Best Coffee for AeroPress? – A Buyer’s Guide

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best coffee for aeropress

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, this little device has undoubtedly been a success. But what is the best coffee for AeroPress? 

There’s a lot that could influence your decision. We have 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 the 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, keeping everybody happy.

Our Pick
  • Pros:
    • Hawaii
    • Medium Roast
    • Citrus, jasmine, spices
Best Lighter Roast
  • Pros:
    • Ethiopia
    • Medium/Light Roast
    • Blackberry, plum, grape notes
Best Darker Roast
  • Pros:
    • Papua New Guinea
    • Dark Roast
    • Toffee, lemon, brown sugar notes
  • Pros:
    • Various origins
    • Medium Roast
    • Citrus, chocolate, caramel notes
  • Pros:
    • Colombia
    • Dark Roast
    • Dark Chocolate, roasted nuts, berry notes
  • Pros:
    • Ethiopia
    • Medium Roast
    • Nectarine, key lime, brown sugar notes
  • Pros:
    • Indonesia
    • Medium Roast
    • Soft flavors, tart acidity, lemon notes
Our Pick
Best Lighter Roast
Pros:
  • Ethiopia
  • Medium/Light Roast
  • Blackberry, plum, grape notes
Best Darker Roast
Pros:
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Dark Roast
  • Toffee, lemon, brown sugar notes
Pros:
  • Various origins
  • Medium Roast
  • Citrus, chocolate, caramel notes
Pros:
  • Colombia
  • Dark Roast
  • Dark Chocolate, roasted nuts, berry notes
Pros:
  • Ethiopia
  • Medium Roast
  • Nectarine, key lime, brown sugar notes
Pros:
  • Indonesia
  • Medium Roast
  • Soft flavors, tart acidity, lemon notes
Lasso Brag

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 some knowledge, you will soon be designing your own recipes and brewing like the champs.

Our Pick
Koa Coffee – Private Reserve 100% Ka’u Coffee
Origin: Hawaii, Ka'u
Roast: Medium
Flavor Profile: Citrus / Jasmine / Spices / Currants / Brown Sugar
Bean: Whole
Check on Koa Coffee

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 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 less extracted for an almost pour-over-like brew. This is achieved with a shorter brew time and a slightly coarser grind.


Best Lighter Roast
Volcanica Coffee Ethiopian Kochere Chelelektu
Origin: Ethiopia
Roast: Medium/Light
Flavor Profile: Blackberry / Plum / Grape / Mandarin Orange
Bean: Whole or Ground
Check on Volcanica Coffee

Ethiopian beans are some of the most sought-after coffees, and for a good reason. 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 in these coffee beans, and a more delicate brew is necessary to capture the full range of 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. 


Best Darker Roast
Volcanica Coffee – Papua New Guinea Dark Roast
Origin: Papua New Guinea
Roast: Dark
Flavor Profile: Toffee / Lemon / Brown Sugar / Molasses
Bean: Whole or Ground
Check on Volcanica Coffee

This Papua New Guinean coffee is grown from the Jamaica Blue Mountain mutation of the Typica heirloom cultivar. It was brought in 1927 as seedlings from the region that gives the variety its name.

This coffee’s more mellow and smooth characteristics and 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, so it would be advisable to use a metal filter with these beans. The paper filters traditionally used with an AeroPress can take a bit too much of the body away.


Stumptown Coffee Roasters – Hair Bender Blend
Origin: Latin America / Indonesia / East Africa
Roast: Medium
Flavor Profile: Sweet Citrus / Dark Chocolate / Caramel
Bean: Whole or Ground
Check on Trade

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 partly to its Indonesian components and more developed roast. The citric acids are a vital feature here, 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.


Counter Culture - Gradient
Origin: Colombia, Urcunina
Roast: Dark
Flavor Profile: Dark Chocolate / Roasted Nuts / Berries
Bean: Whole
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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. Expect a strong undercurrent of toasted hazelnuts, 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. Grind relatively fine but don’t allow your coffee to brew for much over a minute to avoid over-development of the bitters. 


Verve Coffee Roasters – The 1950 Heirloom Blend
Origin: Ethiopia
Flavor Profile: Nectarine / Key Lime / Brown Sugar
Roast: Medium
Bean: Whole or Ground
Check on Trade

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.

The roast is at the lighter end of medium but still quite developed. You should 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 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.


Volcanica Coffee - Toraja Sulawesi Coffee White Eagle
Origin: Indonesia, Sulawesi
Flavor Profile: Soft Flavors / Tart Acidity / Chamomile / Lemon
Roast: Medium
Bean: Whole or Ground
Check on Volcanica

The Toraja region, situated on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, has made a name for itself as a specialty coffee region since the late 1960s. There is something extraordinary about this coffee, and it’s reflected in its flavor. With just 300 to 600 bags of this exported each year, it is undoubtedly a rare treat.

Very delicate coffee beans, be careful not to lose the nuanced and subtle flavors behind unwanted bitters. The floral, faintly herbal character is reminiscent 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?

aeropress brewing

Alan Adler invented the AeroPress in the early part of the new millennium. He wanted 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.

Versatility and Adaptability as Its Strength

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 bring 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 adapt your recipe to get the best out of any coffee bean. Whether full-bodied with complex bitters or super light-roasted, the AeroPress 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.

Roast

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.

Origin

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. 

You could aim a little further north into Colombia for something brighter. 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. A blend can marry together two distinct sets of flavor profiles in perfect harmony.

FAQs

What Sets the 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.

Apart, 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.

Does It Matter What Beans You Use with the AeroPress?

The coffee beans you choose will have the biggest impact on the qualities of your final brew, presuming no catastrophic human error.

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 In Your AeroPress?

The Answer here will depend upon your desired aims in terms of flavor and body. The AeroPress manual suggests 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.

Can You Buy Pre-Ground Beans?

Yes, you can. However, to get to most out of your beans you should always buy them whole and grind them fresh.

Most homebrewers will attest that switching to a decent burr grinder will be the most significant improvement to their quality throughout their whole coffee journey. 

Final Thoughts

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 your personal favorite with the Aeropress.

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Author
Aidan is a former barista and coffee industry professional, turned writer and passionate home brewer. He never travels anywhere without his emergency coffee kit (hand grinder, scales, and v60).

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