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on February 15, 2009
At the end of the day, the AeroPress makes a great cup of coffee. My preferred cup is a cafe americano, and the AeroPress makes me a cafe americano better than Starbucks and only matched by my fairly expensive home espresso machine (and the machine requires more prep and cleanup). I don't regret buying the Aeropress.

However, there are two drawbacks which I think the potential buyer should be aware of:

1. The AeroPress uses -a lot- of coffee grounds. The press may be cheap, but the scoop is twice the size of a standard espresso scoop. You'll be running through your coffee supplies twice as fast as before, and that can get expensive. I buy green coffee in bulk and roast and grind at home, so I don't care too much, but for those slightly less crazed than I who buy their coffee "like normal people" you'll see the difference in your monthly coffee bill.

Further, most of the "smoothness" of the coffee the Aeropress produces is directly a result of this "twice as much coffee grounds" issue. If I put twice as much coffee in my French press and steeped it for half the time I'd get very similar results as the Aeropress. If you already have a French press try using half as much water and pressing down the filter after only 30 seconds before you buy the Aeropress. The only advantage the AeroPress really has here is that it's designed to use this much coffee, while other coffee machines are more frugal.

2. I'm not thrilled with the price. The device feels well constructed (the plastic isn't flimsy), but it's still just plastic. The whole device could not have cost more than $2 to manufacture (and probably half that). I'm all for invention and technological progress, but the markup here feels unreasonable. I can get a good glass and steel French press for the same price. This issue #2 is why I did not give the AreoPress 5 stars. It's a very good coffee maker, but it's not a great value.

As for the issue of "push-down pressure" that other reviewers have mentioned, this is purely a function of how course the grind is you're using. A fine espresso grind will require a lot of pressure. A coarse French press grind can be pushed down with just one finger. If you're having trouble pushing the press down, trying using a slightly coarser grind - I think you'll find the problem goes away. As you move away from the recommended "very find" grind though you may wish to increase a brew time a few seconds to compensate for the loss of grind-surface area exposure. I find that the recommended 10 seconds is right for espresso and very fine grinds but 20-25 seconds works best for the coarsest grinds.
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on November 27, 2006
The other reviews have pretty much said it all but I'll add that, I have most of the major coffee maker types. From automatic drip, french press, vacuum pots and a Senseo, I've tried lots of different methods for getting a good cup of coffee at home. Auto drip makes adequate coffee but since I'm the only coffee drinker in the house, I always end up either dumping out coffee or drinking more than I should to avoid wasting it. The french press and the vacuum pot are capable of creating lovely coffee but the cleanup and brew time involved are not insignificant. The Senseo is easy and quick to clean up but the thin, somewhat weak brew became unacceptable the instant I made the first cup in the Aeropress. Back in January of this year I ordered the Aeropress and have become a complete coffee snob as a result. Nowhere can I get a cup of coffee that matches what I make everyday with my Aeropress. A rich, flavorful brew is only moments away at any time. When you consider the ease of cleanup and the low cost, this little guy is a no brainer.

I don't drink espresso so I can't comment on how it does with that. I will say that, while it does produce some foam, it is very short lived and should in no sense of the word be called crema. I don't think anything without crema should be referred to as espresso but I'm no expert in that particular area. Come on, you didn't really think you were going to replace a two thousand dollar espresso machine with a thirty dollar piece of plastic and rubber did you?

If your looking for something that will let you make great lattes, cappucinos and americanos at home, get yourself a decent grinder (you do grind your own beans don't you?), some quality whole beans and an Aeropress and ruin yourself with some great coffee made quickly and easily at home. As long as you aren't expecting barista class espresso out of it, you will not be disappointed.
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on January 29, 2008
Below is my original review but I've returned to upgrade my opinion and offer some suggestions. Unfortunately Amazon won't let me change the star rating without deleting and starting over but, after using the Aeropress for about a month I'd give it five stars.

