The Aeropress is a coffee brewer that brews just a single cup of coffee at a time. It is a piston-style brewer, which steeps the coffee before forcing it through a special filter directly into your cup.
While this is a fairly simple method for brewing coffee, you may be wondering what the best coffee grind for an Aeropress is.
A Primer in Grind Size Differences
The size that you grind your coffee beans into is imperative for a delicious tasting cup of coffee. Different methods of brewing coffee require different sizes of grounds.
For example, French press coffee is typically ground coarsely, while a Turkish coffee grind would be ground extra finely.
When you grind coffee, the oils and flavors of the coffee beans are released. When you add water, those flavors and compounds are extracted into the water.
A finer coffee grind will increase the surface area, which will increase the extraction rate of the coffee into the water. If the coffee is over-extracted, it can taste bitter and overpowering.
On the other hand, a coarser coffee grind will have reduced surface area, thus reduced extraction rate. An under-extracted coffee may taste too weak, or can sometimes even taste sour or salty.
See this post for a comparison of sour and bitter coffee.
How to Grind Coffee for an Aeropress
The Aeropress prefers its coffee to be ground into a fine texture, which is similar to the grind you would do for an espresso. This size would be a little bit finer than a typical table salt.
You would want to grind coffee for an Aeropress into a fine size if you were using the typical steep time of 30-60 seconds. Some people may prefer to steep their coffee for a longer period of time, which would alter the grind size you use.
For example, you could brew for 3 minutes with a medium grind, or for 4 minutes with a coarse grind. These time differences would be based on flavor preferences that you have.
Instructions from the Aeropress website advise to use a fine grind of coffee and steep the coffee for 20-40 seconds before plunging it.
Types of Grinders to Use for an Aeropress
There are many different types of coffee grinders on the market. Many Aeropress enthusiasts recommend using a Burr style grinder, as opposed to a blade style grinder.
Burr grinders are able to grind up the coffee beans in a more consistent manner, meaning that all the coffee grinds will end up being the same size. This is important when brewing coffee, because a uniform size will make for a perfectly extracted coffee.
Burr grinders will have sharp opposing surfaces, which cut the beans from both sides. Burr grinders can be either electric or manual, with electric Burr grinders being more expensive.
Blade style grinders
Blade style grinders use a blade similar to a blender. These types of grinders can sometimes produce grinds of differing sizes.
As mentioned above, different grind sizes will result in differing times of extraction. Unequal extraction times may result in either under- or over-extracted coffee, which can alter taste.
However, blade style grinders are much more affordable than Burr grinders and may be a good grinder for a beginner.
See this post for a more detailed comparison of blade and burr grinders.
Are Manual Grinders Good for Aeropress? Why?
There are several different types of coffee grinder available out there. Blade grinders are usually the least expensive, offering a cheaper alternative to the burr grinder at the cost of grind consistency.
But the Aeropress only requires a couple of spoonfuls of coffee. Some may not find the need for an electronic gadget that can take up valuable counterspace in shrinking living spaces.
Is a manual grinder the best choice for an Aeropress? As long as you don’t mind doing a little bit of work to get your fresh coffee grounds every time, the manual grinder is a great choice. Manual grinders are burr grinders, and they are inexpensive compared to their electric counterparts.
A manual grinder has most of the cost go into the burrs, so you know you’ll get a great grind every time.
With electric grinders, the burrs may be slightly lower in quality as other costs for the motor and housing can be prioritized.
With that in mind, your manual grinder is likely to last longer than an electric grinder as it has no motor to burn out.
Why choose manual?
The Aeropress only using a small amount of coffee is the largest factor in deciding to choose manual or electric. If you make many cups of coffee in a day, an electric burr grinder may be the better choice for you.
As long as you choose a burr grinder, you will get a consistent grind that you want with the Aeropress.
While manual grinders provide an inexpensive option for those who only drink coffee in the morning, the sacrifice of a bit of counterspace may be well worth it to those who are craving caffeine throughout the day. They can both offer great options under $30 for manual and $60 for electric.
The more you’re willing to invest in your grinder, the better your cup of coffee will be. Many coffee aficionados believe the coffee maker is not particularly important, but that the grinder will make or break the cup.
Perhaps this is the reason simple presses as the French press and Aeropress are often hailed for the best cups of coffee.
A Summary of Grinding Coffee for an Aeropress
In summary, the most common way to grind coffee for an Aeropress is to use a fine ground setting, similar to an espresso ground.
The highest quality grinder to use would be a Burr style grinder.
You can see my favorite entry level burr grinders here on this page or just check out the Skerton Pro on Amazon. It’s affordable, small, hand powered, and it makes consistent enough grind for me.