This funky-looking manual coffee brewer has gained a cult following and for good reason — the AeroPress can make a smooth, full-bodied serving of coffee in under a minute!
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From cold brews and keto coffee to French presses and Chemex pour-overs, making coffee at home has never been easier. Freshly ground coffee, hot water and your choice of manual brewing coffee method are really all you need these days to make a good cup of aromatic coffee.

That's especially true if you make use of an AeroPress to brew your daily cup of Joe. First debuting to the public in 2005, the AeroPress has built an impressive cult following of coffee lovers who love this funky-looking gadget for its affordability — a complete AeroPress gear set including 350 filters will run you just $29.95 — ease of use, and of course, its ability to make up to three servings of incredibly smooth, espresso-like cups of coffee in under two minutes.

Here's everything you needed to know about the AeroPress, including proper brewing technique and step-by-step instructions for making your own batch of AeroPress coffee at home.

Credit: williamssonoma.com

Buy it: Aeropress Coffee Maker, $29.95; amazon.com or williamssonoma.com

What is an AeroPress?

The AeroPress is a compact immersion coffee brewer that was developed in 2004 by Alan Adler, a retired Stanford University professor, engineer and prolific inventor — he has over 40 patents to his name. Unsatisfied at how long it took to make a pour-over and the overall difficulty of making a good cup of coffee, Adler set out to innovate the coffee brewing process and ended up with a durable yet light and compact device: the AeroPress.

Made of two nesting chambers made from non-toxic, BPA-free plastic, the AeroPress is basically one large plastic syringe with a thick rubber end that uses air pressure and a plunger to force hot water through the coffee grounds and thin filter. The resulting coffee concentrate is grit-free, low in acidity and bitterness, and can be had full strength as an espresso-style brew.

You can also use hot water to dilute the AeroPress concentrate into an Americano, turn it into a latte with some milk, or even make it into cold brew. Best of all — unlike the drip or pour-over coffee methods, which can take several minutes to brew and rely on gravity to move the water through — a single serving of AeroPress coffee can be made in under a minute.

And, after making your own cup of AeroPress coffee, it's not hard to see why this inexpensive immersion coffee brewer has built up a loyal following that extends beyond the comforts of home. Coffee shops, both across the country and around the world, have now started to make and sell AeroPress brewed coffee. There's even an annual championship where competitors from over 60 countries compete to make the tastiest cup of AeroPress coffee.

Pros and Cons of AeroPress Coffee

Being able to brew cups of aromatic coffee in under a minute every morning may be the only reason you need to buy an AeroPress, but it's certainly not the only one. A standard AeroPress coffee maker set also includes a year's worth of filters, a filter cap, coffee measure, stirrer, and funnel for getting the ground coffee into the brewer. So, apart from ground coffee, a mug, and kettle, the amount of equipment you need to brew AeroPress coffee is minimal—if you grind your own coffee, you're also going to need a burr grinder.

The simplicity of use — you don't need a special technique like when making pour-over coffee, all you have to do is pour and push the plunger down — lightness, durability and ease of cleanup, all make the AeroPress worth considering for your daily coffee routine at home and on the road, too. Not to mention a noticeable difference in taste as well. Coffee brewed in an AeroPress is approximately 20 percent less acidic than drip-brewed coffee and contains one-ninth the acidity of French press brews.

The two biggest downsides to the AeroPress are its inability to make over three servings of coffee in a single brew and the way it looks. Let's be real, there's nothing fancy about a grey plastic plunger-looking device. So, while it may not be the best brewer for weekend brunch with friends or the most aesthetically pleasing, it's a perfectly adequate and quick way to make coffee for one... for a long time.

How to Make AeroPress Coffee Step-by-Step

The basic instructions that come with the AeroPress result in a foolproof cup of coffee that's made in less than a minute. What's great about brewing in the AeroPress is that it's incredibly versatile and slightly modifying steps during the brewing process can yield interesting results — just take a look at all the AeroPress brewing championship-winning recipes.

Using a coarser grind size, frequency of stirring and water temperature can all yield distinct, full-bodied brews. Inverting the chamber, aka the inverted method, is another popular variation that essentially converts the AeroPress into an immersion brewer. The coffee can "bloom" in hot water for as long as the brewer chooses — typically a minute. A longer steep time allows the water to properly extract the flavorful contents present in the coffee grounds, resulting in a richer, fuller flavor than the standard 30-second brew time creates.

