Aeropress not holding water | 9 easy fixes to try today

By Barath
Last Updated:
Aeropress not holding water

Is your Aeropress not holding water? The number 1 reason is improper coffee grind size (too coarse). Other reasons include, not vacuum sealing properly, poor choice of filter, bad rubber seal, wrong water temperature and wrong pouring technique.

When i bought my aeropress for the first time, i had the bad habit of eyeballing water quantity and dumping it into the chamber and press it immediately. This results in weak, bad tasting coffee. It took me time to realise that there is a proper way to brew your Aeropress that does not take a lot of effort.

I wrote this guide with that in mind and have compiled 9-10 reasons why your Aeropress is not holding water properly.

Most Common Problems
Grind is too coarseThe number 1 reason why the Aeropress is not holding water is because of grind being too coarse. Try a touch finer and notice the difference.
Change rubber sealThe rubber gets worn out(or hard) if not cleaned properly and can affect the vacuum seal. Get a replacement rubber seal and fix this issue quickly. Otherwise, time to replace your Aeropress.
Vacuum seal immediatelyAs you pour the water, there will be a minimal drip that happens(this is normal). Put your piston and pull it up slightly to create a good vacuum to arrest the water from dripping further.
Additionally, clean grinder, water temperature also affects how the water drips. If you are unsure, check the grind size, fix the rubber seal, and choose a different brewing technique(more on this at the end of this guide).

Before you continue, I want to add that you need to keep the recipe simple and invest in a good-quality grinder, a kitchen scale, and a gooseneck kettle for a consistent brewing experience.


Choose a finer grind
Choose a finer grind, I use lavazza espresso in this pic

The number 1 reason why the water drips faster than expected is because of improper grind. This can happen as a result of coarse grind or using pre-ground coffee without knowing the coarseness.

I recommend changing the grind size and opting for a touch finer than medium grind if you use a grinder. If you have a blade grinder, try a burr grinder and keep the setting to fine. As a rule of thumb, the coarser the grind, milder the extraction because water is not held in the chamber and gets easier to plunge as well.

If you do not own a grinder and choose pre-ground coffee, try a coffee ground that has an espresso grind consistency. In particular, i find that Lavazza ground coffee is apt for a good aeropress plunge. If you can match similar grind then you are good to go.

I cannot emphasis enough about grinding your own coffee bean, it not only improves the overall taste of your Aeropress brew, it improves the consistency of each brew.

Read Also: Best coffee beans to buy on Amazon (2024)

To make it easier, these are the numbers I recommend if you aren’t following this, then try to fix the recipe and then continue

Grind size of the coffee beansCoarse grind to a touch finer than coarse
Water temperature87°C(188,6°F) – 95°C(203°F)
Amount of coffee to water ratio1:16 coffee to water including 45-60g of water during blooming

Vacuum seal with the piston

After you pour and stir (there will be some coffee that starts to drip obviously), put the piston and pull it up slightly. This creates a vaccum seal that is necessary to hold the coffee from dripping.

Do not worry if the water starts dripping before you can put the piston, the initial drops do not contribute to the taste of you coffee in any way. As long as you are quick to create the vacuum, you should be able to retain the remaining water.

Paper filter vs Metal filter → Metal filter seems to have lot more holes

Choosing your filter can have a noticeable difference in your Aeropress plunging. To begin with, a lot of Aeropress specialists recommend using a metal filter. In the long run, this is cost-saving but limits you on the type of grind.

Also metal filters have more holes which make it easy for the water to exit faster and could be the primary reason why your Aeropress does not hold water.

Do you use a metal filter? Try switching to the conventional aeropress paper filter and notice the difference. If your grind is coarser and the water starts dripping very quickly, it is better to go with a metal filter as the default.

One more reason i would be vary of using metal filters(even though it is not directly related to this article) is because there are studies that show that paper filters might be better at keeping the ldl cholestrol level low. Is this an important factor? or is it not? Take it into consideration when choosing your filter type. []

Water temperature

I once accidentally discovered how the water temperature affects duration that the water can be held in the chamber. A higher water temperature is important (depending on the roast level), typically between 185°F-200°F to hold the water from dripping faster.

If you choose “hot water” from the tap (which i did), the water temperature gets to 170°F and never higher than that. This can lead to faster dripping (i can’t explain why) from the chamber.

Always choose a electric kettle to control the water temperature precisely, if you don’t have an electric kettle choose boiling water, let it simmer for 30 second to 1 minute and start pouring it into the chamber for a better drip.

Not blooming the coffee

There are 2 stages to pouring the water to enhance the flavor and control the drip better.

The first stage is called blooming. Put the coffee ground and pour 45-60ml (1:3 ground to water) water and let it sit for 30-45 seconds. This stage saturates the coffee grounds and helps in the release of CO2 [reference: National Library of Science].

If you don’t bloom (wet the coffee grounds) before you pour the remaining water, there is a high chance the drip becomes inconsistent.

Not pouring the water properly

The second stage to pouring is adding 200-230ml of water in a circular motion and stir it gently. This allows the coffee grounds to not sit at the bottom and block the filter instead, it encourages “agitation”.

Dumping 200g(1:1 fluid oz to gram) of water into the aeropress is going to move the coffee grounds and try to find the fastest way out causing the drip to not hold. A good gooseneck kettle is my recommendation here.

If you can’t find a kettle, get a cup or a bottle and pour the water slowly till you reach the desired quantity. This is very important to control the water from dripping faster.

Hard seal → Run it under hot water first

Another reason why the rubber might become hard and difficult to plunge is if you haven’t used it for a while. The solution is to take a pot of boiling water and soak it for 2 to 3 minutes. This should loosen the rubber and make it easy to plunge.

Note that, if the rubber is worn out, this will only make it worse. Investigate the rubber seal to find if there are any pieces of rubber sticking out. If not, simply put it into a pot of boiling water and you should be good to go!

A different technique I found online was to use a rubber protectant (sort of a lubricant that re-hydrates rubber tubes). I have not tried this, but be careful if you are going to use this method. Proper care has to be taken to ensure that the chemical is completely cleaned off the rubber before using it in the brewer.

Using a grinder? Clean it

If you use a grinder frequently, build up of oils might not be properly grinding it to the finer setting that you intend. Clean it regularly and check if the burr grinder (or a blade grinder) has chaffed off edges, or any other abnormalities. All these might affect your grind causing you to have a bad brewing experience.

If you are looking for a good choice of grinder for better brew, my recommendations will be Mueller HyperGrinder (blade), Oxo canonical burr grinder, or the classic Timemore C2.

Inverted brewing

This technique might not be for everyone, why I have included it at the end of this list. I do not bother turning the chamber and piston up and down when brewing, because the classical method works fine if you do it properly.

But, if you want to arrest the sudden drip of water, this method is the best.

The advantage however is that it helps you plunge smoothly and improves the extraction quantity because the coffee does not start dripping through the filter before you seal it with the piston.

This can give you a slight advantage if you prefer a finer grind of coffee as the only reason plunging is difficult is because the coffee grounds are sitting at the bottom faster.

I discuss more about inverted brewing in detail in my guide to fix Aeropress not plunging properly.

Barath is a coffee lover, who has been brewing his coffee at home for several years. He talks about coffee tasting, brewing guides and much more in home coffee wizard. Follow barath on X (twitter) @diputsC