AeroPress Recipes Every Coffee Enthusiast Should Know

AeroPress Recipes Every Coffee Enthusiast Should Know
Photo: Rabizo Anatolii, Shutterstock

The AeroPress is on the geekier side when it comes to manual coffee brewing. It doesn’t have the artisanal cred of pour-over, nor the gravitas of a Moka pot, nor the time-tested reliability of a French press. Yet this little, plastic, plunger-based coffee maker — originally developed as a way to make one cup of reliably delicious coffee in one minute — is more versatile than you might think, and more than deserves a place in any coffee enthusiast’s arsenal.

Despite it’s apparent simplicity, there’s no one right way to make AeroPress coffee, so we’ll go through a handful of recipes, all of which have proven their robustness over the past few years (or even more than a decade). And we’ve tested them all in our gruelling testing lab (a dedicated coffee-making table tucked in the corner of the living room).

If you have an AeroPress at home and don’t know what to do with it, this guide will tell you. And if you’re already well-versed with AeroPress, we hope you find at least a couple of interesting recipes that will change up your morning routine.

Note: In an effort to keep this list global, we’ll be using the metric system. So the degrees are in celsius, and weight in grams, and the water is measured in milliliters.

Before you get started

As you prepare to make your first cup, let’s first address a few frequently asked questions about brewing with an AeroPress.

What size should you grind your coffee?

This might depend on what recipe you’re using, but as a general rule of thumb, you need to grind your beans to medium-fine. Your grind should be finer than a pour-over or French press, but not as fine as Espresso. Somewhere in the middle is the right spot.

What do you need to get started?

For simple recipes, all you need is an AeroPress and a kettle. You don’t really need a scale. The recipes below list out the coffee dosage, but you can ignore that completely if you wish. Just use the coffee scoop that’s included in the AeroPress, which will give you around 15-18 grams of coffee, which is perfect for one cup.

But if you want to make a consistent cup of coffee every time, we do recommend a scale (any kitchen scale is fine), and a temperature-controlled electric kettle.

How important is the whole “water temperature” thing?

Again, this depends on the recipe, though the AeroPress is usually pretty forgiving when it comes to water temperature. Still, generally you don’t want to use water that’s right off the boil. Let it sit in the kettle for around 30 seconds, and the temperature will drop below 90 degrees Celsius. This is the optimum temperature for most specialty coffees. (If you don’t want to get a temperature-controlled kettle, you can use any kitchen thermometer.)

Is there a “right” way to use it?

Nope. The recipe that you like is the recipe that you like. But the only way to figure that out is by trying different recipes.

So we’ll walk you through a couple of them, starting with the “Traditional” method. Then, we’ll discuss the “Inverted” method, and how to make an AeroPress Espresso. And remember, recipes are meant to be tweaked. While these recipes will work for most people, no two coffee drinkers are alike. So don’t be afraid to change the coffee dosage or the water temperature to make a brew that tastes great to you.

Understanding the basic methods of brewing AeroPress

If you’re new to AeroPress, let’s take some time to understand the basics. AeroPress can be brewed in two broad ways: Traditional, and Inverted.

The Traditional method

In this method, you add a paper filter to the AeroPress cap, twist it in place, and place the brewer on your coffee cup. Then you add the coffee and hot water. After the steeping time is up, you put the plunger on top and slowly press down on it, expressing the coffee (but not the grounds) into the mug.

This is the original method, and it actually provides a decent cup of coffee. The issue is that the water starts dripping out immediately, and it doesn’t give you a great deal of control over the brewing process.

For beginners, the Traditional method is a great starting point. But if you’ve just got a new pack of a light-roast Gesha or a Kenyan coffee and you want to extract all the possible notes out of it, you should use the Inverted method.

The Inverted method

The Inverted Method is the darling of the third-wave coffee community. This is what most AeroPress enthusiasts (including us) use to make their coffee every day. Here, you put the plunger the other way around, so your AeroPress stands on the plunger itself.

Then, you add the coffee and the water, let it steep, wet the filter and place it into the cap, screw it on, and then invert the entire AeroPress onto the cup (this part takes a bit of skill). You then slowly press the plunger down. (If that sounds confusing, this YouTube video should help you visualise it.)

Now that we’ve covered the basic methods, let’s get to the recipes.

AeroPress inventor Alan Adler’s original recipe

Let’s start where it all began. This is the recipe for which AeroPress was created. It gives you 100 ml of coffee, which can be used as a base to make an Americano or a latte. It’s a short recipe, and uses less coffee. It results in a sweet, diluted cup, which is good for coffee beginners.

  • Method: Traditional
  • Time: 1 minute
  • Scale: Not needed
  • Use 14 grams of medium-fine ground coffee.
  • Put the filter and cap onto the AeroPress. Place the chamber on the cup and add the ground coffee.
  • Fill with water (80 degrees C) to the 1.5 or 2 level. (Around 100-120 ml of water.)
  • Stir for 10-15 seconds.
  • Put the plunger on the top, and slowly plunge for around 30 seconds.

