Hello again, my caffeinated friends. I’ve peeled a few Koch dollars off my pimp roll and bought an AeroPress for review. I set the trusty French press aside and have been using the Aeropress for the last 2 months. Will it replace the French press for good? Does it make better espresso than my Moka Pot? Is it smoother than the cold press? Well, read on friends and find out along with my world famous…ok, vaguely remembered by a small cadre of weirdos, pro/con list!
What is an AeroPress you may be asking yourself. It is a basically an oversized syringe with a filter. Medium ground coffee is place inside the barrel and filled with hot water (175 F) to make a regular cup of coffee. The water and coffee steep for 60 seconds and then you invert whole apparatus over your favorite mug and press the coffee out through a paper filter, then top off the mug with hot water. If the barista prefers espresso, use a fine grind with the same water temperature and steep time, but don’t dilute with hot water. This deceptively simple device does allow for great variety in preparation through adjustments in water temperature, grind, steep time and how hard or soft you press the plunger. In fact there are AeroPress world competitions to see which coffee enthusiasts can coax the best cup of Joe out of the simple and inexpensive appliance. I give you The World AeroPress Championship for you super coffee nerds. *looks around* Just me, huh?
So what do I think after living with the AeroPress for 2 months? It makes a damn fine cup of coffee in under 2 minutes. For those who don’t want to make a morning ritual of your coffee habit and just want caffeine coursing through your veins ASAP, this is a good option. Clean up is a breeze. After pressing the coffee all that is left is a mostly dry coffee puck. Just shoot it into the trash can and rinse the plunger. Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy. I’m not usually a fan of paper filters, but a good pre-rinse with hot water seems to eliminate the paper taste. The filters are inexpensive and they give you enough when you buy the press starter kit that you don’t feel cheated.
As much as I like the AeroPress, it can’t do it all. It can’t rival the low acid smoothness of the cold brew system and it lacks the volume of the Moka pot for espresso, though I do prefer the taste of AeroPress espresso. The AeroPress also can’t be set on a timer like most drip systems and is not well suited to making large volumes of coffee.
So the big question, “Does it replace the French Press?” For me, it doesn’t because I want the most pure expression of each bean that I roast. I’m willing to trade a clean cup of coffee for the unfiltered experience. That being said, if you are the sole coffee drinker in your home, like easy clean up, don’t want to spend a ton of money, don’t have much storage space, and enjoy experimenting with grind, temperature, etc. the AeroPress is hard to beat.
Step 1. Fill with ground coffee. (pro-tip* wet the rubber plunger before placing in barrel to reduce friction/extend life).
Step 2. Fill with hot water and stir.
Step 3. Attach filter.
Step 4. After 1 minute steep, invert over mug.
Step 5. Press gently until you hear air escaping.
Step 6. Top off mug with hot water.
Step 7. Remove filter cap and press plunger to eject coffee puck into trash. Rinse AeroPress.
- cost – $33.90 starter kit that includes 350 filters
- reliability – so simple it is unlikely to fail in any way
- flexibility – nearly infinite ways to make coffee
- storage – takes up very little counter/cabinet space
- taste – it does a really good job of extracting flavor.
- clean – super easy clean up
- easy to use – full disclosure* I did make a large mess when I put the coffee in wrong while sleepy
- cup – really clean cup of coffee. no muddy coffee (sediment)
- filters – some people prefer unfiltered coffee
- consumables – although not very expensive, you do have to buy replacement filters
- serving size – the isn’t the go to for a large dinner party
- aesthetics – not something you want to proudly display
- accessibility – this might be a stretch, but if a person has arthritis or limited hand strength, the plunger may be difficult to press.