Since its launch in 2005, the AeroPress has picked up a cult following, with good reason. Used by home enthusiasts, world-class baristas, and coffee brewing beginners worldwide, the AeroPress has undoubtedly been a success. But what is the best coffee for AeroPress?
There’s a lot that could influence your decision. We’ve got a complete guide below, designed to help you know what to look out for and what to consider to find your perfect match for this brewer.
If you want to dive straight in and take our recommendation, we found this Private Reserve coffee from Ka’u to be a brilliant all-around crowd-pleaser. It’s quite a developed roast for such a light-bodied coffee and brings a bit of fruit and a smooth chocolatey body that will keep everybody happy.
Our Top Picks
1. Best Overall: Koa Coffee – Private Reserve 100% Ka’u Coffee
2. Best Lighter Roast: Volcanica Coffee – Ethiopian Kochere Chelelektu Coffee
3. Best Darker Roast: Volcanica Coffee – Papua New Guinea Reserve Coffee
A Closer Look at the Best Coffee for AeroPress
We have tried to keep something for all tastes in our list of featured coffees here. These are all excellent coffees, and there really is no one best roast profile or origin for AeroPress. It’s a brewer with such broad capabilities and scope for interpretation that you can fit your recipe to make any coffee shine.
That being said, some approaches will suit different styles of coffee better. Armed with a bit of savoir-faire, you will soon be designing your own recipes and brewing like the champs.
Koa Coffee – Private Reserve 100% Ka’u Coffee – Best Overall
While most people’s minds will leap straight to Kona when they think of Hawaii and coffee, there are some treasures to be discovered on the rest of the island too! Ka’u coffee is an easy equal. It’s endowed with the same climatic conditions, fertile soil, and generations of experience as the better-known farms further North.
This particular specimen has an exceptional floral overtone reminiscent of jasmine, with an almost white tea-like character. It has a smooth, syrupy, chocolate nature, yielding to dark sweetness and a lingering spice finish.
You will find these beans perform better a little less extracted for an almost pour-over-like brew. This is best achieved with a shorter brew time and a slightly coarser grind.
Volcanica Coffee – Ethiopian Kochere Chelelektu Coffee – Best Lighter Roast
At A Glance
Roast Profile: Medium/Light Roast
Origin: Ethiopia, Kochere, Chelelektu
Flavor Profile: Blackberry / Plum / Grape / Mandarin Orange
With good reason, Ethiopian coffees are some of the most sought-after green coffees. Notable for explosions of fruit that lean towards brightness and acidity, this medium-to-light roast is no exception. It has an abundance of sharp citric acidity, balanced by the sweetness of very ripe berries. The finish is tart and short, suggestive of grape skins.
The washed process enhances the clarity of flavor available in these coffee beans. A more delicate brew is necessary to capture the full range of involute fruit characteristics. A good starting point, as above, is to grind a little courser and offer a shorter steep to the brew.
Use two or three paper filters to capture some of the oils. Most enjoyable when served as a light-bodied coffee with a tea-like mouthfeel, it must be brewed sympathetically to avoid muddying the flavors.
Volcanica Coffee – Papua New Guinea Reserve Coffee – Best Darker Roast
At A Glance
Roast Profile: Dark Roast
Origin: Papua New Guinea
Flavor Profile: Toffee / Lemon / Brown Sugar / Molasses
This Papua New Guinean coffee is grown from the Jamaica Blue Mountain mutation of the Typica heirloom cultivar. It was transported in 1927 as seedlings from the region that gives the variety its name.
This coffee’s more mellow and smooth characteristics and its limited bitters can likely be attributed to these intrinsic varietal qualities. The almost treacle molasses note’s profundity is thanks to its dark roast.
These beans differ from most Jamaica Blue Mountain in the presence of profoundly tropical fruit flavors evocative of ripe mangoes and papaya.
When brewing, the PNG deserves a slightly finer grind for a fuller extraction of oils. It would be advisable to use a metal filter with these beans. The paper filters that would traditionally be used with an AeroPress can take a bit too much of the body away from a coffee that so wants to be full and bold.
At A Glance
Roast Profile: Medium Roast
Origin: Latin America / Indonesia / East Africa
Flavor Profile: Sweet Citrus / Dark Chocolate / Caramel
Another coffee bean that will be happiest when allowed to develop over a longer brew, this blend from Stumptown is a real treat. It is roasted and blended to suit brewing as an espresso, but we found that you can achieve excellent results in an AeroPress.
This coffee has a full body, thanks in part to its Indonesian components and its more fully developed roast. The citric acids are a vital feature here, being prominent characteristics of East African and Central American beans. In these beans, they express themselves with an almost lemon sherbety sweetness.
Further depth is added by a caramel sweetness that deepens towards burned sugar and dark chocolate bitters at the conclusion. While not the darkest roast on our list, this coffee still has a strong enough flavor to stand up to a splash of milk or cream.
