Crema is a controversial topic for AeroPress. It’s one of those things that will be discussed in a specialty coffee expo every now and then, with baristas trying to figure out how to get it and customers wondering why their cup doesn’t have that desired colored foam on top.
The idea behind crema is that it shows the quality and extraction of the coffee. A good crema is a result of many factors: the grind, the beans, the water temperature, and pressure, and the pour. Even with all these factors in place, some people still can’t seem to produce coffee crema with their AeroPress.
Today I will show you five proven methods to achieve the “Guinness Effect” (aka Crema) with your AeroPress just like you would with an espresso machine.
Does AeroPress Make Crema?
Yes, AeroPress does make crema, but under the right circumstances. Think of it as an orchestra. You need all the instruments to be in harmony to make beautiful music. The same goes for coffee. All the elements need to be in balance to produce crema.
For the AeroPress, you don’t need so many instruments (just four), but they all need to be in sync. These are:
- The Coffee Beans: The beans that you are going to use are important. You need a dark roast coffee for this to work. The darker the better. This is because the darker roasts have more coffee oils and flavors that can be extracted. So avoid using cheap coffee grounds like Folgers.
- The Grind: Most of the time you will use a fine grind size, but for the first method even a coarse grind can produce a small amount of crema. Why add this method if it doesn’t produce that much crema? Because some people don’t have a good grinder (or in some cases any grinder at all) so we will see what can be done with what you have.
- The Filters: Paper filter or Metal? or both? A lot of people will say that you need a metal filter to produce crema, but that’s not entirely true. You can use either paper or metal, but we will talk about filters later in the article.
- The AeroPress: Lastly, you need the AeroPress itself. Of course.
So these are the main things you need to have to create crema with your AeroPress. Let’s now go over the ways to do it.
How to Get Crema With The AeroPress
These five ways are in order from the least amount of crema to the most. The reason behind this is that as we go down the list, the methods require more equipment.
So if you don’t have a lot of money to spend on coffee equipment, start with the first method and work your way down. That way you can upgrade your equipment as you go and get better results each time.
1. The “Coarse Grind” Method
If you don’t have a grinder or your grinder is old and damaged, you can use this brewing method to produce a small amount of crema. All you need is coarsely ground coffee and the AeroPress.
Here we will mainly focus on the beans. If you can find same-day roasted coffee beans, that would be the best. Actually, the best would be to buy same-hour roasted coffee, but that might be a little too much to ask.
If you can’t find same-day roasted beans, try to get at least 2-day old beans. This is because the fresher the beans, the gasses that are trapped inside haven’t had time to escape yet. These gasses which are plain carbon dioxide will help create the crema we want.
Important: CO2 can take from 2 to 14 days to escape from the beans (degassing). So, if you can find 2-day-old beans or even 1-week-old beans, those should work just fine.
Now back to the grind. If you don’t have a grinder, you can take a blender and grind the beans until they are coarsely ground.
You should not overdo it, or you will end up with a powder that is too fine that you could probably make Turkish coffee with. Once the beans are coarsely ground, it’s time to start brewing.
Steps to follow:
1. Go ahead and add the paper filter to the filter cap. You could use a metal filter but for this method, the paper filter will do a better job.
2. Add your coffee grounds inside the chamber. Normally for AeroPress coffee, you want to use a 1:16 ratio, which means that for every one gram of coffee, you want 16 grams of water. In this case, we want a more concentrated drink so we are going to use a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio. So take 15 grams of coffee and 45-60 ml of water.
3. Hot water is what we need! Hot water is different than boiling water. Remember this, you don’t want to use boiling water because it will make your coffee taste burnt. The ideal temperature is around 175-180F.
4. Slowly add the water while stirring. Once all the water is in, give it a few more stirs and then wait around 30 seconds to a minute. I know it’s frustrating to sit there and wait but this step is crucial if you want all the coffee grounds to be evenly saturated.
5. Now it’s time to start pressing. Slowly press down the plunger until all the coffee has been pressed out. Use more force than what you usually use when making regular coffee with your AeroPress, to create more pressure.
And there you have it! I know it can be tricky to get it right, but it will be hard since you don’t have a finer grind. The smaller the grind, the easier it is to produce crema. That takes us to our next way you can get that golden creamy foam called crema!
2. The “Fine Grind” Method
For the next method, we will need a little more equipment. So in addition to the AeroPress, you are going to need a quality coffee grinder.
Coffee grinders are another controversial topic in the coffee world. Some people prefer blade grinders while others prefer burr grinders.
I think that a good burr grinder is a way to go. Blade grinders produce too inconsistent of a grind which will, in turn, produce an inconsistent cup of coffee.
But you can go ahead and choose the grinder you love the most. Just make sure it’s a quality grinder that will produce a consistent grind.
So start by grinding your coffee beans to a fine grind, something similar to sugar. Don’t overdo it, though. You don’t want your grind to be extra fine because it will make it difficult for the water to filter through the coffee grounds and you’ll end up with a very strong cup of coffee with no water.
