The Aerobie Aeropress is gripping the coffee industry and plunging it (pun totally intended) into a state of frenzy. It’s like the British Invasion all over again – first there was Beatlemania, now there’s Aeropress Mania.
This weekend, in Mansfield, Ohio, friend and fellow coffee enthusiast, Ben Blake (better known as “drawcoffee”) is hosting the Northeast Regional Aeropress Championship – an event that celebrates the art and craft of the Aeropress.
While there is a “proper” way to brew coffee with an Aeropress (per the manufacturer’s instructions), scores of users have developed and perfected their own unique methods and recipes to brew the best possible cup of coffee. Just as it is in the world of the barista, it seems there is no inherently wrong way to make great coffee with the Aeropress.
You may have asked yourself (or may be asking yourself), “How do the pros do it? How can I become a pro? How are my peers doing it? Why am I standing in the middle of my kitchen and talking to myself?”
Wonder no more! I have asked myself the very same questions. If you’ve been scouring the Net for methods and techniques and best practices, look no further – the Table’s got you covered!
To celebrate this weekend’s NERAC festivities, and to celebrate the Aerobie Aeropress, here’s a brief collection of various methods and techniques that I’ve pulled together from across the Interwebs, and that Aeropress enthusiasts – just like you! – submitted to me. This is a very unique collection of former Aeropress champions, championship hopefuls, and everyday Aeropress users that you won’t find anywhere else!
I’ll be updating this collection over the coming weeks to release it again in conjunction with the World Aeropress Championship, which will be held Friday, 20th April, in Portland, Oregon.
Alan Adler’s Method:
These are the original directions, as provided by the Aeropress’s manufacturer, Aerobie.
2. Put a micro-filter inside the cap and twist the cap onto the chamber
3. Stand the chamber on a sturdy mug. A glass mug is fun. It lets you watch the process.
4. Put ground coffee into the chamber- one scoop for each espresso or five ounce American cup, up to a maximum of four scoops.
Grinding Coffee: We recommend drip grind when using two or more scoops because it’s easy to push and yields rich flavor. For single-scoop pressings, espresso grind will yield more flavor yet still be easy to push.
A funnel is provided for use with a coffee grinder. Use the scoop to measure the beans into the grinder. Grind only the scoops you need for each pressing. Then use the funnel to empty the grinder into the AeroPress chamber. Coffee lovers agree that grinding just before brewing is important for great flavor. Remember too, that freshly roasted beans yield a richer flavor.
Water Temperature: Everyone we tested, from coffee lovers to professional coffee tasters, preferred coffee brewed with the water temperature between 165 and 175. Lower temperature water makes a smoother brew. If you have instant hot water in your kitchen, spend a few minutes adjusting the temperature to 175. That’s also the best temperature for tea. Be careful, hot liquids can cause serious injury.
5. Pour heated water slowly into the chamber. The chamber is marked 1, 2, 3, and 4 for the number of scoops of coffee which corresponds to the number of servings. With 1 or 4 scoops, just fill with hot water to the number 1 or 4 on the chamber. With 2 or 3 scoops you can choose from the bottom of the ovals marked 2 or 3 for a richer brew to the top of the ovals for an average strength brew. If American coffee is your goal, use the top of the ovals. For espresso, adjust the quantity of water to brew the strength desired. For latte, use the bottom of the ovals. A richer brew makes the best tasting latte. Dribble the water slowly into the chamber for the first few seconds to wet the grounds. Then fill to the desired level. Never fill higher than number 4. The plunger can be used to measure water. Just fill to the appropriate number. You can also use the plunger to heat water in a microwave oven.
6. Stir water and coffee together with the paddle for about ten seconds
7. Wet the rubber seal and insert the plunger into the chamber. Press the plunger downward. After the plunger has moved a short distance, you will feel the air pushing back at you. Continue pressing gently to maintain pressure and the air will push the brew through the grounds. The plunger will sink slowly and reach the grounds in about twenty seconds for a double, slightly less for a single or slightly more for a triple or quadruple. Then let the coffee drip a few seconds. Invert the AeroPress as you lift it off the cup. Pressing slowly is the key to a rich brew and an easy push. If it feels too stiff, just press more gently.
Alan Adler is the inventor of the Aerobie Aeropress
Ben Blake’s Method:
Coffee: 16 grams (a bit finer than a pourover – or, a 22 on the Baratza Maestro)
Water: 255 grams (198 degrees F)
I always heat the Aeropress with boiling water, cap it, then press it into my cup before I begin the process. This rinses my filter, heats the aeropress, and heats the mug/cup.
