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Thread: How do I make AMAZING coffee with an Aeropress?

  1. #1
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    How do I make AMAZING coffee with an Aeropress?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hey guys, recently I've picked up a new hobby of making coffee. I've got an aeropress, handgrinder and some beans that I got at a well known coffee store. I'm completely knew to this so please bare with me. How do I make the finish from product from step 1? How do I know when to stop grinding? how much hot water do I need? As much detail as possible is greatly appriciated.

    Cheers.

  2. #2
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Welcome.
    There are instructions provided with the Aeropress and these are enough to get you started.
    That's the first step: get started; the rest is up to you and experience. You may or may not make amazing coffee the first time but you will get there.

    Next step is to do some reading here on Coffee Snobs and elsewhere on the net (google 'aeropress recipes') But like nearly everyone on this forum, it doesn't how much you are told, the fun is in learning for yourself.

    Some other guidelines.

    1. Get the best beans you can. 'Well known' does not mean best.

    2. The scoop/spoon that comes with the Aeropress holds enough coffee for 1 cup so use that as your measure.

    3. Stop grinding when all the beans you have measured into the grinder are ground.

    4. Don't use boiling water; either bring it to the boil and let it cool for a minute or stop it just before it boils

  3. #3
    Senior Member shapeshifter's Avatar
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    Just a perspective from an aeropress owner. I've never once got a good coffee out of it, I've tried different grinds, different coffee, different temp water, different times, different filters, making it upside down, it's just something that doesn't seem to want to work for me for some reason.

    I hope you have better luck

  4. #4
    Member Caffeineholic's Avatar
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    I recommend letting the brew sit for a minute after stirring and gently pressing to get a good extraction. There are videos and tips galore on how to use the Aeropress and as a newer snob like me, I think learning about a couple of types of beans early on is good whilst you develop a technique ( and level of coffee geekyness) that works for you. Then y can stick with a blend and work out the finer stuff.

    I've read people think the paper filters prevent some of the oils from making it to the cup which sounds reasonable so a mesh filter is my next upgrade. I enjoy my home roasted beans through the Aeropress at work ( ignoring all the sideways glances I get). I tend to put in a spoon and a half of ground coffee for a mug of coffee. That's works for me but you need to try the suggestions people will make and find something you like

    Enjoy the ride!
    Cheers CH

  5. #5
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shapeshifter View Post
    Just a perspective from an aeropress owner. I've never once got a good coffee out of it
    Some of the best coffees I've had are from an Aeropress but it is possible it may not produce brews to everyone's tastes. I tend to roast to the first snip of second crack for the Ap, definitely not into rolling SC but others' tastes will vary.

    Paper filters definitely filter out oils and hence flavours. The Able disk and Kaffeologie S filter are worthwhile investments.

    I use an inverted method, pour a little hot water in at first and wait for about 20-30 seconds for the coffee to bloom then top up.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shapeshifter View Post
    Just a perspective from an aeropress owner. I've never once got a good coffee out of it, I've tried different grinds, different coffee, different temp water, different times, different filters, making it upside down, it's just something that doesn't seem to want to work for me for some reason.

    I hope you have better luck
    I just bought one and wasn't having much luck; I found that changing to a standard-hole-size Able filter disk (metal, that replaces the paper filters) made a significant difference, turning it into an improved french-press type deal.

    Of course, you may just not like brewed coffee.

  7. #7
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    I use my AP all the time with standard Able disk to assess each SO origin roast I do. Generally just before 2nd crack or very start of for espresso, generally the day after roasting like a pseudo cupping.

    10g ground coffee (medium filter grind) to 130ml of 94C water, inverted, pour water slowly over about 20secs, this is my bloom. Then a 10sec stir, on with the lid / filter and slowly press - I think this is where a lot of people may come unstuck, using fine grind and really pressing hard = yuck. I barely use any effort at all for a slower more even press, stopping before any hissing.

    Really shows up all the coffee has to offer and gives me a great idea whether or not the flavour profile will be any good for espresso. I may take notes for reference in 5 to 7 days time if something strikes me as not quite right as it can be very much amplified in a shot of espresso.