Here's why I changed my mind: originally I only gave the press four stars because of the large amount of coffee required to make a cup of coffee using the manufacturer's directions. They must get kickbacks from coffee companies or something, because they say to use two scoops of grounds per cup of coffee -- YIKES! That's fine if you're using cheap coffee, but when you buy fair trade organic it can really run up your coffee bill. And what's the point of having a gourmet coffeemaker if you don't use gourmet coffee?

I've been experimenting with the Aeropress and have found that I can make an excellent cup of coffee with only one scoop of grounds by not focusing on "smooth" coffee. I like acidity in my coffee -- my preference is for balance over smoothness. So I heat the water to near boiling and fill the Aeropress to the 4-cup line, stir the grounds into the water and allow to set for a couple of minutes before pressing. This allows much more coffee flavor to come through, and I no longer get the paper taste that I got when I made coffee according to directions. When I press I do so fairly quickly, and actually get a lovely espresso crema. This only fills my cup to about 2/3, so I add hot water for the rest.

_____________

Aeropress makes a very good cup of coffee. I'd like to add a few comments.

The instructions say to only heat the water to 175 degrees because that reduces the amount of acidity and makes the coffee smoother. That may be true, but I thought it was a bit too smooth. I like a bit of acidity in my coffee, so after the first trial cup I began to heat the water to almost boiling, which yielded a brew more to my taste. (Also the coffee stays hotter longer that way.)

This method uses a lot of coffee if you go by the directions -- they recommend two scoops of grounds per cup! Their scoops are a little smaller than a normal coffee scoop, and I've found that 1-1/2 Aeropress scoops make a good cup. This turns out to be about the same that my French press uses, but the Aeropress coffee has no grounds in it, so I"m giving away the French press.
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on March 29, 2014
Contrary to the one star, I LOVE THE COFFEE THIS THING MAKES! I've had every kind of coffee, I suppose: Drip, percolator, espresso, french press, boiled... Had them all, and the AeroPress makes the best (YMMV and all that).

So why the 1 star review?

This is my third Aeropress! The first one lasted only 4 months of normal (i.e. about "one pot" a day) use before the plastic in the barrel began to break down and the seal on the plunger was worn so badly it was unusable. NORMAL USE!!! And if you look through these reviews, you'll see my experience is not unique. If you do a few quick web searches, you'll find even more examples of this new AeroPress not holding up to coffee drinker's use. By "new" I mean, apparently Aerobie redesigned the AeroPress after the PET scare a few years ago. I found some users of the old AeroPress claiming their unit had lasted 5 years and was still going. I haven't found any reports of this new one lasting much over a year. The last 2 units I have purchased haven't lasted more than six months before the plastic becomes so stretched out that the coffee/water passes the plunger and runs up the barrel. Bizarrely, Aerobie remains adamant that all is well, and is ignoring the complaints about build quality and requests for a more sturdy unit made out of glass or stainless steel.

Which is why the 1 star review. Yes, I love the coffee. And yes, the AeroPress is cheap enough that I will spend no more on it, even replacing it every few months, than I would a crappy Mr. Coffee or equivalent. In fact, my wife and I turned to the AeroPress in disgust after we went through 3 coffee makers in 2 years. (For the observant, the coffee maker we had prior to those last three lasted 5 years, so no, the correlation doesn't equal causation.)

But that I'll spend no more is not the point. The point is, Aerobie needs to build the thing to last at LEAST 5 years of use in the hands of a coffee lover. THAT'S the point! If you go through a pot of coffee a day or more, you might either want to pass on Aeropress until they figure out how to make one that will last.
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on February 9, 2008
i've been picky about coffee forever. back in the '70s, i used to mail-order jamaica blue mountain beans from zabar's in new york when i was in medical school. now, i roast my green beans from sweetmarias with an air popcorn popper.

i've used every coffee making system i've ever heard of, including chemex, french press, vacuum extraction (both electric bodum style as well as the all-glass "mad scientist" method), cimbali manual "pull your own shot" espresso maker, gaggia electric, and probably others whose names escape me.