Now that you have everything in place follow the same steps as above. You will notice that the crema has more texture to it and it’s also a lot easier to produce. If you stir the coffee before tasting it you will also notice that the crema remains on top and doesn’t disappear like the first way.
3. The Inverted AeroPress Method (or The Upside Down AeroPress)
The AeroPress inverted method is very common among coffee enthusiasts. The main difference between this method and the regular one is that you will need to invert your AeroPress so that the plunger is at the bottom and the chamber is at the top.
We have a complete guide about the inverted AeroPress method that goes into more detail but for now, I’ll just give you a quick overview of how to do it.
The first thing you need to as you might have guessed is to invert your AeroPress. Next, you add the finely ground coffee beans and the water inside the chamber.
Now you need to stir it for around 30 seconds and wait for another minute before placing the filter and screwing on the cap. The reason you need to wait is to allow for a full immersion of the coffee grounds and to keep the coffee trapped together.
After a minute has passed, you can go ahead and screw on the cap and quickly turn it over so that the chamber is now on top of your mug. Now all you have to do is press down the plunger with the same force you would use for the regular method and voila! You have made yourself a cup of coffee with crema.
This will produce a more consistent cup of coffee because all the coffee grounds have been fully immersed in the water from the start. The only downside is that it’s a bit messier and you’ll need to be very careful when inverting the AeroPress.
4. The Fellow Prismo or Joepresso Metal Filter Method (AeroPress Crema Hack)
Okay now, this is where it gets interesting. The Fellow Prismo and the Joepresso metal filters are two different but very similar filters that can be used to make espresso-styled coffee with your AeroPress. And the best part is that they cost only around 25 bucks.
The Fellow Prismo
The Fellow Prismo is a reusable metal filter that can help you pull an espresso shot without a machine. You don’t even have to invert your AeroPress to achieve a full immersion brew.
It only weighs 6 grams so it won’t add too much weight to your travel coffee kit and it’s very easy to use. Since it’s made out of metal you can clean it super fast and it’s also dishwasher safe.
The Joepresso Metal Filter
The Joepresso coffee filter is very similar to the Fellow Prismo. It fits the AeroPress and the AeroPress Go and it’s made out of stainless steel too.
The main difference is that the Joepresso filter is a pressurized filter that can be also found in most espresso machines. This means that it will produce a more authentic and darker espresso shot.
For both of these filters, the coffee water ratio will remain the same as in the regular AeroPress method. So let’s see how to use them.
1. First you need to add your ground coffee to the AeroPress chamber and add the hot water. Once again 175F and finely ground beans are the perfect combinations.
2. Next, you need to stir it for around 10 seconds and wait for another 30. Again, we do this to allow for a full immersion of the coffee grounds.
3. Now press the plunger all the way down so that the coffee grounds are fully compressed. And done!
Fellow Prismo Attachment vs Joepresso: Which is Best for Crema?
Ideally, the best one for crema is the Joepresso. Overall, it can produce a stronger cup with more crema than the Prismo. The texture will also be better and less watery.
The Joepresso is also a pressurized filter which means that it will evenly distribute the water on all the coffee grounds. This will result in a more consistent and rich cup of coffee.
In other words, you will end up with a better-looking and tasting espresso cup, by using the same force, beans, grind, and water temperature as with the Prismo but also compared to the paper filters.
5. The Tamping with Two Paper Filters Method
If you are looking for the best espresso extraction with an AeroPress, then this is the method you want to use. This method will require a few more tools and DIY skills but it is definitely doable.
For this last one you are going to need:
- Two Paper Filters
- A Small Salt Shaker
- Finely Ground Coffee
To create an espresso with this method we need to figure out a way to create large amounts of pressure. Since we don’t have metal filters, we will use two paper filters one in each direction, while also tamping the coffee grounds with the small salt shaker.
By doing this we are creating a tight pack of coffee grounds that will result in very concentrated coffee. The steps are the same as with the previous methods (except the inverting one) but with the small change that you need to use two filters.
The resulting coffee will have a beautiful crema and a very intense flavor. This is the best method to make espresso-like coffee and you can also watch the video below to see it in action!
Tip: You can use your Fellow Prismo or Joepresso metal filter as the main filter and once you tamp your coffee grounds you can add a paper filter on top to make sure no coffee grounds escape during the plunging process.
Get this free cheat sheet to step up your coffee game and learn about the different grind sizes!
So there you have it – five methods for getting crema with your AeroPress. All of these techniques work well, so feel free to try them all and see which one gives you the best results.
And don’t forget – practice makes perfect! Once you start consistently producing rich, delicious crema using your AeroPress, you’ll be able to impress your friends and family with your barista-level skills.
EvelinaEvelina’s passion for coffee could never been hidden. Having worked as a barista, she learned the true value of the coffee bean and its secrets. As she continued to evolve as a barista, so did her knowledge, techniques on making different coffee blends and most importantly how to operate every kind of gear when it comes to coffee. Having a degree in biomedicine and being a barista, allows her to provide our community with in-depth knowledge surrounding the topics of coffee.
Get this free cheat sheet to step up your coffee game and learn about the different grind sizes!
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