Aeropress Instructions: Brewing Tips, Recipes And F.A.Q

Aeropress, a plastic device that looks like a hand pump, invented by Alan Adler in 2005, now becomes one of the best coffee makers and the most versatile brewer of all time. 

If you are the first time using AeroPress, you might wonder, can this little plastic thing make great-tasting coffee? The answer is yes! There are international championships worldwide, and the professional baristas are competing to find out the best AeroPress recipes of the years.  

Champion recipes? That might sound intimidating, but don’t worry, AeroPress is one of the easiest ways to brew coffee. And this is very suitable for making coffee at home! Or any places, like camping, on the beach, on the train, or even on the plane[1]. You can take it anywhere, and it’s not made of glass so it’s not easy to break. If you want to know more about this popular coffee maker, check out this in-depth AeroPress review.

And there are many different ways to brew AeroPress coffee. It can bring you lots of fun. In this article, we will go through the commonly used brewing methods and share some recipes, and some little discussions about the tricks of making good AeroPress coffee. Let’s dive into this. 

How Does An AeroPress Work?

When you open the box, you’ll get a plunger, a chamber, a filter cap, 350 paper filters, a funnel, and a string tool.

AeroPress set of tools

The basic instruction for AeroPress is super easy. It takes only a few steps according to the official instruction.

Add a filter paper to the filter cap, then screw it onto the chamber. Add ground coffee, fill in the water, wait and plunge the coffee into your mug — boom, you just made a great cup of AeroPress coffee.

You will find the detailed instructions in this section: The inventor Alan Adler’s AeroPress Recipe

OK, I know many of you are struggling to make the coffee that meet your expectation. Everyone has their own coffee taste preferences. You can play around with many variables, for example, how much coffee grounds you use, how long the coffee steeps, how much water and the temperature of the water. You can try the original upright or the popular inverted brewing position, cold brew, and even more.

That’s the charm of this brewing device. You can always be creative and get more possibilities out of the coffee, and have lots of fun.

Things You Need To Know Before Getting Started With AeroPress

Brewing methods – Upright & Inverted

Usually, there are two ways to use the AeroPress, the Upright and the Inverted

The upright method:

When using the upright method, you put the paper filter in the cap and screw it to the chamber. Then have the chamber with the filter cap sit on the mug. Add coffee ground and hot water. In the final step, you add the plunger to the chamber and press the coffee out. 

upright brewing

The inverted method:

You simply add the plunger to the chamber first, making the brew chamber to sit upon the plunger and use the plunger as the base. Then you pour your coffee into the brew chamber and then add your water. After brewing, you put the filter cap on and flip the whole AeroPress upside down, place it on the mug, and then begin to plunge the coffee out. 

inverted brewing

Which way to use it?

If you follow the instructions printed on the manual, it suggests the upright method. You can also see a safety notice about the inverted brewing method: ‘We recommend against using this method. It is less stable and therefore prone to tipping over and exposing the user to hot liquid’. 

But it seems that the World AeroPress Champions in recent years don’t really read the manual. I checked the top-3 winners of the W.A.C. since 2017, only 2 of them use the upright methods, while the rest 7 baristas used the inverted methods to compete in the championship [2]. 

There are pros and cons to both methods. In the upright brewing position, the filtration begins once the water is added, coffee brewed in this way tends to be slightly weaker or under extraction. While the inverted position doesn’t have this problem, 100% of the water is in contact with the coffee grounds before you flip the AeroPress over. But since you need to use the plunger as the base, you also shrink the capacity of the coffee brewer, which means you can add less water compared to the upright methods. 

But sure, you can tweak your grind, temperature, brewing time to avoid the weak and under-extracted coffee using the upright method. You can still make great coffee.

It’s hard to say which one is better for you. It’s great for beginners to use the upright first, then try the inverted way. Just test them both, they are relatively easy as long as you pay attention when you brew coffee inverted, don’t burn yourself with the boiling water. 

Water Temperature

The recommended water temperature for AeroPress suggested by Alan Adler and the official manual is 175 °F (80 °C). It’s quite common to brew AeroPress coffee at low temperatures. However, 200 °F (93 °C) is considered the ideal temperature for coffee brewing in pour-over and other brewers. Don’t use boiling water to make coffee.

