The Aeropress Brewing Method

in Brewing Coffee

     I recently met Jeremy Adams, the owner of Cellar Door Coffee, yet another amazing local coffee roaster in Portland, Oregon.  While I was there, Jeremy showed me how the Aeropress coffee maker works.

Read: Profile Cellar Door Coffee

I finally decided to give it a shot at home.  The first picture that you see at the top are of all of its parts.  Right away, you need to make sure you aren’t intimidated my many parts and a few extra steps.  Naturally, nothing is more convenient than the pod coffee makers that are popping up in everybody’s kitchens these days.  But if you want to make great coffee, it usually takes a few extra steps.

Jeremy let me know that there are people who swear by the Aeropress as the only way to properly brew coffee.  Let’s go through how it works.

Step 1: Preparation
Start boiling your water on the stove.  While that’s happening, insert one of the circular paper filters into the filter holder, and twist it into the bottom of the cylinder coffee chamber.

Step 2: Coffee
The Aeropress comes with a coffee scoop.  Grind two scoopfulls of coffee to a fine grind, and put this coffee into the coffee chamber.  Your coffee is now sitting on top of the paper filter.  The bottom of the chamber has a wide base so that it can now rest right on top of your sturdy coffee mug.

Step 3: Brewing
After your water is boiling, remove it from heat.  Let it cool for a few seconds since you don’t want to pour boiling water onto coffee.  Remember, “boiled coffee is spoiled coffee” (by the way, that rule goes for any method of brewing coffee – that’s why we don’t use percolators anymore).  Pour hot water into the chamber so that it mixes with the ground coffee.  Grab the flat stirrer that comes with the Aeropress and stir the water/coffee mixture for around 10 seconds.

Step 4: Plunging
Insert the plunger into the coffee chamber.  You’ll feel immediately that the rubber bottom of the plunger forms an airtight seal in the chamber.  Slowly push the plunger down, and the pressure will force the hot water through the ground coffee and filter.  You’ll hear the brewed coffee dripping from the coffee chamber into your mug.  When you can hear air being pushed out of the chamber instead of brewed coffee, your plunging is done.  This method is ideal for brewing small amounts of espresso, so if you’re making a coffee, fill the rest of the mug with remaining hot water from the kettle.

It takes a little extra work to attain quality in anything, and brewing coffee is no different.  The pod coffee maker and drip brewer are the next most common methods of brewing coffee at home.  These are both very convenient.  However, if you want to experience even more of what makes any coffee unique, it takes extra steps, whether that’s by press pot, by pourover, or by Aeropress

I am excited to have this new coffee maker in my coffee bar, and excited to continue experimenting with it.  It makes a quality of coffee that you cannot get from a pod coffee maker or drip brewer.

2 Comments

  1. Not a big fan of the inverted method? I use it most of the time. I also like to control infusion time on pour-over (like SaRPoD: steep-and-release pour-over drip).
    The AP is indeed a cool device with which to experiment. Varying dosage, grind, water temperature, steeping time… Mentioned the experimentation potential to someone who had just been trained into AP brewing by the owner of a local café (The Miniatry of Coffee). Sounded intrigued enough.
    Those of us who care about diversity more than about consistency can be quite pleased with the AeroPress. It’s easy to produce very good to great coffee with it, especially with extremely fresh beans. But it might be difficult to have exactly the same results every single time. As coffee is a live product, it’s useful to explore all its possibilities. Some people who are used to standardized (and bland) coffee may be surprised.
    The same issue happens with beer. Batches of craft beer can vary quite a bit from one another. With mass-produced beer, considerable efforts are made so that the product doesn’t vary much. Which is why you don’t get any of the interesting flavour (and aroma!) contributions from hops or from the fermentation itself.
    If having exactly the same experience is extremely important to you, even if you never get great results, a device like the AeroPress may not be ideal. You run the risk of having a superb cup of coffee, one day, and not be able to reproduce it exactly the next day. With pods, you have no risk of producing excellent coffee but you can have the exact same experience, day in and day out. That’s probably what robots would prefer, if they had tastebuds. Humans have richer experiences than that.
    The cool thing with the AeroPress, specifically, is that it’s not really finicky. You can throw almost any grounds at it and it’ll produce a superior coffee experience than pretty much anything mass-produced.
    In some ways, it’s a home equivalent to the Clover… at a thousandth of the cost.

    Comment by Alexandre — July 26, 2014 @ 4:24 am

  2. Great points, Alexandre. I was fortunate enough to meet the inventor of the AP at San Francisco CoffeeCon, and see it prepared by the man himself. I still have not educated myself properly on the inverted method. I must try it.

    Comment by Marc Wortman — August 8, 2014 @ 1:03 am

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