How To Make AeroPress Espresso Coffee? (or Pretty Damn Close!)
I recently got my hands on a new coffee making toy, the Aerobie AeroPress. This very low tech coffee brewing device is apparently worshiped by coffee geeks all over the globe who secretly share their AeroPress recipes behind closed doors. In fact, there are regular competitions held to see who can brew the best AeroPress coffee, with the top prizes going to those that can make a flavorful espresso shot with AeroPress.
Simplicity is where the AeroPress truly shines and there are a handful of different ways to make coffee using the Aerobie. There's the standard way as outlined in the supplied instructions as well as a few other ways that veteran users have mastered such as the AeroPress inverted method and even cold brew drip coffee using AeroPress.
In this article I’m going to be keeping it pretty simple and I'll be showing you how to make the closest thing to an espresso shot using the AeroPress.
Now before some of you scroll to the bottom of this page to leave a comment stating that AeroPress espresso is impossible due to the fact that you simply cannot generate enough pressure using the AeroPress - I already know! ...But I think I have something which is super close to a real espresso using only a $20 AeroPress. Give it a try!
Coffee enthusiasts are quick to point out that the AeroPress doesn’t make a real “true” espresso shot per se, and the brew is more of a strong concentrated coffee rather that an espresso shot by definition. However, the same principles are being used when the AeroPress is at work by utilizing pressure to make the shot of coffee. Place a real espresso shot beside a shot using my below method and see for yourself? I think you'll be pretty surprised with the taste test.
AeroPress Espresso At A Glance
What You Need
- Aerobie AeroPress
- AeroPress Paper Filter
- 20 grams whole coffee beans
- Hot water (200-208ºF (94-98ºC)
- Kettle (gooseneck preferred)
- Coffee mug
- Tamp (tip: use a spice container or a portable grinder like the JavaPresse)
- Burr coffee grinder (recommended)
- Coffee scale (recommended)
AeroPress End Result
Total brew time: 3:00
Yield: 1 Espresso shot
Cup Characteristics: Heavy body, rich texture, and a bittersweet taste
AeroPress Espresso Instructions
If you have got all of your brewing essentials together, let's take a closer look at how to make an espresso with the AeroPress.
Step 1: Heat Your Water
Boil your water to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. If your kettle doesn't have a built-in thermometer then simply boil your water and let it stand for 30 seconds.
Step 2: Weigh Your Coffee Beans
For my AeroPress method I typically use 20 grams of whole coffee beans. For some of you this amount might give you the caffeine jitters so adjust accordingly (18 - 19 grams would also be perfectly fine).
Step 3: Grind Your Coffee Beans
I recommend a medium to fine grind, but don't feel afraid to experiment. But a word of warning, the more coarse the grind the less espresso qualities you'll get because the water will pass through the grinds too quickly and you will also not be able to build up enough pressure when pushing down the plunger. On the other hand, have your grind too fine and you'll never be able to push the plunger down!
Make sure to check out my coffee grinding guide for reference.
Step 4: Moisten The AeroPress Filter And Screw
Once your coffee has been ground take your AeroPress screw cap and insert a paper filter. Whilst holding the cap over your coffee mug rinse the filter with hot water.
This does 3 things. 1: it helps to remove any papery taste from the filter, 2: rinsing will allow for a better seal, 3: the hot water collecting in your coffee mug will help to pre-heat your mug (discard once done).
Screw the cap onto the base of your AeroPress.
Step 5: Add Your Coffee Grounds
Pour your ground coffee into the AeroPress chamber and slightly moisten. By adding a small amount of water you will allow for a bloom to take place.
Step 6: Add Another Filter And Tamp The Grounds
Next grab another paper filter and slight moisten. Take a spice container or as I have used a compact manual coffee grinder (or anything that fits in snugly) and place your wet filter onto the base. This is going to be your makeshift tamper.
Push the filter down, twist and then pull out the tamper, leaving the second filter placed on top of your puck of grounds. This second filter will become a barrier to stop the water from passing through your coffee grounds before it should.
Step 7: Add Water And Plunge
Pour your hot water up to the number 2 mark, place in your plunger and then slowly start to push down. Position yourself over the AeroPress and with one hand keeping the AeroPress firmly in place steadily push down the plunger with your other hand. Keep pushing until you’ve squashed the puck as best you can. If you are really struggling to push the plunger down you have probably ground your coffee too fine!
Step 8: Enjoy Your AeroPress Espresso Coffee
Once you are finished squeezing out every milliliter of caffeine-goodness you should be left with a coffee concentrate. Depending on the quality of your whole coffee beans you should also see a crema on the top of your shot. At this stage you can drink or you can add whatever you like to concoct your favorite, espresso style beverage.
AeroPress Brewing Tips
If you've compacted your coffee grinds too much at the tamp stage, or if you've used a grind size that is too fine, you'll probably have trouble pressing the plunger down. It should be hard, but not so hard that you find yourself sitting on it!
The fresher your whole coffee beans the more chance you will have of getting that perfect crema on top of your espresso shot.
To prolong the life of the rubber seal, always store the plunger separately do not leave it inside of the AeroPress.
As with almost any coffee brewing method feel free to tweak and play around with the various ratios such as water temperature, grind sizes and steep time. That's one of the great things about the AeroPress!
I highly recommend you invest in a pour-over kettle. Unlike a regular kettle a gooseneck kettle allows for a more even and optimal pour over your ground coffee.
Don't own the AeroPress?
I'll Leave You With This
My best espresso machine was well over $800 and after a few months of using the AeroPress I’m very close to declaring that the AeroPress makes a better tasting espresso than one made by my stand alone espresso machine. Yes, you heard me right, the great thing about the AeroPress is that there are so many variables that can all be easily manipulated much easier compared to a regular espresso machine.
The AeroPress really is a handy coffee brewing device that just goes to show how simple brewing great tasting coffee on a budget can be. This is about as simple as making great coffee gets, and it’s so small it can even be thrown in your backpack as part of your coffee travel kit.
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