aeropress and espresso portafilter

How to make Espresso with the AeroPress

It’s impossible to reach 9 bars with the AeroPress, but you can still make some interesting espresso-like shots with the device.

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Asser Christensen

Licensed Q Arabica Grader, M.A. Journalism

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Even though Aeropress is widely seen as a black coffee brewing device there has always been an aura of espresso somewhere in the mix.

The connection between the two seems obvious; at least at first glance.

Both devices utilize pressure.

But while the famous 9 bars are an essential part of how espresso machines work, the pressure of the AeroPress is merely a way to separate brewed coffee from the grounds. The pressure doesn’t contribute a lot to the extraction itself.

Bonus Info: The Aeropress only reaches about 0.35 bar- 0.70 bar – even when pressing like a madman. This is quite far from the espresso range of 7-9 bars.

However, there are ways to change this and get very close to espresso with an AeroPress.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look

How to make Espresso with an AeroPress

aeropress ESPRESSO
The coffee must be finely ground in order to make something similar to espresso

When it comes to making a great aero-presso, the key is grinding extremely fine and stirring vigorously, rather than just applying pressure.

Flavor-wise you can get close to something resembling espresso.

However, this has to do with the concentration of the beverage rather than the pressure.

Even though you can make espresso-like shots, crema is a lot more tricky if you’re only relying on the AeroPress. Well, talk a bit more about the Prismo and JoePresso, which can help you get closer to real crema.

Aeropress Espresso Recipe

  • Place the brewer in the inverted position. Insert the plunger halfway pressed through, so there is less room in the chamber. 
  • 20 grams of beans. Grind size: As fine as possible.
  • Pour in 80 grams of water. You can use either hot or cold water. 
  • If hot, stir for 20 seconds, and let the coffee steep for 1 minute. 
  • (If using cold water; stir for 40 seconds, and steep for 1 minute)
  • Add the filter cap, flip, and press. 
  • Enjoy your espresso-like beverage. 

AeroPress Ice Espresso

One of the most fantastic things about aero-presso is that you can make it with cold water.

Yes, a kind of cold brewed AeroPress espresso.

The lower temperature brings out completely new flavors from the beans.

I learned this by coincidence when I was on holiday. I didn’t have access to hot water and wanted coffee. The result was something unlike cold brew and unlike espresso.

A few months later I saw a video, where the inventor of the AeroPress, Alan Adler, does exactly the same. So apparently it’s not just a crazy idea. Try it out and let me know how it goes 😎

Want more innovative techniques? Then check out my detailed AeroPress instructions.

Fellow Prismo ESPRESSO

making espresso with an aeropress prismo
Prismo doesn’t make a huge difference IMHO

The American brand Fellow has released an attachment specifically designed for brewing ‘aeropresso’. The contraption is called the ‘Prismo’.

This little cap can be screwed on instead of the filter cap. It has a pressure actuated valve and an etched metal filter like a real portafilter.

There are two ideas behind the Prismo:

  • First, the valve inside the prismo will only open once a high enough pressure has been built up inside the brew chamber. In theory this should work a bit like a pressurized portafilter.
  • The second idea is that the coffee/espresso is filtered through a fine metal disc instead of paper. This brings the texture of the shot closer to real espresso.

In my testing I have never been that impressed with the Prismo. The idea is good in theory, but the reality is that the valve will open up at low pressures. I don’t think this gadget significantly changes the pressure that the AeroPress can achieve.

(Sidenote: That being said, the Prismo is an interesting gadget to play with for regular AeroPress brewing. In practice, it will enable you to brew like an inverted AeroPress while still keeping the device upright. Pretty cool!)

Learn More: AeroPress vs Pour Over

JoePresso and the AeroPress

The Joepresso is a new gadget similar to the Prismo that claims to turn the AeroPress into a proper espresso maker.

Joepresso began on Kickstarter and was funded pretty quickly. Check out my video from when the gadget was just released.

The way it works is that you have an actual pressurized basket.  

Pressurized baskets are slightly different from regular espresso baskets because you don’t control the resistance and timing of the shot with the grind size. Instead, the basket will slow down the flow and help create that pressure. 

They make it a bit easier for beginners, but the taste usually isn’t that refined compared to the real thing. 

You can use 14 grams of coffee, and then you tamp the puck with the dispersion screen it comes with or a 51 mm tamper.

Then you put the filter into this kind of modified Aeropress cap and twist it onto the Aeropress like you would with a standard cap. 

Surprisingly, you can get some crema with the JoePresso It’s a bit more bubbly and foamy compared to regular crema from a machine, but it does remind you of the real thing. 

JoePresso brings additional crema to an AeroPresso shot

If you have some excellent fresh coffee, and you have good water and a clean Aeropress, you’ll get good results.

For sure, it tastes better than what you get in some “2nd wave coffee shops”. I would take this over anything from Starbucks. 

I think if you’re like a hardcore espresso snob and you’re geeking out at home with lever espresso machines and all that kind of stuff, then this is probably not what you’re looking for. Still, if you crave espresso with the AeroPress, this is the best solution I have encountered.

👉 Check out more AeroPress recipes here

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Asser Christensen

Hello, and welcome! I'm the editor & founder of this site.
I have been a coffee geek since I started home roasting more than a decade ago. Since then, coffee has taken me on countless adventures: From ancient coffee ceremonies in Ethiopia to the volcanos of Sumatra.
My background is in journalism, and today I'm also a licensed Q Grader under the Coffee Quality Institute.