AeroPress Coffee Brewing Tutorial - (and the ‘Upside Down’ AeroPress Method!)

If you’re looking to shake up the way you make coffee, the Aeropress might be exactly what you’re looking for. French press is so yesterday and drip coffee is so… mundane, right? There’s something about an AeroPress that feels modern and surgical.

It may have something to do with the fact that an AeroPress is, at its most general, very like a syringe, but that’s beyond the point.

Or is it exactly the point?

Whatever I mean, I’m happy to provide this AeroPress Coffee Brewing Tutorial to broaden your knowledge of yet another way to make your morning caffeine!

What Is This Thing?

That is a fair question. As strange as Chemex’s shape is, it viably looks like it should be holding some sort of liquid. I sort of feel like, if I didn’t know better, I’d assume it was some fancy-schmancy container for alcohol, but that’s beyond the point.

An AeroPress doesn’t particularly look like it belongs as part of morning routine. Something like a turkey baster, but more like some sort of medicinal container, an AeroPress is made to help you reconstitute your coffee.

Yes, reconstitute. I said what I meant and I meant what I said! Not to say that we’re using instant coffee or anything like that. You’ll understand as we go through the step-by-step process, trust me.

At its most basic, the AeroPress is two cylinders that nest into each other. It does require cylinder filters, traditionally paper, but metal ones can be purchased to keep this method green. 

The Unsurprising History

The AeroPress product, the method in general, is much more modern than those we usually speak about it. It’s just made it through its first decade on the market, having been invented by Alan Adler, the President of Aerobie, in 2005.

If you just googled Aerobie, I applaud you. Good job. You likely realized that Aerobie also makes some weird frisbee-like thing, but with less actual product. Despite looking like a cheap throwing disk, it actually (reportedly) works better than the original. It flies farther and faster for more sport. Do with that information what you will. 

AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker

Either way, Adler created the AeroPress.

Why, you ask?

Because, like everybody else, he effing hated waiting for his damn morning mug. Me, too, brother. Adler worked to create better, more efficient products and it took one bitch-sesh with his Sales Manager’s wife, Pam Abbott, over the issue for him to put all of his experience in engineering and technology to the most worthy cause ever: a quick, delicious cup of joe.

Within a year of conception, Adler had a working prototype, which quickly was made into a fancier version, which hit the market quickly after that. The AeroPress’s benefits are varied and many, including that it’s ideal for traveling.

Since it’s made of polycarbonate (following the market’s preference towards BPA-free things) and small, it’s the sort of gadget that you can confidently stick in a backpack without any worrying about shattering. Not to mention that you can snag a special bag to keep it in. It’s almost like it’s designed to go literally wherever your coffee needs may be. 

It’s as if Alder knows how important getting our caffeine fix is and knows exactly what we want. Damn. Revolutionary.

This tough doodad clocks in as one of the cheapest options for making a reputable cup of joe, too. You can get an entire kit (which comes with a stirrer and coffee scoop, as well as usually a year’s supply of filters) for just under $30 bucks. I’d recommend grabbing a reusable filter and nixing the paper products all together, like this one, but I’m also a firm believer in doing the little things.

Finally, the last huge perk of the AeroPress (the number one reason Adler created it, as a matter of fact) is for its speed. Brew time is one-fourth the length of most other brewing methods— seriously. It maxes out at 90 seconds, which is much shorter from beans to cup than either French press and drip methods, like the Chemex.

And here we are, fellow caffeine consumers. You know what you need to!

Altura The Mesh- Premium Filter For Aeropress Coffee Makers


What You Need

Let’s get this caffeinated party started, yeah? You only need a few things to make this simple product work, so let’s gather the items and get a-brewin’!

  • An AeroPress (obviously)
  • Filters
  • Whole Coffee Beans
  • Conical Burr Grinder
  • Mug
  • A way to heat up water to 175 degrees Fahrenheit

AeroPress

We’ve discussed the AeroPress and the filters, including that you can choose to do the reusable version, but there are a few parts to the AeroPress you’ll want to make sure are all present and accounted for.

  • The AeroPress itself and the thinner, nesting cylinder.
  • Filter cap (it’s a circle with holes in it)
  • Funnel (it looks like… a funnel)
  • Stirrer
  • Filter

That’s about it. You’ll see numbers on the side of the tinted AeroPress and they correspond with the scoops of coffee (or servings) you’re aiming to make. There are a few easy ways to remember how they correspond.

Filling water to the top of the oval for a standard, concentrated cup of coffee. For a more espresso-like dose, you’ll want to use only enough water to skim the bottom of the oval. You can vary strength by choosing between the ovals, as well. This is another one of those try-and-see-what-you-like things, so go with your gut and then be patient.

Whole Coffee Beans and a Conical Burr Grinder

If you’re wondering what kind of beans you should use with this method, my advice is this: use beans you already know you life. Whether those be from our organic list located here or a bag of Dunkin’ Donuts classic brew, let me just say, whatever. Before you expand your horizons (which you should definitely do), you need to determine if this brew method is for you.

I’ve done the conical-burr-grinder-versus-blade-grinder debate enough that I roll my eyes when I open my mouth, so just know this: blade grinders pre-cook your coffee beans and they don’t produce an even grind. Conical burr grinders do the opposite of those things. Read in more detail here.

Your AeroPress will come with a scoop— use that to measure your beans, which should be somewhere between the fineness of espresso and drip. Let’s say a Medium-Fine Grind, just to put a size on it. For a 16 oz. mug, you’ll want 22 grams of coffee. 


