How To Make Espresso At Home (Without Spending Hundreds on an Espresso Machine): An Aeropress Tutorial
We’ve all been there… nothing sounds better than a latte or an Americano, but we’re on a budget, and spending $6 on a craft coffee just isn’t feasible. So we jump on Amazon and search “espresso machine.” There are some great options out there, such as the Breville Barista Express or the Saeco Xelsis. But the hefty price tag does nothing for the budget that’s the reason we’re here in the first place. But what if I told you that you could make quality espresso at home, and the equipment (that you can use hundreds of times) would cost less than six drinks at the hipster cafe? Enter Aeropress espresso.
The Aeropress. This little plastic tube and plunger will do the work of the espresso machine that’s ten times its cost. There are multiple Aeropress recipes, but for our purposes here, we’ll focus on a simple espresso method of brewing.
What You Need:
The quality of your coffee beans is extremely important. When making an Aeropress espresso, the flavors of the coffee will really pop, so crappy coffee will mean crappy flavor. Today, I’m using an Ethiopian Guji from Reverie Roasters in Wichita, Kansas. If, like me, you buy everything on Amazon Prime, grabbing something like the Bean Box sampler is a ton of fun.
Using the scoop that comes with the Aeropress, get one full scoop of whole bean coffee. This will come out to 16-18g.
When it comes to beans, always buy whole beans and grind them at home. The flavor of the beans diminishes greatly as time passes after grinding. If you’re on a budget, check out the JavaPresse manual burr grinder. For espresso, your grind should be very fine, with the grounds almost indistinguishable from each other.
For more on grinding, check out our article: How Fine Should I Grind?
If you’re using the paper filter, wet the filter so it sticks like glue to the filter cap. Screw the cap onto the base of the Aeropress and pour the grinds into the tube.
Make It Espresso
Up until now, everything we’ve done is pretty standard for an Aeropress brew. The next couple steps are what will set this brewing method apart as espresso.
Take a paper filter, wet it, and place it on the end of a tamper, like this Stainless Steel Tamper Tool. Then use the tamper to press the grounds together (like a barista would at an espresso machine). Pull out the tamper, leaving the paper filter on the grounds. Think about it like a coffee ground sandwich, with paper filters on each side instead of bread. This will create the amount of pressure necessary to turn this coffee into espresso.
POOR KID HACK: If you don’t have a tamper, you can use the base of a seasoning salt container.
Water & Press
If your filters and grounds are pressed correctly, no water will be leaking into the mug. Take the Aeropress plunger and place it into the cylinder. Take 20-30 seconds to plunge. If you’ve made a normal Aeropress before, you’ll notice that the resistance for this method is far greater than others. It will take some serious pressure to get the water through the two filters and extra fine grounds.
Once plunging is complete, remove the Aeropress from the mug and enjoy!
For more ways to make great coffee at home, check out HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT CUP OF COFFEE AT HOME!