Outpost At Home - Aeropress
Written by Allana Kennedy, Roaster at Outpost Coffee Roasters
The AeroPress by Aerobie (yes, like the frisbies), is one of the most versatile brewers. It is a full immersion brewer like the French press, it also doubles as filter like a pour over, and is also pressurized like an espresso. However you brew the Aeropress, it produces a consistent, full bodied, clean brew and the clean up is so simple. The Aeropress is small and lightweight, with an indestructible frame that makes it the perfect carry-around equipment. I have used the Aeropress while camping and while in the airport in between flights, I never travel far without it. There is a World AeroPress Championship that is hosted yearly. My first mistake with the brewer was thinking that it only made one small cup of coffee. Below I will give you my recipe for a two cup Aeropress. There is also an amazing Aeropress Hack YouTube channel full of great ideas to get more out of the Aeropress.
The Aeropress was created by engineer Alan Adler in 2005 and is made of polycarbonate, it contains no BPAs and phthalates. Adler wanted a shorter brewing time for a less bitter cup so he created the closed chamber with increased pressure to shorten the brewing time.
KEY VARIABLES TO CONSIDER
Dark roast vs Light roast
The greatest part of the Aeropress is it's versatility. You can get the flavours you’re looking for out of your coffee it just depends on the method you choose. If you brew the inverted way you may want a medium to dark roast, as you get more of the full body and rich flavour. With light roasts you’ll want to use the standard method to create a fruitier and more delicate cup. Where you go with the coffee is up to you.
Something important to note is that the caffeine content in a cup of coffee is determined by the amount of time coffee is in contact with water. The more time the water and coffee are together, the more caffeine you’ll extract. The average espresso extracts for between 25-40 seconds, while the average French press brews for 4 minutes. This means that a French press has a significantly higher caffeine content than that of an espresso!
For the Aeropress you can tweak the brewing time for something that suits you. The recommended time is between 1:30 minutes and 2 minutes. A longer brew time provides more caffeine but you run the risk of creating overly bitter notes. If you use a shorter brewing time then 1 minute your coffee may have a more tea like taste.
The recommended temperature for brewing coffee from the SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) is around 80 degrees Celsius (176 F). The hotter the water the faster the extraction, so generally we brew with water under boiling temperatures. If you are using a darker roast you may want to have a lower temperature to avoid over extracting and bitterness. If you have a lighter roast you will want to use hotter water to help extract more of the flavour..
If you don’t have a thermometer to check the temperature simply use water that is just off the boil.
The Aeropress has two methods you can use, the inverted or the regular method and one of the differences is the grind size. Within these two you can also have different end goals: full bodied similar in taste to a French press, light bodied similar to a pour over.
The inverted method is similar to the French press method of brewing and has a slower method of extraction therefore we want less surface exposure from our ground coffee (ie. bigger pieces of coffee for slower extraction). The preferable grind size for the Aeropress would not be as coarse as the French press as the brew time is shorter. Therefore our grind should be medium coarse, similar to drip but a little finer like sea salt. Unlike the French press if you grind too fine for this method you will not get residual grinds and some muddiness in the bottom of your cup as the Aeropress has a filter which catches the oils and grinds. The inverted method does have the potential to be a little bitter, but doesn’t have to be.
The grind size for the regular method is a little finer than the inverted method, you will want a grind similar to table salt.
Grinding Fresh vs Pre-ground coffee
At Outpost we roast frequently and in small batches as we want to have the freshest beans available. Unfortunately, unlike wine, coffee does not age well and flavour degrades overtime. After roasting there is a degassing process which slowly releases gases that can make coffee taste grassy. Letting the coffee rest for a few days is recommended to let the coffee taste it’s best. The industry standard is to use roasted coffee within three weeks after buying and once they are ground they are to be used within a week. We recommend grinding as needed otherwise you speed up the oxidation process which is a detriment to flavour.
Coffee to Water Ratio
To work out the ratio of coffee to water for home immersion and infusion brewing the recommended starting ratio is between 1:15 to 1:18, coffee to water. The 1:15 ratio, 1gm coffee to 15gm water is generally seen as a good starting point for home brewing and this is the ratio we will use for our Aeropress recipes. If you find the brew too bold you can change the ratio to have more water, or reduce the amount of coffee used.
The Aeropress is a very forgiving method of brewing if you don't have a scale. If you’re finding your brews inconsistent, a scale is a great investment. Each coffee has a different density due to the roasting process and the amount of water loss during the processing. If you are without a scale 1 tablespoon of ground coffee weighs roughly 7 grams (and the AeroPress comes with a handy 17gm scoop).
