Best Grind for Aeropress

Not sure if you noticed, but Blue Penguin has been favoring the Aeropress as of late. The little plastic device has an undeniable charm, and we fell for it.  In this article, we address a common question for new Aeropress users: “what’s the best grind for Aeropress?”

 

We published two Aeropress related articles recently:

 

Both articles discuss the drawbacks and strengths of the Aeropress, pour over, and French Press. The hunt for the ideal brewing method can be a frustrating one, especially if you’re new to the specialty coffee scene. The coffee industry is only growing. We are constantly being bombarded by new brewing methods and techniques.

 

For the coffee nerd, this is a dream. Coffee is a craft to be discovered and experienced. New innovations are welcome to nerds of the coffee variety.

 

For many others, the fast-paced nature of the specialty coffee scene can be overwhelming. Blue Penguin is all about innovation and new coffee tech, but it’s simply too much to follow for some folks.

 

The Aeropress, Pour Over methods, and the French press is by no means new. They’ve been around for a while. However, these methods are new to the craft coffee novice. The purpose of the articles was to help you narrow down your list – helping you cut through the jungle of brewing gadgets on the market. The French Press, Aeropress, and pour overs like the Bee House and V60, are brewing classics.

 

 

Overview

Hario decanter and mug on sofa with radio

Today, we go over grinding options for the Aeropress. If you recently adopted an Aeropress, you’re in luck! Being savvy in the art of coffee grind adjustment will take you to greater heights. It’s absolutely frustrating when you aren’t certain what the best grind for Aeropress actually is…especially when you hope to brew with it every morning.

 

This article covers:

  • The importance of grind
  • Ways to approach grinding for Aeropress
  • If there actually is a “best grind for Aeropress”
  • Recipes and techniques for you to try

 

Your Coffee Grounds are IMPORTANT

Adjusting grind is the most efficient way to dial in your brew.

 

The coffee grinder is often disregarded. It’s viewed less as a valued tool and more as a means to an end. That’s a grave mistake.

 

One of our recent articles takes an in-depth look at the coffee grinder. We can’t stress how vital a good grinder is. It’s one way you can immediately improve your Aeropress brew. A decent grinder won’t solve all of your problems, but it will empower you to make confident brewing decisions.

 

Why grind quality is key:

Best grind for aeropress - coffee on a spoon

If you use a crummy grinder, your mass of grounds will have a broad particle size distribution (PSD). This means that individual grind particles will vary vastly in size. If some grounds are coarse and other grounds are fine, the coffee extraction will be off.

 

You want a narrow particle size distribution. The more similar in particle size, the more even the extraction.

 

This is why a broad PSD isn’t ideal. Coffee flavor solubles extract more rapidly when the particle surface area is small. If you brew with large and small grounds (boulders and fines), the particles will extract at different rates. This produces over extracted AND under extracted tastes. Yuck. 

Our point: your grind size won’t matter with a bad grinder. We recommended some good grinders at the end of this article. Check it out.

 

So now, let’s take look at how to approach different grind sizes on the Aeropress!

 

 

Grind Size for Aeropress

Gooseneck kettle pouring into Aeropress

The Aeropress is one of the most versatile brew methods. Since the decanting process is pressurized, you can essentially use any grind you want (just not ultra-fine or ultra-coarse). Usually, brewing time is dependent on grind size.

 

But not with the Aeropress.

 

The best grind for Aeropress isn’t exactly a particular size. It’s how you respond to the grind. You need to account for all brewing variables: time, agitation, brewing ratio, and temperature.

 

Variables:

  • More time = more extraction
  • More agitation = more extraction
  • Lower brewing ratio = more extraction (1:15 is lower than 1:18)
  • Higher brewing temperature = more extraction

 

 

[click on the headings below to reveal a photo of what you should look for. This guide from Prima also shows some helping images of proper grind size]

Fine Grind

Once again, it’s important to note that a fine grind extracts more rapidly than a coarse grind. This means that your brew will require less time to achieve a balanced extraction yield.

 

One may use a fine grind to achieve a higher solubles concentration. This means that the coffee will have more body. The mouthfeel will have more character and the flavor will be dampened. Some coffees are more desirable this way…making a fine grind the best grind for Aeropress (in this instance).

 

One could also brew at low temperatures with a fine grind to achieve a thick, tea-like feel. You’re getting into weird territory if your slurry is less than 180 degrees F, but very interesting flavors can be explored this way!

 

Recipe:

Grind: Fine

Volume: 240 ml

Coffee Mass: 14.1 grams

Time: 1:30

Water Temperature: 192 F

Bloom: 30 seconds

Style: inverted

Details:

Pour all water by 20 seconds and dunk the bloom at 30 seconds. Insert filter cap and push down (with filter facing up) until you hear hissing, then STOP. At 1 minute, flip onto decanter, but don’t press. Wait until 1:30 and press.

 

 

Medium Grind

A medium grind is a good place to start when dialing in.

 

It’s by no means the perfect grinding option, but it gives the user some room to play with other variables. If a fine grind isn’t working, and a coarse grind doesn’t feel right, a medium grind could likely be the answer.

 

[which in this case makes a medium grind the best grind for Aeropress…go figure]

 

The coffee will have a decently high flavor clarity and a lighter-medium body.

 

Recipe:

Grind: Medium

Volume: 240 ml

Coffee Mass: 14.1 grams

Time: 2:30

Water Temperature: 198 F

Bloom: 45 seconds

Style: inverted

Details:

Pour all water by 20 seconds and dunk the bloom at 45 seconds. Insert filter cap and push down (with filter facing up) until you hear hissing, then STOP. At 1:15, flip onto decanter, but don’t press. Wait until 2:30 and press.

 

 

Coarse Grind

The coarse grind offers the lowest solubles concentration, and it requires the most time to achieve a healthy extraction yield. It’s clean, full, and the slow extraction offers a unique flavor profile.

 

Since a coarse grind requires more brewing time, the water temperature should be over 200 degrees F when pouring into the Aeropress. The water will cool over time, so it’s necessary to maintain a viable brewing temperature (usually 195-205 degrees F).

 

Some baristas use a coarse grind, high brewing ratio (1:18 -1:20), lower temperature (190-195), and longer time (5+ minutes) to achieve a subtle, tea-like flavor profile. The slow extraction that a coarse grind provides lets us experiment with a number of other variables.

 

Recipe:

Grind: Coarse

Volume: 240 ml

Coffee Mass: 14.1 grams

Time: 3:30

Water Temperature: 200+ F

Bloom: 45 seconds

Style: inverted

Details:

Pour all water by 20 seconds and dunk the bloom at 45 seconds. Insert filter cap and push down (with filter facing up) until you hear hissing, then STOP. At 1:30, flip onto decanter, but don’t press. At 2:45, tilt press and decanter 45 degrees and spin press a few times. This agitation will increase extraction and grind uniformity. Wait until 3:30 and press.

 

 

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All of these recipes are starting points. Every coffee is different, so it’s up to you to choose what variables to manipulate. Bring out your mad scientist when brewing with the Aeropress! See how you can put your grind and brewing variables to work.

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