How to make AeroPress Espresso

What is AeroPress Espresso?

AeroPress espresso is pretty much exactly what it sounds like… espresso, made by an AeroPress. Shocking, I know. Let’s clear one thing up right off the bat...

AeroPress espresso is NOT true espresso.

To make true espresso, at least 8 bars of pressure is required. That’s over 600 pounds worth!

An AeroPress uses about 0.5 bars of pressure. Even with a significantly reduced pressure, AeroPress espresso is similar to the real thing.

There’s no real way to quantify how close AeroPress Espresso is to real espresso, but if you’ve read around a bit, you’ll see plenty of mentions in the 90-95% range.

It's fair to say that AeroPress espresso tastes quite close to true espresso. 

Let’s break down the differences.


AeroPress Vs Espresso

AeroPress Espresso

True Espresso

Taste & Aroma

Rich, aromatic, more balanced.

Rich, aromatic, stronger.

Intensity

Pretty intense, much more so than regular coffee.

Very intense.

Body

More than regular coffee, less than true espresso.

Plenty.

Crema

A bit lacking, there's a noticeable layer of froth on top, but it dissipates quickly.

Divine, sustained.

Prep Time

About 1 minute + the time it takes to heat water.

About 30 seconds.

Skill Required

You need to know what you're doing.

Expect To Pay

You can get an AeroPress for around $30.

North of $300 for even the cheapest espresso machine.

Why Choose AeroPress Espresso?

Yes, it's true that real espresso shots are wonderful and if they were readily available and free, I would opt for them over AeroPress espresso shots. But alas, this is not the case.

There are some factors that make AeroPress espresso a more attractive option than regular espresso. Let’s take a look at each of them.


1. Cost

This is the big one. Espresso machines ain’t cheap.

You can get an AeroPress for less than 1/10th the cost of an espresso machine.

Yes, you read that correctly. Less. Than. 1/10th.

We’re talking $30 vs >$300.

This factor alone makes AeroPress espresso a much more practical option for the vast majority of people.

2. Ease of Use

Making AeroPress espresso is a breeze.

As long as you have all of the necessary equipment, just follow these instructions! There are some variables that you want to tweak to your preference, but there’s really not too much that you can mess up.

Espresso machines on the other hand, require some skill. You don’t want to start messing around with such an expensive machine without knowing what you’re doing.

3. Small, Light & Portable

Nothing against the aesthetics of espresso machines, I think they look wonderful, but they do take up a lot of space. If your living situation is anything like mine, counter space can often be at a bit of a premium.

An AeroPress takes up essentially zero space. Sporting a light weight and small size, AeroPress coffee makers are very portable.

You can also toss it in a drawer or cupboard when you aren’t using it. You’d be well advised not to toss an espresso machine anywhere.

4. Easy to Clean

As opposed to performing surgery on a large, complex espresso machine, cleaning an AeroPress is an exceedingly straightforward task. You can toss it on the top shelf of a dishwasher, or clean it manually in a short time.


What you need to make AeroPress Espresso

You need a few things in order to make yourself a shot of AeroPress espresso. These things include;


1. The AeroPress

Obviously, to make AeroPress espresso, you’ll need an AeroPress. You can grab an AeroPress kit from Amazon for a great price.

Don't have an AeroPress?

You can grab an AeroPress kit from Amazon!

2. Coffee Grinder

Let me correct that... a BURR grinder. Always, always, always use a burr grinder.

Burr Grinders

We highly recommend always using a Burr grinder.

If you're unfamiliar with Burr grinders, check out our Coffee Grinding 101 article!


3. Filters

You’ll need two filters to make an AeroPress espresso shot. The AeroPress package comes with 700 paper filters, (good for 350 shots). Paper filters do the trick, but if you’re looking to get as close to a true espresso shot as possible… try reusable metal filters.

Reusable metal filters don’t cost very much, and the final shot is superior in my humble opinion. This is due to the fact that some of the natural coffee oils and dissolved solids are absorbed by paper filters, whereas the metal filter allows these particles to pass through.

Reusable Metal Filters

AeroPress doesn't make metal filters, but there are plenty of great, inexpensive options out there.

We recommend this 2-pack of Silmm Filters that were specifically made for use with an AeroPress!


