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Coffee 101: How to Use an AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker

Aug 20, 2019 | Coffee, Coffee & Tea 101


So far, we’ve learned the best practices for making coffee using the drip method, the French Press, and more.

But there’s one nifty little device we haven’t yet touched upon: the AeroPress.

Similar in concept to a French press, the AeroPress uses a plunger-style mechanism to swiftly press water through ground coffee to deliver a strong, concentrated cup of Joe.

Engineer and physicist Alan Adler invented the AeroPress in 2005, having lost his patience with the touch-and-go nature of drip coffee makers and the pokiness of pour-over methods. What he came up with was not necessarily attractive, but it gets the job done with one steady shove.

Adler’s invention is remarkably lightweight, easy to transport, assemble, and use. Its plunger-style design creates a consistently bolder, espresso-like brew (see below) than other portable brewers, in a shorter amount of time. It’s also cost-effective, as the device itself and a sizeable stack of filters rings in at about $25.

Here’s What You Need

  • AeroPress, incl. scoop, funnel, paper filter, stirrer
  • Water
  • Whole Coffee Beans (choose your favorite Orinoco roast!)
  • Kettle
  • Blade grinder
  • Mug
  • Timer (optional)

It’s SOOO Simple

  1. Heat your water. Remember: Boiling water will burn your coffee and result in a bitter, nasty brew. For best results, bring to boiling, remove from heat, and allow to sit for 1 minute. (You want a temp somewhere in the range of 175º to 195º.)
  2. Measure out two AeroPress scoops of coffee. This is approximately 4 tablespoons of coffee.
  3. Grind coffee beans. You’ll want a fine consistency.
  4. Prepare the filter. Place your paper filter inside the AeroPress cap. Slightly wet the filter with warm water. Fasten cap to chamber, then chamber to top of mug or cup.
  5. Add coffee. Dump it in there.
  6. Add water. Pour until water reaches the top line of the AeroPress.
  7. Give things a stir. Use the plastic paddle that came with your device.
  8. Take the plunge. Place the plunger inside the funnel and press down firmly until you hear a hiss.
  9. Look out below! You’ve got coffee!
  10. Taste and adjust. The AeroPress yields a concentrated, powerful cup of coffee. If too strong for your tastes, split between two mugs and dilute with water.
  11. Enjoy!

Can an AeroPress Really Make Espresso?

An AeroPress can make a pretty close approximation of espresso. Technically, an espresso machine creates a layer of foamy cream – called crema – that an AeroPress lacks. This is due to the amount of pressure an actual espresso maker can generate (7-10 bars’ worth).  Human hands just can’t compete. (Sorry.)

However, by using a super-fine grind (powdered sugar fine) and a small amount of hot water, then plunging quickly – like, seriously, plunge – you can get a strong brew that almost rivals that espresso taste.

Either way – AeroPress coffee or AeroPress “sort of” espresso – you win!