DIY Mocha

I’ve been pretty happy with the AeroPress (thanks for the suggestion, Scott!) for in-home mocha making.  For the first several dozen cups, I dutifully followed the instructions. It worked pretty well. But as one who gets bored with routine, I experimented and spoke with other AeroPress owners who have deviated from the norm. The subject came up a few weeks ago, so I thought I’d elaborate with my own procedure.

First, get some coffee beans.  If you have access to raw beans, I’d encourage you to try roasting them (here are some instructions).  It’s fun, and you get to totally trash an old pot.

Pre-roasted beans are also fine.  While geocaching on Vashon Island a few weeks ago, We stopped into the local coffeeshop for lunch and coffee.  Both were excellent. On the way out, I had to pick up a pound for home experimentation.  I have a mini-grinder, but the woman behind the counter offered to grind them for me with their industrial-strength grinder.  (I know a purist would grind just before use.  I don’t always have the time.)

Vixen blend coffee
Taking a cue from beer brewers, Vashon Roasterie chooses an evocative name for their coffee: Santa's fourth reindeer.

Next, start some water boiling. There are enough tea drinkers in the household that we have an electric kettle. (Truth be told: when I heard about the concept, I thought it was … not the best idea. But now I love it.) There is no reason you can’t stay analog.

Electric water kettle

Assemble the Aeropress. Except… we’ll work top down. Put the plunger in a bit and turn it upside down.


Add two scoops coffee. The Aeropress comes with a plastic funnel, but I don’t want to have to clean any more than necessary. Besides, I can eyeball it well-enough. Usually.

Add coffee

The water should soon be 175°F;, but please feel free to experiment. I have found that warmer produces a bitterer coffee. (Let’s also note that you don’t want to pour cold milk in first – for reasons that I don’t want to go into.  (*cough* failed experiment *cough*)


In the immortal words of the Eccentric Alaskan Barista, “Pour, baby, pour!”

Pour, baby, pour

Now stir, baby, stir.

Stir hot water

This would be a good time to heat up some milk. I fill up a standard ceramic coffee cup and microwave it for 1 1/2 minutes.

Now, prepare thy travel mug. I used to use chocolate syrup, but discovered it’s just as easy to stir in sugar and cocoa. While Brownian motion is occurring, add the sugar to the travel mug:

Add Sugar

And now the cocoa:

Add cocoa

Put the paper filter disc in the plastic porous thingie and run under the sink to get it wet. Slide the filter around if necessary so it’ll come out even. Then screw on the filter thing.
Add the filter thingie

Be careful doing this because pressing too hard will spill precious coffee.

Position the Aerobie over the receptacle and gradually press! (Note to self: it’s really hard to do this and hold a camera without spilling a drink.)


Dispose of the grinds. (Note to self: see previous note to self.)) If I didn’t hate gardening so much, I would collect these for my garden.

Dispose of the grinds.

Clean up.

Clean up.

Pour in the cup of warm milk, stir, and enjoy on the way to work.

Stir and enjoy.


2 scoops finely-ground coffee
1 t of Pernigotti cocoa
2 t of sugar
1 C warm milk to top off the cup
Whipped cream (optional, best for in-home consumption)