Many tutorials on brewing coffee with the aeropress cover the optimal water temperature, water volume/weight, grind, for making a decent cup of coffee.

What none of them seem to cover is what type of roast is recommendable (dark roast/light roast) or what coffee bean type (Arabica or Robusta/Arabica mixture) is well suited for the Aeropress.

For example, the compression of the result suggests that Espresso beans/powder may be suitable, which are fairly darkly roasted, but fine ground when bought as powder. Then there is the standard coffee powder, which is medium ground and medium roasted. And finally there are also special Mokka coffee powders available, which are coarse ground but dark roasted.

What I can tell so far is that a medium/coarse ground, medium/light organic roast coffee powder tastes not so well in the Aeropress despite the fact that filter coffee made with it is actually quite OK.

Note that concrete brands listed here probably would not help (me), unless they are available in central Europe. Others may find them useful, though.

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Coffee taste is indeed subjective. However, there are some things you can look for since the added pressure (versus drip) can force extraction of flavours you don't like. Below are some of the drivers (Disclaimer, I don't use the Aeropress):

  • Oily beans: Towards the end of the roasting process the coffee oil can seep out (sweat) and you end up with beans that look wet. This may turn out ok taste with drip coffee, not so much for espresso types.

  • Roast Colour: Drip coffee roasts tend to actually be darker and most espresso roasts are usually lighter in colour (see illy or LaVazza Oro). This may be to compensate for the forces of added pressure extracting deeper and more into the bean. There are exceptions to this (Bar Mexico in Naples uses dark roast but on a manual lever machine).

  • Bean Type: Aeropress might handle some robusta (similar to Muka) as opposed to pure Arabica. More than 40% and imo your coffee will taste like earth.

  • Grind Size: Each bean type and locale and roast level will require minute grinder setting changes. You can make the best roasted beans taste awful with the wrong grind. Try varying your grind from fine to super fine and experiment. Usually the higher pressure requires finer grind with the exception of turkish coffee.

  • Dosage: To the get right extraction, a balance of pressure, grind size, and dosage is required. Good cafes measure their dosage to ~0.1gram when setting their grinder. If you find the coffee starting to clear up too fast in your extraction try increasing the dose.

To answer my own question a bit, one recommendable combination seems to be a medium-dark Espresso roast as fine ground powder, and then to brew for a short time.

Perhaps this helps others as a starting point for experimentation.

Roast level is almost entirely a matter of preference. You will most certainly be extracting different flavors from the coffee, because different compounds develop through caramelization during the roasting process. Otherwise, that doesn't affect how the coffee brews.

The Aeropress is suitable for just about any coffee that you care to brew with it. You can use whatever roast tastes best to you.

  • Thanks for your answer, logophobe. The original tone of my question was a bit altered when it is was edited from "what are recommendable beans" to "which beans are recommended". I was actually looking for good starting points - because the roast/grind combination that I started with myself yielded bad coffee. – DCTLib Jun 23 '14 at 14:46

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