What is the Best Way to Brew Aeropress Coffee?

What is the Best Way to Brew Aeropress Coffee?

By Chris Kolbu
LEARN

Shuichi Sasaki of Japan became the 2014 World Aeropress Champion yesterday. The recipe he used was just posted online on the official WAC website; by comparing it to the winning recipes of previous years, let’s see if we can find anything interesting!

We have written about the World Aeropress Championships before: an unorthodox competition for an unlikely product (if you have an interest in the Aeropress, we highly recommend you read this story from Priceonomics).

aeropresswinners

While the WACs have been held since 2008, there are no records of the winning recipe from that year. But since then, we have the winning recipes on record—so let’s see if we can chart the development of an ideal way to brew your Aeropress coffee!

The first thing that becomes immediately apparent reading these recipes is temperature: they are all uniformly low, ranging from 75c (2009) to 85c (2012); additionally, they all use the standard paper filters, but—and this is important—have taken the time to rinse them.

In 2009 and 2010, the Aeropresses were brewed using the upside-down technique (which means exactly what you think!) and a higher dose of coffee with a short contact or extraction time, combined with stirring.

In 2010, however, a new touch that would become a mainstay was introduced: pressing softly or slowly, and stopping before the characteristic dry wheezing sound kicks in. All subsequent WAC winners have pressed softly, and used less coffee.

Jeff Verellen, who has won twice (in 2011 and 2013) shifted the competition back to the normal, right-side up method, and introduced yet another technique, adapted from pour overs: blooming. This means adding a tiny bit of water first, to saturate the coffee grounds before adding the bulk of the brewing water. All subsequent winners have set aside time for blooming. He also popularised the technique of leaving a fair bit of water left in the Aeropress (~50g), an evolution of the soft press.

Shuichi Sasaki built on all these tricks to win the WAC yesterday. In short:

  • Use ~250ml of water at a lower than normal temperature, around 80c. Electric kettles designed primarily with tea in mind—with a temperature controller—will be good for this.
  • Use 16.5-17g coffee ground slightly coarser than filter (between a percolator and french press, toward perculator).
  • Use the stock paper filters—but rinse them well!
  • Use the Aeropress right-side up.
  • Use a scale when you brew for accuracy.
  • Add 40-50g of water to bloom the coffee grounds for 25-40 seconds.
  • Add the rest of the water slowly.
  • Press gently over an extended period of time, 30-75 seconds.
  • Leave 40-50g of water in the Aeropress.
  • Aim for a total extraction time (including bloom) of 90-100 seconds. For instance: 40 second bloom, 30 second pouring, 30 second pressing (like Jeff); or, 25 second bloom, instant pour of the rest of the water, followed by a long press of 75 seconds (like Shuichi).

Not quite as straightforward as you might be making them today, but the results speak for themselves. This is the best way we know to brew an Aeropress.

The 2009 Recipe by Lukasz Jura, Poland

19.5-20g coffee, 200ml water at 75c, ground slightly coarser than filter.

  1. Rinsed normal filter, Aeropress upside-down.
  2. Add the ground coffee.
  3. Add the water.
  4. Stir 4 times.
  5. Secure the filter and turn after 10 seconds (total contact time ~15 seconds).
  6. Press.

The 2010 Recipe by Marie Hagemeister, Denmark

20g coffee, water at ~80c almost to the top (~250+ml), ground slightly finer than filter.

  1. Rinsed normal filter, Aeropress upside-down.
  2. Add the ground coffee.
  3. Add the water, pouring almost to the top.
  4. Stir for 10-12 seconds.
  5. Heat the cup
  6. Slowly push the coffee through – stopping before you hear the air wheeze.

The 2011 Recipe by Jeff Verellen, Belgium

17g coffee, 270ml soft mineral water at 80c, ground coarsely (little coarser than paper filter).

  1. Rinsed normal filter, Aeropress in regular position.
  2. Splash a bit of the water on the filter and directly after throw in the freshly ground coffee, as to allow the bottom to wet and expand a bit.
  3. Wet the coffee by dripping or pouring very slowly all the grounds, about 40 grams. Bloom for ~30 seconds.
  4. Very slowly pouring the rest of the water, try to re-wet the coffee fully again, see that the grounds do not separate from the water, this can be done using a good kettle with small nozzle.
  5. Let the Aeropress steep and drip for about 1/4th trough or 1 minute
  6. Help about 2/4th of the rest of the water trough, with the provided piston, very gently.
  7. Remove the press and the what`s left, about 50 grams, and throw away.

The 2012 Recipe by Charlene de Buysere, Belgium

18.3g coffee, 250ml water at 85c, ground coarsely.

  1. Rinsed normal filter, Aeropress in regular position.
  2. 40 grams of water at 85c for the bloom. Bloom for ~30 seconds.
  3. Pour the rest of the water and press, not pressing all the way through.

The 2013 Recipe by Jeff Verellen, Belgium

17g coffee, 50ml water at 83c, 215ml at 79c, Uber grinder at 5.75 (little coarser than paper filter).

  1. Rinsed normal filter, Aeropress in regular position.
  2. 50 grams of water at 83c for the bloom.
 Bloom for 40s. Nicely wet all grounds and lightly agitate holding the Aeropress by shaking it a bit around.
  3. Very slowly add 215 grams of water at 79c over about 30 seconds.
  4. Press very gently for about 30 seconds.
  5. Leave about 50 gram slurry in the Aeropress and discard.

The 2014 Recipe by Shuichi Sasaki, Japan

16.5g coffee, 250ml soft mineral water at 78c, EK43 Grind at 9.5

  1. Rinse normal paper filter, Aeropress in regular position.
  2. 40g of blooming water for 25 seconds, stir 5 times.
  3. Add 210g of water, stir once.
  4. Press very slowly for 75 seconds.
  5. Leave 45g in the Aeropress and discard.

For more information about the World Aeropress Championship, check out the official page at www.worldaeropresschampionship.com.

Photo of Shuichi Sasaki taken from the official WAC site.

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