Aeropress, Bitterness, and Japanese Beans: Your Weekly Coffee Questions Answered by Experts

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You’ve got coffee questions; we’ve got answers. Whether you’re just entering the world of coffee or have been brewing for years, questions always arise. In this ongoing series, we delve into the most pressing questions from both coffee novices and connoisseurs alike, all answered by a community of coffee experts.

The Newbie’s Guide to Coffee

Q: Need advice on using or buying gear?

Here’s the deal: When you’re starting out, focus on basics. A good grinder and a French press or a pour-over setup are enough. The grinder is crucial because the grind size impacts the extraction, and hence, the flavor. As for the brewing method, it’s more about personal preference.

If you’re just starting out, go with the cheapest burr grinder option on Amazon, like this one, or get a cheap blade grinder. Blade grinders are effective but also unforgiving. The longer you hold down on the blade grinder button, the finer the grind. A burr grinder gives you much more control. You can control the grind time and grind size, but you’re going to pay more for this option.

Q: What can I get under $12 at Safeway or Trader Joe’s that isn’t just bitter?

Don’t sweat it. Trader Joe’s offers a variety of blends that are both budget-friendly and flavorful. Their “Smooth and Mellow Blend” is a good starting point. Safeway’s O Organics line also has some decent options, like their ‘Fair Trade Organic Breakfast Blend’.

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Safeway Coffee
Coffee Press
Trader Joes Coffee

Q: Do I really need to buy a scale for my Aeropress?

While a scale isn’t mandatory, it brings consistency to your brew. If you’re not into the nitty-gritty details just yet, a scoop works fine. But remember, the more precise you are, the better your coffee will be.

Finding Your Flavor

Q: Is there a type of coffee that’s not too bitter?

If bitterness isn’t your cup of tea, consider lighter roasts or single-origin beans from regions known for their fruity profiles, like Ethiopia. Cold brewing is another option that reduces bitterness.

My go-to light roast beans for brewing a pour over and iced coffee is the Bourbon Blend from Spirit Animal Coffee.

Q: What is a good complex medium to dark roast to try?

For a well-rounded flavor experience, look into blends that incorporate beans from multiple regions. This often results in a complex profile that includes chocolatey, nutty, and fruity notes.

Sumatran coffee tends to be incredibly smooth and low in acidity. Volcanica coffee, available online and in most grocery stores, has single-origin Sumatran coffee, in light to dark roast options.

Sumatra Coffee From Volcanica
Volcanica carries really tasty Sumatran coffee.

Q: How can I achieve a super bitter flavor using my Aeropress?

To emphasize bitterness, use a fine grind, high water temperature, and a longer steep time. Dark roast beans are your best bet for this type of Aeropress application.

The Technicalities

Q: Thoughts on the NextLevel Pulsar?

The NextLevel Pulsar offers intriguing features and brewing flexibility. However, it does introduce a new filter size. If you’re open to the investment, it can be a great addition to your coffee setup.

NextLevel Pulsar Coffee Brewer: Limitless Possibilities!

Q: What am I doing wrong if my espresso tastes super sour?

Sourness usually indicates under-extraction. You might need to grind finer or adjust your tamping pressure. Another aspect to check is your water temperature.

Q: How should I adjust the inner burr on my coffee grinder?

The inner burr is often overlooked, but it plays a crucial role in grind consistency. To adjust it, refer to your grinder’s manual. Usually, a simple rotation to a lower or higher setting does the trick.

Community Choices

Q: Any recommendations for a coffee subscription company?

Several companies offer curated subscriptions that bring freshly roasted beans right to your doorstep. Spirit Animal Coffee and Volcanica Coffee are two highly reputable options.

Q: What kind of coffee should I get for someone who loves Japanese coffee and prefers Americanos?

If your SO is a fan of Japanese coffee, look for beans that are lightly roasted and have a clean, nuanced flavor profile. Single-origin beans from regions like Yirgacheffe in Ethiopia would be a good match.


There you have it, a deep dive into the coffee questions that have been on your mind. Got more questions? That’s what this series is all about.

Ready for more insights from the coffee world? Stay tuned for our next post and don’t hesitate to send in your questions for future editions. Or, sign up for this weekly email roundup using the form, below. I promise I will only send you 1 email per week.

Avatar Of Kelsey Todd
With over two decades in the coffee industry, Kelsey is a seasoned professional barista with roots in Seattle and Santa Barbara. Accredited by The Coffee Association of America and a member of The Baristas Guild, he combines practical expertise with a profound understanding of coffee's history and cultural significance. Kelsey tries his best to balance family time with blogging time and fails miserably.