Whether drinking it straight or in a milk drink like a latte, any coffee lover knows that espresso has a way of bringing out the most mouthwatering coffee flavors. So you might be wondering how to make espresso with Aeropress at home. Luckily, this AeroPress espresso recipe will get you as close to real espresso as possible without a machine.
Technically, you need 9-10 bars of pressure (130-150 psi) to make a proper espresso. Espresso uses finely ground coffee and a strong pump to get the classic look and taste of an espresso shot—especially the intense body.
So if you want to get technical, without a pump—whether a manual handle or an electric pump—it will be next to impossible to make legitimate espresso. But since the design of the AeroPress espresso maker is a plunger, following this recipe will get you as close as possible to the taste of espresso at home. And if you like milk drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, we’ll give you some tips on making those as well!
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AeroPress Espresso: The Basics
The AeroPress, an amazing specialty coffee brewer invented by Alan Adler. It is an immersion brewer like the French Press but with crucial differences and more flexibility. There are AeroPress recipes to make cold brew, iced coffee, or coffee like a pour over. There is even a World Aeropress Championship where top baristas try to beat out each other’s recipes.
But the standard instructions for AeroPress brew coffee more like a Moka pot, even though they call it espresso. They call it espresso because it is a tight ratio of water to coffee—you can read all about brewing ratios in our article on the basics of coffee brewing. You then can either drink this concentrate as is or add hot water to make American coffee. That recipe uses the scoop included with the brewer—which holds approximately 15 grams of coffee—and the numbers on the side to arrive at the desired coffee-to-water ratio.
That method is acceptable if you do not own a scale, although we recommend using a finer grind and hotter water (just off the boil). While this tighter ratio gets you closer to an espresso taste than a more standard recipe, the lower water temperature and filter grind size will probably leave you wanting more.
So for our espresso recipe, we’re going to make a few adjustments to help get you as close as possible to legitimate espresso. We’ll have you using a fine grind, boiling water, aggressive stirring, and the inverted method.
Espresso in AeroPress Tips
Before getting into the specifics of this recipe, let’s go over a few standard tips that will help you avoid the common mistakes that lead to under or over-extracted coffee. Whatever variation you go with, the following ideas will keep you close to an espresso taste:
- Try to find espresso coffee beans.
- Use a fine grind, but a few clicks coarser than a real espresso grind (and don’t have your coffee ground ahead of time!).
- Water should be just off the boil, not the 175 degrees recommended by AeroPress.
- Use the inverted method to get maximum immersion.
- Fine grinds will clump together, so be sure to stir aggressively to make sure all grounds join the party!
- Use a metal filter—paper filters block the fines and oils from passing into the cup, but metal filters like Altura DISC get you closer to the mouthfeel of espresso.
- Buy an espresso roast bag of coffee.
While those tips are good general rules, don’t forget that making coffee at home is all about fun experimentation—don’t be afraid to try out new techniques. You never know what will lead to something delicious!
AeroPress Espresso Recipe
The inspiration for this AeroPress Espresso recipe comes from James Hoffmann. It uses a tight brewing ratio (approximately 1:5) and a fine grind to achieve an espresso-like taste. You won’t get the thick coffee flavor or texture possible from a machine, but the metal filter makes up for this by getting the thick/oily texture of regular espresso. Even with standard paper filters, the taste is surprisingly complex.
You may have to dial in the grind size until you are happy with the flavor.
We recommend using the following guidelines as your starting point:
- Method: Inverted Aeropress
- Coffee: 18 grams of finely ground coffee
- Water: 100 ml/grams (just off the boil)
- Brew Time: 1:45 total
- Filter: Metal DISC filter (paper filter still works)
You should pour the water into the brewing chamber as fast as possible and give the slurry an aggressive stir. This stirring ensures that everything in the Aeropress chamber is evenly saturated. Secure the filter cap in place, and once your timer gets to 1:20, carefully flip the brewer over. Plunge slowly and evenly, including through the hissing sound. You should finish the plunging around 1:45.
**Warning: The inverted Aeropress method can be dangerous, so take general precautions and be sure to properly twist the cap on before plunging.**
Variations on How To Make Espresso with AeroPress
Like any recipe, experimentation is a fun way to arrive at different flavors and potentially find a personal recipe that’s even better than the original. This flexibility is especially true for coffee since each bag of beans is different.
We recommend starting with the recipe above and only changing one variable at a time. At first, you should only change the grind size if you think the flavor is off. As we wrote in our article about fixing bitter coffee, grind finer to get more extraction and coarser to get less extraction.
But outside of grind size, you can also alter the dosing and the timing to extract different flavors. We’ve tried many AeroPress espresso recipes over the years and think this one is the most consistent, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find something better at home!
Espresso Drinks to Incorporate With AeroPress
There are a ton of names for espresso drinks, and every cafe seems to mean something slightly different by them. But all of these milk-based espresso drinks—a latte, cappuccino, flat white, cortado, etc—involve some combination of espresso and milk. That’s right Curb Your Enthusiasm fans, it’s as simple as “milk and coffee“.
For a hot drink, we recommend heating the milk before adding it to your espresso. You can also froth your milk for a foamy texture, especially if you like cappuccinos. Handheld milk frothers are reasonably priced and do the trick, or you can use your French press to get some air into the milk.
Use the following ratios depending on the espresso drink you desire:
Cold Drinks with AeroPress Espresso
Since cold espresso drinks are popular, this section will link out to a few delicious ways to make refreshing iced-based drinks. The key is to add a few ice cubes into your mug before you plunge the AeroPress. Like Japanese iced coffee, we find espresso tastes best when cooled instantly drop by drop.
Afterward, you can add milk and other ingredients in the proper ratios. Check out some of our cold espresso drinks below:
AeroPress Espresso: FAQ
Now that you have the basic idea about making an espresso on the AeroPress brewer, let’s work through a few of the most common questions.
Can AeroPress make crema?
Technically, the AeroPress plunger does not produce enough pressure for real crema. True espresso consists of micro-bubbles of gas that suspend themselves for minutes on the oils and fat in coffee. But AeroPress coffee produces only a thin layer of large bubbles that disappear quickly.
Does AeroPress taste like espresso?
AeroPress coffee is heavy, aromatic, and captures the strong taste of espresso, but it fails to produce the syrupy body and intensity of legit espresso because the plunger cannot create enough pressure.
How do you make an AeroPress latte?
An AeroPress latte follows the same approach as a regular latte by combining espresso and milk. After making this recipe, fill the remaining two-thirds of your cup with warm/frothed milk. For a foamy texture, you can froth the milk with a handheld milk frother or a French press coffee maker.
How much coffee do you use for an AeroPress Espresso?
To get a concentrated espresso-like flavor, use a coffee bean-to-water ratio of 1:5. In our recipe, that is 18 grams of coffee to 90 grams of water.
Final Thoughts: Can AeroPress Really Make Espresso?
Sorry to say, but the answer to whether AeroPress makes espresso-style coffee is both yes and no. Of course, it’s not legitimately espresso—you need the high pressure of an espresso machine for that. But in terms of taste, this espresso coffee gets surprisingly close to the real deal.
So if you’re a coffee enthusiast who wants that strong and bold taste of espresso at home (without dropping money on an expensive espresso machine), this AeroPress recipe is your best bet. You can even brew it on the road with AeroPress Go and a hand grinder.
It tastes fantastic on its own, and you can also make a great-tasting latte or cappuccino without leaving the house.
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