When I bought the Aeropress I thought it would be a good coffee maker for when I travel. Since most hotels either don’t have coffee service in the room, or those that do have mediocre to bad coffee, or you have to rely on room service. I wrote about that in my post Traveling with Coffee.
What I didn’t know was that this would consistently make the finest cup of coffee I tasted. So much so that I make cup after cup of this for my morning brew. Even though I have a lovely Delonghi Grand Dama to make consistently good coffee, this little device is worth that extra effort, even in the mornings. There are many variations for making the perfect cup, and of the 27 recipes I have tried, I found that I liked the “inverted method.” In that method you invert the Aeropress, and allow it to steep, then flip and reverse.
To provide consistency, I use a digital scale for my coffee, a burr grinder, an instant read thermometer, and weigh the water. But, when on the road having those things isn’t always desired. So while you will see my obsession here, the recipe is also provided with “abouts.” I must confess – my “abouts” work just as well as the precise methods I use (I just feel better with precision).
I use 17 grams of coffee by weight. This is about 1 and 1/2 scoops of a medium-fine grind of coffee. Since weighing coffee isn’t everyones cup of tea, using the scoop that comes with the Aeropress for whole beans, and then grind to a medium-fine grind works. When you invert the device first wet the silicon plunger and insert to about the 4 on the cylinder and add coffee to just below the 3 – as you see in the photograph.
Heat your water as per usual. There is a wide range of temperatures that have won the Aeropress competition, and I have tried all of them. While I like 194 degrees, the other temperatures that have won have been 180 and 197 degrees. I do like the quick thermometer reading of them, such temperatures are rather silly because when you steep the coffee and the ambient room temperature changes it rapidly. When I am on the road, or not being a nerd, I heat the water to boiling, then unplug the water, and grind the coffee. That allows time for my water to get to a reasonable temperature that it isn’t scorching the coffee bean bringing out bitter flavors, but not too cool to where it the coffee flavors don’t release (below 170 degrees the coffee is not extracted from the cellulose matrix of the ground bean).
I add 120 grams of water – or to where the water goes up to a touch beyond 1 on the inverted Aeropress. Stir the coffee for twenty seconds (one Mississippi two Mississippi) – the timing I am precise about, this has provided the amount of extraction that I like. I don’t use filtered or bottled water, as I explained in Tap Water for Coffee.
Then I let it steep for 30 seconds. This provides the best extraction ratio for my taste. I have gone up to a couple of minutes, but get less flavor as time goes on, and it can increae bitterness.
After 30 seconds put on the wetted filter paper (don’t bother buying the screen filter, this paper is cheap and when you dispose of it so easy.)
Flip it and plunge. I am gentle with the plunge because I have no idea about the cups I use. I often fear that they will break. Although in hotels there is often heavy paper cups and I use them to plunge, so it is a good way to be gentle and get the right timing as well as building that muscle memory.
There is a great app for the Aeropress called the Aeropress timer. With it you get a number of variations for the coffee. The closest one to what I like is The Jay, although you can purchase the Championship Pack and the recipe by Eystein Veflingstad from Norway is another favorite version.
In that version you poor one shot of coffee and let it steep for 45 seconds, pour in 3.5 shots, stir for a few seconds, then let it steep – flip and allow it to steep for 20 seconds, then plunge.
The fun with the Aeropress is the experimenting. But after a number of recipes- the inverted I use above, my own variation – works best – is easy, and reproduces quite well. This app the 27 recipes I have tried all of them.
But for fun – and because my wife is a Star Wars (and Aeropress fan) –
Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and received his MD. Dr. Simpson, then became a renowned weight loss surgeon, and a leading advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he advocates teaching people to improve their health through their food. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcom Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit www.terrysimpson.com.