Automatic espresso machines—including our winner from Gaggia—can cost upwards of $600. If you’re looking for a cheaper option that still makes espresso-style coffee, the AeroPress is a great choice. These devices rely on users to heat water and grind coffee to their own specifications, making for a truly customizable experience. We recently reviewed two AeroPress models, the AeroPress Go Travel Coffee Press and the Aeropress Coffee Maker. We recommend both of them for brewing espresso-style concentrate and other coffee-based drinks, and we have a few tips we figured out during testing that will help you brew stellar coffee.
AeroPress Go Travel Coffee PressThis press offers a portable, easy-to-use design with components that collapse to fit into a 15-ounce mug that is perfect for on-the-go brewing and stores neatly in a kitchen cabinet.
AeroPress Coffee MakerThe classic design, which can brew up to 4 concentrate shots with ease, remains a reliable favorite.
Grinding and Heating
A successful cup of AeroPress coffee depends on an optimal coffee grind size and precise heat control. These factors determine how much pressure builds up as the water hydrates the coffee and is pressed through the filter, carrying with it the dissolved coffee solids and fragrant compounds that together form a rich brew.
To brew the perfect cup of coffee, we’ve always recommended that you purchase whole coffee beans as soon after roasting as possible, store them in an airtight container, and grind them each time you’d like to make a cup. Grind the coffee with either a blade grinder or burr grinder to a fine consistency: since the brewing process for an AeroPress is so rapid, the grounds need to be fine so that the water can hydrate and extract flavorful compounds from them as quickly as possible.
Throughout multiple taste tests, we’ve found that coffee brewed using water at 200℉, or just below boiling, extracts the most flavorful compounds and produces the best possible cup. We recommend heating water to a boil using a kettle (such as our winning electric kettle), and then waiting 10-15 seconds for the coffee to cool slightly before brewing.
Brewing with the AeroPress
We enjoyed the coffee we made using both of the AeroPress models, and they work similarly. Here’s how to use them:
- Place a clean disposable filter into the disk attachment and lock it in place at the bottom of the cylindrical brewing chamber
- The model comes with a coffee scoop that measures approximately 18 grams of grounds when heaping; measure one heaping scoop per desired number of espresso-style coffee shots and pour into the chamber using the included funnel
- Fill the chamber with 200℉ water up to the numbered line corresponding to the number of shots you’d like to press, then stir for 10 seconds using the included stirrer
- To press, insert the cylindrical plunger (similar to that of a syringe) into the chamber and push forcefully, pausing when you feel resistance, until you’ve reached the tightly-packed disk of coffee grounds
- Drink the AeroPress coffee straight, or add your desired amount of hot water or milk for an Americano, latte, or cappuccino.
- To clean, remove and rinse the attachment at the bottom of the chamber, and push the filter and coffee puck out of the chamber with the plunger. All components are dishwasher-safe.