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Today we’re going to throw the spotlight on the famous Aeropress Coffee and Espresso Maker, a device that is insanely popular and yet some people have never heard of it and have no idea what it is.
But one thing is for sure – as coffee aficionados, we want our coffee prepared as smooth, rich, and as close to perfection as possible. And it so happens the Aeropress is designed to do just that!
As well, sometimes its nice to do make coffee in a way that will not cause us any unnecessary frustration, either from electrical malfunctions or other issues. Simplicity with the Aeropress is the name of the game.
Here’s a great video to start us off featuring famous coffee master Gwilym Davies, who provides a demonstration of how the Aeropress coffee maker works.
Use the following table to navigate the post easier…
Table of Contents
- Quick and easy no nonsense coffee maker (about the Aeropress)
- Best portable coffee maker? You decide.
- Unique advantages of the Aeropress
- Grind size for Aeropress and filter function
- Standard Aeropress brewing method
- Importance of the right coffee grinder
- Grind consistency – a final reminder
And with that, we’re off to brew some black joe unlike any you may have tasted before!
Quick & Easy No Nonsense Coffee Maker (About the Aeropress)
The Aeropress Coffee Maker is anything but complicated.
As a matter of fact, we have always found the Aeropress to be perhaps the easiest way to make coffee there is, using both pressure and immersion as its guiding principles.
Perhaps its ease of use is what has attracted thousands of buyers to give this product one of the best track records of any coffee-related product out there.
Here’s a picture showing what you get with the Aeropress, and this is what constitutes the “Aeropress System”.
Besides being quite uncomplicated, brewing coffee with the Aeropress is also very quick, making astounding coffee within a few minutes, without the bells and whistles (and price tag) of more expensive coffee makers and espresso machines.
In addition, it can make coffee strong or weak to your taste. You control the whole process. If you haven’t tried it, we think you definitely should!
Oh, and some argue that it can make something equal to espresso. Which that is technically not possible due to what is required for espresso, it gets close enough to please some critics.
Best Portable Coffee Maker? You Decide.
The coffee maker itself is fairly small and lightweight at 1.1 pounds, easy to transport, and quite practical for vacations or camping trips, when we feel like having our coffee just the same way we have it at home – but away.
Many brewing methods cannot accommodate people who frequently travel, but Aeropress does. And it’s not easy to break, either.
The Aeropress Coffee and Espresso Maker comes with the following parts, as shown above – a coffee and water funnel, a plunger and a chamber, a scoop and a stir, a filter holder and they also throw in a bag of 350 paper filters.
All of these things are more or less necessary to the process, although you can swap out things like the scoop and the stir with your own utensils, of course.
The way that your coffee is going to taste when brewing the Aeropress way will depend largely on two things – steep time, and water temperature.
Because this is a fully immersive method, you get to decide how long you want your coffee grinds to mix with the water before you use the plunger to push the coffee out and into your serving vessel or directly into your cup.
We’ll get more into some specifics of controlling the flavor shortly, but for now just know that your coffee’s flavor is at your command because nothing here is really left up to chance, because the Aeropress is very hands on.
Unique Advantages of the Aeropress
Two things about the Aeropress set it apart from its cousins, the French Press, and, indeed, the loftily-priced espresso machines of the world.
These two things are: micro-filtering, and ease of maintenance.
The way Aeropress themselves put it, French Press coffee is similarly simple to make, but it requires a coarser grind and a longer steeping time which draws out some bitter flavors.
Here is a video we love showing how to make coffee with the Aeropress. He explains things very well!
As he touches upon in the video, a lighter espresso quality of coffee is possible with the Aeropress, if you do it just the right way.
Grind Size for Aeropress and Filter Function
Let’s talk a bit more about the grind size for typical Aeropress coffee. A coarser grind prevents it from getting as much flavor out of the grinds as finer grinds would.
Here’s a picture showing the grind size difference between the Aeropress and French Press.
Aeropress often uses finer grinds, and you don’t have a filter that gets clogged with particles, and a cup full of gritty coffee.
The filter for the Aeropress starts at the top, and goes downwards, catching the grinds as it goes. This is shown in the video above as well, so watch it if you didn’t bother – it’s worth a watch!
With the Aeropress, the paper filter is underneath, and this is they key to its smooth, rich coffee flavor that it produces. This is because the grinds are usually finer to begin with, and the coarser bits don’t get past the filter, resulting in smoother coffee.
The folks at Aeropress want you to know their technology is not at all like the French Press, with French Press being incapable of creating espresso, and being overall a bit dirtier and messier.
They aren’t entirely dissimilar, of course, but Aeropress has worked to perfect their system while French Presses are all a little different. No solidarity when it comes to a French Press, because there are so many different types. There’s only one Aeropress!
Meanwhile, it’s worth mentioning that the Aeropress just requires a quick rinse and you’re back to square one. Faster, easier, more convenient.
Don’t believe the Aeropress is legit? Think we’re pulling your leg? Well they don’t have worldwide Aeropress championships for nothing!