    Some beans end up tasting so good through the AP, then not that great for espresso. Extra long roasts of low grown beans that may have more emphasis on nuts, savory malty flavoring and / or have picked up dry woody flavours heading toward baked will taste extremely poor in the AP.

    I found the best roasts for AP alone are about 14 to 15 min profile to second crack, but stopping just prior to second crack and higher quality beans take off another 5C or so.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by shapeshifter View Post
    Just a perspective from an aeropress owner. I've never once got a good coffee out of it, I've tried different grinds, different coffee, different temp water, different times, different filters, making it upside down, it's just something that doesn't seem to want to work for me for some reason.
    That's a hell of a shame 'shifter...

    Just for myself, I've found that the most enjoyable brews are with roast batches that are stopped at between 215-218C and certainly not anywhere near the start of 2nd-Crack. I use a heaped measure of beans per dose and usually a double-dose per cup each time. I set the grind so that with me just leaning on the Plunger, it takes about 15 seconds to fully depress. These days, I use an induction cooktop that allows me to heat the water up to 90C and then hold there. When I'm ready to pour the water into the AeroPress, there's no need to wonder what the water temperature actually is - A bit lazy on my part I guess.

    Recently though, I acquired the Fine and Standard metal discs that Andy sells on BeanBay and for me, the Fine one is really doing the goods for me so far. Haven't given the Standard one a really thorough test as yet. Either way, it removes the (sometimes) paper filter taste that can creep into the resulting brew occasionally, so for that alone it's worth doing in my view.

    All the best mate and hope it 'clicks' for you soon...

    Mal.
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    Amazing is a very subjective word, however personally, I've never found a bad recipe for aeropress. Except maybe the one that came with the box, it is NOT for espresso.

    Here's the general tips

    1. Use fresh beans. 4-5 days after roast date is optimum.
    2. Don't use boiling water, wait 3-4 mins, or get $10 thermometer off eBay.
    3. Be ready to throw away coffee. Seriously, a cup of coffee is much cheaper than your health, if it taste bad it belongs in the bin.
    4. Have faith in the recipe and just adjust the grind size. If the cup looked muddy or taste sour, grind larger. If it's watery or bitter, grind smaller.

    Technically, for immersion brew methods one does NOT need to bloom. I prefer paper because it's easier to clean, pop the puck and rinse everything. No longer true when you go metal, but if you like the oil, by all means. I don't stir and generally avoid recipes that requires it because, other than grind size, stirring is the other wildcard when brewing coffee. Hard to repeat, one day you might stir harder than before.

    My favorite recipe: the half n half
    - wet the filter and pre heat everything.
    - 16g coffee or 1 scoop with a slight bulge, medium coarse ground. a few stops smaller than French press.
    - 250ml 90° water or almost to the brim (see below)
    - set the plunger slightly above the circle around the 4 mark. put it upside down.
    - drop the coffee ground, pour the water in. lock the filter in.
    - wait 1 minute then flip it over.
    - wait another minute then press.

    Enjoy
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  10. #10
    STS
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    Quote Originally Posted by kutis View Post
    4. Have faith in the recipe and just adjust the grind size. If the cup looked muddy or taste sour, grind larger. If it's watery or bitter, grind smaller.
    Are you sure?

    Sour is a flavour profile generally associated with under extraction, grinding larger would make this worse. Would you not want to grind finer?

    Bitter is a flavour profile generally associated with, among other things, over extraction, grinding smaller would also make this worse. Would you not want to grind coarser to correct this?

    Sean
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    Quote Originally Posted by STS View Post
    Are you sure?

    Sour is a flavour profile generally associated with under extraction, grinding larger would make this worse. Would you not want to grind finer?

    Bitter is a flavour profile generally associated with, among other things, over extraction, grinding smaller would also make this worse. Would you not want to grind coarser to correct this?

    Sean
    I may have gotten the coffee taste term wrong. And of course you're right about over and under extraction in relation to grind size.

