I am forever posting pictures on our social media platforms with the Aeropress and usually a swissarmy knife, giving it the catchy hashtag #sakandcoffee which we of course invented… don’t get me started on ‘inventing’ and ‘owning’ hashtags again, lets move on swiftly…
Anyway, I have owned an aeropress since 2009, before I really got into coffee, over the years i used it more and more, from when I only used it whilst camping to bouts of using it two or three times a day at home and taking it to work with me, then in December of 2019, I managed to get hold of the Aeropress Go which is now my work and travel unit and the OG version stays at home.
I like to mess about with coffee, I’m forever getting told off for the amount of messing I do, gadgets and grounds allover the kitchen very regularly. Recently, I had an issue with a coffee making machine and it is broken and with zero customer service from them, I have binned it and for the. Moment I’m left to using various drippers and the Aeropress, and so, my love for tinkering has been rekindled.
Anyway, back to social media, I’ve posted a series of photographs, quite a few mornings at around 0700 to facebook, instagram, twitter, tumblr and recently Reddit also, and the general consensus across all these platforms is that people are quite interested in the method I use, mainly because the ‘crema’ is so bright and good looking and the aeropress looks different. I generally explain that the coffee looks that way due to the temperature of the water and the grind I have used, as well as the time the coffee is allowed to bloom and that the reason that the aeropress looks different is that it is in the inverted position.
The aeropress which was invented by Mr. Alan Adler, is a great invention however, however, his intended brewing method isn’t the most flavour efficient and once tinkered with to find what you like can provide you with a consistently good cup of coffee at home, work, the woods without that much financial investment. Please don’t get me wrong, the intended method does still provide a great cup of coffee, it can just be tinkered with. So, as a lot of you are at home and are wanting to amuse yourselves with different and new things, I thought that now is a good a time as any to share with you my current Aeropress recipe/method. This is actually something that I have been working on behind the scenes, writing up a few different recipes for a series i was going to do, however, times have changed and I feel this is necessary NOW! The other posts I have been working on will come… eventually.
If you are over critical… and interested, there are three possible issues with the intended method of brewing with the aeropress:
- Pouring your hot water over the grounds that are sat on top of the filter does allow some under extracted coffee to drip on down into your cup before you start to apply pressure on the plunger.
- Coffee grounds need longer than 10 seconds to properly steep in your hot water but the actual time needed is subjective to your own taste preference, this again comes back to the tinkering.
- Using Mr. Adler’s method, the bloom, which is the thin layer of foam that is rich in aroma and flavour, is lost when it is pushed through the puck of grounds sitting as the bottom of the chamber.
The solution to these ‘issues’, the inverted AeroPress method, is still very simple and only requires a little more time than Mr. Adler’s. But don’t just take my word for it, try the normal method you already use and then try my inverted one below, see the difference, it maybe that you prefer somewhere in between the two, you may realise you’ve been missing out, you may also tell me where to go… I am not professing to be the best at this, I have just spent a bit of time playing about with the aeropress and know what i like, this could be a starting point for yourself as a minimum.
So, what do you need..?
- The aeropress itself, all parts, the three main ones at least, the plunger, the chamber and the filter cap… then, the funnel as it can make things a bit easier (If of course you still have it).
- Filters, which I shouldn’t have to explain about too much… but I do regularly get asked which one, paper or reusable metal… honestly, it is up to you. The metal ones are good, they cannot filter out two specific fats that the paper ones do, these fats are linked to high cholesterol… I use both, it depends how much tinkering I am doing and where I am. At work I’d use paper and bin it, out in the wild, metal and give it a rinse. I have a cheaper metal one and a more expensive set as well as a few hundred paper ones on hand. I did once read something about someone reusing the paper filters… but that sounds crazy and a sure fire way to get a poor cup of coffee, but if they like it… who am I to judge.
- A grinder, to grind your freshly roasted beans… if you have to, ground coffee will suffice of course. The grind needs to be a little finer than you would ordinarily use for a drip coffee. A quality grinder is the best, but you don’t have to have an expensive one, use what you have or what you can afford. A freshly ground bean tastes far better than pre ground.
- Scales, to weigh your grounds and water, handy if the scales have a timer built in as well. Yes, this sounds exact and very technical, but it is necessary.
- Something that can be used as a stirrer, to, you know, stir, like a spoon for instance… or the stirrer that comes with it… that you may have binned… that’s designed in a way that it wont rip your paper filter…
- A receptacle capable of boiling water. A gooseneck kettle is the most ideal, but it isn’t essential. A gooseneck just aids you with the accuracy of your pour and ultimately the consistency of the extraction of your coffee. A simple kettle is good enough though. Ideally, you could do with a kettle that has a thermometer on it or is temperature controlled
- Coffee, preferably beans, but as i say, if grounds are all you have, they will be fine.
