Can You Get A Strong Cup of Coffee From An Aeropress?

The Aeropress is one of the great innovations in coffee from the early 2000s. It produces a clean and flavorful cup of coffee that is loved by many. But what if you think the coffee from your Aeropress is a bit… weak? Do you prefer it a bit stronger?

Do you wonder whether you can get a stronger cup of coffee from an Aeropress?

The answer is: Yes. You can get a stronger cup of coffee from an Aeropress by (1) adjusting the coffee to water ratio you use; (2) grinding the coffee beans you use finer; (3) tamp the coffee bed in the Aeropress to increase resistance; or (4) use a dark roast coffee.

That’s a relief. You now know it is possible to enjoy a strong and powerful coffee made with an Aeropress. Let’s get into the details and find out how you can get your Aeropress to do what you want.

Stronger coffee from Aeropres

How to make Aeropress coffee stronger

To decide how to make your Aeropress coffee stronger, we need to identify what you mean by ‘stronger.’ It might be evident to you what you mean, but people have vastly different ideas about what makes a cup of coffee stronger.

What does ‘strong’ mean to you?

Some people refer to mouthfeel when they mean stronger. The coffee from an Aeropress can have a quite thin or watery mouthfeel compared to, for instance, coffee from a French Press. This is because the paper filters you use in an Aeropress remove every last bit of fine coffee particles and, more importantly, oils from the coffee. These particles, but mostly the oils give a French Press it’s characteristic ‘thick,’ or rich and heavy mouthfeel (and taste).

If a thicker, or more rich and heavy mouthfeel is what you are looking for, then number 4 of our 6 ways to make Aeropress coffee stronger is your best bet. Be sure to check out the section on Aeropress alternatives!

Strong can also mean that you are looking for a slightly more bitter cup of coffee. To some, the word ‘bitter’ might have a negative sound, but the bitterness is actually a looked after flavor. Think about the popularity of IPA, or India Pale Ale, in the craft beer scene. A cup of coffee always has a bitter component. For some, it is a goal to minimize this as much as possible. They are looking to extract more sweetness from the coffee bean.

If more bitterness is what you want, numbers 2, 3, and 6 in our 6 ways to make Aeropress coffee stronger are what you are looking for.

Another way people refer to ‘strong’ coffee is coffee with more coffee flavor. That is, not necessarily more bitter, but with a more pronounced coffee flavor. It might seem to you that everyone who loves coffee would like a more pronounced coffee flavor, but you might be mistaken. A more pronounced coffee flavor can also mean that you favor the more earthy flavors found in coffee over the cleanliness, crispness, or the acidity of the coffee.

If more coffee flavor is what you are looking for, numbers 1, 2, and 5 in our 6 ways to make Aeropress coffee stronger are your best bet.

Finally, strong can mean ‘more powerful’ in the sense that it gives you more caffeine kick. When you need that morning (or afternoon!) pick-me-up, you want to feel the caffeine, right? I understand that this might not be what you are getting from your Aeropress. Most brew methods for the Aeropress prescribe a very short brew time. Usually about 1 minute, with 2 minutes being extremely long. This gives the caffeine in the coffee beans less time to extract into the coffee. Also, the amount of caffeine in a coffee bean depends on the type of coffee bean and the roast level.

If a better caffeine-kick is what you want, then numbers 1, 3, and 6 in the 6 ways to make Aeropress coffee stronger are what you are looking for. 

If you’d like to know more about caffeine in coffee, be sure to check our in-depth article. You can find it here.


6 ways to make Aeropress coffee stronger

We have identified 6 ways to make your Aeropress coffee stronger. Let’s find out which one is right for you.

#1 Adjust the coffee to water ratio

Generally, Aeropress coffee is made with 1 part coffee for every 11 to 13 (and a bit) parts of water. This means that the coffee to water ratio is 1:11 to 1:13. The Aeropress is a pretty small coffee maker and will only accommodate about 200 ml or about 7 fluid ounces of water if you also account for the room the coffee needs. That means that an Aeropress is brewed with between 15 and 18 grams of ground coffee.

If you are looking for a more pronounced coffee flavor or a slightly more powerful caffeine-kick, increasing the amount of coffee you use might do the trick. But be careful, adding more coffee isn’t always beneficial to the final taste. Adding too much coffee can inhibit extraction. Even worse, it can promote the extraction of off-flavors (like sourness, or an overly bitter coffee).

I suggest increasing the amount of coffee you use a gram at a time. This way, you can find the optimal balance by making 2 to 4 cups with a different coffee to water ratio in each. Taste them side by side and pick the ratio you prefer.

When your current Aeropress recipe uses a coffee to water ratio of less than 1:13 (i.e., you are using less than 15 grams of coffee), I suggest skipping to 15 grams of coffee immediately. Or, even to 18 grams if you think the coffee you currently make is exceptionally weak.