75g Pour: 00:15 (stir)
Pour Remainder : 00:25 (255g total, give a quick stir, cap the press)
Time listed is how long each step should take (pour 75g for 15 seconds, pour remainder in 25 seconds, steep for 2 minutes, plunge for 30 seconds)
Ben Blake is the creator of Draw Coffee and the Northeast Regional Aeropress Championship
The “Viking” Method:
I’ve read that when you buy an Aeropress from FourBarrel Coffee in San Francisco, they include a little guide with a method referred to as the “Viking Method” – which I suspect is attributed to a FourBarrel employee who is called “Viking.” I can neither confirm nor deny these reports:
- Pre-heat the aeropress by doing a water press through a paper filter into your serving vessel. You can leave the water in your vessel all the way up until step 10 if you’ve got steady hands. If you leave it in, you can overlap your cup pre-heating with your aeropressing.
- Grind 18g of coffee beans medium fine (slightly finer than playground sand, I use a 28-setting on my Rocky Rancillo). This amount is very important, so remember to measure after grinding. Too little coffee and your coffee will over-extract badly.
- Keep aeropress right-side-up, remove the plunger and add the coffee.
- Fill the inner cavity of the plunger, which should still be close to room temperature, with boiling or near-boiling water up to nearly the top. This should shock the water temperature down closer to 200ºF. Be careful not to spill onto your hands!
- Start your timer.
- Quickly pour half your water over the coffee grounds and use the aeropress stir stick to stir for 2 seconds.
- Pour the rest of the water, stir again for 2 seconds.
- Your timer should be around 7-12s. Faster is better, but don’t skimp on the stirring. As the water settles you should see a clear separation between water and grounds.
- This is the tricky part! Insert the now-empty plunger into the bottom of the aeropress at an angle so it doesn’t apply pressure to the water but penetrates the chamber. Then twist it into position with a pulling motion so that it applies negative pressure. You may need to pull upwards on the plunger ever so slightly. If you do this correctly, the water dripping out of the bottom of the press should stop almost completely.
- At this point, I usually gently (so very gently) lift the aeropress assembly off my cup, which still has my blind-press water and some under-extracted brown drippings, and dump it into the nearby sink. This is tricky, don’t break the seal.
- When the timer reads 1 minute, begin pressing.
- Try to make your press last 30 seconds. A few seconds off is fine, but more than 10 seconds is too fast.
- Let the coffee cool as you clean the press. You have a >1m immersion time cup of coffee without flipping your aeropress!
Jeff Verellen’s Method:
-Screw it very tightly into a clean preferably preheated Aeropress
-Measure out 17 grams of coffee and grind coarsely, bit coarser than paper filter at the very last moment.
-Put the Aeropress non-inverted on the recipient.
-Measure 270 grams of soft mineral water or filtered water and bring it to 80c.
-Splash a bit of the water on the filter and directly after throw in the freshly ground coffee, as to allow the bottom to wet and expand a bit.
-Directly after wet the coffee by dripping or pouring very slowly all the grounds, about 40 grams
-After the coffee has absorbed the water, after about 30 seconds, start very slowly pouring the rest of the water, try to re-wet the coffee fully again, see that the grounds do not separate from the water, this can be done using a good kettle with small nozzle.
-Let the Aeropress steep and drip for about 1 minute.
-Help abouthalf of the rest of the water trough, with the provided piston, very gently.
-Remove the press and the what`s left, about 50 grams of water from the recipient and throw away.
Jeff Verellen, from Belgium, is a roaster from Caffenation, and was the 2011 World Aeropress Champion
Randy Levine’s Method:
Randy went down a little different route with this and presented me his recipe for Aeropress iced coffee:
Fill your final vessel with 125g of fresh ice cubes.
Bring 125g water to a boil. In your inverted Aeropress, add the 22g coffee.
Bloom with about 15-20g of hot water for 10 seconds, stirring briefly to ensure all coffee is wet.
Add the remainder of the water and stir to combine.
Steep for an additional 30 seconds.
Invert Aeropress onto your ice-filled vessel and plunge with low to moderate pressure.
The plunge should last approximately 30 seconds.
Stir coffee and ice to chill quickly.