And now, on to brewing in the classic style with the Aeropress coffee maker.
Standard Aeropress Brewing Method
So, if brewing Aeropress coffee is something you’d like to try, and now you have an Aeropress and are in fact doing up a brew for the first time, you can rest assured, this is an easy process, and you will pick up all the needed skills quickly.
Here are some of our guidelines for getting the best-tasting Aeropress coffee imaginable.
Aeropress, was made with experimentation in mind, but there is a standard way it is done, so let’s go over that.
First things first. You’re going to have to heat up some water (wow, really?), but before you start boiling, ask yourself this: Does my water taste good on its own? (fair question)
If not, you may need something like a Brita filter (or at least some clean water) to improve its taste. Tap water, sometimes, has a tendency to taste a little off. Some tap water .. is brown, or full of copper, so don’t use anything that you wouldn’t like the taste of to begin with.
Once you make the call on the water situation, you will need to get the water hot, but not boiling hot – remember that.
So, you can either stop the water right before it boils, or boil it and then wait for it to cool down a smidge.
But wait! What are we boiling our water in?
You will need to warm the water up somehow; a coffee kettle being the ideal choice, and, more specifically, a gooseneck kettle being the best choice for pouring, as you get the most control with your pour.
Depending on how you do your Aeropress-ing, the way you pour may be more crucial, or maybe less so. There do exist pouring snobs, believe it or not!
It all depends on your personal technique, which you will have to develop over time if you’re just starting out.
Here’s a quick video on how to make Aeropress coffee featuring USBC World Champ Bronwen Serna, which will give you a good idea how the process goes according to a champ.
The way she does it here in this video, she uses a ceramic kettle to pour from, but we still prefer a gooseneck because we love to have that control (not to argue with a champ, of course, but still…), and a regular pouring vessel doesn’t have that fine tuned pouring control.
Not only that, but it’s harder to make a mistake when the water is pouring out in such a controlled fashion, so there’s that to consider also if you’re just a general clutz and slob, which some of us are. 🙂
Importance Of The Right Coffee Grinder
As for the coffee, we always recommend using fresh coffee grinds, which means – you guessed it – we’re going to recommend using a coffee grinder, and preferably one that grinds specifically for Aeropress. Being on this website, maybe you knew this was coming. Get a good grinder before doing ANYTHING, for the love of Pete!
For example, a quality burr mill might be a good choice, since it explicitly was made to grind for Aeropress coffee. A Porlex Mini is one we recommend a lot, because it goes hand in hand with the Aeropress and you can grind right into it.
You can, of course, use pre-ground beans, but we always suggest going with fresh ground beans if at all possible, since the taste is quite noticeably better.
An adjustable ceramic burr hand crank grinder is what you want because, for one thing, it is meant to grind right into your Aeropress (*cough* Porlex Mini).
It also keeps everything consistent with the natural non-mechanical of the Aeropress, meaning taking that extra minute to do things the proper way, as opposed to whizzing through everything just to gulp down your coffee and be out the door. We know some of you are in a hurry, but, if you do have a moment, hand grinding does have its own rewards.
Here is another video which shows how to prepare coffee the Aeropress way.
Again, grab that notepad and see what you can glean from this guy’s Aeropress style. We have watched and learned from many, and so we think it’s good to take notes from different peoples’ styles, to get an all around sense of the best method for you. You know?
Lest we forget, grind consistency.
Grind Consistency – A Final Reminder
Grind consistency when it comes to Aeropress is another thing you’re going to have to get good at, as with the overall process itself.
That said, in general, many people go with a medium fine grind, which is said to be the perfect grind for making Aeropress coffee. The images we’ve already shown speak to that, and it’s worth remembering.
Fact is, either you’ll be doing the grinding yourself, with your own grinder, or you’ll be using pre-ground coffee. Hopefully you’ll take our advice and grind it yourself. Some people go with more expensive grinders, and that’s a fine choice too if you choose wisely.
Ultimately, you won’t regret going down the path of grinding yourself (not to labor the point any more).
In any case, the type of coffee (brand, roast), and then the grind consistency are ultimately up to you.
We find that the Aeropress is similar to a Chemex in terms of giving you the freedom to be more creative with your coffee-making, so have fun with it.
Final Thoughts On The Aeropress
Just some last minute tips to take away with you regarding the Aeropress:
- Be careful what you’re plunging your coffee into (ie. a teacup, noooo!), because if it is too fragile, it could break
- Along the same lines, don’t plunge too hard
- Pressing down shouldn’t be a struggle – do it slowly and it will take less than 60 seconds
- The higher your counter top, the more force you will need to apply, so we recommend starting out on some lower surfaces where you have better control of the pressing part of the process
- Don’t press to the very bottom. Do as Gwilym Davies does, and stop prior to plunging all the way. The final centimeters have some different, and possibly more bitter flavors lurking in them
- Keep track of your water to coffee ratio. Over time, you will learn what is best for you. As we’ve said all along here, play around with it – its your coffee after all!