You can even add water at room temperature to make cold brew coffee. Coffee brewed in cold water has a smoother flavor.

When it comes to water, it’s good to use relatively soft water instead of tap water. If the water doesn’t taste good, the coffee won’t taste good no matter what recipe you use. You can try to use the Third Wave Water to enhance the brewing water that increases the flavor of your coffees.

Coffee to Water Ratio

Before you start making a coffee, you need to figure out how much water and coffee to use. That’s the brew ratio. Normally the most common coffee to water ratio ranges from 1: 15 – 1: 18, in other words, when you put 1 gram of coffee you add 15-18 grams of water depending on the strength you like.

But when it comes to AeroPress coffee, there’s no exact answer to the ratio. You’ll find the coffee to water ratio can vary a lot for different recipes, and many recipes require dilution after brewing. You’ll get a black filter coffee taste or Americano style drink.

Grind size for AeroPress Coffee

In the AeroPress instructions from the official website, it suggests you grind coffee as fine as the espresso. If you don’t have a grinder and purchase the preground coffee from the supermarket. You may need to increase the dosage and brew time if you want to reach the same strength as using a finer grind size.

The reality is, it’s just difficult to say that’s the best grind size for AeroPress. If you check out the W.A.C. champions recipes, you’ll see lots of coarse grind settings in recent years. And many people prefer to use the fineness of the normal pour-over coffee like the sea salt, while in most of the other grinding suggestion for AeroPress is usually reasonably fine.

But if you use a coarser grind size, as the champions do, you’ll need to add more coffee or let the coffee steep longer. So for everyday drinking, I think the fineness between espresso and drip coffee will be great. Like always, a high-quality adjustable burr grinder is handy for your experiments.

The brew time

The original AeroPress design is to get a cup of coffee in around 1 minute. Usually it won’t take more than 2 minutes to finish the brewing.

But you can always think outside the box using an AeroPress coffee maker, some people like the ‘Long brew’. It takes longer for some coffee beans to extract so you can get more tasted flavor out of them. And another great thing about long brew is, you can use less coffee due to the longer immersion to get the strength you need. That saves some money on the beans as well.

But if you use a longer brew time, the inverted position may work better since it won’t allow the coffee to drip through the filter. Or you can put the plunger in to form a pressure seal, so it won’t drip prematurely.

Dilution

When we are brewing coffee using the pour-over or French Press, we usually get the final cup without dilution. But many AeroPress recipes often mention the dilution in the final step. 

AeroPress can’t make the standard espresso, but a very strong and concentrated coffee if you follow the official manual.

That makes sense to dilute the espresso like AeroPress coffee with hot water, just like we do for the Americano.

The Step By Step Guide For Making Coffee Using An AeroPress?

First thing first, there are countless ways to make coffee with an AeroPress. I want to show you two recipes in the following guide. 

The inventor Alan Adler’s AeroPress Instructions

The first recipe is from the instruction from the inventor – Mr. Alan Adler. It’s the official instruction printed on the manual in the AeroPress box. You probably didn’t read it before looking for the ‘Best AeroPress brewing guide’ online. But why not? This recipe is actually a very basic and practical brewing guide that anyone can follow, without many extra coffee gears.  

Please pay attention to the following key points of this recipe:

1. The temperature of the water is 175 °F (80 ℃) for dark roasts, which’s lower than most of the other brewing methods. If you use medium or light roasted coffee, you’ll need to increase the temperature to 185°F (85°C). 

2. The grind size is somewhere between drip and espresso. 

Recipe:

