These are intended as a "starting point" for Ibrik brewing - ultimately you will figure out the best and most convenient ways to use these brewing devices, so please remake, twist, turn, distort, decompile, torch, grind and brew these instructions to suit your own needs!.
The AeroPress has such a clean cup because it uses paper filter discs. The brewer comes with a 1 year supply of filter discs! In fact, it can last longer than that, and you can even rinse and reuse discs, although that is not ideal.
All these pieces make the AeroPress seem more complicated than it really is. It can be packed into a compact package, and you don't necessarily need to take all these items for travel.
1. Prepare the Press
Put a single paper disc in the black plastic cap, twist it onto the clear brew chamber (right). Band-Aid not included with AeroPress!
2. Grind the Coffee
Measure out your coffee using the scoop provided, 1 level scoop per "cup." Using my method, you will add 50-65% more water to the concentrate after brewing, so you will roughly double the amount you initially brew in the AeroPress. These amounts are in blue ink on the side of the press. I suggest 2 scoops to make a 10-12 oz mug of coffee. Of course, you will dilute to your personal taste, which will require some experimentation. You can use the funnel (right) to grind directly into the brew chamber. Ditting mill not included with AeroPress!
What grind to use? I prefer a medium fine; finer than French Press, a bit finer than drip filter coffee, not nearly as fine as espresso. If the press is hard to plunge, make the grind coarser.
3. Add Hot Water And Brew!
Add hot water. I recommend using the TOP of the ovals indicated on the side. I prefer to brew using 2 or 3 scoops, and using the top of the ovals marked 2 or 3 respectively. Thoroughly wet the grinds while pouring. Then stir grinds rapidly, using the stirrer paddle. Surfboard coffee mug not included with AeroPress!
Olympus camera strap not included with Aeropress!
How Hot Should the Water Be? Okay, here is where things get subjective. Aeropress recommends low temperature brewing with 165 to 175 f water. They say "professional coffee tasters" preferred low temperatures. I do agree that the Aeropress should be brewed with temperatures on the low end of the traditional coffee brewing window from 195 to 205 f. But if you add a small amount of hot water to a room temperature brew and room temperature ground coffee, you immediately experience a big temperature drop. I suggest adding 195 to 200 f water, begin stirring in 10 seconds, continue for 10 seconds, then go to Step 4 and start plunging ...
4. Plunge It, Dilute It.
As mentioned, this is a fast brew method. The coffee tastes overextracted if you let it steep 3-5 minutes, as with other brew methods. Steep 10 seconds, stir 10 seconds, then plunge for 10-20 seconds. I think pushing with even, light force is better than pushing hard and fast. In either case, push the plunger all the way down.
Add hot water to dilute the concentrate to a drinkable coffee. For me, 50-65% additional hot water seems right. You don't want the undesirable tastes of overly strong coffee (liquor-like flavors) nor weak, watery cup results.
Variables: Grind, water temperature, steeping/stirring/plunging times, dilution. All 4 of these are going to affect the brew results greatly. If at first you are not pleased, experiment with these variables. I think it is a good feature of the AeroPress that you control the variables and can customize your results, even if these variables may give some occasionally unwanted variability to the results.
5. Clean Up
Coffee Concentrate: Note that you can also store the undiluted brew as a cold concentrate, either to add hot water for a quick cup or for iced coffee. (My opinion: saving a concentrate can be great for convenience, but is not as good as freshly brewed coffee, no matter the method of brewing, storage or reheating. Volatile aromatic components are lost when coffee is stored. But it can be very convenient for camping, traveling, etc.) This concentrate is great for baking, and other recipes. The Moosewood Cookbook has THE best chocolate cake recipe that uses coffee, and the AeroPress is ideal for that...
Please ignore the box: As mentioned, I find the Aeropress package (but not the instructions) to be a bit embarrassing. Maria didn't even want to carry it based on the way it is marketed and sold, and the packaging. I too dislike the use of unsubstantiated, unprovable "superlatives," and the Aeropress box contains a year's supply of those: "The World's Best Coffee and Espresso Maker," Smoothest, Richest, Purest, Fastest","The Ultimate Coffee Experience." If you have a good item, why all this nonsense? Can you prove it's the world's best? Did you try all the coffee and espresso makers in the world? And then who decided it is best? How about the expert's quote: "When used properly AeroPress produces a remarkably good straight espresso ... In fact, it produces a better shot than many home machines that cost twenty or thirty times as much" -Kenneth Davids . Illy's research shows that espresso is a beverage brewed at 7-11 bars of pressure, with water temperature between 194 and 203 f (without temperature loss from a cold coffee handle, etc). Even if the AeroPress had the organoleptic features of espresso, and the appearance of espresso, I don't think it is within these parameters. If it is such good "espresso" why will I probably not see a Barista making AeroPress Latte Art at the Western Regional Barista Championships next month? It's a joke, but the point is, we need to protect the term "espresso" from mis-use. Aeropress is a good brewer, no need to call it an espresso machine.
UPDATE - 9/6/2018: We noticed a sticky excretion on an AeroPress seal that had been unused for a while and contacted Aeropress about it. They got back to us and it sounds pretty harmless. See video on the left.
"The sticky excretion from your seals is a combination of coffee oils and mineral oils that tend to leach out of seals that have been sitting unused for awhile and this is particularly true if they have been sitting in a warm place. The sticky material can be washed off but it is not easy."
"As you probably know the seal just fits on the end of the plunger and can easily be removed and replaced. "
"In case you were wondering, the coffee oils are harmless and the mineral oils are also harmless as is required of the food grade materials we use in making the AeroPress."