Many people start their day with a cup of coffee. It gets their day started the right way and gives them the energy to tackle whatever they come across. Coffee is such a versatile beverage that there is no right or wrong way to make it; it all depends on your preferences. However, there are various established types of coffee such as black coffee and espresso. While most people who love a cup of coffee in the morning will get one from a coffee shop, some prefer to make it at home. For these people, the right equipment to make a delicious cup of coffee is either an espresso machine or an AeroPress. But, can an AeroPress make a good cup of cappuccino, and how can you go about doing this?
An AeroPress is a small, inexpensive, manual coffee maker that resembles a plastic cylinder and is capable of making a great cup of coffee. Because it does not require any electricity to operate, an AeroPress is perfect for camping, traveling, or other situations where you may not have an outlet to plug in a coffee or espresso maker.
Before we look at how you can use your AeroPress to make espresso, we need to first understand how espresso is made. Most baristas say that espresso is a very beautiful, complex, and flavorful type of coffee beverage but one that is very frustrating to make. This is because it is thick, highly concentrated, and very easy to mess up. Also, a good espresso has to have a caramel-colored foamy milk top known as crema which completes the beverage.
The other main component of making an espresso is pressure. When using an espresso machine, pressure is applied to make the shot of espresso. When learning how to use AeroPress to make espresso, you need to learn how to apply the right pressure to the plunger to push the coffee through a filter and ensure complete extraction.
The pressure so applied to the coffee causes tiny coffee particles to extrude out of the coffee grounds. It also causes oils, acids, and other coffee components to diffuse faster out of the coffee grounds for a delicious cup of coffee. The higher the pressure applied, the faster the extraction process and the more of the coffee compounds and components end up in your cup of coffee. This is why the higher pressure used when making an espresso causes it to be so concentrated.
Without this pressure, or with inadequate pressure, you get a golden-brown coffee brew that makes for great coffee but not for a great espresso. Luckily, an AeroPress can provide this pressure and although it cannot be called a manual espresso maker, it still gets you closer than most other coffee makers can.
Making Espresso with Your AeroPress
Now that you understand how espresso is made, let us see how you can make one using AeroPress. The first step will be gathering everything you need. This includes the AeroPress and a filter, a coffee scale, a coffee grinder, a mug, a water kettle, and a timer.
Start by rinsing and placing the AeroPress filter in the filter cap. Then, insert the plunger halfway into the main chamber of the AeroPress which is the brewing chamber. Use the kettle to boil water to about 195 degrees Fahrenheit. Although this is lower than some people recommend, it helps you avoid over extracting the coffee when you apply the final pressure to the AeroPress plunger.
Use the coffee grinder to grind the coffee so it is as fine as sugar. Pour the ground coffee into the AeroPress and place it on the scale. Since the AeroPress and coffee will have some weight, ensure that you zero the scale before the next step.
Start the timer and start pouring water into the AeroPress. Pour slowly and wait until you have added 55 grams of water. Next, shake or spin the AeroPress so the mixture mixes well until you get to the 25-second mark.
Now attach the filter cap and turn the AeroPress upside down onto a mug. Insert the plunger and push as hard as you can. Push for about five seconds to ensure full extraction and your espresso shot will be done. Once the shot is done, you can now make different types of espresso drinks including an AeroPress latte espresso or any other type of espresso you fancy.
AeroPress Espresso Foam
Another major difference between using a coffee maker and the AeroPress as discussed above is the amount of foam you get. If you want to get lots of AeroPress foam, you have to use finer grounds and a lot of pressure when bringing the plunger down. You will get some foam when you do it this way, but do not expect to get as much foam as you would get if you used an espresso machine.
The Filter Matters
While most people concentrate on the size of the coffee grounds, the temperature of the water, and the amount of pressure they put on the plunger, they do not understand that the filter they use has a huge part to play. The filter used can change the flavor and the body of the final espresso shot.
Paper filters are the most common, and they filter out all the coffee grinds and particles, leaving you with a smooth and clean cup of coffee. Paper filters also lead to coffee that tastes a little acidic because of the absence of these coffee particles. Also, the coffee might feel and taste thin because of the removal of natural coffee oils by the paper.
A metal filter produces AeroPress espresso which is very close to espresso made using an espresso machine. The coffee feels and tastes a bit heavier. The presence of microscopic coffee particles also leads to a silky and aromatic espresso shot due to the presence of the coffee’s natural oils. Espresso made using a metal filter also tastes less acidic.
As you can see, both of these types of filters lead to a great result, but the metal filter will get you as close to true espresso as possible when you use this method.
Types of Espresso Made Using an AeroPress
The fun part of making espresso using your AeroPress is that you can make different types of espresso drinks with the espresso shot. The first of these is a flat white or café latte. This is a creamy coffee which includes milk for a smooth cup of coffee. An Americano is made by adding hot water to the espresso to smooth out the bitterness of the espresso.
A macchiato is a delicious type of espresso that requires the use of an AeroPress with milk to end up with a shot of espresso mixed with frothy foam. A cappuccino is similar to a latte and also includes foamed milk in a shot of espresso.
For something fancier, you can go with a mocha, which is a shot of espresso topped with fluffy milk foam and cocoa or chocolate sprinkles.
Other types of espresso drinks include adding a shot or two of espresso to different beverages including a chai latte, vodka, and many others.
AeroPress Vs. Espresso Machine
When using your AeroPress to make espresso, it is a good idea to compare the two to see how they compare. A major difference between the two, apart from the pressure both of them use to make the espresso, is their versatility. An AeroPress is only able to make espresso, from which you have to make other types of espresso drinks yourself. An espresso machine can do all this for you and all you need to do is press a few buttons and you have a latte, cappuccino, or whichever other types of espresso drink you want.
Second, some espresso machines have in-built coffee grinders. This means you do not need a separate coffee grinder when making your coffee; you only need the coffee beans and to select the correct grinding settings.
Espresso machines can be automatic, semi-automatic, or manual so you have total control over the brew. An AeroPress only has one setting and it is, therefore, easy to mess up and not get the espresso shot you were expecting.
Two of the areas where an AeroPress beats an espresso machine are price and portability. An AeroPress is many times cheaper than an espresso machine and, because it does not require power, it can be taken anywhere you wish.
It is also harder to clean an espresso machine because it has so many parts. If not cleaned properly, an espresso machine can produce espresso that tastes different from what you expect. For an AeroPress, all you need to do is rinse it out and it is ready for use again.
Making an espresso using your AeroPress is not as difficult as you may think, you just have to learn how to apply the right amount of pressure when making the espresso. You also need to prepare everything you need and grind the coffee beans so you can get the exact espresso shot you are expecting.