My (perfect) AeroPress recipe
I've been using the AeroPress for over a year. After much experimentation, I've landed on my favourite recipe.
The AeroPress was invented as a camping coffee maker. It was supposed to deliver high pressures, something like an espresso machine, to achieve a faster, stronger extraction than is possible in regular drip coffee.
However, the AeroPress has been appropriated by the specialty coffee world. Rift from its practical, straightforward intentions, it has become part of a movement that values precision, exclusivity and uncompromised flavour. It has become normal to place this supposed 'grab-and-go' item on scales. It has become crucial that the coffee be freshly ground. It has become the centre of an online storm of recipes, techniques and debate.
I know what you're thinking. How can something that has two ingredients require a recipe? But if you submerge your head into the muddy water of coffee forums, YouTube videos and How-To websites, there is an unending list of ways that one can make coffee using an AeroPress.
The main variables are:
Coffee to water ratio
Quantity of stirs
To bloom or not to bloom
Inverted or normal
Thats a lot of variables, all of which can be explored another time. This is about my own recipe, so I'll specify how I choose each of these things, but without too much detail as to why.
Overall Summary of My Recipe
10g coffee to 150g water (smaller than most, I know)
Grind size: close to granulated sugar
Water temperature of around 80-90 degrees celcius
Normal (i.e. not inverted) brewing
No bloom phase, just a slow pour
A few slow stirs
Thirty second brew before plunging
Step by Step
Get together everything you need: Aeropress, filter paper, coffee cup, kettle, scales (yes, they are necessary), coffee, grinder. A thermometer would be excellent but even I can't really be bothered with that.
Put the kettle on to boil.
Grind 10g of coffee to a granulated sugar level of coarseness. It's crucial that you use freshly ground coffee, meaning you grind for each cup you make. I've got a capable DeLonghi electric grinder that is totally worth the price – it makes very consistent grounds and has long lasting burrs.
The beans themselves are another crucial aspect. If you're using something dark and vacuum packed from the supermarket then you're never going to get an amazing drink out of any brewer. I'm currently using a very lovely Colombian light roast from Climpson and Sons. If you can't access light roast, single origin coffee near you, consider a postal subscription service like that offered by Manumit House Roasters, Origin or Extract.
Pour some boiled water into your cup and over the filter paper of your aeropress, to warm everything up. Otherwise you lose heat rapidly when pouring later.
Pop the cup and aeropress on the scales (with hot water still in the cup) and weigh 10g of coffee into the aeropress chamber.
Get rid of the hot water from the cup, tare your scales and grab your kettle.
By this point it should have cooled to about 80-90 degrees celcius. You can check by touching the sides (yes, this is stupid and unsafe but if its been sitting for a minute you're probably not going to burn yourself). If its so hot that you can hold your hand against it for maybe half a second before it gets uncomfortable, then you're there.
Very slowly and steadily, pour 150g of water into the AeroPress from the kettle. This is much less than most recipes, which usually make over 200g of coffee. But since filter coffee is so highly caffeinated, I prefer a slightly smaller cup. It stops me becoming toooo dependent on caffeine, and makes the beans last longer (duh).
Grab a stirrer and move the grounds around a little. You don't need to be very aggressive here, just make sure the grounds aren't clumped together at the bottom with four or five slow rotations.
During this process, some coffee might drip through before you've plunged. This is not an issue; the same thing happens when using a V60 or Chemex, and they both make great coffee!
Wait thirty seconds or so. Most recipes say to wait longer but I prefer to err on the side of underbrewed rather than over – I'd rather have an acidic coffee than a bitter one. Also, since this recipe only makes quite a small cup (150ml rather than 240ml or so), the small amount of coffee doesn't take as long to extract its flavour.
Plunge nice and slow. You're not trying to jet it out; just rest your arm on top and let the liquid move through for about thirty seconds.
Finally, don't push it down all the way. Once the liquid has stopped coming and you hear that hissing sound, stop. Don't squeeze any remaining bits of juice out from the grounds, it won't taste good.
And finally, enjoy! This might take a while at first but once you're used to the various steps the whole process takes less than three or four minutes. Not bad for an extremely lovely coffee!
Holding a cup whilst correctly focussing and exposing a photograph did not go too well. You get the idea.
You know this has gone well when the coffee is an incredible red colour when held up to the light. It looks so incredible, and so far from the dark, bitter dishwater I often find yourself drinking!