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.
21 thoughts on “The Only Aeropress Recipe You’ll Ever Need”
Have you considered the true reason for not sing boiling water in the Aeropress is the plastic it is made of?
I wonder if it breaks down and releases chemicals or micro polymers at higher temps?
The newer Aeropress are supposed to be BPA free, but in numerous interviews Allen Adler has said his reason for inventing the Aeropress was to make a single cup of coffee with lower acidity.
Wouldn’t using the inverted method with your recipe serve the same purpose….Just curious….Thanks!
There are multiple reasons I don’t like the inverted method. The biggest is sometimes grinds stick to the plunger when you flip it. I also don’t like agitating the coffee so late in the brew. Finally, you’re far more likely to have a brewing mishap!
Hope you are well.
I tired you’re method this morning. I am pretty new to aeropress and been trying it out for the last couple weeks. I bought it thinking it would be a new and easy method of making coffee. I travel a lot to China and I wanted to have a good cup of coffee when I am there so I got the aeropress. But from all I read the recipes and methods are so complicated. Water must at this temp or grinds need to at this level. Steep the coffee exactly 27sec ect. Your method seems pretty straightforward and coffee taste good. The only annoying thing I have had with aeropress and that’s following ppls recipes is the coffee gets cold so fast. Boil water and wait 2mins. I am used to drinking hot coffee. Not warming coffee. Does the boiling of water make a massive difference. Thanks again for simple easy to use recipe.
Thanks for your feed back! My main guess is that this is a relatively small amount of coffee, so it will cool down much faster than a larger volume. Some ways to get your coffee to stay hot longer include preheating your coffee cup with hot water or decanting into a good vacuum-insulated thermos. I never recommend re-heating coffee as that creates a lot of unpleasant flavors.
Thank you so much for your recipe.
It became my daily way to use the Aeropress and even in the foggiest morning when I don’t quite follow the timing perfectly, it never fails to produce something palatable.
Over a period of the last year I’ve tried many different recipes, some good, many horrible, but this is by far one of my two favourite recipes. Tried it with different coffees, it works great no matter the origins. Right now, I am drinking Brazilian fazenda and it tastes like heaven. Thx for sharing this recipe Michael.
So happy to hear you liked it!
Found this yesterday and have since made 3 cups with it. You’re right! This is the only recipe I need. Simple and straightforward. Makes a well balanced cup with a lot of depth.
I’ve tried a number of different recipes from inverted to coarse grind, etc. and I do like this one best. Just for funsies this morning I made an additional cup using the instructions from the inventor. Yeah, not doing that again. Flat and one dimensional.
Thanks for posting this.
Awesome! Glad you like it.
Works really well. I’m looking for more volume, say 10-12 oz of coffee. Other than rinse and repeat, do you have any recipie ideas that would repress the existing coffee?
Why on earth would you pour boiling water onto freshly ground coffee? Everything I’ve learnt about coffee tells me that you should never ever pour boiling water onto coffee, instead waiting a couple of minutes for the water temperature to decrease
It’s mostly an old wives tale. Hotter water doesn’t burn coffee or anything like that it’s simply starts extraction faster. On lighter roasts many professionals like James Hoffman recommend brewing is hot as you possibly can and putting the water on immediately after boil. On dark roast he begrudgingly mentions that it might be nicer to cut back on the temperature a bit but not a whole time. Most of that mantra about letting your water cool is an old wives tale
What do you mean exactly with “breaking the crust”?
I think he meant to stir the coffee – ‘the crust’ is the layer of coffee grounds formed on a surface of your brew. I guess it is performed to assure that all coffee grounds are evenly immersed in water? Correct me if I’m wrong.
I just tried this recipe and I am surprised you made fourth place. It shouldn’t of been entered in a o the competition. Tastes rank.
Great simple recipe! Just what I was looking for thank you.
Couple of questions.
#1. Do you suggest using slightly more grinds for a dark roast?
#2. Do you suggest using a lower temperature at all for a dark roast?
#3. Do you think you could simply swirl the aeropress to break the crust rather than opening it up and stirring? In doing so you get some drippage.
1. I might use a slightly stronger ratio, maybe 1:14 or 1:15.
2. Yes. If I was brewing a dark roast I would use water around 90 C
3. That should be fine! Try it and report back please!
Thanks for the article, I like the approach of sticking to more normal ratios etc. I’ve found recipes to be contradictory, which has made it difficult to approach a decent AP cup for me. I’ve seen timings range from < 1min to 20+ mins, with similar grinds! I don't see how there can be that much variability for 'good'.
For your recipe, it strikes me this is essentially a cafetiere method and timing with a finer grind. Is that fair? That also confuses me as I would have thought that would be over-extracted?
My best guess so far is a Porlex grinder on ~6 clicks. Are you able to advise whether that's suitable? I'd quite like to go finer if appropriate as I think it would more consistently retain water in the AP.
The other thing I've tried is initially starting in a cafetiere (without the plunger). Nothing leaks anywhere and I can bloom then top-up more easily. This is then transferred to the AP for filter/plunge. I've varied the sitting time in the AP.
I'm now disinclined by the method as I think transferring to the AP disturbs the brewing process too much and perhaps halts extraction? Certainly the grinds don't settle the same. Thoughts?
Similarly, blooming in the AP seems unnecessarily fiddly and prone to losing too much water too soon. So back to all the water at once and hope to stumble on a decent brew!