the coffee made with the aeropress is superb. as some folks have said, it doesn't have the exact taste of espresso (tho' it is "expressed") but since luigi bezzera invented espresso for speed, not taste, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

i find that using an wide top elecric kettle (a chef's choice 675) it's easy to watch the water and tell when it's at 175-180 (it's when bigger bubbles start forming). my raytek laser infrared thermometer (under fifty bucks at amazon) can confirm the temp. while the water's boiling, i grind the 27g of beans (i use a gaggia mdf) to a #5 grind and dump them in the aeropress.

after pouring in hot water to within a half-inch of the top, i stir it for 10 to 15 seconds and then insert the plunger. moderate pressure pushes all the water through the grounds in 30 seconds or so. i then dilute the result in my mug to get a total of about 12 oz of the best coffee i've ever had.

reusing the paper filter is easy. i just rinse it, put it on the folded towel i keep under my mug when pushing on the plunger (prevents slipping) and squoosh it with the flat stirrer. that gets it pretty dry, and i then put it in the base on top of the rest of the filters. one filter will last indefinitely. i just rinse the aeropress and return everything onto the base, where it all stacks neatly.

one hint - be sure to push the plunger *completely* through the outer cylinder, and keep the perforated filter cover in the funnel with the spoon and stirrer. that way the rubber plunger re-expands to its full size, which helps it stay airtight to allow the air to be pushed through, giving you some "crema."

if you value a great cup of coffee, you will not be disappointed with the aeropress.
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on October 25, 2014
I am a coffee enthusiast. I do not work in or own a coffee related business, I work in the Seafood Industry. I listed a few companies in this review because I truly recommend their products with this one.

I have been using an Aeropress for four years. I own three of them. One for at my Seattle Apartment, one for at my Seattle Office, and one for my room in a Fish Plant in Alaska. My original one that is over 4 years old still works fine. There are always different coffee gadgets coming out or being unearthed. The Aeropress sometimes falls out of fashion with me for a short period and I try something else. I always come back to it because it is both one of the easiest devices to use and the process leads to the most consistent results. Clevers leak. A Hario V60 (which I also love) takes some practice and trial/error to perfect. A Chemex is fun for big groups, but very hard to get the timing and grind just right. Vac pots are neat but they are very inconsistent. I also really like that grind size with Aeropress is chosen by taste, since grind size doesn't alter brew time like with pour overs.

It is worth getting the fine SS filters for reusing. I don't like the paper ones for taste reasons. I wish they were a little more reasonable in price. It is a pain in the butt to make coffee with this for a group of people. I also don't like the instructions that come with this. Go to Stumptown Coffee or Heart Coffee's websites. Both of those sites have great "recipes" for using an Aeropress.

Just go ahead and buy it. You should have a gram scale / timer and a high quality burr grinder. I recommend the Hario Coffee Drip Scale/Timer and the Baratza Encore Grinder. You do not need a fine drip kettle like the Hario Buono for an Aeropress, but you will need one of those for a V60 or Chemex. I highly recommend Heart Coffee, Stumptown Coffee, La Intellagencia Coffee, and Wrecking Ball Coffee. All of those roasters have websites for online orders of fresh batches and most of them have "recipes" for various devices / methods.
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on September 22, 2011
Cafe Americanos, Cappuccinos, Lattes and so on all begin with good a good espresso. The Cafe Americano is your standard cup of coffee made by adding water to the espresso. That's simple enough with this product, but sometimes you want more. Personally, I bought the BODUM Schiuma Stainless Steel Turbo Milk Whip along with a stainless steel milk frothing jug to make the best cappuccinos and to top off a cafe latte with just a bit of frothed milk. I do all of this at work, so it might seem a bit crazy, but compared to the work coffee, you cant go wrong. Luckily, there is a hot tap on the coffee maker which produces nearly boiling water, which is perfect with a few moments to cool for this application. I assure you that you'll be rewarded if you prepare the espresso properly. Don't by bad coffee beans for starters. I prefer Allegro Bella Canto with a fine grind, though not too fine. I don't do 2 full scoops per serving either, more like 1.5. With a fine grind, it doesn't let much water through without plenty of rich coffee going with it.

