Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting

AeroPress comes with some good instructions. If you did not receive them in your AeroPress box, here is the printable .pdf file. The AeroPress has such a clean cup because it uses paper filter discs. The brewer comes with a 1 year supply of discs! In fact, it can last longer than that, and you can even rinse and reuse discs, although that is not ideal.

All these pieces make the AeroPress seem more complicated than it really is. It can be packed into a compact package, and you don't necessarily need to take all these items for travel.

1. Prepare the Press

Put a single paper disc in the black plastic cap, twist it onto the clear brew chamber (right). Band-Aid not included with AeroPress!
2. Grind the Coffee

Measure out your coffee using the scoop provided, 1 level scoop per "cup." Using my method, you will add 50-65% more water to the concentrate after brewing, so you will roughly double the amount you initially brew in the AeroPress. These amounts are in blue ink on the side of the press. I suggest 2 scoops to make a 10-12 oz mug of coffee. Of course, you will dilute to your personal taste, which will require some experimentation. You can use the funnel (right) to grind directly into the brew chamber. Ditting mill not included with AeroPress!

What grind to use? I prefer a medium fine; finer than French Press, a bit finer than drip filter coffee, not nearly as fine as espresso. If the press is hard to plunge, make the grind coarser.
3. Add Hot Water And Brew!

Add hot water. I recommend using the TOP of the ovals indicated on the side. I prefer to brew using 2 or 3 scoops, and using the top of the ovals marked 2 or 3 respectively. Thoroughly wet the grinds while pouring. Then stir grinds rapidly, using the stirrer paddle. Surfboard coffee mug not included with AeroPress!

Olympus camera strap not included with Aeropress!
How Hot Should the Water Be? Okay, here is where things get subjective. Aeropress recommends low temperature brewing with 165 to 175 f water. They say "professional coffee tasters" preferred low temperatures. I do agree that the Aeropress should be brewed with temperatures on the low end of the traditional coffee brewing window from 195 to 205 f. But if you add a small amount of hot water to a room temperature brew and room temperature ground coffee, you immediately experience a big temperature drop. I suggest adding 195 to 200 f water, begin stirring in 10 seconds, continue for 10 seconds, then go to Step 4 and start plunging ...
4. Plunge It, Dilute It.

As mentioned, this is a fast brew method. The coffee tastes overextracted if you let it steep 3-5 minutes, as with other brew methods. Steep 10 seconds, stir 10 seconds, then plunge for 10-20 seconds. I think pushing with even, light force is better than pushing hard and fast. In either case, push the plunger all the way down.

Add hot water to dilute the concentrate to a drinkable coffee. For me, 50-65% additional hot water seems right. You don't want the undesirable tastes of overly strong coffee (liquor-like flavors) nor weak, watery cup results.
Variables: Grind, water temperature, steeping/stirring/plunging times, dilution. All 4 of these are going to affect the brew results greatly. If at first you are not pleased, experiment with these variables. I think it is a good feature of the AeroPress that you control the variables and can customize your results, even if these variables may give some occasionally unwanted variability to the results.
5. Clean Up

One of the nice things about the press is clean up. Simply remove the black plastic cap from the brew chamber. Then hold it over a compost bin or trash, and push the plunger in a bit further. The puck of coffee grind and paper filter will pop out.

You can rinse the end of the plunger, and the inside of the brew chamber, but actually, you can just wipe it off with a towel too. Voila, that is it! This makes the AeroPress really convenient for use in a hotel room or office, where you want to brew coffee without a real kitchen. AeroPress says you can even heat the water inside the plunger in a microwave, if you are desperate.
Other comments

Leakage: this picture shows some dripping from a yet-unpressed batch. You are going to get a bit of coffee leaking before you press, because of a slightly coarse grind, and because of, er ... gravity. I made the grind a bit finer, but there is always some early leakage.

Coffee Concentrate: Note that you can also store the undiluted brew as a cold concentrate, either to add hot water for a quick cup or for iced coffee. (My opinion: saving a concentrate can be great for convenience, but is not as good as freshly brewed coffee, no matter the method of brewing, storage or reheating. Volatile aromatic components are lost when coffee is stored. But it can be very convenient for camping, traveling, etc.) This concentrate is great for baking, and other recipes. The Moosewood Cookbook has THE best chocolate cake recipe that uses coffee, and the AeroPress is ideal for that...

Please ignore the box: As mentioned, I find the Aeropress package (but not the instructions) to be a bit embarrassing. Maria didn't even want to carry it based on the way it is marketed and sold, and the packaging. I too dislike the use of unsubstantiated, unprovable "superlatives," and the Aeropress box contains a year's supply of those: "The World's Best Coffee and Espresso Maker," Smoothest, Richest, Purest, Fastest","The Ultimate Coffee Experience." If you have a good item, why all this nonsense? Can you prove it's the world's best? Did you try all the coffee and espresso makers in the world? And then who decided it is best? How about the expert's quote: "When used properly AeroPress produces a remarkably good straight espresso ... In fact, it produces a better shot than many home machines that cost twenty or thirty times as much" -Kenneth Davids . Illy's research shows that espresso is a beverage brewed at 7-11 bars of pressure, with water temperature between 194 and 203 f (without temperature loss from a cold coffee handle, etc). Even if the AeroPress had the organoleptic features of espresso, and the appearance of espresso, I don't think it is within these parameters. If it is such good "espresso" why will I probably not see a Barista making AeroPress Latte Art at the Western Regional Barista Championships next month? It's a joke, but the point is, we need to protect the term "espresso" from mis-use. Aeropress is a good brewer, no need to call it an espresso machine.

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