    Sour for me is the unpleasant acidity that you get from over extraction, generally that makes your mouth pucker up, think under ripe mangoes.

    Bitter for me is that disgusting taste close to your throat, and your face will make that unpleasant grin. Most time the coffee is watery. So under extracted.

    Did I got it the other way around?

    I'll revise that tip to, if it taste bad, adjust the grind, if it's worse than before, go the other way.

    I still stand by the recipes comment though. The best part about aeropress is that different recipe will emphasize different taste note, and it's so easy to repeat, you just need to find the grind setting. The only downside is that it can only brew 1 cup at a time.

  12. #12
    STS
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    Quote Originally Posted by kutis View Post

    I still stand by the recipes comment though. The best part about aeropress is that different recipe will emphasize different taste note, and it's so easy to repeat, you just need to find the grind setting. The only downside is that it can only brew 1 cup at a time.
    Couldn't agree more. You've got to love the portability too.

    Sean

  13. #13
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    The only downside is that it can only brew 1 cup at a time.


    I disagree. I can make 2-3 cups at a time.
    The 4-cup marker on the side isn't there for decoration. It depends on your preference and ratio of coffee to water.



  14. #14
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flynnaus View Post
    [/COLOR]

    I disagree. I can make 2-3 cups at a time.
    The 4-cup marker on the side isn't there for decoration. It depends on your preference and ratio of coffee to water.
    The 4-cup marker, unless I have it wrong, refers to a "coffee cup", ie 150ml.

    It does not refer to cup servings (a single-serve French press will typically be a 3-cup or 4-cup model).

    While there's no doubt you can get 2-3 enjoyable serves out of it, I think that objectively, they would be quite dilute, as far as coffee goes.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shapeshifter View Post
    Just a perspective from an aeropress owner. I've never once got a good coffee out of it, I've tried different grinds, different coffee, different temp water, different times, different filters, making it upside down, it's just something that doesn't seem to want to work for me for some reason.

    I hope you have better luck
    As an ex Aeropress owner I agree with your sentiments entirely shapedshifter, I persevered with it for almost 12 months, bought the metal disk, tried brewing right side up, upside down and quite a few points between.

    The Aeropress simply does not produce a brew that suits my palate, not suggesting they are no good, simply that coffee is not a one size fits all beverage.

    As an aside, the overused word "amazing"! I cant subscribe to the notion of having an "amazing" cup of coffee a number of times a day, I guess there are those simple soles among us who are constantly "amazed" at every little detail the world offers them, having said that I suspect most of us Snobs would thoroughly enjoy a good coffee a number of times a day, as far as being amazed by the offering, not so much.


    "amazing

    Use the adjective amazing to describe something that is so good, it surprises you, like the amazing beauty of the Rocky Mountains or the amazing feats of a truly great athlete.
    Amazing, like incredible, awesome, and fabulous, is used so often to describe things that are just really good, you sometimes forget that its real meaning is reserved for things that are especially remarkable. The base word in amazing is amaze, which means "to astound or perplex." So amazing should be reserved for things that do just that."

  16. #16
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    While there's no doubt you can get 2-3 enjoyable serves out of it, I think that objectively, they would be quite dilute, as far as coffee goes.
    Not at all. I would say your statement was subjective rather than objective. As I said
    "It depends on your preference and ratio of coffee to water"
    The "4-cup marker" was a refutation of the claim that the Ap can only make one cup

  17. #17
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Yelta says the Aeropress brew does not suit his palate and the same may be true for shapeshifter.
    My wife prefers her long blacks made with the AP instead of my expensive espresso machine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by flynnaus View Post
    The "4-cup marker" was a refutation of the claim that the Ap can only make one cup
    Whoa, never thought the folks here are so pedantic. Is that you, reddit?

    I take it back, Aeropress CAN make more than 1 cup of coffee. I'll rephrase to, too bad it can't hold 600ml of water. I wonder anyone has ever tried aeropress as flat bottomed drip filter, vis-a-vis kalita wave, anybody?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kutis View Post
    Whoa, never thought the folks here are so pedantic. Is that you, reddit?

