains in tip-top condition.
Bonus: Wanna know how to make your Aeropress coffee taste better? Here’s a tip from Carlos Savala. (3)
The first thing is to be clear about your own taste and to train it, and the second thing is to understand the scientific and cultural reasons that make others like your coffee.
Aeropress offers a delicious cup of coffee that is well-regulated in terms of extraction times. Record your roast, origin, extraction time, and plunge time each time, along with your enjoyment of the coffee to get closer to your own personal ideal. You can even make cold brew and espresso with just a few small modifications, so get to experimenting!
An Aeropress cup of coffee takes only a few minutes. There is no reason for your Aeropress to take longer than a normal cup of third-wave coffee. Factor in how long your water takes to heat and cool a bit. Then, give it 1 minute for brewing and 2-3 minutes for clean-up. Not bad!
Put two tablespoons of coffee in an Aeropress at first. Different coffees will taste stronger and weaker with this amount. Vary your grounds amounts and record each try and its results in a coffee journal.
Clean an Aeropress by pushing out the puck of coffee once you remove the cap. If some coffee remains in the cap or if moving the plunger just doesn’t dislodge the coffee, I keep a butter knife handy. I use the back of it to smoothly scrape any remaining coffee off the plunger, and if necessary, use it to remove the filter and grounds that occasionally stick to the cap. All the parts are plastic, so simply washing them with soap and water will do the rest!
- Williams, H. (2015, July5). Aeropress: Does it Really Allow Amateur Bean Lovers to Brew Like a Barista? Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/aeropress-does-it-really-allow-amateur-bean-lovers-to-brew-like-a-barista-10361446.html
- Killbridge, D.(2018, March 12). 5 Aeropress Lessons I Learned From 4 Champions (And Their Recipes) Retrieved from https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2018/03/5-aeropress-lessons-i-learned-4-champions-recipes/
- Mason, S. (2016, June 23). Spanish AeroPress Champion Carlos Zavala: The Sprudge Interview. Retrieved from https://sprudge.com/carloszavalaspanishaeropresschampion-102000.html
Coffee lover and Dad, on a budget. Since the wishes of my beautiful wife and two charming kids are of course of much higher priority than my own ones, I always keep an eye out for coffee products which give me the biggest bang for the buck!