#2 Adjust the grind size

The grind size has a massive impact on the taste of the coffee you make. It has a lot to do with the concept of surface area. A very finely ground coffee bean has much more surface area than the same bean when it was whole. The more surface area comes in contact with water, the more efficiently the extraction process is.

So, the same amount (by weight) of coffee beans ground coarsely has less surface area than when it would be ground finely, right?

Right! 

And therefore, the finely ground coffee beans would be able to extract more efficiently, right?

Right!

So finely ground coffee is always better than coarsely ground coffee, right?

Eh, no.

You see, a large surface area and, therefore, a more efficient extraction also can lead to the extraction of off-flavors like sourness or more bitterness then you want.

The general advice from Aeropress is to use a fine drip grind. If you are currently using a coarser grind, try adjusting the grind settings on your grinder to a finer grind. If you are already using a relatively fine grind, you can try to make it a bit finer. But don’t go any finer than an espresso grind.

This will lead to an enhanced coffee flavor, possibly accompanied by more bitter flavor compounds.

#3 Increase the brew time

Brew time determines how long you allow the ground coffee and water to stay in contact to extract flavor. By tweaking the brew time, you can change the character of the cup of coffee you make. Making Aeropress coffee calls for very short brew times. Usually, between one and two minutes. The relatively fine grind and the relatively high amount of coffee used allows for fast extraction of flavor compounds.

A longer brew time leads to more flavor extraction, but possibly also to the extraction of too many off-flavors. So be careful. Brewin for longer also allows for more caffeine to be extracted from the coffee. So, if you are looking for an extra caffeine kick, this might be a useful tweak.

My advice is to increase the brew time you are used to in 30-second steps. If you are now using the recommended 1 minute total brew time, try 1 minute and 30 seconds first and check the taste. I wouldn’t go over 3 minutes as this leads to too many off-flavors in my experience. 

But, experiment at will!

#4 Tamp the coffee bed

Another way to make a stronger cup of coffee with the Aeropress is to increase the resistance in the Aeropress. The plunger and the chamber, together with the water and the ground coffee, create pressure in the device. This pressure is what makes the Aeropress so good at extracting a high level of flavor compounds in a short time.

Typically, your plunging action creates a little under 1 bar of pressure. As a comparison, an espresso machine uses 7 to 10 bars of pressure to push the hot water through the portafilter loaded with coffee.

By tamping the coffee bed before you put in water (like you do in an espresso machine), you create an extra layer of resistance for the water to go through. The problem here is that this inhibits the immersion of the ground coffee in the water. In other words, the coffee is in contact with the water even shorter than usual. But the added pressure can still change the flavor profile.

Personally, I am not convinced by this method. I haven’t had great results. But it is a method that people have mentioned to me and that I have seen online. So, I wanted to try it and share it with you anyway. Use it at your own risk.

Two things to keep in mind when you use this method: pour on the water extremely carefully, you don’t want to disturb the tamped bed. And, similarly, you shouldn’t stir. That will definitely disturb the bed and renders tamping useless.

#5 Try a steel filter

One of the things that make a cup of Aeropress coffee clean and crisp is the use of a paper filter. A paper filter is very good at removing a lot of impurities, fine coffee particles, and oils from the coffee. This makes for an, as said, very clean and crisp cup, which tastes deliciously smooth.

But, if you like a heavier, richer cup of coffee, the paper filter might work too good. One option you have is to try a steel filter. These are made of a fine mesh that separates ground coffee from the coffee itself but allows the fine particles and oils to flow through.

This leads to a richer cup of coffee with a thicker mouthfeel, more or less like a French Press.

Steel filters are widely available on Amazon. I own a set by a company name Corretto. I am very happy with them. You can check them out on Amazon by clicking here


#6 Try dark roasted or high caffeine coffee

The final way to make your Aeropress coffee stronger is by using a different kind of coffee. Usually, medium roasts are recommended for Aeropress coffee. But, if you feel you need a stronger tasting cup, a more bitter cup, or a coffee with an extra caffeine kick, you might want to try a darker roast.

Darker roasted coffee beans rely heavier on the flavor that is the result of the roasting process and less on the coffee bean’s character. Medium (and light) roasts are the other way around, these focus more on bringing out the bean characteristics. Therefore, darker roasts are higher in flavors that are the result of caramelization that occurs during the roasting process (which is called the Maillard effect).

There are even brands that specifically aim to produce a coffee that is strong in flavor and high in caffeine. And they don’t make any compromises with regards to taste. My favorite of these is Death Wish Coffee.

You can check out their Amazon Store by clicking here


There are even brands that specifically aim to produce a coffee that is strong in flavor and high in caffeine. And they don’t make any compromises with regards to taste. My favorite of these is Death Wish Coffee.

You can check out their Amazon Store by clicking here

The logo of Death Wish Coffee Company


I hope this helps you brew the best coffee for you with your Aeropress. It is a fantastic coffee maker. Don’t give up on it!

Caffeinated greetings,

Monsieur Coffee


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