6 ways to improve your Aeropress Recipe
Bijgewerkt: mrt 9
Suppose you bought a bag of tasty looking coffee beans from your favourite specialty coffee roaster, and your expectations are HIGH. You’ve decided to brew them with your Aeropress because let’s be honest: what can go wrong? But now you’ve made a cup, with your Go To recipe (this is mine) and it’s tasting…. OK. It’s good, but not great. Surely you can do better?
It’s time to share 6 ways to improve your Aeropress recipe (in the order that I use them).
The first thing to try to improve your brew is to play with the dose. When your coffee is tasting dull and flat, or even towards the bitter side, upping your dose might help. Increasing the amount of coffee will give your coffee more acidity, more body and -hopefully- more sweetness. If your brew is tasting too sour, unbalanced and lacks a pleasant mouthfeel, try lowering the dose! This will help balance things out.
2. Brew time
The time the hot water is in contact with the ground coffee, influences how much is extracted from it. The longer the brew time, the more extraction takes place. So when your coffee is tasting overextracted, which you can tell because it’s tasting dry and bitter, decrease the brew time. This will help reduce bitters and increase acidity.
When your brew time is too short, the coffee might taste empty and unpleasantly acdic, and it will lack sweetness. At this point increasing your brewtime will help!
3. Grind Setting
To be fair, brew time and grind setting kind of go hand in hand. The grind setting, like the time, influences how much you’re extracting from your coffee. The coarser the grind (i.e. the bigger the coffee particles), the less you extract in the same time. The opposite applies to a fine grind setting: when you grind very fine, the coffee will extract a lot quicker.
The trick is to combine the right brew time with the right grind setting. Personally, I don’t vary the grind setting that much when brewing the Aeropress, I use a medium to coarse grind and adjust the brew time. The coarser the grind you’re using, the longer brewtime you’ll need to use to make a balanced cup!
With one of these really pleasant gooseneck kettles it’s very easy to experiment with different brew temperatures. My favourite is the Stagg from Fellow! Experimenting with water temperature is a very easy way to affect the flavour of your brew. If you’re lacking sweetness and body, go up in temperature. Don’t be scared to use water almost up to the boil, you will always lose a couple of degrees during the pour. If you’re using a lightly roasted specialty coffee, it’s very unlikely you’ll extract bitters just by using high temperature water.
If you go lower in water temperature, you’ll most likely notice that the acditiy in your cup will increase. Try to find that point where you get both pleasant acidity ánd enough sweetness, which can vary per coffee!
Agitation, or, in non-coffee nerd terms- stirring, is another factor to improve your cup. There are many, many ways to agitate the coffee in the Aeropress during brewing. If you’re brewing Inverted, you can give the Aeropress a swirl. Or course, you can use the plastic stirrer that comes with the Aeropress, and there are also a couple of great winning Aeropress recipes out there that involve stirring with chopsticks or a bamboo stirrer. No matter what method of agitation you use, make sure you are using it consistently. When you swirl, swirl the same amount of circles. If you stir, make sure you stir the same every time. (Circles? Back and fourth? 2 times? 5 times? 20 times? clockwise? Counterclockwise? )
In my experience, some sort of agitation is essential to make sure all the coffee grounds are saturated. And as a rule of thumb I use: the more coffee, the more agitation is required. This is why I only stir 5 times with my Go To recipe (with 16 grams) and 20 times in my W.A.C. Recipe.
Final note: ever notice how sometimes the resistance of your brew is so high it’s almost impossible to press? Try more agitation! A great piece of advice Tim Williams himself once gave me when we were travelling in Costa Rica, and one of those great tips I’ll never forget.
To bloom or not to bloom, that is the question. Letting that CO2 escape the coffee grinds has proven itself over and over in filter coffee brewing. However, the Aeropress is a so called ‘immersion brew’ - the coffee ‘sits’ in water for a certain amount of time to extract. You could ask yourself therefore how useful a bloom stage is. Adding a little bit of water to have the CO2 escape the coffee might help extract more evenly, but it also means you need to have at least two separate pours (and probably some extra agitation after the bloom). This means you’ll agitate your coffee extra! So experimenting with a bloom stage, or leaving it out when you’re used to doing it, might give you interesting results.
So there you have it, 6 ways to improve your Aeropress brew. Keep in mind, there is no right or wrong! These are just some of the variables you can play around with until you’ve made yourself a delicious cup of coffee. But don’t forget to enjoy the process, don’t let the search for that ‘perfect’ cup of coffee frustrate you. Rather, focus on the rainbow of flavours the Aeropress can bring out of your coffee!
Happy brewing, and let me know how you get on!