At A Glance
Roast Profile: Dark Roast
Origin: Colombia, Urcunina
Flavor Profile: Dark Chocolate / Roasted Nuts / Berries
This dark roast from Counter Culture is overflowing with deep roasting tones set against hints of more vibrant berries and red fruit. The profile of this coffee significantly changes as it cools, revealing much more of the fruit. Throughout, it has a strong undercurrent of toasted hazelnuts, or almost walnut at times, developing into a bitter cacao finish.
We found it a great candidate for those who prefer to add a dash of milk to their brews. Also, brewing stronger as a concentrate for dilution with milk to replicate an espresso-based drink is a great option.
You could try these beans brewed with a 1:6 ratio and a little steamed milk approximating a flat white. You should grind relatively fine but not allow your coffee to brew for much over a minute to avoid over-development of the bitters.
At A Glance
Roast Profile: Medium Roast
Flavor Profile: Nectarine / Key Lime / Brown Sugar
Roasted by Verve in Santa Cruz, this blend changes its components seasonally, but always Ethiopian and always with the same flavor profile in mind. This makes it a good, consistent choice for people who like a bit of stability in their beans.
If you are just starting out at home brewing, it can be a good idea to stick with one decent blend like this until you get to grips with dialing in your grinder and getting a good even pour.
The roast is at the lighter end of medium but still quite fully developed. You should make sure to brew long enough to extract all the lovely sugars in this one. Keep your brew time or grind size consistent and tweak the other one until you get the extraction right.
Verve describes the stone-fruit flavors present in this coffee as candy-like, which seems appropriate. The various sweets in this coffee bean run over a cereal biscuit note that feels close to a key lime pie base. It has an immaculate and short finish.
At A Glance
Roast Profile: Medium Roast
Origin: Indonesia, Sulawesi, Toraja
Flavor Profile: Soft Flavors / Tart Acidity / Chamomile / Lemon
Grown on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on ancient Toraja trees in the shade of a virgin rainforest four days’ journey by horse from the local market, there is something extraordinary about this coffee reflected in the flavor. With just 300 to 600 bags of this exported each year, it is undoubtedly a rare treat.
The White Eagle is the symbol of the Torajan people, the indigenous tribespeople that live in the mountainous uplands in the South of Sulawesi. They are an agrarian people and have farmed coffee since its introduction in the mid-19th century. Over several generations, this experience has grown to give the Toraja region importance in specialty coffee that it has enjoyed since the late 1960s.
Very delicate coffee beans, you must be careful not to lose the nuanced and subtle flavors behind unwanted bitters. The floral, faintly herbal character is redolent of meadows, with a crisp but sweet citrus endnote that lingers just a little.
Try grinding a little courser here to avoid over-extraction. A couple of paper filters won’t hurt here either to help with clarity.
What Is So Special About the AeroPress?
The AeroPress was invented by Alan Adler in the early part of the new millennium out of a desire to find a single-cup brewing method that was easy to use at home. It was released at the Seattle CoffeeFest trade show in 2005. Since its inception and unveiling, it has gone from strength to strength despite an initially slow uptake.
Now one of the most widely-used and best-loved brewers globally, it has even had its own world championship since 2008. The sheer variety in the competition-winning recipes used by the contestants gives a clue about what is perhaps the most attractive feature of the AeroPress.
It is an incredibly versatile brewing device. For a very straightforward cup, it can be as simple as heating your water, measuring out a scoop (provided in the box with most AeroPresses) of coffee, and away you go. But actually, the real strength of this brewer lies in its adaptability.
Whatever the flavor profile of the coffee you’re hoping to brew, you can tweak your recipe and process to ensure you are bringing out the best of its characteristics.
Another interesting point to note about this device is that it is a hybrid of an immersion brewer and a pressure brewer like a Mokka pot or espresso machine. This adds further to its range and versatility. It enables you to use it to brew a short and intense shot of coffee for dilution that you can almost use as a substitute for espresso.
What To Look For in the Best Coffee for AeroPress
As mentioned above, thanks to the versatility of the AeroPress, you can really adapt your recipe to get the best out of any coffee bean. If you like a full-bodied, smokey brew packed with complex bitters, you will find this achievable with your AeroPress. On the other hand, if you got a super light-roasted Ethiopian Geisha and really want to get the best out of it, this brewer is up to the task.
With that in mind, you should stick to general best practices when choosing quality coffee. Follow your favorites, but don’t shut yourself off from new experiences. As always, fresh is best. Keep reading to look at some of the things you should keep in mind while shopping for your best coffee for AeroPress.
Absolutely any roast profile will work here. If you want bolder, roastier flavors, you should opt for a dark roast. Think bonfires, s’mores, lapsang souchong, and bitter cacao. For brighter, fruitier, and more light-bodied brews, you would be well-advised to shop for a lighter roast.