    I take it back, Aeropress CAN make more than 1 cup of coffee. I'll rephrase to, too bad it can't hold 600ml of water. I wonder anyone has ever tried aeropress as flat bottomed drip filter, vis-a-vis kalita wave, anybody?
    I've used it (as have many others) as a flat bottomed cold drip maker. Works well if you get the flow right from the bottle above.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kutis View Post
    Whoa, never thought the folks here are so pedantic. Is that you, reddit?
    Being pedantic kind of comes with the territory (Coffee SNOBS) dontcha think?
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    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kutis View Post
    Whoa, never thought the folks here are so pedantic. Is that you, reddit?
    Ironically, I've found /r/coffee, at least to be one of the less pedantic/crappy places around. As for the rest of it...

    I take it back, Aeropress CAN make more than 1 cup of coffee. I'll rephrase to, too bad it can't hold 600ml of water. I wonder anyone has ever tried aeropress as flat bottomed drip filter, vis-a-vis kalita wave, anybody?
    I use it to filter cold-brew, does that count? :P

    You wouldn't get jack out of it with the paper filters, but I think that with a grinder that produced minimal fines you might be able to give it a go with an Able disc; seems to have sufficient flow until it gets clogged when I'm doing the cold brew.

  22. #22
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kutis View Post
    Whoa, never thought the folks here are so pedantic.
    Pedantic? Not at all. Someone interested in buying an AP might be put off by your claim of only making one cup so it is important that it be corrected.

    600mL? I usually make my AP brews like an long black: add about 1/4 cup of coffee via the AP and then top up with hot water to my preference.

    Here, read this extract from the instructions and take note of the part I have highlighted in bold:

    8. If espresso is your goal, you're done. Remember that you can make up to four single servings with each pressing. An easy way to divide multiple servings is with the scoop. Each scoop holds a typical single espresso (about 36 cc). [Yes, it is not 'espresso' but let's not get pedantic about that -flynn]

    9. For Americano or Long black coffee, add about four ounces of hot water to each single espresso or eight ounces to each double espresso.

    TIP: THE KEY TO A SMOOTH AMERICANO OR LONG BLACK CUP:

    Brewing espresso and then diluting it with hot water makes a smoother Americano or Long Black cup of coffee than pressing an entire cup of water through the grounds. Pushing too much water through the grounds produces bitterness and acidity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flynnaus View Post
    Pedantic? Not at all. Someone interested in buying an AP might be put off by your claim of only making one cup so it is important that it be corrected.

    600mL? I usually make my AP brews like an long black: add about 1/4 cup of coffee via the AP and then top up with hot water to my preference.

    Here, read this extract from the instructions and take note of the part I have highlighted in bold:

    8. If espresso is your goal, you're done. Remember that you can make up to four single servings with each pressing. An easy way to divide multiple servings is with the scoop. Each scoop holds a typical single espresso (about 36 cc). [Yes, it is not 'espresso' but let's not get pedantic about that -flynn]

    9. For Americano or Long black coffee, add about four ounces of hot water to each single espresso or eight ounces to each double espresso.

    TIP: THE KEY TO A SMOOTH AMERICANO OR LONG BLACK CUP:

    Brewing espresso and then diluting it with hot water makes a smoother Americano or Long Black cup of coffee than pressing an entire cup of water through the grounds. Pushing too much water through the grounds produces bitterness and acidity.
    Being pedantic means being scrupulous about the details, this is way beyond details, this is apples and carrots. If it doesn't look like a duck, doesn't quack like a duck, not even taste like a duck,... is it really a duck?

    As I wrote early on;

    Quote Originally Posted by kutis View Post
    Amazing is a very subjective word, however personally, I've never found a bad recipe for aeropress. Except maybe the one that came with the box, it is NOT for espresso.

  24. #24
    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    I must admit, I didn't really like long blacks as a rule. Didn't really like black coffee from the plunger. But love espresso done well. But always found long blacks a little tasteless TBH.