4. Coffee Beans

Another shocker here, you’ll need some coffee beans to make yourself an AeroPress espresso. Experimenting with different types of beans is the best way to find what works best for you. A good place to start is with you favorite “espresso beans”.

Best Espresso Beans

Any coffee beans can be used to make espresso!

That being said, some beans with certain characteristics tend to translate to espresso better than others. Check out our article for ideas!


5. Tamper

A tamper is used to compress your ground coffee into a tightly packed puck. Unfortunately, a lot of espresso tampers are too small for an AeroPress.

You’ll need to find something that is cylindrical, sturdy, and just small enough to fit inside your AeroPress. If you have a seasoning container or a hand coffee grinder, they might do the trick!

58mm Espresso Tamper

If you can't find a makeshift tamper around the house, a large tamper should be sufficient.

You'll find a variety of sizes ranging in diameter from 49-58mm. Go for the 58mm!


6. Thermometer

Water temperature actually has a pretty significant impact on the final taste of your espresso. We'll discuss water temperatures in the step by step guide below!

For now, suffice it to say that you'll definitely want to use a thermometer.


7. Kettle

You’ll also need a kettle to heat up your water. While any kettle will do, one with a narrow spout is recommended, as it allows for easy, controlled pouring. Having that extra bit of control allows you to ensure a gentle pour that will not break up your tightly packed coffee puck.


How to make AeroPress Espresso

1. Get the kettle going.

The water heating process is the rate limiting step in this procedure, so get it started right off of the bat!

AeroPress recommends the use of temperatures between 175-185°F (80-85°C) for regular AeroPress coffee brewing. BUT...

Since we’re making espresso today, we recommend that you opt for a higher temperature, in the range of 190-196°F (88-91°C).

Some prefer even hotter, in the 200-208°F range, (94-98°C).

It comes down to personal preference, so a little experimentation is in order!

The easiest way to get a precise temperature is to allow the water to boil, and then keep a close eye on the thermometer as it cools.

The take home point here is that small differences in temperature can have a noticeable impact on the taste of your AeroPress espresso… so use a thermometer!


2. Weigh & grind coffee beans.

Grab a scale and weigh out 17-22g grams of beans. You’ll want to experiment a bit with the exact quantity to get your recipe just right.

Grind up your coffee beans of choice to a very fine powder. Your grinder should have an espresso specific setting.

Always use a Burr grinder!

We can’t stress enough how important using a good Burr grinder is, especially when you’re making a highly concentrated drink like espresso. A uniform grind goes a long way!


3. Prepare your AeroPress.

A quick rinse to ensure cleanliness never hurts!

Place one filter into the filter cap.

If you’re using a paper filter, place it into the filter cap and add a small amount of warm water on top. If you’re using a reusable metal filter, just place it into the filter cap.

Screw the cap onto the bottom of your AeroPress, and then add your coffee.

Add a second filter on top of the coffee grinds.

You may choose to add some water to a paper filter and stick it to the bottom of your tamper, allowing you to place the filter atop the coffee.

Either way, you’ll now use your tamper to compact the coffee grinds. You’ll want to press down hard, but not so hard as to break your AeroPress.

After your grinds have been pressed into “coffee puck” form, twist the tamper to detach it from the filter before removing it from the chamber.


4. Add hot water.

Hopefully by now your water has reached the desired temperature. Double check with your thermometer and let it cool if need be.

It’s now time to add the water to your AeroPress. This is where a narrow kettle spout simplifies things.

We recommend filling to a point between the 1 and 2 markers on the AeroPress, but experimentation to find your preference is advised.

Pour the hot water slowly and carefully on top of the upper filter. You want to be gentle so as not to disrupt your coffee puck.


5. Plunge your AeroPress espresso!

You don’t need to wait any amount of time for steeping purposes, you’re ready to plunge as soon as you’ve added your water!

Enjoy your AeroPress espresso right away, as the “crema” will dissipate more rapidly than that of a true espresso shot.

How is it?

As is the case with any method, it’s best to experiment with minor tweaks to perfect your technique.


Making Other Espresso Based Drinks

Now that you know how to make an AeroPress espresso easily at home, why not expand your practice? 

Check out this article to learn how to make any kind of espresso based drink!


Final Thoughts

Let us know what you think about AeroPress espresso! Does it measure up to the real deal? What’s your favorite espresso drink? Drop us a line!

Have a coffee question? We may have the answer. Ask away!

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