There are a lot of ways a home barista can use the famous Aeropress Coffee & Espresso Maker, and we’re really happy to say that we learn something new each time we use it. This precious little press-style coffee maker can easily become your best friend when you are craving a slam-bang espresso, or it can be a big disappointment if you end up flubbing the whole process.
I still remember a few rude awakenings with horrible cups of coffee that I prepared myself because I didn’t know certain tricks (that I know now) on how to make my perfect Aeropress coffee or espresso. This was during my “I’ll try anything once” phase. 🙂
We have an article on tips for the Aeropress where we talk a lot about how to use the machine itself and then some, so if you want to know more about how to use your Aeropress, you can read that article by following this link. Even though the Aeropress was designed to be simple, you can’t just use it any old way and expect a great cup of wakey juice.
So far we’ve learned that manually ground coffee using a burr grinder is the best grind to use for Aeropress brewing, not to mention any other type of brew method you might use, from a humble drip coffee maker to the most expensive espresso machines out there.
To find out more about grinding for Aeropress, we have a detailed article on that too which you can read by clicking here.
We also spoke before of how the Aeropress chamber and the filters should be warmed up with hot water so the whole process can run smoothly and without awkward tastes. Rinsing the filter prior to brewing is a key step that I’ve learned.
Many times, I have realized that no matter how good the coffee is that I have ground, or how fresh, it was turning out to have a bit of a weird taste as if some evil office fairy had run by and throw paper dust into it. It took me a while (I’m not slow, I swear) to realize that my filters are providing my coffee with that unwanted taste. This was before I rinsed them, of course. I now know better.
If you have been in a situation like this, don’t immediately blame the filters that typically come with your Aeropress. The filters are probably fine, but just require that quick hot water rinse to evacuate that subtle paper flavor.
Even though I managed to figure out what was causing my Aeropress coffee to taste weird, I had already begun searching for alternatives to paper Aeropress filters, and this lead me to stainless steel permanent filters, which is why, today, I want to do a little comparison review between two popular filter sets meant for Aeropress.
We will be comparing the paper filters that come with the unit to the stainless steel type of Aeropress filter that is also available. Right off the bat, I will state the obvious here which is that one is reusable, and one is disposable.
Steel Aeropress Filters from The Purple Tractor
It wasn’t until a couple of months ago that I decided to try the Purple Tractor’s Aeropress filter set which includes two stainless steel mesh filters.
Before that, I always stuck to my paper filters that came with my Aeropress unit, and never even gave any thought to the fact that there was anything else out there.
Environmentally Friendly Aeropress Filter
So, here’s what’s cool about these filters, if you ask me. Because they are made from stainless steel, these filters last forever, and they are extremely eco-friendly to boot.
Once I started using the Purple Tractor steel filters, just knowing that I was saving a tree or two makes me feel pretty good. The Purple Tractor includes a short mission statement with the package, which got me thinking along the lines of sustainability. Good stuff!
On the other hand, you’re paying a fair bit more for these steel Aeropress filters, which does seem like a lot compared to the normal paper filters which are only a few dollars for a pack that will last you months.
Steel Aeropress Filter Options
To be completely honest at first I was confused by the fact that The Purple Tractor offers 2 different style steel filters that come together with this package.
At first I wasn’t sure why they made two different looking filters, thinking maybe they just wanted to offer two different styles of filter in one package?
But then I had to face-palm myself because upon closer inspection one filter is obviously a finer mesh than the other, so they’re really meant for brewing either fine or coarse ground coffee.
The nice thing about these Purple Tractor steel filters is that each of them fits snugly into my Aeropress.
They both have solid construction and look great, not that looks matter much when it comes to coffee filters I guess. Overall, the whole package is really nice and it makes sense to me that its only around $15, which really isn’t too expensive.
Over the following weeks, I tried using each of these filters when using different grind sizes and bean types, just to see if it really made any difference. I always made sure I ground the beans up fresh, because I know that’s really important. I use a Hario Mini Slim to grind my beans, because I can grind straight into my Aeropress, and from there, straight into my mug.
Not surprisingly, the filter that is designed for a coarser grind works just fine with my coarse grinds, and the finer-meshed filter is more for espresso style coffee, which I’ve managed to do really well a handful of times. With the finer-meshed filter, it is extremely fine so you can get away with some really fine grinds here, which is great. I read that some people even stack the two of them together, and I’ve tried that too – with mixed results.
A couple other things about the Purple Tractor filters are that they’re easy to clean, and you can also store them right in your Aeropress until the next time you brew. Very helpful!
Overall, the flavor and aroma of my coffee that I get when using these reusable stainless steel filters is quite good, provided I’m having an “on” day when it comes to my Aeropress technique. To be honest, I’m still getting the hang of it.
I learned a lot from this article on this very website, called “Aeropress Tips” – really helpful resource. Now, in case you want to learn more about Aeropress technique, here’s a great video showing how Aeropress should be done featuring 2009 World Barista Champ Gwilym Davies, who just happens to be using a paper Aeropress filter here…
Paper Aeropress Filters
To backtrack a little bit, before I got my hands on the Purple Tractor steel filters, I only used paper filters and typically just tossed them to the garbage after I made my Aeropress coffee. I did this on a daily basis and yeah, I guess it was slightly wasteful of me.
With paper filters, you kind of just go through them quickly like paper towels or something, so you don’t really think about them much. You can get a double pack with 700 filters which covers you for about two years or so, which seems like forever.
These paper filters fit perfectly into my Aeropress, and they are microfilters, so they are great for removing grit from your home brew.
These filters are a big part of why Aeropress coffee is so rich and smooth, if you can learn just to rinse them before using them to eliminate any extra dust that is on them, because it gives the coffee a tinge of something you don’t want – paper taste.
These paper filters are 2.5″ in diameter, and, actually, they CAN be reused if you want. I never reuse them – just don’t want to use them again after using them once, but people do and I have nothing bad to say about that. Some people have found other uses for them, but honestly, I just don’t want to bother – I toss them out along with the grinds after I’m done.
You know what? I just prefer the steel filters now, because honestly, I figure if I’m going to try to be eco-friendly or reduce my carbon footprint or what have you, I may as well just use a re-useable filter, you know what I mean? A pack of 350 costs only about $4 – not sure how much of a better deal I could find these for. Plus, 350 is basically one year of filters, since I drink one cup a day.
Aeropress Filters – The Bottom Line
Maybe coffee filters aren’t the most exciting topic in the world, but when it comes to home brewing, the smallest things sometimes make the biggest difference. Over the years I’ve learned that grinding the beans yourself with a burr coffee grinder is super important, and prior to that I’d never even heard of a “burr” in my life. Then I realized that using your grinds ASAP was another crucial moment in your coffee brewing journey.
Before that, I would leave grinds out over night on my counter and wonder why my morning cup wasn’t that great. Now my thing is filters. I guess you live and learn. I also have a great coffee vault to keep things fresh.
The bottom line here is that both of these types of Aeropress filters are really good, as long as you know what you’re doing. There are very few complaints about either of these types of filters, so you can buy them and not worry too much about running into any issues. Still, I hope this article helped you learn a little something about Aeropress coffee and the two types of filters you can use. Thanks for reading! 🙂