The amount of time you leave coffee grounds brewing in your AeroPress after adding the water is one of the critical variables in the coffee making process. Plunge too soon and you leave behind flavours and texture and cut the bloom short. Plunge too late and you extract too much bitterness and acidity. But get it just right and you’re in the Goldilocks zone, sitting pretty with a cup of coffee that leaves a massive smile on your face.
Given the importance of the brewing time we thought we’d take a look at how long the World AeroPress champions let their winning brews brew for. This will surely give us a better feel for what works than our individual preferences and we might even stumble across an AeroPress brewing Goldilocks zone where the finished product is juuuust right.
Working backwards from 2016 we get the following data* on the winning contestants brewing process:
2016: Pour/15 seconds, stir/30 seconds, sit/60 seconds. Total/105 seconds (1 minute 45 seconds)
2015: Stir/15 seconds, sit/30 seconds, additional water/10 seconds, press/45 seconds. Total/100 seconds (1 minute 40 seconds)
2014: Sit/25 seconds, press/75 seconds. Total/100 seconds (1 minute 40 seconds)
2013: Sit/40 seconds, additional water/30 seconds, press/30 seconds. Total/100 seconds (1 minute 40 seconds)
2012: Sit/30 seconds, press/not specified. Total/well, we can’t say but a press of 30 seconds gives us 1 minute total
2011: Sit/30 seconds, sit (steep)/60 seconds, press/not specified. Total/a press of 30 seconds gives us a 120 second total (2 minutes)
2010: Stir/12 seconds, press/not specified. Total/a press of 30 seconds gives us a 42 second total. (We suspect there was some sitting between stirring and pressing).
2009 and 2008: Not specified with enough accuracy to use the data.
Record keeping in the early years of the World AeroPress Championships (WAC’s) was not as robust as it is today so there are gaps in the data from those years, plus we’ve extrapolated the figures a few times in the other years. However the last four WAC winners (whose brewing processes were presumably accurately recorded) all had a total brewing time of 1 minute 40 seconds (1’45″ in 2016).
Even allowing for gaps in the data (the Pour was only recorded in 2016 for example), this is an unambiguous result. If the time you spend making your AeroPress brew is not within sipping distance of 1 minute 40 seconds then you may need to reassess what you’re doing.
Interestingly, the second and third place getters across the years were generally quite a long way from this 1’40”. The runner up in 2014 went to 3’30”, by far the longest brew time we could find. A couple of others came in at 1’10”, quite a bit short of the 1’40”. Only the 2015 runner up came close at 1’45”.
Brewing times will vary according to the grind, the coffee, how many shots you are making and your own personal preferences, but here’s our punt at the AeroPress Goldilocks zone given average conditions:
Total ground contact with water: 90-110 seconds (1’30” – 1’50”) which comprises a sit/stir/bloom time of around 60 seconds and a press time of around 30 seconds.
Compare this to your current process and let us know if you find a big difference in the taste of the finished brew.
*All data taken from the WAC website.