Having Trouble With Your AeroPress? 4 Common Problems & Tricks To Try

Written by: Anne Mercer

Having Trouble With Your AeroPress? 4 Common Problems & Tricks To Try

The AeroPress is a powerful little brew method. Its small, portable size and ability to brew delicious coffee make it the perfect option for all home baristas and coffee lovers.

Yet, for how easy it is to brew with an AeroPress, you may encounter some frustrating issues if you’re not careful—just like every brew method.

After years of brewing coffee with an AeroPress, we’ve encountered all the common problems and know exactly how to solve them. Today, we’ll show you all the tricks you need to know to make delicious and flavorful AeroPress coffee.

By the end of our guide, you’ll know how to:

  • Troubleshoot sour or bitter-tasting AeroPress coffees 
  • Fix a leaky AeroPress by brewing with the inverted method
  • Make coffee with an AeroPress like a coffee expert

Ready to brew? Let’s solve those AeroPress problems.

1. My Coffee Tastes Sour/Bitter

Solution: Adjust the grind size.

A common complaint among new brewers is that their AeroPress coffee tastes too sour or too bitter. And, no one wants to drink a funky cup of coffee first thing in the morning.

A quick and simple way to fix a sour or bitter tasting coffee is to adjust the grind size. A general rule of thumb is:

  • Sour Coffee = Grind finer
  • Bitter Coffee = Grind coarser

Typically, when coffees taste sour, it means the grind size is too coarse. The water drained through the coffee grounds too fast and didn’t have time to extract all the tasty natural compounds we want in our cup, such as sweetness.

On the other end of the spectrum, if a coffee is too bitter, the grind size is likely too fine. The water sat in contact with the grounds for too long and extracted flavors we don’t want, such as bitterness.

This is why it’s important to match your grind size to the brew method.

But here’s the thing: AeroPress coffee can be made with a fine to coarse grind size. It all depends on what type of coffee you’re trying to brew.

Want a delicate and aromatic coffee? Try brewing with a coarse grind size.

Prefer a heavier-bodied coffee with rich notes? A medium-fine grind size might work best for your recipe.

It takes a few times to discover the right grind size for your preferred AeroPress recipe. But once you understand how to troubleshoot overly sour and bitter coffees, you can enjoy the versatility of brewing with an AeroPress!

Pro Brewing Tip: Never Use Pre-Ground Coffee

Your coffee tastes sour or bitter because it’s been ground at the wrong grind size. And, if you use pre-ground coffee, there’s no way to adjust the grind size for the next cup you brew.

That’s why we recommend always using freshly-roasted, whole bean specialty coffee with your AeroPress.

Read: Whole Bean vs Ground Coffee: 3 Reasons You Should Be Buying Whole Bean

Grinding coffee beans right before you brew releases the aromatic compounds and natural flavors of the beans. Pre-ground coffee tastes stale and dull. Boring!

For a fresh cup overflowing with sweet and balanced flavor, buy whole bean coffee and grind only enough for your recipe right when you intend to brew.

👉 Need help choosing the right coffee grinder for your home? Here’s our recommendation.

2. The Coffee Tastes Dull

Solution: Remember to let the coffee bloom.

Wondering why your AeroPress coffee tastes okay, but not spectacular? Chances are, you forgot to let your coffee bloom.

At the beginning of your recipe, add a small amount of water to the grounds and let it sit for about 30 seconds. You’ll notice the grounds begin to slowly rise and expand or bloom. This is the carbon dioxide being released from the grounds.

Freshly-roasted coffee beans contain carbon dioxide and will slowly release this gas over the next two weeks. When we grind the beans, the degassing process speeds up. Adding hot water to the grounds then causes an immediate release of CO2.

The blooming process not only guides you toward an exciting and balanced coffee but also prevents unwanted sour flavors from the CO2 from lingering in your cup.

3. The AeroPress is Difficult to Plunge

Solution: Adjust the grind and plunge slowly.

