Aeropress Brew Method

Recommended Brew Ratio for One (1) Person: 0.5 oz (14 g) coffee, ground fine, 8.3 oz (210 g) water

THE AEROPRESS “POUR OVER” FLAVOR PROFILE

Pour over coffees are often associated with remarkable cleanness and clarity, in comparison with a French press. They can allow complex coffees to shine.

But you can also brew different flavor profiles with an AeroPress.

Do it one way, and you’ll get greater body and richness – a profile more like the French press. But brew it a different way, and you can expect more clarity in your brew – something more like a pour over.

HOW TO USE AN AEROPRESS

Before we get started, let’s quickly recap the AeroPress brewing instructions.

Standard Method:

  • Insert the filter in the filter cap
  • Attach the filter cap to the AeroPress chamber
  • Rinse the filter with hot water
  • Add freshly ground coffee (weight/volume will be determined by your recipe) to the chamber
  • Add water (the amount will be determined by your recipe)
    Optional: stir (more on this step later!)
  • When you’re ready, insert the AeroPress plunger and plunge

Inverted Method:

  • Insert the filter in the filter cap
  • Insert the plunger seal inside the top of the AeroPress chamber, but do not plunge (the seal should sit about 1 cm below the chamber rim)
  • Invert your AeroPress, so that the plunger is on the bottom and the chamber on top
  • Rinse your filter and filter cap with hot water
  • Add freshly ground coffee (weight/volume will be determined by your recipe) to the chamber
  • Add water (the amount will be determined by your recipe)
    Optional: stir (more on this step later!)
  • Attach the filter cap to the AeroPress chamber
  • When you’re ready, flip the AeroPress onto your cup or other drinking/serving vessel and plunge

FLAVOR PROFILES 101

Firstly, all coffees are unique, which means there are many ways to brew different flavor profiles. Furthermore, some are sweeter, others are more fruity and acidic, and others have a lot of body. But different roasts, brewing methods, and recipes can accentuate particular flavors.

This is all because of the science behind extraction.

Some of the first flavors to be extracted in a brew are the fruity acids: the ones adding those nectarine notes, for example. Next comes sweetness, balance, and increasing body. And finally, we start to get more bitter, dry notes.

If your coffee is too acidic or too bitter, it’s not going to taste good. But within the happy medium of good extraction, there is some wriggle room to emphasize your preferred tastes.

Undoubtedly you can use the AeroPress to achieve “a soft flavor profile, which varies, of course, depending on grind size and water temperature.” But you can also brew it for acidity, body, and more.

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Brew Time & Grind Size

Subsequently, no matter the brewing method, grind size is key. But it can only really be understood in terms of brew time.
The finer the grind, the quicker the flavor and aroma compounds will be extracted from the coffee. What’s more, the water will flow less quickly and there will be smaller gaps between the grinds.

Pour over brews tend to benefit from a fine to medium grind. With the French press, on the other hand, a coarser grind is the norm. And there are reasons for this.

Since the French press is an immersion brewer, you generally use a longer brew time and a coarse ground will slow down the extraction. This is good because the last compound to be extracted are the ones responsible for bitterness. With a pour over or drip brewer, however, the water passes more quickly through the grounds. A medium to fine profile prevents under-extraction, both by making it easier to extract those compounds and by preventing the water from dripping through too quickly.

Fortunately, the AeroPress is immersion so you have complete control over brew time – no matter what grind you opt for. If you want a clear, fruity brew, your AeroPress coffee may benefit from a shorter immersion time or a coarser ground.

Water Temperature

Just like grind size, the water temperature also affects extraction. The hotter the brew, the more easily it breaks down the coffee cells and gets to those flavor and aroma compounds. This will impact how you brew different flavor profiles.

Now, it’s not as simple as that: water temperature interacts with other factors, such as grind profile and roast level. However, as a general rule, compounds will extract quicker at a higher temperature.

There’s a general consensus that coffee should be brewed between 195 and 205°F (91–96°C). however, AeroPress coffees are often brewed at lower temperatures, from 175 to 185°F (80–85°C). This can create mellower coffees with less acidity and bitterness – something more similar to a cold brew Toddy than a Chemex.

What’s more, the environment may change the temperature of your brew. Especially if you’re brewing outdoors, as many “AeroPressers” do.

Filters

If you want clarity, filters are your friend. They’re the key to having a light-bodied, delicate cup of coffee. But if you want a body, think metal. And just like the French press, you can use a metal filter with the AeroPress.

Paper absorbs the oils within coffee, but it’s these oils that create body.

By filtering out more of the oils from the coffee, you will get a cleaner cup profile that allows you to really taste the coffee’s unique flavor – but, if you remove all the oils, you may also sacrifice some body.

When choosing filtering methods, their key points are material, thickness, and quantity. Paper filters will help you to get that pour over clarity, especially if you use more than one.

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THE “FRENCH (AERO)PRESS” FLAVOR PROFILE

If you favor a round body over clarity, look towards a more French press style brew. And you can get this with the AeroPress, too.

Grind Size & Brew Time

Earlier, we looked at how to adjust grind size and brew time for a coffee with more clarity. Now we’re looking at it from the other angle: how do we increase body?

A finer grind will lead to more body, as will a longer immersion time. The trick is to balance the two. This is because both allow for more extraction to take place (scroll back up to the Pour Over section for a recap on why/if you skipped that section).
But don’t forget that your coffee is continuing to extract while you plunge – and that your grind size can affect your plunge time. This is because the ground coffee is still in contact with the water in the chamber.

However, if you’re brewing for clarity, the slightly coarser grind size should make it easy to plunge. But with finely ground coffee, you’ll want to be ready to exert some force.

The “Hiss”

One key feature of the AeroPress is the characteristic hiss that you’ll hear at the end of your plunge. Some people stop pressing the instant they hear that noise, while others continue to press as far as they can go. So what’s the difference?

TIPS For Brewing Different Flavor Profiles

No matter whether you brew for body or for clarity, there are some general points worth bearing in mind with the AeroPress. Take the stir, as an example.

Stirring, or any other form of agitation, is a matter of personal preference. Agitation is associated with more consistently extracted coffee, and this is true whether you’re brewing immersion (like the AeroPress and French press) or pour over coffee.
You can create some agitation with your pour, using concentric circles to create water movement. Additionally, you can choose to stir the brew for some strong agitation.

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