  • Coffee grounds: 1 rounded scoop, which comes in the box (about 14-15 grams)
  • Grind size: Between drip and espresso 
  • Water: Add water to the 1 or 1.5 mark on the AeroPress chamber
  • The temperature of water: 175 °F (80 °C)
  • Time: About 1 minute
  • 1. Put a filter paper to the cap, and then screw the cap on the chamber. 
  • 2. Put the AeroPress on top of a mug. Since you’ll press the plunger later, find a sturdy cup for safety.  
  • 3. Add 1 rounded scoop of fine ground coffee in the chamber, and shake it to level the coffee grounds.
  • 4. Fill the water to the 1 or 1.5 mark on the chamber, and stir it with the stirring tool for about 10 seconds.
  • 5. Insert plunger into the chamber, and press slowly for 20 to 40 seconds. Just put your hands on and let it go down. Don’t press too hard and too quickly.
  • 6. When you hear a hissing sound, the plunger gets to the bottom, remove it from the mug.
  • 7. Now you can enjoy. Or add more water to dilute the brewed coffee.
  • 8.Remove the cap from the chamber, push the plunger to eject the coffee grounds into the trash, wash the AeroPress with warm water. 

Note: You have a concentrated coffee like the espresso strength. If you like this strong strength, you can drink the coffee right away. If you prefer a milder flavor like the Americano, simply add more water to dilute the coffee according to your taste preference.

That’s it. You can have a cup of coffee using Mr. Alan Adler’s recipe in about 1 minute. It’s very straightforward and casual. Simply use the scoop to get a certain amount of coffee and the chamber’s mark to decide whether you have enough water. Simplicity and efficiency are the essential design ideas for the AeroPress coffee maker. I believe the company has countless testings to determine the size of the scoop, the numbering on the chamber, and prove that it can make great coffee.  

However, the amount of coffee and water is not specific. If you failed to get the taste you like, or you need more detailed instructions to improve the taste or brew a more consistent coffee every day. There are many ways to brew AeroPress coffee and countless recipes out there for you to explore. 

But you’ll need a few more tools, such as a scale to weigh the exact amount of coffee instead of using a scoop, add the exact amount of water to keep the brew ratio, and even a thermometer to control the temperature. Last but not least, a good burr grinder to ensure uniform coffee grounds.

W.A.C. AeroPress Instructions by Evgeni Pinchukov

So here is another recipe for you. Evgeni Pinchukov used this recipe back in 2018 and got 3rd place in the World AeroPress Championship. It’s simple to follow, and the final coffee is incredibly good!

After trying a few other champions recipes, I like this one because it is super effective, easy and delicious. And he used 15 grams of coffee, while the others used 30 to 35 grams, which is a bit more for everyday drinking. 

Things you need for this recipe. 

Basic gear requirements

  • An AeroPress
  • AeroPress coffee filter (two will be good)
  • Fresh coffee beans (Or ground coffee)
  • Filtered hot water
  • Kettle
  • A carafe or a mug
  • Stirring device

Optimal coffee gear for better performance

  • Kettle
  • Scale
  • Burr grinder
  • A timer

Recipe:

  • Coffee ground: 15 grams
  • Water: 230 grams, 175 °F (80 °C)
  • Brewing way: Upright
  • Filter: Use two filters in this guide to produce cleaner coffee
  • Brew time: 1 minute 5 second until the final stir, total time with pressing about 2 mintues

Time needed: 2 minutes.

  1. Set everything up

    Preheat the AeroPress and carafe, put 2 paper filters into the filter cap, and then rinse with the hot water. Then use the regular upright position to put the AeroPress on top of the carafe and put them on the scale.  

    Heat the water to 175 °F (80 °C), prepare the stirring rod, and timer by the side. 
    prepare everything before making aeropress cofee

  2. Weigh and grind the coffee beans

    Weigh 15 grams of coffee beans and grind them medium-coarse, between table salt and sea salt. If you are using Baratza Encore, it’s around 14. Pour the coffee grounds into the chamber of the AeroPress.
    We don’t need to go too fine in this recipe, as is usually suggested for AeroPress. 
    Tare the scale and start the timer. 
    weigh 15 grams of coffee

  3. Add coffee to AeroPress

    Shake to flatten the bed of the coffee ground before you add water. This is suggested for any other brewing methods, including V60, Chemex, French Press, to ensure all the coffee can be evenly extracted. 
    level the coffee grounds

  4. Bloom the coffee ground

    Add 50 grams of water aggressively fast, then stir it to ensure all the coffee grounds are saturated. Then let it sit for 30 seconds. 
    stir to bloom coffee

  5. Add the rest of the water

    After 30 seconds, pour in another 180 grams of water. With the 50 grams of water for blooming, the total amount of brewed coffee is 230 grams.