If you’re looking for something of a middle ground, a medium roast will be for you. For some people, too blonde of a roast can be almost vegetal and sour, missing out on the smooth balance in more developed roasts.
A lot of this comes down to proper extraction — an even and full extraction should never be grassy, providing the roaster has done their job correctly. Nonetheless, if you’re craving richer, more chocolatey tones, you could opt for a more developed roast profile.
As a quick whistle-stop tour of coffee origins and their implications for the flavor profile, we can outline some rules of thumb here. Generally speaking, East African coffee beans will be light, floral, bright, and fruity. Some slightly more developed Kenyans may exhibit almost winey tones.
If you are looking for smooth chocolate and nuts, you need to look no further than Central and South American coffees. In particular, some of the better Brazilians display prominent peanut butter and chocolate Reese’s Pieces flavor notes.
For something a little brighter, you could aim a little further north into Colombia. There, you can expect to find lighter citric acids alongside roasted hazelnut notes.
Asian and Pacific island coffees tend to mirror the complexity and mystique of their environments. They can be anything from winey, light, and floral (as you might expect from Hawaiian beans) to deeply exotic and full of tropical fruit and spices, as in the case of a good Indonesian.
Single-Origin Vs. Blend
Here the answer will depend on the purpose of your shopping. If you are keen to learn more about the differences between the coffee produced in the various coffee-growing regions of the world, you will, of course, want to opt for a single-origin bean.
Equally, if you want to try something exciting in your AeroPress that won’t necessarily be the most balanced cup, single origins will be your friend.
On the other hand, if you require a consistent, round, and balanced coffee, you will find that you most reliably enjoy good blends. Done well, a blend can marry together two distinct sets of flavor profiles in perfect harmony.
You could almost think of blends as a whole symphony as opposed to the aria of a single-origin.
Can You Buy Pre-Ground
Nothing is stopping you from using store-ground coffee in your AeroPress. If you want the convenience of putting together a quick brew at home, or indeed on the go, pre-ground coffee can be handy. It will certainly work, and you will get coffee.
It won’t, however, be the best coffee you can brew. Most homebrewers will attest that switching to a decent burr grinder and grinding their beans fresh will be the most significant improvement to their quality throughout their whole coffee journey.
Like any fresh food, which is how you should consider your coffee, you will get the best results by keeping it as fresh as possible. Coffee grounds will become noticeably more stale (even to the untrained palette) within just a few minutes.
If you do want to use pre-ground coffee, though, try to keep it in as air-tight an environment as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Sets AeroPress Apart From Other Brew Methods?
What primarily separates the AeroPress from its competitors is its sheer versatility. You can achieve results very much like a pour-over, a French press, or even something like an espresso, all with just one device. Even a pretty decent and quick cold brew is possible.
This feature has brought it something of a cult following, and you will be sure to find all sorts of social groups and forums online for sharing recipes and stories if that’s your thing.
Further to this, the AeroPress is a uniquely good option for outdoor use and camping or hiking trips. It’s made of hard-wearing plastic, and you can fit a manual grinder inside the unit itself. Armed with a thermos flask in one pouch and AeroPress in the other, you could enjoy a wild coffee in minutes.
Does It Really Matter What Beans You Use?
The coffee beans you choose will have the biggest impact on the qualities of your final brew, presuming no catastrophic human error. If you’re fairly indifferent about the quality of your end result, it doesn’t really matter. However, since you have taken the time to read this far, it would be fair to guess that you do care.
If you are interested in achieving the best possible cup of coffee with the resources available to you, then your beans are of paramount importance.
How Much Coffee Should You Use?
This is very much up for debate with the AeroPress. It is a brewer that can accommodate a dizzying array of different brew ratios and still yield a drinkable cup of coffee. The best answer here will depend upon your desired aims in terms of flavor and body.
If you want a richer and more intense cup of Aeropress coffee, leaving all other variables consistent, you should increase the ratio of coffee to water you are using. At the same time, try more water to coffee for a lighter and brighter brew.
The AeroPress manual would suggest a ratio of 1:6 coffee to water. This produces a very intense and concentrated shot that can be diluted with milk or water for longer drinks. If you want to brew something for dilution, this is an excellent place to start.
Alternatively, for a longer drink that you can enjoy undiluted, we’d recommend starting with a ratio of 1:18 or 11g of coffee to around 7oz of water.
So what is the best coffee for AeroPress? For a good all-rounder, you won’t go far wrong with this Ka’u coffee from Koa. It is medium roasted, light-bodied, and full of exotic flavors waiting to dive into your brewer. Ultimately, you will be best positioned to choose the best Aeropress coffee for your personal taste.
Hopefully, this buyer’s guide has equipped you with the knowledge you need to choose yourself something you will love and some idea of where to start when brewing it at home.
Related Read: How To Use An AeroPress