There are so many reasons to love the AeroPress!
It’s small, simple, and portable. Yet you can still make delicious coffee in minutes.
How do you use it though? How long should you brew for?
Today, we’re going to answer these questions. And we’ll also cover what factors affect the brewing time + different recipes to perfect your AeroPress brewed coffee.
What is an AeroPress?
Before we get into brewing time and process, let’s first understand how an AeroPress works.
The AeroPress is an immersion coffee brewer. It was developed by the brilliant Alan Adler, who was a Stanford University engineering professor (talk about prestige!). His goal was to create a coffee maker that could make a smooth + rich cup of coffee but without bitter taste.
This results in brewing coffee similar to the best coffee you can make from a French press.
Parts of an AeroPress
- Brewing chamber: you’ll add hot water and coffee grounds to the brewing chamber
- Plunger: together with the brewing chamber, this will create a pressure seal to force the water through the grounds to create a concentrated coffee brew; in other words: you press on the plunger!
- Filter cap: the AeroPress works with paper, metal, and even cloth filters
AeroPress Coffee Brewing Factors
A main advantage of AeroPress coffee brewing is how much you can make personalize your recipe.
You can adjust all of these: amount of coffee and water, temperature, brewing time, pressure, filter type. You can even brew different types of coffee drinks: cold brew and espresso drinks!
How Long to Brew AeroPress For
There’s no one correct answer. Let’s explore the brewing factors from above, but more in depth:
- Coffee Strength: Depends on how strong you want your coffee. If you brew for a shorter period of time, you’ll get a weaker cup of coffee. While brewing for longer means stronger, more robust flavor.
- Coffee Grind Size: Generally fine coffee grounds means you can extract flavor quicker, so your brewing time will be shorter than if you use coarser grounds.
- Water to Coffee Ratio: Less water means you’ll need longer brewing time to extract all the coffee flavor.
Overall, we get the best results with around a 3 minute brewing time. This is enough time but not too much time, so we can avoid the mistakes below.
Signs of Bad AeroPress Coffee
Brewed too long? You’ll get coffee that’s too bitter and too sour.
Brewed too short? Then you’ll get weak, watery coffee. Don’t expect enough caffeine for your caffeine fix.
A good cup of coffee comes from a brewing time that’s somewhere in between. Try making coffee with several different brewing times, then taste testing your coffee.
Of course, you can change the factors above too (amount of coffee, more water, pressure, and temperature).
And follow our tried and true AeroPress coffee brew guide right below this section, for even better results!
How To Make Hot AeroPress Coffee
Follow these 9 simple steps!
Step 1: Get Everything You Need
- An AeroPress coffee maker (duh)
- AeroPress filter (paper or metal filter)
- coffee beans and grinder OR coffee grounds
- water kettle
- stirring stick or spoon
- ideally a digital scale
Step 2: Prepare Your Ground Coffee and Water
The official AeroPress instructions recommend to start by bringing 7 ounces (0.875 cups) of water to a boil. Let the water cool for 1 to 2 minutes. This will pair with around 1 scoop (15 grams of coffee grounds).
From our experiments, we find that medium-fine grind size work best. Similar to the size of table salt. So you can either purchase pre-ground coffee or grind coffee beans to this grind size.
Step 3: Prepare the Filter
Put your filter into the filter cap then rinse with hot water. This preheats your AeroPress and gets rid of leftover taste (most important for a paper filter). Get rid of the water and then attach the filter cap.
Step 4: Add Coffee Grounds
Add your medium-fine coffee grounds to the brew chamber. Then place it on top of your coffee cup or mug.
Step 5: Pour a Bit of Water
You want to pour just enough hot water so that all the coffee grounds get wet. Then allow the coffee to “bloom” for about 30 seconds. This releases trapped gases and improves your end result coffee flavor.
Step 6: Pour the Remaining Water then Stir
Pour the rest of the hot water in a circular motion over the timespan of around 20 seconds. Then stir to make sure the coffee grounds are even + spread flavor, for around 10 seconds.