    But got an aeropress for Christmas with a standard able disc.
    Tried to make it like a small plunger (1.5 scoops or so, fill with water etc etc). No good. Had to add milk. But I've recently been experimenting – I will now admit these little fellas can make a great brew! Not espresso - but a very smooth, sweet & strong brew if you do it right and have the right roast.

    IMHO you do need a filter style roast - so I roast just to the first snaps of second crack - but aim there faster than I usually would for espresso - say 1-2 minutes faster overall. This is not ideal for espresso - a little to acidic/sour for that, but perfect in the A/P.

    Technique? Boil water. Half fill the AP by setting rubber plunger at 2.5 and fill. Quickly tip this water into the chosen cup (small latte glass or whatever). This process knocks some temp off the freshly boiled water and warms the cup.

    Add a double shot worth (2 scoops / 20g?) of normal espresso ground coffee. Tip the water from the cup back in. Stir for about 10 secs. Filter on, turn over, press through. With fine coffee this will take a bit of time - say 30sec or so.

    Unlike what I was used to in plunger, this gives a really sweet strong brew with none of the bitterness I used to expect from strong black plunger coffee. Kinda like a triple shot herbal tea if that makes sense, rather than a black bitter coffee.

    Not espresso - but very tasty! You do get some of that syrupy goodness with this puppy - you can actually see the extracted oils that have lined the side of the cup after drinking

    I did a roasting/brewing workshop at a church retreat over the weekend, and ran a few batches of lighter roasted Yirg through this puppy for some hardcore coffee heads - they were all mighty impressed!

    So stick with it - try and get some filter style roasted coffee - and have fun experimenting!
    Cheers Matt
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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DesigningByCoffee View Post
    I must admit, I didn't really like long blacks as a rule. Didn't really like black coffee from the plunger. But love espresso done well. But always found long blacks a little tasteless TBH.
    Sounds like your taste is similar to mine Matt, I find a long black a bit thin and gutless , and a shot is not a large enough drink for me, particularly in the AM.

    A few years back I was introduced to the "Lungo" My version is approx 90 to 100ml extracted from 18 grams of coffee over 30 seconds, to me its the best of both words, plenty of body and flavour with lots of crema.

  26. #26
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Sounds like your taste is similar to mine Matt, I find a long black a bit thin and gutless , and a shot is not a large enough drink for me, particularly in the AM.

    A few years back I was introduced to the "Lungo" My version is approx 90 to 100ml extracted from 18 grams of coffee over 30 seconds, to me its the best of both words, plenty of body and flavour with lots of crema.
    I'm the same, but my solution has been to pull a ristretto and top it up to 60-100ml rather than pulling a longer shot, which was the result of trying to wean a mate onto short-blacks.

  27. #27
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    I'm the same, but my solution has been to pull a ristretto and top it up to 60-100ml rather than pulling a longer shot, which was the result of trying to wean a mate onto short-blacks.
    As they say, there's more than one way to skin a cat.
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  28. #28
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    As they say, there's more than one way to skin a cat.
    But, invariably the cat is similarly impressed by the outcome.

  29. #29
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Picked one up today and am already in love with the silky smooth, strong brew it produces. But it is exactly that: a brew, not an espresso.

    My drinks at work have traditionally been French press because it’s a cheap way to enjoy a coffee without forking out $3.50 at the Muddy Water Café
    Aeropress seemed like a cheap investment and so far so good. Although it did highlight the flavour problems with blending leftover grinds from various beans the night before! Ha!


    What I liked about it from the word go is that you can pair it much better with milk than you can a French press. Adding milk to a French press is almost a criminal offence to the tastebuds, but the Aeropress brew seems quite concentrated, and for my taste, almost warrants milk to balance the acidity.

    I will try a little less coffee to see if that helps – or will maybe even add water to the concentrate to create something less concentrated.

    But already I can see why the Aeropress is raved about. It’s pretty easy to use, and not hard to get a decent brew out of.

    Once I power through the 300 odd paper filters, I’ll look at the stainless steel filters by Able, which by all accounts produce a better brew.

    Cheers
    Shaun
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