One Step At a Time

I’m going to take you through the standard and inverted method, so consider yourself a lucky caffeinated ducky.

Step #1: Gather your supplies and start heating the water. Grind your beans right before you plan to use them for ultimate freshness.

Step #2: Take the filter cap and, if you’re using a paper filter, place the slip of paper inside. Before you put your AeroPress together any further, we need to do something we always have to do whenever there is paper involved: run a little water through it. The last thing we want is anything affecting to taste of our morning brew.

Step #3: Pick up the bigger cylinder, the AeroPress itself, and screw in the filter cap. That water we ran through there also pulls double duty—it’ll help keep the filter where it’s supposed to be.

Step #4: Settle your AeroPress on top of your chosen mug, filter-side down. Before you duh me, somebody asked, okay? I’m covering my bases.

Step #5: Settle the funnel on top of the AeroPress. Two scoops of your recently ground coffee should go into the container.

Step #6: We don’t really need to flatten the grounds or anything, but there are other similarities to fellow brew types. Much like we do in most other methods, we want to get this coffee to bloom. Check the temperature of your heated water and, once it hits between 175 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit, throw just a dash of it into the AeroPress.

Let the grounds mull in it for a bit and expand and release that delicious scent.

Step #7: Once you’ve accomplished the bloom, add however much water you want. In this instance, we’re going with a 2 scoop, 2 cup deal, so fill to the top of the number 2 oval. Take the included stirrer and just kind swish things up there.


Step #8: Brew time is between 45-90 seconds depending on your preference. Pick a nice middle point to start, is my recommendation. Once you hit that brew time, depress the plunger. Slow and steady is the best method, then remove the AeroPress from the mug. 


Step #9: This is the fun part. Give it a nice ol’ sip. If it’s too strong, add some hot water until it hits the sweet spot. This is largely why the AeroPress offer gets labeled a reconstitution method. The resulting brew is quite concentrated and often requires diluting with hot water.

If you’re on the other side of this thought and thing that it’s not concentrated enough, kid, do I have a solution for you.

AeroPress_coffee_making

The Inverted (“Upside Down”) AeroPress Method

Okay, so, the whole point of the AeroPress is that it’s supposed to be lightning quick (compared to other methods), so, of course, people found a way to modify the process and, ultimately, lengthen it. The inverted method still clocks in at less time that a French Press or Chemex, so do with this knowledge what you want.

Personally, I’m not coordinated enough to do this, so check your coordination level and then proceed with as much confidence as you can muster. 

Step #1: Grind the beans and heat the water, as described above. Now, assemble the Aeropress, pulling the plunger out as far as it can go. Settle the device upside down. You can set the filter cap and filter off to the side for the moment.

Step #2: Add the beans to the un-plunged AeroPress as well as the hot water, until it’s almost full. Give it a good stir and let it sit for up to a minute.

Step #3: After one minute has passed, screw on the filter cap with dampened filter placed inside.

Step #4: Flip it! Flip it real good without-spraying-coffee-everywhere-cuz-that’s-what-I-did.

Step #5: Let it chill for about 45 seconds and then plunge, nice and slow, until you’re depressing the coffee grounds.

Step #6: Swig some back and check how it clocks in on your taste meter.

Troubleshooting

Things happen, even when you follow the directions exactly as I’ve laid out. Let’s briefly talk through them.

Scenario #1

You: I can’t seem to depress the plunger. It’s legitimately super hard. And I swear I’m using legitimately correctly.

Me: Ah, yes, young coffee lover. Let me tell the complicated way we’re going to fix your problem… just make the grinds a little bit bigger. If you used a medium-fine grind, up it to a medium grind. Bam! Should be way easier to plunge.

Scenario #2

You: I literally cannot drink this. It tastes like it’s going to disintegrate my stomach lining. I’m not exaggerating.

Me: Buddy, buddy, you act like I haven’t been there! Add a few healthy swallows of warm water to the mug and you should be peachy-keen.

You: Dilute… dilute the mug?

Me: Listen, there’s a reason I used the words “reconstitute” and “concentrated” when describing this method. It’s meant to be diluted. Save your gastrointestinal system, okay? Just add some hot water.

Scenario #3

You: I don’t know. I just wish it was a little heartier. Just a little more strength.

Me: You’re the perfect candidate for the inverted method. If you want to stick standard, add 3 scoops of coffee and only fill the water to the top of the 2 oval. See if that does anything for you. If that water-to-bean ratio doesn’t tickle your fancy, try the inverted. It’s made for drinkers who need an extra powerful jolt of the good stuff. 

In Conclusion

An AeroPress is ideal for the office, for at home, for on-the-go—it’s a quick, sturdy way to get your cup in less than 90 seconds. While it doesn’t blow other methods out of the water, it’s made every bit of the 17 years it’s been around mean something. The AeroPress can keep its head up high, proudly, in any coffee-making lineup.

Nab your own via 2-day shipping and give this gadget a-go. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with the results! Happy sipping! 


About the Author Rachel Bean

Hi! My name is Rachel Bean and I love coffee. Despite what it may seem like, my last name and deep love for a cup of black brew is a total coincidence. While I was informed at the wee age of 18 that majoring in coffee wasn't really an option (at least not the way I wanted to major in coffee) (i.e. drinking it day in and day out), I do have an MA and an MFA in Writing. I type words day in and day out, for both work as well as fun, and coffee is the magic bean juice that lets me do that. And that's pretty much me. Writing and coffee. Oh, and rescue dogs. Writing, coffee, and dogs. You get me.

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