Step 7: Attach the Plunger
Carefully attach the plunger to your AeroPress with a slight downward pressure. Make sure no water or coffee leaks. Only push down slightly for now, the pressing will come soon!
Step 8: Wait for a Bit
Let the coffee steep. We mentioned a 3 minute brewing time overall, so we like to wait around 2 minutes at this point.
Step 9: Finally, It’s Time to Press the Brewed Coffee!
Press firmly on the plunger. Try to push down slowly but with enough effort that the plunger actually goes down. You don’t want want to smack the plunger too hard or too fast, since this will compress the coffee grounds – and this makes it harder for the coffee to come out. And your coffee might end up too strong.
You’re done when you hear a hissing sound.
Add water, milk, or serve as is. You’re done brewing with your AeroPress, enjoy!
Other AeroPress Brew Methods
The Inverted Method
You can follow the above guide, but simply turn your AeroPress upside down. So while the coffee is brewing – you have the filter cap at the top + the plunger is at the bottom.
Why would you do this? The inverted position means less chances of leaking and you get better control of when the coffee is extracted.
And instead of putting the brew chamber on top of your mug to begin with, you wait until brewing is done. Then flip the AeroPress upside down and press the coffee into the mug all at once!
Make Cold Coffee Drinks
We covered how to make hot coffee and espresso drinks above. But what if you want cold brew or coffee?
Don’t worry, delicious coffee can still be made cold via your AeroPress coffee maker!
Easy and Quick Method
Replace the boiling water from above with cold water. Use a more fine grind size to make up for the lack of hot water.
Some more tips:
- The inverted method works best here so you prevent leaking before you can press.
- Pour more cold water or ice cubes to the resulting cold coffee, if you’d like.
In this method, you follow the original AeroPress instructions but fill the cup with ice before you press. Play around with different brew ratios to maintain strong enough coffee.
Overnight Brewing Process
This is our favorite method and the most similar to traditional cold brew processes. Use our guide above but with a cold water temperature, and instead of waiting a bit… wait for 12 hours!
That’s right, you’ll leave the AeroPress in the fridge so that you get more flavor. Then press after that’s done. See, AeroPress brew time really can vary a lot!
Add Nitro for Nitro AeroPress Cold Brew
After any of the methods above, try adding nitrogen to your cold coffee for an amazing flavored nitro cold brew drink. Learn how with our simple nitro cold brew recipes that do NOT require another coffee maker.
You can also take the resulting Nitro Cold Brew and use it as concentrate for a nitro cold brew coffee maker. Just fill the coffee maker’s keg with your cold AeroPress coffee. Then follow the coffee machine’s instructions to get delicious Nitro AeroPress Cold Brew.
We’ve answered the question of how long you should brew with your AeroPress: it depends! The best recipes often take around 3 minutes to brew, but other methods that are shorter/longer can work too.
It really depends on your preferences for flavor, strength, and temperature.
And we covered how we suggest to brew AeroPress coffee. Aim for an overall AeroPress brew time of 3 minutes: grind fresh coffee beans to a medium-fine grind size, bring water to a boil, rinse water through the filter, pour warm water + stir… then brew for a few minutes and finally press the perfect cup of coffee into your mug.
We encourage you to play around with our AeroPress recipe. Change factors like the amount of ground coffee and grams of water, use a lower temperature, or increase the pressure. Other things you can change are: roast level, brew ratio, grind size, or even turning the AeroPress upside down.
Keep brewing and tasting until you develop your own winning recipes and make the perfect cup of coffee.
You’ll master brewing coffee with an AeroPress in no time. Happy brewing, coffee lovers!
By day, Bryan is a software engineer with experience at startups and top software companies. By night, he runs and writes for My Kitchen Sensei. Bryan is especially proud of his cheap excursions to cheap Michelin rated restaurants throughout Asia and in Hong Kong during his exchange there. His favorites include nitro-cold brew coffee and steak.