AeroPress Creativity Primer, Part 1

Shake the cup back and forth until all the floating coffee drops into the water

Three new ways to brew with an AeroPress


Too often, creativity in brewing ends up being relegated to a small percentage of people who are participating in coffee competitions. The rest of the baristas are given recipes and strategies, and asked to make consistent cups of coffee. And when it comes to preparing drinks for guests, I absolutely agree with this. We should not be serving untasted experiments to our customers.

But what about those mid-morning lulls? What about that last hour before closing? What if we took advantage of the inherent ebb and flow of our industry to do some liquid free-association during the occasional slow times? What if those of us who are cafe managers made it a part of our staff’s duties to do one brew experiment each shift and record the results? Regardless of the differences in our shops, we could all benefit from building structures that encourage every member of our staff to be more creative.

Unsurprisingly, my own passion to experiment went through the roof when I started preparing for a competition. In my case, it was the Midwestern Regional AeroPress Competition in Chicago. In the months leading up to the event, I was driven by a desire to use the AeroPress to do things no other manual brewer could do. During that process, three especially compelling techniques came to the forefront as having the potential to brew very unique, fun, and delicious cups of coffee. I offer them now in the hopes that they will serve as a springboard for your own creative brewing pursuits.

Pulling the water up into the Press
Pulling the water up into the Press


What you need besides an AeroPress:

Find a container for your brewing water with a big enough top opening for your AeroPress to enter (4.25 inches). This could be as simple as a stove pot, or as precise as a variable temperature digital electric kettle. Electric tea kettles tend to have larger top openings.

How it’s done:

¢ Wet 2 filters and screw them onto the AeroPress.

¢ Place 20g finely ground coffee into the brewing cylinder, level it, insert the plunger, and press it all the way down.

¢ Submerge the bottom 1/3 of the AeroPress in your hot brewing water, hold it steady, start a timer, and pull the plunger back until you suction water up to the bottom of the “4”.

¢ Set the AeroPress on a cup and shake it back and forth quickly until all floating grounds have dropped into the brew.

¢ At 1:00 on the timer, move the press to a different cup, then shake it back and forth for 5 more seconds.

¢ At 1:30 on the timer, press for 30 seconds.

Shake the cup back and forth until all the floating coffee drops into the water
Shake the cup back and forth until all the floating coffee drops into the water


¢ You might drip a little water as you move the press from the water container to your cup.

¢ It takes a little bit of practice to master the shaking back and forth.

Why try it:

The gentle combination of water and coffee limits harsh flavors that can come from the agitation caused by pouring water. This, combined with a fine grind and a quick brew time can produce an incredibly delicate coffee with playful acidity and a candy sweet finish.

Part 2 of Joshua’s series on AeroPress experiments will appear here on Barista Magazine’s blog on Thursday, July 7.


Joshua Dusk-Peebles Bio Pic


Joshua Dusk-Peebles
is a lifelong explorer, experimenter, and learner. He enjoys nothing more than sharing what he is learning with other people. When he was young, he would get legitimately angry if his dad forgot to let him smell the coffee every time a new bag was opened. Unfortunately, the much less pleasant corresponding beverage kept him away from coffee until his 30s, when he smelled and then tasted a well-handled natural process Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, and everything made sense again. He plans on getting his own new-born son started much sooner.

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