Randy Levine is the creator of snobcoffery.com
Marie Hagemeister’s Method:
2. Grind the coffee, slightly finer than filter grind (20 grams)
3. Aeropress upside down and soak the filter paper with hot water
4. Put in the coffee and pour the 80 (celsius) degrees water over it, almost to the top.
5. Stir for 10-12 seconds
6. Heat the cup, and then slowly push the coffee in the cup – stop before you hear the air.
Marie Hagemeister, from Denmark, was the 2010 World Barista Champion
Jamie Ferguson’s Method:
2. Measure out 17 grams of your favorite beans
3. Grind beans to a medium(+) grind, or 24 on Baratza
4. Measure out 220 grams of water
5. Invert Aeropress
6. Pour coffee grounds in and slowly add in water
7. Flip Aeropress over mug and press down, finishing within 45 seconds (NOTE: If using the Able Brewing disk I suggest not pressing all the liquid out. By doing so you will minimize some of the sediment that ends up in your cup)
Jamie Ferguson is the creator of The Coffee Adventures
Tim Wendelboe’s Method:
2. Turn the Aeropress upside down with the handle about 1 cm inside the bottom of the Aeropress. (Inverted method)
3. Use 14 grams of freshly filter or slightly fine filter ground coffee (light roast)
4. Pour 2dl of water at about 95°C over the coffee.
5. Allow 45 to 60 seconds steep time after 3 vigorous stirs.
6. Mount the filter and filter holder on the Aeropress.
7. Turn the Aeropress around and press the contents into a large cup or pitcher by using your body weight
8. Stir the finished coffee and enjoy.
Tim Wendelboe was the 2004 World Barista Champion, and the owner of Tim Wendelboe in Norway
Colin Mansfield’s Method:
Heat water to a boil in electric water boiler. Grind coffee of choice to a slightly coarser grind than you would for espresso and fill it up to the “1″ mark on the Aeropress. When water begins to boil, take it off of heat/electric source and let it sit for 20-30 seconds.This should get it to about 200 degrees. If possible, use a thermometer to ensure precise temperature.
Pour water into Aeropress to about the “2″ mark. Allow the coffee to bloom before stirring. Then, stir for about 10 seconds. Pour water the rest of the way, filling the Aeropress to the very top. Stir again for 10 seconds. Now, let it brew for about 1 minute.
While waiting, put the filter in the filter cap of the Aeropress and use any remaining hot water to wet the filter. Ensure the filter remains smooth and doesn’t get crinkled. Use the rest of your water to heat your mug.
After 1 minute of brew time, flip the Aeropress onto your cup/mug of choice and press. When you hear a hiss towards the end of the press, take the Aeropress off and enjoy. Or, press the rest of the way for a slightly stronger cup (the oils remaining at the end of the press appeal to some people, but not to others).
Colin Masnfield is the creator of Boise Coffee
Brian W. Jones’s Method:
- Inverted AeroPress & disk filter
- 16g of medium(+) ground coffee (6.75 on the Über Grinder)
- 218g of water (92.2°c on the Über Boiler)
- 15 seconds to pour 100g of water
- Stir 5 times, then add remaining 118g of water
- Put on pre-heated disk filter and cap
- At 1:10 flip AeroPress onto vessel
- At 1:15, begin pressing
- Finish pressing at 1:45 (leaving the last few grams of water unpressed)
- Let cool and enjoy!
Brian W. Jones is a coffee industry expert and the creator of Dear Coffee, I Love You
Drew Moody’s Method:
2. Measure out 17 grams of your favorite, freshest beans
3. Grind beans somewhere between medium and coarse (but not too coarse) with your Hario MSS-1B hand mill
4. Measure out 205 grams of water
5. Pour grounds into inner chamber
6. Slowly pour about 60 grams of water in a circular motion over grounds – as if brewing with a Hario V60
7. Allow to bloom for 10-15 seconds
8. Slowly pour half of your remaining water, stir for about 5 seconds (but not too much – you don’t want too much agitation), then pour the rest – this step should take around 30 seconds
9. Insert plunger about 1/2 inch, and allow to steep for 45 seconds (you should know be around 1:15 brew-time)
10. At about 1:25, pull up and twist the plunger about 2 cm to create a slight agitation (since this is all about air pressure, pulling up will, theoretically, help the grounds absorb a bit more water)
11. Plunge all the way to the point you start to hear the air hissing out, then stop. Plunge time should last 30-35 seconds
Drew Moody is the creator of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe