on August 24, 2010
I have owned the AeroPress for over two years and, judging by the number of filters I have used so far, I have brewed about 600 cups of coffee with it. It has become an essential part of my daily routine. It is fast, easy, and the grounds just pop out into the trash or compost. But all this has already been covered in these reviews. Here are a few additional points worth considering:
-It can brew a few cups of coffee in just a few minutes and make each cup as weak or as strong as my guest wants.
-If you are expecting the coffee to taste like espresso or like French-pressed coffee, remember that the AeroPress uses a paper filter. It filters out much of the oil that would otherwise be present. I prefer my coffee this way but others may not. Think of it as the best drip coffee maker in the world.
-Unlike an espresso machine or a French press, you can grind the coffee in a basic blade grinder because a consistent grind isn't necessary. In a French press, your coffee will have too much silt and the bottom of your cup will be sludge.
-With a little practice, you'll soon be able to customize your coffee exactly how you like it. Adjust acidity with water temperature and steep time. Adjust strength with the grind and the coffee-to-water ratio.
-When I lost a piece of my AeroPress, Aerobie sent me a replacement for just a couple of dollars. They were easy to contact, helpful, and friendly. This is a great product made by an excellent little company.
This is the first time I've decided to review a product online. If you found this helpful, click the little box below. And if there is anything else you'd like to know, please click "comment" and ask me.
on June 10, 2011
I worked at a coffee shop for over five years and was a finalist in a number of regional barista competitions from California to Missouri.
So I have a thing for good coffee, which starts with the roast and the purity and temperature of the water. But when it comes to extraction, very few, if any, brewing devices put so much control into the hands of the brewer.
With this brewer, I have made some of the best cups of coffee I've ever had. You can achieve the quality of brewed coffee as with a classic pour-over but in a much more convenient and durable system.
It's faster than a crappy Mr. Coffee, easier and more forgiving than a pour over like the Hario V60 and more durable than anything else I've ever used, besides of course a Turkish coffee brewing pot.
Sometimes you're just too busy to brew a coffee everyday (even it is does only take 2-3 minutes from start to finish). Or perhaps you hate being stuck with the crappy coffee found at your office. The versatility to brew a regular cup of coffee or an "espresso extract" is awesome. On a busy week, I will brew a heavy concentrated brew of coffee and store in a vacuumed, air-free, glass Porto bottle. When I want to make a coffee, I simply pour a measure of the coffee extract into a cup, cut with either iced or hot water and enjoy my quick, dead simple brew.
When traveling, this thing really shows off. If you travel and hate using hotel coffee and coffee makers, take this on your next trip, use the in-room coffee maker to heat up bottled water and use the Aerobie's coffee cavity to hold your coffee safe for travel. You can then brew the best cup of coffee you'll ever have at a hotel. This goes for camping, business travel or backpacking.
The whole system breaks down to really only two parts, the plunger and the reservoir with filters. You can leave the rest behind (scoop, funnel, stirrer) if you want. Learn where your coffee grinds should reach vertically in the brewer and free pour your coffee, stir the brewing grinds with the spoons or straws made available in most hotel rooms.
Cleaning the system is easy, just rinse and air-dry or wipe dry. I reuse my paper filters 2-4 times and see little to no difference in taste or consistency. This a company that makes permanent metal disk filters for this brewer that many people love. I am reluctant to use them as a metal disc will not remove any extra oils left in darker roast coffee but some people like the flavor of the oils so to each their own.
Bottom line, this is the perfect brewer for the everyday coffee drinker, the business traveler, college guy/gal stuck in a dorm room, tiny New York apartment goer or backpacker. Get it, use it and love it.
on September 24, 2006
I did many hours of research into coffee makers before deciding on an Aeropress. I learned that several factors influence the coffee you end up with: the temperature of the water, the way the water mixes with the coffee, and how the coffee is extracted from the grounds. I found it difficult to find knowledgeable reviews of the various coffee machines, so I decided to take control of my coffee preparation. The aeropress allows you to control how hot the water is and how long you let it mix with the coffee.
The whole coffee making process is explained in the products instructions.
1. Insert a filter and some coffee into the unit. A coffee scoop and some filters are included with the aeropress, they recommend 1 scoop of coffee per cup.
2. Heat the right amount of water. Markers are printed on the side of the Aeropress to show the recommended amount of water for between 1 and 4 (the maximum) espresso shots. The manufacturers recommend water between 75 and 80 degrees. I don't know if this is correct, because I don't have a thermometer in the kitchen, and in any case, I'm not going to stick a thermometer in water to get it to a precise temperature. I boil water in my kettle and let the water sit for a set time before use. Alternatively, you could microwave the water for a set time. A bit of experimentation and you'll find how hot you like the water. I agree with Aeropress that boiling hot water extracts unpleasant flavors.
3. Mix the water with the grounds. The grounds are immersed in water, much like in a french press, but the manufacturers recommend letting the water sit for no more than about 10 seconds. I find that this is about right, but you can experiment and decide for yourself.
