Let me preface this by saying – I am not a barista.
I have never worked in a coffee shop. I’ve never gotten any special training. And I try not to play one on the internet.
I just like coffee, and I experiment in my kitchen to make a cup of coffee to MY liking. This is by no means a “This is how it must be done recipe.”
I love making coffee with my AeroPress.
First let me state that it is one of the most inefficient ways of making coffee especially if you are making it for more than one person.
But damn does it taste good!
It’s taken me awhile to dial in my AeroPress recipe to how my wife and I like it. I’m lucky she likes it the way I do, but it could be because I continually make it my way and she has adapted.
There are a few variables to adjust to get it just right. The grind of the coffee beans, the roast of the coffee beans, the temperature of the water, how long you let your coffee steep, etc.
If you ever watch a barista make an AeroPress you will see there can be even more to watch out for, but like I said that ain’t me.
A setup in a coffee shop involves a timer, a scale, a thermometer, a special kettle with a funny spout so they can pour the water just the right way, so much STUFF!
I am a coffee snob in some ways, but I don’t have the time or the effort to spend on all those contraptions. What I use is a little more basic and simplified, dialed in to how I like it. And if you’re just starting out in the craft coffee world, or maybe you’re like me and don’t want to fall too far into the coffee snob lifestyle, then you might like this easier way.
- a simple JavaPresse Manual Burr Grinder (not a fast way but more about that in a second)
- an old kettle my wife had before we got married (I think it’s Copco brand)
- the timer on my phone
- my trusty AeroPress (of course)
- whatever old mug I have chosen to inspire me for the morning and
- the coffee du jour, lately it’s been Foxtail Dark Roast.
One of the most important variables involved in make a great cup of coffee, no matter the method, is the grind.
This will affect how long coffee and water will be in contact with each other.
The grind changes the amount of surface area exposed to water. More surface area = more exposure, more exposure = strength (flavor, caffeine (to an extent)).
I set the JavaPresse Manual Burr Grinder to the smallest setting. (Turn the little black knob on the inside as far right as possible). I started small thinking I would work my way up to make adjustments, and well, I just stayed small.
You need enough water in your kettle to make a full cup and then a little more. You can totally fill yours up all the way but you are going to have to wait forever for it to boil.
One heaping scoop of whole bean coffee. I use the scoop provided in the AeroPress kit.
A clean (or clean-ish if this is not your first cup o’ the day) coffee cup.
95% of the time I am awake and out of the bed before my wife, so I have a quiet house with few to no distractions. This is where my coffee ritual is optimal.
I head into the kitchen, scoop in a heaping (balancing beans in my scoop) amount of beans into my grinder.
I then start my morning daydreaming. A great way to spend the wee hours of the day.
Depending on how awake I am, grinding the beans takes me between 3 – 5 minutes.
I use this time to think about what I would do if I won the lottery or the witty thing I should have said in the conversation I had two weeks ago. You know, world changing, important stuff.
Like I said this isn’t an efficient way of making coffee.
I shake out all the ground coffee into my inverted AeroPress. Use the provided funnel if you don’t trust your aim.
Inverted (did you say)? Yep, inverted.
I start of the brewing process with the plunger already inserted and then turn it upside down. This allows for better control over the timing of the coffee soaking.
Sometimes I remember to turn the stove on to heat the water while I’m grinding, sometimes I forget.
Once our little kettle is whistling, I take it off the heat.
DO NOT pour boiling water onto your freshly ground coffee. It won’t melt your AeroPress (at least I don’t think it will) but this water is way too hot to make great coffee. The official AeroPress website says your water should be 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, too damn hot.
I pull it off the heat and let it cool for a little bit. I don’t use a kitchen thermometer, but if you have one, more power to ya.
My super scientific way is to shake my kettle to the point where the steam is no longer whistling and I feel like it’s been long enough. I know this step does not help you out all that much, this may take some experimenting on your part. The temperature is not going to ruin the coffee experience, but it can be improved when you get it just right. Sometimes you just have to get your own feeling for something.
I then take my hot water and slowly pour it over the ground coffee in my AeroPress. I rotate my AeroPress with my free hand trying to make sure I get all the beans nice and saturated as I am filling it up with water.
Now, you don’t want to fill it up all the way to the lip. You need a little bit of space to stir your AeroPress. But you can get pretty close.
After filling it to the desired level, start the timer!
I run my timer for 2 minutes. This is the place where you can have easy control over your coffee flavor and strength. And 2 minutes also gives you some time to work on the following steps.
Remember towards the top when I talked about the grind of your beans, this is where the rubber hits the road. A finer grind you’ll want to steep for a shorter amount of time. A courser grind will need a little more time, but not too much time because it can definitely get bitter.
Experiment with this, especially if you don’t want to adjust your grind or you don’t have the ability to adjust your grind.
So, with 2 minutes on the clock I get my stirring stick and carefully begin stirring my steeping coffee.
I tend to zone out here. Watching the coffee form a foam (I think fancy people call this a bloom, but again I’m not a barista), making sure I don’t spill any coffee (party foul), and making sure ALL the coffee is making contact with the water. Make sure you are stirring all the way to the bottom, it can stick here, and you don’t want to waste any of the coffee you spent 5 minutes grinding.
After about 30 seconds of stirring, sometimes a full minute if I zone out, it’s time to prep the filter. This step is totally optional.
If you use the reusable metal filter, you don’t need to worry about this step.
But if you use the paper filter AeroPress provides, take one of those oh so convenient filters and place it in the cap of the AeroPress and CAREFULLY rinse the filter using the remaining water in your kettle. DO NOT BURN YOURSELF! The water is hot!!
If you don’t feel comfortable with the hot water, sprinkle some cool water on the filter. Who knows, maybe you’ll like it better that way.
My palate isn’t advanced enough to notice a huge difference between a rinsed filter and a non-rinsed filter, but it seems like a great idea so I stick with it. Plus it sticks to the cap so when you go to screw it onto your AeroPress you don’t risk it falling out.
After screwing the cap onto your press, wait the remaining few seconds for your timer to go off.
When it goes off, it’s time to flip the press onto your mug. If you do it fast enough nothing will spill out, but it doesn’t need to be that fast. Or to avoid all risk, you can place you mug on top of your press and flip it together.
Here we are, the typical AeroPress position and probably the most fun part of the brewing process. Gently push your press plunger down as your fresh brewed delicious coffee flows into your favorite mug.
After you have pressed down the grinds, remove your press. You can go 1 of 2 ways here, a fork in the road.
You can top off your mug with a little more hot water to adjust the flavor and add more in your mug OR you can go with this pretty concentrated (maybe almost an espresso) amount, especially if you used our Foxtail roast.
From here you then add what other accoutrements you would like. (Don’t tell me which ones, because I don’t want know how you like to ruin it. Just kidding, my wife puts a small spoon of sugar and cream in her’s each morning.)
This is 100% your personal preference, if you did it well with a high quality bean then you may not need to add anything else.
AND now the time we have all been waiting for! The first awesome sip of your perfectly prepared AeroPress coffee.
Sip and wait for the oh so magical drug we all love and adore to kick in.
Your day has now begun with a beautiful ritual and a dose of feel good. It’s hard to beat!