One of the great things about the AeroPress Coffee Maker is its simplicity so there’s not a whole lot to learn about how to use it. However! There are a few things you should know in order to get the absolute best from this magnificent hand coffee plunger.
How To Use AeroPress
It’s recommended that you wash your brand new AeroPress with warm, soapy water before your first brew, and you’ll also need a kettle and some freshly ground coffee ready for pressing.
- Place a micro filter into the filter basket and screw it onto the bottom of the chamber.
- Pour some hot water through the chamber to warm it and wet the filter (although this isn’t totally necessary, a lot of brewers like to do this to ensure there’s no papery taste from the filter).
- Put the chamber on a sturdy mug or glass (a glass lets you see what’s happening when you start plunging). You are going to be pushing down on the chamber pretty firmly so make sure the mug or glass is stable and can handle the pressure.
- Put your ground coffee into the chamber. One heaped AeroPress scoop will do one shot (one espresso) and you can do up to four scoops per plunge.
- Heat your water to about 80°C (turn the kettle off well before it boils – it takes an average of 17 minutes for a boiled kettle to cool to the right temperature for brewing) and pour it gently into the chamber up to the shot mark you want (1, 2, 3 or 4). Filling the chamber to slightly above or below the mark you want will make the resulting coffee slightly richer or weaker. TIP: Pour the water into the chamber very slowly so it mixes well with all the ground coffee. If you dump the water into the chamber too quickly you are likely to get clumps of coffee that are not wet through. This means you will miss extracting the coffee from these grounds and alter the flavour profile of the finished product.
- Stir the water and ground coffee with your AeroPress mixing paddle for about 10 seconds to make doubly, triply sure the mix is good.
- Place the plunger into the chamber, making sure everything is well balanced, and start pushing down on the plunger with the palm of your hand (you can put some water or vegetable oil on your rubber seal if it’s sticking too much or ‘skipping’, although this generally shouldn’t be the case). The air inside the chamber will compress and you will start to feel resistance. Maintain downward pressure on the chamber as it’s this pressure that is forcing the water through the coffee grounds and filter into your cup. TIP: Try to keep the plunger moving in a continuous, smooth slide so the coffee grounds are immersed in a continuous flow of water. If it feels difficult to push you may be pushing too hard so ease off a bit. If you’re really going too hard, stop pushing and you should see the water level continue to slowly decline.
- As soon as you hear a ‘hiss’, lift the AeroPress away from the cup and flip it so that the filter basket is facing upwards (some people prefer to stop before the hiss – if you watch the water level dropping each time you press, you’ll get to know when the hiss should happen and be able to stop pressing before you get there). Remove the filter basket over your compost bin and push the plunger all the way through the chamber. The spent coffee ‘puck’ will fall out and the rubber seal on the end of the plunger will be showing.
If you want an espresso, your cup is ready.
If you want a long black, simply add water from the kettle to the desired level. (We think adding water after the pressing is better than putting extra water into the chamber and pressing it all through the grounds. The ‘first pressing’ is smooth and rich but using more water means you are effectively doing a ‘second pressing’ which tends to extract the more bitter and acidic compounds in the coffee grounds.
If you want a café latte, flat white or other milky coffee, add the frothed milk straight into your shot.
Cleaning the AeroPress. With the coffee puck in the compost and the plunger pushed all the way through the chamber, simply rinse away the coffee grounds and wipe the oils from the seal and chamber with a clean cloth. Don’t put the AeroPress in a dishwasher – dishwashers can damage the seal. All it really needs its a quick run under the tap.
Storing the AeroPress. You can store the AeroPress assembled or in the component parts. The key thing is to make sure the rubber seal is not completely inside the chamber as this will compress the seal and over time will cause it to lose the tight fit it needs to create pressure when plunging. Make sure the plunger is pushed all the way through the chamber and you’ll be right.
The official AeroPress instructions can be found here. (pdf)