4. Insert the plunger and push the water out of the Aeropress. You press the plunger down so that it extracts the water from the grounds over about 20 seconds. The Aeropress needs to be on a strong and stable container, such as a mug, for this part of the process. Pressing the plunger requires a bit of strength if you are making more than one espresso shot. You'll need to press down for about 20 seconds.
5. Drink up, or dilute the espresso shot(s) for American coffee or mix them for cappuccino, or whatever.
I am very happy with the Aeropress. It makes great tasting coffee. It's easy to clean and inexpensive. In my opinion the aeropress is superior to french press or manual drip percolator coffee. It is not as convenient as a machine but I'm willing to spend the effort for good coffee.
on January 6, 2011
Coffee is one of those things that are highly subjective, coffee snobs and everyday coffee drinkers cannot even agree on what is "good" coffee. It comes down to preference and the Aeropress is great at making a clean cup but still retain some flavor. It cannot make Espresso and it cannot make french pressed coffee. It is regular filtered coffee, whether you hand pour it, machine brew it or push it through a tube, it is plain old filtered coffee. Because of the filter, it cannot make the other kinds of coffee, it can only adjust the strength of the brew.
That being said, the Aeropress is a great filter coffee maker because it gives the user more control than most other systems. You control the temperature, the brew time, the grind and the proportions. Just like a french press, you have full control of all of these things. This allows you to brew coffee in different strengths, although I still recommend using the standard rules of coffee brewing. The point is to extract the exact amount of flavor out of the grinds and everyone has their own opinion of what that means. The standard method is to use 1 table spoon of grinds per 2oz of water, water should be 190F, I prefer a medium grind to avoid extracting bitter/acidic flavors. Timing is the strange part about the Aeropress, with a hand pour method, a slow steady flow works best which takes about 3 to 4 minutes to complete. But with the Aeropress, the water is pushed through instead, so it seems to take about 15 - 30 seconds. I am not sure if this is a good thing or not, it's such a small window for error that I cannot tell whether I am doing it right or not. With other brewing methods, it is much slower so you can watch the grinds and the coffee come out and adjust as you brew. But with the Aeropress, it all happens at once and you get what you get. Still, it is consistent and probably good enough for most.
I must emphasize that the Aeropress does not make espresso or french press. Espresso is a mythical drink and to claim that an aeropress can make it is an insult. You probably cannot make decent espresso for less than $600.00. I know that's snob talk, but seriously, true espresso is amazingly hard to attain, which means you probably wouldn't even know what it tastes like. So to claim that this thing can make it, probably means you don't know what you're talking about. Oh it can make a strong shot of something that tastes like the espresso at starbucks... I'll leave it at that. As for french press, the filter used in the Aeropress is way too fine to let the oils and flavors through. It will filter out all the floral flavors, the honey flavors and all the really really good stuff in your coffee. This is why the aeropress is so consistent, if you filter out some of the oils and flavors, then many different coffees will taste alike. This is not a bad thing, it is what you want in a clean cup, no earthy, nutty, dirty flavors in every cup (not everyone likes these flavors).
What I don't like about the Aeropress is the mess. Everything is plastic which the coffee oils easily cling to. If it is not cleaned thoroughly after every use, grinds will start sticking to it and the parts get oily (which adds stale yucky flavors to your next cup), yuck. And for you bulk coffee buyers out there, the beans are especially oily on the outside. This means the inside of the bean is all dried out and you have no flavor in it. It also means that when you grind it, it will get really staticky and fly all over the place. Do yourselves a favor and shop for beans the way you would an orange, look for a bag that feels heavier than it looks, this means the beans are juicier on the inside. Good beans will grind much better, the oils won't stick to your gear and clean up will be much much much easier. Except for the Aeropress though, because the oils get extracted inside it. Now if they made a pyrex version of the Aeropress, that'd be mighty impressive.
Anyway, Aeropress is good. It's a quick/dirty way to a good, consistent cup of coffee. Requires more maintenance than preferable. The tube is not very big, so it will only make one mug of coffee at a time, heavy drinkers will not like this. Complaints about it requiring more grinds than other makers are not true, follow the standard brewing rules and all makers use the same amount of coffee (just because more stuff comes out does not mean it is making "more" coffee, just diluted/over brewed coffee). Now I'd be amazed if anyone read this review all the way through.
on January 24, 2007
***Update 3/15/11*** It's been over 4 years, and I still use this coffee maker every single day. I'm STILL on my first packet of filters, and still in love. I rinse the filters out and reuse once or twice per filter. And no, I haven't flipped it over. Yet.
As a certified coffee snob, I thought it didn't get better than french press. Fugetaboudit! The Aeropress renders a sweet, flavorful, impeccable Americano every time that will change your expectations forever. I have a drip coffee machine, a french press and a Krups espresso maker, and they are all officially retired thanks to the Aeropress.