What You'll Need:

  1. AeroPress: A full AeroPress kit comes with the chamber, plunger, filter cap, paper filters, stirrer and coffee scoop and is available for $29.95.
  2. AeroPress Filters: Circular white filters help prevent the finely ground coffee from ending up in your cup. You can buy them here, or if you want a reusable option, opt for a stainless steel mesh filter.
  3. Coffee: A fine drip grind is ideal for brewing AeroPress coffee and can be purchased pre-ground at the store or online. If you decide to go the pre-ground route, just know that you may have to increase the length of time you bloom your coffee to get a stronger brew.
  4. Burr Grinder (optional, only if using whole coffee beans): Grinding your own beans at home results in a noticeably better-flavored coffee, but it's also inexpensive and ensures you use the correct grind. A burr grinder — either manual or electric — is preferred for getting uniform, fine coffee grounds.
  5. Your Coffee Mug: Just make sure the mug has a wide enough mouth for the AeroPress chamber to comfortably sit on top as you brew. Alternatively, if you're making an Americano, you can brew the concentrate into a measuring cup and then add more hot water to dilute it to the right strength for you. Coffee aficionados call this the bypass technique.
  6. Timer: You'll need a timer to make sure the coffee grounds 'bloom' for the right amount of time before you push the plunger down. It takes 30 seconds for the standard AeroPress method or a minute if you're following the inverted variation.
  7. Kettle: Both stovetop or electric gooseneck kettles work best.

Instructions for a Standard cup of AeroPress coffee:

  1. Start by boiling water in the kettle. If you're using a dark roast, AeroPress recommends adding water that's 175 degrees F (80 degrees C) for the ideal cup of coffee. Prefer medium and light roasts? Your water should be at 185 degrees F (85 degrees C) for a rich and flavorful cup of coffee. If you don't have a thermometer ($9.99, amazon.com), the best thing to do is to let the water come to a boil and leave it for a minute and a half before adding it to the AeroPress chamber.
  2. Wet the filter paper and add it to the filter cap. Attach the cap onto the bottom of the AeroPress chamber and place it on top of your mug or measuring cup.
  3. Measure out one scoop (about 17 grams) of fine drip grind coffee and using the funnel, add it to the chamber. Give it a couple of shakes to level out the coffee, so the water doesn't pour through it too quickly.
  4. Fill water to 1 1/2 mark level on the chamber, enough to fully cover the coffee grounds. Stir using the paddle for 10 seconds.
  5. Insert plunger and press down gently—this should take about 20 to 30 seconds. Pressing too hard will compact the coffee and increase the time it takes to plunge. You'll hear a long hiss when the plunger gets to the bottom. Twist the filter cap off and press the plunger down to expel the filter and compressed puck of coffee grounds. Rinse off the plunger.
  6. Taste the espresso-style concentrate. To make an Americano, dilute with water or add milk and turn it into a latte. You've just made your first cup of AeroPress coffee!

Instructions for AeroPress Coffee Using the Inverted Method:

  1. Boil water, and if using whole coffee beans, grind coffee to the desired size in your burr grinder.
  2. Push the plunger up to the 4 mark level on the AeroPress chamber. Then, flip it upside down so that the filter cap is now facing the top. Remove the filter and filter cap from the chamber.
  3. Measure out one scoop (approximately 17 grams) of fine drip grind coffee and add it to the chamber using the funnel.
  4. Pour in hot water, filling the chamber to the top. Use the paddle to stir the mixture.
  5. Set a timer and let the coffee grounds steep for a minute.
  6. Wet the filter in the filter cap and screw it back onto the chamber.
  7. Quickly flip (take care as it will be hot!) over the chamber onto your mug or measuring cup. The filter cap should now be facing the inside of your mug. Press down gently on the plunger until you hear a hiss.
  8. Follow the previous instructions to remove the used coffee grounds and rinse the plunger.
  9. Taste the concentrate. Dilute if too strong. Don't forget to enjoy your inverted cup of AeroPress coffee!

For even more AeroPress coffee recipes, check out Coffee.cup.guru. It's a great app offering visual step-by-step instructions, including a built-in self-timer, for various coffee brewing methods that are all easy to follow and also includes a built-in self-timer.

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