- Mug of destiny… your favourite thing to drink out of, whether if be the horn of a ram or a hipster made artisanal earthenware affair.
What to do…
- Boil your kettle, yes, that may seem a bit of an obvious thing, but the point of this is so that you can warm everything up, pre warm your mug up as well as warming and rinsing the aeropress itself. Now, I wouldn’t say this is an ‘essential’ step, but I do do it, sooo, I’m mentioning it. Whilst we are on pre warming… wetting of the aeropress filter, again, i get asked about this… the word on the street is, the aeropress filter is made from different stuff than other coffee filters and does not need a pre rinse as it doesn’t hold any of the reported paper taste transferring in to your coffee like it dories on a pour over… however, it wont do any harm if you are doing this step in the method anyway… using a metal filter..? Crack on you fancy bugger. I do use a ‘brewcoat’ on my aeropress to keep the heat in a bit more during the brew.
- Get your scales out, put your grinder on the weigh plate, turn it on and tare it… zero it, whatever you know it as, make sure the scales say zero when your grinder is on it, if not, you’ll have to do some maths. Weigh out 18 grams of your desired coffee bean and then grind.
N.B, if your using grounds and not grinding yourself, you obviously just need to weigh out 18g, you can combine this with the next step.
- Now, you need to put the aeropress together. You want to place the rubber end in to the normal smooth end that you would do if doing this in the normal way… do not push it all the way in though… stop giggling… I push the plunger in so that you cannot see any of the rubber, you should be able to see it hovering around the number four on the brew chamber. Now you’ve done this, place the aeropress on to your scales with the round, open end of the aeropress at the bottom and the hexagonal open end facing up, so you can see the black rubber… it is upside down.
- Depending on the time these steps took, or you missed out step 1, boil the kettle, you need your water to be 200ºf or… 93ºc. So, if you have a thermometer, cool, if not, don’t panic, boil your kettle and then leave it to cool for around 40-50seconds and you’re good to go.
- With the aeropress on the scales, add your 18g of coffee and tare it again so that the scales register at zero with the coffee laden aeropress on it. I add around 100g of water in, making sure to evenly cover the grounds and run the water down the sides of the brew chamber. If you don’t have a gooseneck kettle, you can rotate the aeropress carefully to get the desired effect.
- Once at 100g, I give the coffee a stir for ten seconds and then add more water, making it that you have 230g of water in total. Add your filter and cap now to keep a bit of heat in.
- Now, wait for one minute to let the grounds steep. If you have milk, this is where you can be preparing that… we wont talk about that here yet though.
- Nearing the end of the minute… this is a nifty little trick that if this was a video game would be classed as the ‘Expert mode’… Press down lightly on the flat hexagonal edges of the aeropress just to push that delicious fluffy bloom through the filter, you want it to ‘just’ rise through, now be very careful as you don’t want to spill and waste any of this valuable coffee you’ve just loved and nurtured for a couple of minutes.
- Whether you did step 8 or not, were ready to rock and roll, if you need to use the funnel (I do if i am using the camelbak hotcap, or one of my hipster earthenware affairs), now is the time to add it, line it up to the hexagon, leaving the funnel pointing up, place the mug of choice on top of this and keeping hold of the mug and taking ahold of the aeropress, delicately but swiftly, rotate it a full 180º so that the mug is the correct way round and the aeropress now looks like it is in the intended orientation.
- Immediately after the rotation, we need to press. There’s many schools of thought one this, I go fo the intended press. Place one hand over the other and place them both on top of the aeropress and using moderate pressure, push the plunger down. WIth only a little force, the plunger will travel down the chamber with relative ease. If you push to hard, you could end up with coffee everywhere and a broken cup as well as affect the extraction in an adverse way. Once you start to hear a distinct hiss when the plunger is all the way at the bottom of the brew chamber, STOP!
- What you have now is a concentrated coffee, some people will happily drink this as it is, others will dilute with a bit of water, this is all down to your personal preference… I like to steam, froth 150ml of milk and make myself a bit of a fake ‘flat white’. It isn’t a flat white, but it is as near as damn it and it is how I like the coffee i have top take to work with me in the vacuum mug.
Water: 230 grams at 200ºf or 93ºc ish
Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 14:1
Total Brew Time: 1 minute 40 seconds, ish
Grind the coffee (fine) and fill the Aeropress that is upside down,
Add 100g of water,
Stir for 10 seconds,
Add the remaining 130g of water to the coffee ground,
Add the filter and filter cap to the top with the plunger to seal it and prevent dripping.
Wait one minute…
Sit a cup on top and rotate to the correct orientation,
Press the plunger down slowly, this should take around thirty seconds.
Total brew time should be somewhere in the region of 1:35 – 1:45.