To make a workplace cappuccino, get 2% milk and put about 1/3 of a cup into a paper cup and microwave it until its hot, then add the milk to your frothing jug and use the milk whip to create a nice thick froth. This will triple the volume of the milk no problem. Make sure you time it well so you have hot froth with hot coffee. If you want a cafe latte, id say 3/4 cup hot milk in the coffee, then froth about 1/4 cup for the top. I sprinkle roasted cinnamon on top.

I never used to be a coffee drinker, but I found myself wanting a treat without really overdoing it, so I decided on coffee drinks. A granola bar with a nice cappuccino suits me just fine. Its healthy, filling, and satisfying.

Ill post a photo or two of the cappuccino in my Aperture Laboratories mug.
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on February 27, 2013
I thought it was hype, but now I know too.
This is the best coffee I have ever made at home. Period.
I am a believer.
Thank you AeroPress!

UPDATE June 2015: Suddenly the rubber end of the plunger has gone really sticky. I haven't done anything new; I always just rinse it out and every once in a while I handwash it. Now it is so sticky I can't push it through, making it effectively broken.
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on October 23, 2007
For reasons beyond the scope of this review, the Aeropress does not make espresso. However, it does make incredible coffee with ease.

The Aeropress' inability to make espresso is also the reason that it makes exceptionally good coffee: The oils and acids in coffee are trapped in the grounds that remain in the bottom of the Aeropress, instead of your cup. As a result, the Aeropress produces very low acid coffee that is smooth, clean and easy to drink black.

The Aeropress makes coffee that is roughly four times the strength of an automatic drip machine, so it is perfect for making iced coffee and iced mochas. Because of the increased concentration, I brew directly into a tall glass containing cocoa powder and Equal. Brew into glass, stir, fill with ice and milk, stir again, drink. The concentration of the Aeropress coffee offsets the dilution from the ice, and allows you to have a fresh-brewed iced mocha, instead of making one with stale, cold coffee. Beware, once you make fresh coffee mochas, you will never be able to go back.

For best results, buy good coffee beans and grind them immediately before brewing. If (with freshly ground, high quality coffee beans) your Aeropress coffee tastes flat, increase the temperature of the water to 190 F, and be sure to use good tasting water. If your Aeropress coffee tastes bitter, you are brewing it too long and the coffee is getting over-extracted. If the brewed coffee is too strong (Dad), simply dilute it per the included instructions.

The Aeropress makes great coffee, is fast and easy to use, is easy to clean and is made in the United States. On top of all that, it is a great value. I cannot recommend the Aeropress more highly - but it still doesn't make espresso.
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on September 30, 2006
As others have said, the Aeropress makes great coffee and espresso. The Aeropress lacks the style and design of the $3,000 automated Italian machines. In fact, it looks a lot like a bong or a chemistry set. It operates like no other coffee maker you have seen before. Who would have thought someone could come up with a new way to make coffee?

The Aeropress is a completely manual system, which explains its low price. You espress the coffee manually by pressing on a plastic pipe that sends hot water through the coffee grounds, sort of like an upside down french press. It is very easy to use, and could easily be packed for travel.

Pros:

Cheap

Great coffee

Great espresso

Takes up very little space

No electronics to break

No high-dollar bean mill required. A regular blade grinder will do.

Right water temperature produces coffee with very low acid.

Cons:

You will go through a lot of beans because the coffee tastes so good

It takes practice to make crema

You need an instant-read thermometer to heat the water to 165 to 175 degrees

You will have to heat and steam milk manually if you like milk-based espresso drinks

No cool-looking Gaggia or Saeco espresso machine sitting in your kitchen

No excuse to upgrade your blade grinder to a mill
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