How To Make Espresso With an Aeropress: Recipe, Instructions, Tips
There's nothing like a clean black coffee brewed with an Aeropress. But sometimes you feel like something a little different…like a shot of espresso, perhaps? You've heard rumors about people brewing espresso with little more than an Aeropress. You've decided you want some, and here you are. Let's get brewing shall we?
Of course, you need your espresso pronto. But first, there are a few simple things you must understand if you want to nail Aeropress espresso.
What You Need
- 2 Aeropress filters
- Espresso beans
- A burr grinder (that can grind fine)
- A coffee sifter (optional)
- A coffee scale
- A thermometer
- A coffee tamper (Legitimate or improvised)
At a Glance
Along with your Aeropress there are a few extra things you'll need to make this work:
A few notes on the above items:
The obvious items are your Aeropress (with 2 filters), a kettle and some espresso beans. I'd suggest using beans suited for espresso, rather than regular beans. Here are some good espresso beans.
Next, we'll need to grind these beans. You can buy pre ground coffee (not recommended) or grind your own. When I'm not using an electric burr grinder (like these) I grind with my trusted Porlex Mini hand grinder – especially when traveling. It's portable, easy to use and relatively inexpensive. It can also grind fine enough for espresso, which is critical for this tutorial.
For bonus consistency points – use a coffee sifter like the Kruve to further refine your grounds, and a coffee scale to measure out the right volume of coffee. You should definitely use a scale for this tutorial, because the volume of your coffee will make or break your espresso (1).
Weighing your coffee is the best way to ensure equal brew potency among different coffees.
As we would for espresso, we need to tamp – so you'll need to improvise yourself a tamper. Unfortunately, common espresso tampers are too small for the AeroPress, so you will have to get a little creative. Fortunately, many cylindrical, store-bought spice containers fit just perfectly in the Aeropress. So does a standard manual burr grinder (which I'm using in this tutorial).
Finally, use a thermometer. Yes, a thermometer. Water temperature can have a significant impact on the taste of your brew, so it's important to avoid any high school perfected guesswork. Typically, espresso is brewed between the 200ºF – 208ºF (94-98ºC) (2). The higher the temperature the greater the extraction, as well as the less acidity and increased sweetness. Nothing fancy required here, something as simple as this thermometer will do.
How To Make AeroPress Espresso: 6 Easy Steps
Before we jump into the how-to, there is one more detail to share: A traditional espresso requires at least 9 bars of pressure to make, and since it's physically impossible for you (assuming you are a human) to create that much pressure using just your muscles, we will be creating an almost espresso.
Although the AeroPress method won’t get you all the way there, it will probably get you 95% of the way.
Now that we’ve gotten that little disclaimer out of the way, and your patience for espresso is beginning to wear thin, it is time to begin brewing.
1. Grind your Beans to a fine setting.
First things first – it’s time to grind your little brown beauties. For this tutorial, I am going to use21 grams of fine grounds. Grind the beans as you would for your espresso – a somewhat floury consistency. The tricky part is achieving the right grind. Too fine and you'll create a blockage, unable to push your brew through. Too coarse and it will gush through and under extract.
You may have to experiment with a few different grind sizes to get this right. I did.
2. Setup your AeroPress and Add Coffee Grounds.
The second step is to prep your Aeropress. Start by placing one of the paper filters into the filter cap, and then pour a little hot water through the filter to warm it up, and get rid of any paper flavors. Next, screw the cap onto the bottom of the AeroPress chamber and dump in your coffee grounds.
3. Tamp Grounds and Add Another Filter on top.
After you’ve attached the filter cap, you will want to place a second filter on top of the grounds inside the chamber. Wet the filter just a little with warm water and gently press it onto the bottom of your improvised espresso tamper.
Now, push the filter down onto the coffee grounds, using your tamper to compact the grounds. Then, twist and pull out the tamper, leaving the second filter on top of your puck of grounds, which will keep your grounds undisturbed.
Tamping pressure matters. If you press until the tamper stops moving down, and keep it level, you’re golden
Like espresso brewing; tamping is a bit of an art. You just have to practice a few times until you feel the sweet spot in terms of pressure (3).
4. Add hot water
Next, you want to heat your water somewhere within the range of 200ºF – 208ºF, like we spoke about earlier. When your water reaches the desired temperature, slowly pour it over the puck of grounds in the chamber, filling the chamber to just above the level #2.
5. Press Your Espresso
Unlike other Aeropress brew methods, you don’t have to wait for the grounds to steep when brewing espresso. As soon as you’re done pouring in the water, place the chamber on your mug and insert the plunger.
The final step is to push the plunger down into the grounds that collected at the bottom. Position yourself with your shoulders over the Aeropress, with one hand keeping Aeropress in place and the other hand steadily pushing down the plunger. Keep pushing until you’ve squashed the puck as best you can.
If you've tamped your grinds too much (or ground your coffee to finely) you'll havelots of troublepressing. It's should be hard, but not so hard that it feels like you need a gym membership.
If it's too hard to press through, don't force it. I did, and I ended up with coffee all over my kitchen floor, walls and ceiling. Go back to step 1 and grind again, just a little more coarsely. Don't worry – nobody gets it right the first time.
6. Make it yours and Enjoy
Finally, once you are finished squeezing out every ounce of highly concentrated, caffeine-goodness, you can add whatever fixins’ you’d like to concoct your favorite espresso style beverage.
If you prefer your espresso just as it is, then you, my friend, are done! So sit back and enjoy your very own homemade espresso. Otherwise, froth some milk and turn it into your favorite milk-based espresso drink.
If you can't be F'ed reading the tutorial below, take 4 mins to watch this video tutorial by Cassey Faris. We go through exactly the same process:
And that's it! Enjoy your espresso – caveman style.
As a home-brewer myself, I understand how difficult it can be to make good espresso without buying an expensive machine. The Aeropress espresso method is not only an inexpensive alternative, but also tasty and and easy to use. Give it a shot for yourself, and you may be surprised how well it works.
You can make an Americano style filter coffee with your Aeropress using the standard recipe, or using the inverted method. You can also use you Aeropress to make silky-smooth cold brew coffee by following this tutorial.
Your espresso is weak because you (most likely) under extracted your coffee grinds. This can happen in two ways: using a grind size that is too coarse, or under-tamping your coffee. If you have weak tasting espresso try adjusting your grind slightly, and if that does not work, tamp a little harder. You will eventually find the sweet spot, and when you do, use a coffee journal to note it down.
Yes, the Aeropress can make crema if you’re prepared to go the extra mile to get it. The extra mile includes fresh coffee beans, refining your grind size, using the correct amount of pressure (9 bars), perfecting the brew temperature and, finally, some real tamping skills. Try using the inverted Aeropress method to catch that liquid gold of your coffee.
You can foam milk at home in several different ways. If you don’t have a steam wand or milk frother handy, you can use a glass jar (with a tight-fitting lid!) and microwave to foam milk. First, fill your glass jar with the desired amount of milk, then shake it for 30 seconds or until frothy, and put it in the microwave for about 45 seconds. You can also get creative with a French Press or a simple saucepan and balloon whisk.
- Do You Need a Scale to Make Coffee? Retrieved from https://blog.bluebottlecoffee.com/posts/do-you-need-a-scale-to-make-coffee
- Easthope, A. (2017, May 10). Brew Temperature and its Effects on Espresso. Retrieved from https://www.fivesenses.com.au/blog/brew-temperature-and-its-effects-on-espresso/
- How Hard Should You Tamp? (2019, May 20). Retrieved from https://baristahustle.com/blog/how-hard-should-you-tamp/