    add water after blooming

  6. Wait and stir 

    Wait until the timer gets to 1 minute and 5 seconds (Including the 30 seconds bloom time), stir the coffee to make sure all the coffee is drenched.  
    stir coffee after 1min

  7. Put the plunger and press

    Now you can remove the AeroPress from the scale, and put the plunger in. Press down the plunger until you just see the coffee grounds in the chamber right above the waterline, and then stop. 
    press the plunger

  8. Enjoy your coffee

    That’s the way to brew coffee using AeroPress with this great recipe. 
    serve the coffee

Personally I think this is incredibly delicious, and it’s very easy to follow, even for someone who uses the AeroPress for the first time. without figuring out how to do the inverted brewing. 

Conclusion: AeroPress is a versatile, portable, affordable and fun coffee maker!

AeroPress is definitely worth a try when it comes to home coffee brewing. I often suggest starting with something like the AeroPress, French Press, V60, Chemex, or other manual pour-over coffee makers. They’re fairly affordable, and there’s not a huge learning curve. Compared with French Press and other filter coffee, the AeroPress coffee often presents the espresso flavor, it’s a perfect complement coffee maker for home coffee brewing.

If you travel a lot, AeroPress is also a great portable coffee maker that you can pack into your bag. 

There is more than one way to make coffee using AeroPress. You can explore more recipes and put your creativity into your cup. 

F.A.Q. About Brewing With AeroPress

The AeroPress or the AeroPress Go?

In the latest model, the lettering on the chamber of the latest version becomes red instead of golden foils. 
AeroPress Evolution
(Photo Credit: https://aeropress.com/use-it-now/evolution-of-aeropress/)
And it comes in two models, the original AeroPress and the AeroPress Go

The AeroPress Go is designed for traveling. The Go version is a little bit shorter. The more compact size results in less brewing capacity – 237ml, 8 oz, while the original version has a larger capacity – 296 ml 10 oz.  

The best thing is, the Go version comes with a plastic mug, which means you can plunge your coffee directly into the mug and drink. So you don’t need to take an extra cup when you are outdoors. That’s pretty convenient. 

Except for the capacity and the mug, other features are similar, and the brewing instrument is the same. I think the original version is small enough, and it’s been a popular and convenient travel brewer for many years. I prefer the original size. So which one should you buy?

Can AeroPress make espresso?

The answer is no. Although AeroPress can produce very strong and concentrated coffee, it can’t make espresso, at least, no crema. Espresso machine and Aeropress both use ‘pressure’ but no matter how hard you press the plunger, it’s still far away from the 9 bars for the espresso standard.

In order to get an espresso-style coffee from AeroPress, besides pressure, you also need to use the extremely fine coffee grounds, and stir the coffee for longer and more vigorously, and you may let the coffee steep for longer.

However, it does look and taste like espresso to some extent. Just as the explanation on Aeropress’s website [3]:
We feel it is important to use the term “espresso” when describing what the AeroPress brews so potential customers will understand how AeroPress brew can be enjoyed.

What do the numbers mean on AeroPress?

The numbers on the side indicate the number of scoops of coffee and the water you should use. With one scoop of coffee, then just fill the water to the number 1 mark.

It’s for your convenience, many people just ignore that, especially when you use the inverted method. If you need to make consistent coffee, it’s worth getting a scale to use the exact amount of coffee and water each time. It’s always useful to have a scale in the kitchen, right?

Can I reuse the AeroPress paper filter?

Yes, you can reuse the paper filter a few times. After brewing coffee, remove the filter cap from the chamber, then you can peel the paper from the puck of coffee. Just make sure you rinse the filter paper thoroughly after brewing and dry it.

You can also find some reusable stainless steel filter products on Amazon.

References:

[1] How to Brew AeroPress Coffee on an Aeroplane? – European Coffee Trip YouTube Channel – https://youtu.be/DnKXN9HLFm8

[2] WAC RECIPES – https://aeropress.com/championships/wac-recipes/

[3] Does the AeroPress make real espresso? – AeroPress.com FAQ – https://aeropress.com/faq/does-the-aeropress-make-real-espresso/