Your coffee will be ready in under a minute. Alan recommends adding 150 ml of 70-degree C water for a nice, balanced cup — not too sour, not too bitter.

James Hoffmann’s Ultimate AeroPress Recipe (tweak as you like)

James Hoffmann is a coffee YouTuber and the creator of many popular coffee recipes, and has his own take on the AeroPress. Though it’s similar to Alan Adler’s, we recommend watching the short recipe video above to catch all the nuances.(Note that he offers his water measurements in grams, but they’re equivalent to ml.)

  • Method: Traditional
  • Time: 3 minutes
  • Scale: Recommended
  • Grind 11 grams of coffee to medium-fine (err on the finer side).
  • Prepare the AeroPress in the traditional method. No need for pre-heating.
  • Start a timer and directly add 200 ml of water (almost boiling water for a light roast, 90-90 degrees for a medium roast, and under 90 degrees C for dark roasts).
  • Place the piston at around 1cm in the brewer to lock the vacuum. Wait for two minutes.
  • Now, hold both the cup and the AeroPress and gently stir.
  • Wait 30 seconds.
  • Slow plunge for 30 seconds.

The everyday Inverted AeroPress recipe

If you’re looking for a balanced cup of coffee, this recipe is a good jumping-off point, and is easy to tweak based on your coffee, or your taste preferences. It’s kind of like brewing a pour-over inside the AeroPress (there’s a 50 ml bloom period to help reduce the sourness).

There’s a lot of room here for you to experiment. You can make this recipe using as little as 8 grams of coffee, or as much as 22 grams, whichever takes your fancy. This recipe works well for medium-roast, neutral coffees with tasting notes of chocolate and nuts.

  • Method: Inverted
  • Time: 2-1/2 minutes
  • Scale: Recommended
  • Prepare your AeroPress in the inverted method. Place the plunger in the bottom part, at around Level 4.
  • Then stand it upright so that the screw-cap area is at the top.
  • Rinse your filter with hot water and put it on the cap, but not onto the AeroPress yet.
  • Add 17 grams of medium-fine grind coffee to the chamber (you can go as low as 8 grams or as high as 22 grams if you want).
  • Slowly add 50 ml water (87-99 degrees) over the course of 30 seconds, then stir.
  • Now, add 150 ml of water, quite slowly, like you’re making a pour-over.
  • Stir, and wait 2 minutes.
  • Put on the cap with the filter.
  • Plunge slowly for 30 seconds.

If this is a bit too much coffee for you, you can dilute it further with 100-150 ml of water. One of our favourite things to do in the morning is to make an Inverted AeroPress cup, add 150 ml of water, and then transfer the coffee to a travel mug, which gives us a hot, balanced cup of coffee to drink over the next hour or so.

The Inverted iced AeroPress recipe

If you’re a fan of iced black coffees, try this version of the recipe outlined above. Here, the ratio between water and ice will depend on your taste, but we recommend you go for 150 grams of ice and 100 ml water for a smoother cup.

  • Method: Inverted
  • Time: 2 minutes
  • Scale: Recommended
  • Start with the AeroPress in the inverted position. Rinse the filter in hot water and add it to the cap.
  • Add 16/17 grams of medium-fine ground coffee to the brewer.
  • Add 100 to 150 grams of ice to your cup.
  • Add 50 ml water (87-99 degrees) over the course of 30 seconds, then stir.
  • Add an additional 50 ml water and stir again.
  • Put the cap on.
  • Wait a 1 minute and 30 seconds, then plunge on top of the ice for 30 seconds.

How to make AeroPress Espresso for milk-based beverages

If you enjoy milk-based coffee drinks, try out this recipe for an intense espresso-like shot. This recipe is designed by European Coffee Trip (a great coffee YouTube channel) for a flat white, but we personally found it a bit too weak after adding milk. So while the recipe recommends 14 grams of coffee, don’t be afraid to use 18 or 20 grams for a puncher cup.

  • Method: Traditional
  • Time: 1 minute
  • Scale: Recommended
  • Grind 14 grams of coffee on the finer side — almost as fine as espresso, and definitely finer than you usually grind for AeroPress.
  • Prepare your AeroPress in the traditional position.
  • Add 14 grams of coffee and level the bed.
  • Add 70-90 ml of water at 93 degrees (you can go hotter if you want).
  • Stir continuously for 20 seconds.
  • Put the plunger and plunge for around 30 seconds.

As a result, you’ll get around 50-60 ml of strong coffee with a fruity, sour edge, like an Espresso. Add around 150 ml of steamed or frothed milk (heated to around 60 degrees) to make a nice latte.

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