The Problem with most Aeropress Recipes
There’s few questions a barista dreads more than “Could you grind this for Aeropress? While you can always count on an espresso to use a fine grind and a fast brew time, and a French press the opposite, Aeropress recipes are all over the map, and most are terrible.
First, completely disregard the Aeropress recipe on the box. No disrespect to the legendary inventor of the Aeropress, Alan Adler, but the whole notion of using lower-temperature water to have a less acidic coffee is flawed in several key ways. For one, acids dissolve before the more complex flavor compounds, so lower-temp brews are missing more than just acidity- they’re missing a lot of sweetness too. Secondly, acidity levels have a lot more to do with the coffee origin. (If you don’t like brighter, fruitier coffees, stick with coffees from Brazil and lower elevations.)
But there’s also reason to be wary of many of the more popular recipes circulating out there. Many call for an absurd amount of coffee, often a 10:1 ratio, or even stronger. While I’m sure that many of these recipes with the right coffee could make an interesting, even delicious cup of coffee, for people in the real world, who are using their hard-earned cash to purchase coffee, I question such an inefficient recipe. If you can make a delicious cup of coffee with 15 grams of coffee, why on earth would you waste another 5–7 grams?
That’s why I’m sharing my fourth-place recipe from the 2016 US Aeropress Championship*. Sure, it wasn’t quite good enough to book my ticket to Dublin for the World Championship, but it’s surprisingly versatile and pretty simple. You’ll need:
- an Aeropress,
- a grinder
- a scale
- a kettle
1. Grind 15 grams of coffee
You want to use a medium grind. Not too fine, not too coarse.
2. Place two filters in the Aeropress.
Double filtration helps keep any sediment out of your brew. If you really want to live life on the edge, you can use three (somehow, we never seem to run out of filters. It’s like they magically replenish themselves.)
3. Briskly add 225 ml. of boiling hot water. Quickly, but carefully, place plunger in Aeropress to create a vacuum.
This keeps the coffee from dripping. You need all the water steeping with the coffee to get the highest possible extraction.
4. At 1:00, remove the plunger and gently break the crust with a spoon.
Replace the plunger quickly to keep the coffee from draining.
5. At 4:00 begin to slowly push the plunger down.
No coffee left behind.
6. Decant and drink.
At the end of the day, the best cup of coffee is the one you most enjoy. So don’t take my word for it. Grab your Aeropress, give this recipe a try, and feel free to tweak as needed.
*The Aeropress Championship was founded as a sort of lampoon of barista competition culture. To use a wrestling analogy, It’s more WWE than UFC.