As previously mentioned there are 2 different methods of preparing the AeroPress the Inverted and the Standard methods. The AeroPress was designed for a less bitter espresso drink and is meant to be diluted. Personally I prefer the standard method if I’m only brewing a cup for myself and if I'm wanting a lighter bodied coffee. If I’m brewing for two or more cups the inverted method is top.
Grind: Medium-Fine, similar texture to table salt
Brew time: 2 minutes
Water to Coffee ratio: 1:15
Water: 250g (up to the 4 marker)
Coffee: 17gm (1 Aeropress scoop)
1. Place an Aeropress filter paper into the screw cap (for extra flavour clarity, I sometimes use 2 filters), screw onto the Aeropress. Carefully pour freshly boiled water through the filter paper; this heats the vessel underneath.
2. Discard the water from the vessel under the Aeropress and place back on top. Grind the coffee and add 17gms to your Aeropress (it should sit directly on the filter).
3. Start your timer as soon as you pour. Pour in 50gms of water, agitate for 10 seconds, and make sure all the ground coffee is wet. Add the remaining water.
4. Insert the rubber press into the top of the brewing chamber and slightly pull-up this creates a vacuum which stops the coffee passing through the filter paper.
5. At 1min 10sec, slowly and gently press until all brewed coffee has passed through the filter; this should take 30sec. Once you hear air escaping through the bottom of the AeroPress stop pressing.
6. Cleaning the Aeropress is the simplest clean up for coffee, unscrew the lid and take off the filter. Rinse the filter and reuse (The inventor has reused his filters up to 80 times). Next pop out the coffee puck into the compost.
Inverted Method (1 cup)
Grind: Medium-Coarse, similar texture to sea salt
Brew time: 2 minutes
Water to Coffee ratio: 1:15
Coffee: 17g (1 Aeropress scoop)
1. Remove the cap from the Aeropress and insert the rubber press inside the chamber. Place a filter into the screw cap, leave to the side. Preheat your cup.
2. Grind the coffee and add into the Aeropress (it should sit on the rubber plunger).
3. Pour in 50gs of water to the coffee to start the Bloom. Agitate the coffee for 20 seconds and make sure all the ground coffee is wet. Pour in the remainder of water (this should take 10 seconds).
4. Brew for 1 minute, then place your cup on top of the AeroPress, hold it securely together and flip it over onto vessel. Press until you hear air escaping through the bottom of the Aeropress; this should take 30sec.
5. Press the plunger all the way down, unscrew the lid and take off the filter. Rinse the filter, place it somewhere to dry off and then you can reuse (The inventor has reused his filters up to 80 times). Next pop out the coffee puck into the compost.
Inverted Method (2 cups)
Grind: Medium-Coarse, similar texture to sea salt
Brew time: 3-4 minutes
Water to Coffee Ratio: 1:14
Water: 220gm (plus around 210gm)
Coffee: 32gm (a little less than 2 Aeropress scoops)
1. Start the same way as above for an Inverted Method Aeropress. The ground coffee should come up to the number 3 marker.
2. Pour in 70gms of water to the coffee to start the Bloom. Agitate the coffee for 10 seconds and make sure all the ground coffee is wet.
3. Pour in the remainder of water (fill to the top but leave enough room to place the lid on) and agitate again for 10 seconds. It is important to stir well to get a full extraction as this will be more of a concentrate.
4. After 1min brewing, flip the Aeropress over onto your vessel. As there is more ground coffee in the Aeropress you will need to push slower and take your time. Press until you hear air escaping through the bottom of the aeropress.
5. Press the plunger all the way down, unscrew the lid and take off the filter. Rinse the filter, place it somewhere to dry off and then you can reuse (The inventor has reused his filters up to 80 times, I have only reached reusing my filter 5 times). Next pop out the coffee puck into the compost.
6. This is the most important part: DILUTE! Add 210gm of hot water ~ 430gm
Why add 210gm? We're aiming to get double the yield of a 220gm/16g Aeropress extraction. However, its not an exact doubling of the water as the ground coffee will absorb around 2gms of water per 1gm of ground coffee while brewing.
A measuring cup is an easy way to go here but you can also do this using a scale. The trick is to tare the scale with the empty jug before you press into it, then put it back on the scale with the concentrate. You'll have somewhere around 190gm after plunging and then you can just add up to 430g (you will have lost around 20-30gm during brewing). Taste test, as you go add more or less water depending on your preferences.
Party Trick: double the recipe for more people and just add hot water to dilute!
NEXT BLOG - OUTPOST AT HOME: CUPPING
PREVIOUS BLOGS -
COFFEEOLOGY: COFFEE PLANT BASICS / WASHED, HONEY, NATURAL
OUTPOST AT HOME: POUR OVER / FRENCH PRESS / KAFFELEMONAD
December 10, 2020