A typical frustration with the AeroPress is that it can be difficult to plunge the coffee into your mug. No matter how hard you try, that little plunger won’t budge.

Instead of immediately going to lift weights and build up those biceps, try these tricks:

  • Adjust the grind. You probably ground your coffee a little too fine, that’s all! With more surface area covered, the finer grinds create greater resistance and pressure in the chamber. If plunging takes more than 30 seconds to complete, try grinding a little coarser next time and see if this helps.

  • Go slow. When you’re struggling to plunge an AeroPress, don’t make the mistake of rapidly forcing down the plunger, creating a coffee grounds explosion all over their countertop. Instead, slowly push the AeroPress with constant pressure and this should fix the problem.

  • Clean your AeroPress. Like every brew method, a dirty brewer leads to a strange-tasting cup of coffee. Regularly and thoroughly clean your AeroPress to ensure that plunging doesn’t require Olympic-level strength due to the build-up of coffee residue in the brewing chamber. A quick rinse will do the trick when you’re in a time crunch, but maintaining a constant cleaning schedule guarantees that your AeroPress is easy to plunge.

  • Get a bigger cup or plunge into a range server. If you’re trying to plunge your AeroPress coffee into a smaller cup that just fits over the filter, you’re only adding more pressure to the equation. Try using a slightly larger cup or range server to give the coffee room to flow.
  • 4. My AeroPress Leaks Coffee Before I’m Done Brewing

    Solution: Try the Inverted Method.

    First-time AeroPress brewers using the standard method are often confused when all the coffee quickly leaks into the cup, resulting in a weak, sour flavor. 

    First, check your grind size. Is it too coarse?

    If not, try brewing with the Inverted Method.

    The Inverted Method ensures that coffee doesn’t accidentally drip through during the brewing process and creates a better environment for steeping coffee. And, it tends to produce coffees with a slightly heavier body if that’s what you prefer.

    Begin by flipping the AeroPress upside down, so the plunger is at the bottom. After adding your coffee and water and steeping for 2-3 minutes total, screw the filter cap on and place your mug upside down on top of the AeroPress.

    Then, carefully, flip the setup so the cup is right side up and the plunger is in position to be pushed. Slowly plunge and voila, you’ve got coffee!

    Read: The Ultimate Guide to AeroPress Coffee

    How to Brew AeroPress Coffee Like a Pro

    There are so many different AeroPress recipes to explore. From making pseudo espresso shots by brewing a coffee concentrate to experimenting with creamy, fruity coffee recipes, there are so many ways to make coffee with this versatile brew method.

    Give our preferred recipe a try! You’ll need:

    • 20g of Specialty Coffee
    • Hot Water
    • Scale
    • AeroPress Coffee Maker
    • Burr Grinder


    1. Grind the coffee at a medium-fine setting
    2. Set the AeroPress coffee maker up in the inverted position (plunger down)
    3. Add ground coffee to the chamber, pour hot water in about ¼ of the way up, and gently swirl
    4. After the bloom has passed (around 30 seconds to 1 minute), slowly add hot water to the top of the AeroPress chamber
    5. Steep for 2 minutes
    6. Screw on cap with pre-wetted paper filters or mesh filter
    7. Place mug on AeroPress upside down and flip the coffee maker & mug so the plunger is in the top position
    8. Gently plunge the coffee and stop when you hear the “hissing” noise
    9. Remove the AeroPress, clean up, and enjoy!

    Bonus Tip: Delicious AeroPress Coffee Starts with a Great Grinder

    Spoiler Alert!

    The best AeroPress coffee recipes all start by grinding your beans at the correct size. You can’t accomplish this without the right grinder

    But we get it, coffee grinders can be expensive! That’s why we’re giving away our #1 rated manual burr grinder FOR FREE to those who try JavaPresse coffee.

    Yep. It’s seriously that easy to get the best coffee grinder for free!

    Get your hands on a FREE grinder now and brew up some tasty AeroPress coffee at home.