I can't say enough about the results, but note that the Aerobie is more time-consuming to use than either french press or drip coffee makers, more comparable to espresso makers. Well worth it, mind you, but NOT as quick and painless as the manufacturer would have you believe. This product makes espresso by forcing air through the grounds using a syringe-type plunger. You must put in a filter, add the grounds, measure out the precise amount of water, add water and stir. You then have to place the Aeropress on top of a cup to use it, exert a pretty good amount of force, and then, if you're making two or more cups, divy the espresso up into other containers and add water or milk, if you want. So far I haven't done it, but I think it would be really easy to push too hard, flip over the cup, and spray espresso everywhere.
Still, greatest coffee ever, no competition. If you want the best, you gotta put in the time.
on January 20, 2014
Several years ago I bought this--the copolyester, BPA-free version--as a travel espresso maker. Despite the name and claims, it does not make real espresso. Period. Bit that is not the reason for this review.
I have since started drinking coffee in the winter, and I enjoy using this to make "filtered French press" coffee. The resulting coffee is milder and mellowed, but I have enjoyed using lighter roasted, brighter coffee beans.
So why my poor rating? The other day I took a closer look at the coffee-stained brewing chamber and realized that it was as rough as 30-grit sandpaper. Under a magnifying glass, I could see large crevices in the plastic brewing chamber. The plastic has been slowly disintegrating. Into my coffee.
So what is this "copolyster" that I have been drinking in my coffee? A quick online education reveals that "by introducing diacids or other diols to the polyester polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the material becomes a copolyester." The manufacturer of the AeroPress doesn't say much about the material other than claiming it won't leach phthalates. But polyesters ARE phthalates. Further, a literature review in 2009 published in Environmental Health Perspectives by Leonard Sax ("Polyethylene Terephthalate May Yield Endocrine Disruptors") revealed massive leaching of phthalates from PETs in hot environments (above 70 degrees C), particularly with acidic substances. Well, my coffee is well above 70C, and everyone's coffee is acidic. So I am left to conclude that I have likely been mega-dosing myself with endocrine-disrupting phthalates every morning for the past couple years! Do yourself a favor and brew in glass, stainless steel, porcelain, or similar material known to be inert at high temperatures!
on February 11, 2007
Update after a year 6/22/08:
I've had the Aeropress for over a year, and am happy as a clam.
If you want the best coffee ever:
1. order beans from one of the sites that roast your beans after you order, not before. Choose high-rated beans if you're not sure what you want. (one recent winner: Kenyan Peaberry from Atomic Cafe). As soon as they arrive (I never can wait):
2. Start boiling water and set up filter in Aeropress.
3. Grind beans fine (almost to espresso fineness, but not quite) in most any $15 grinder--you don't need a burr grinder with Aeropress. I use just under 1/4 cup (just covers my grinder's blades--and with this small amount, only 10-15 seconds of pulse grinding does the trick). And load ground coffee into Aeropress (I use the supplied funnel).
4. Pour boiling or near-boiling water into large mug (about 1 1/2 cups). Insert instant read thermometer and add water or just stir until temperature drops to 175F-180F.
5. Pour 175F water into Aeropress (placed on 2nd mug (a sturdy mug on a sturdy surface).
6. Immediately stir with any spoon for 5 seconds, but don't let spoon scrape filter at bottom, and wait just 3-5 seconds before using plunger.
7. Plunge (with a good deal of weight over cup) for 10 to 25 seconds, pausing every few seconds if too much resistance. Push until grounds are compressed/squeezed (it is actually easy at the end).
8. Enjoy an exceptional (but not perfect) double espresso in your mug--as is; or add hot water (only 1/2 cup (my preference--very strong) to 1 cup--med. to med-strong) to make a perfect coffee (americano).
10. Clean up by rinsing off and air drying filter for reuse 5 to 30 times (until ripped or frayed). Pop the coffee puck into garbage or compost. Rinsing Aeropress is enough, no need to wash unit.
Note: I originally preferred 185F to 190F because I was so used to the bite of acid and bitters. Go with what you prefer, but 175F is best IMO--most flavors and complexity.
The combination of the freshest very strong coffee and very low acid/bitterness is euphoric.
As mentioned, Aeropress espresso is excellent, but not quite perfect; and that is because the crema from Aeropress is too airy and dissipates quickly; in other words, it looks like crema, but it's really a stretch to call it that (as I did previously). Also, when making espresso, I nudge up the temperature to 180F to get the slightest hint of bitters. It is still smooth and strong. That said, if you don't take your espresso straight (I do), but make it as the base for your lattes, cappuccinos, etc., then Aeropress is pretty much perfect for those too.
Preliminary review: I just used the aeropress for the second time and am very happy with it. I've read the reviews here and at [...] and as effusive as they were, I had one over-riding concern: would the coffee be too bland and not strong enough (with a slight bitter kick) for my taste? I like coffee black and strong; always have and always will. , Good espresso is heavenly. Therefore all the reviews about how "smooth" the aeropress coffee is made me wary. I like a touch of bitterness and distrusted the c.170 degree recommended water temperature.
Anyways, the espresso came out nice and thick, very full-bodied and rich. There also was a very nice combination of enough acid with a heavy, rich taste experience. The complexity of some good beans came through, and perhaps were even enhanced over my good french press. I'm delighted.
I'll come back and expand when I've used this a bit more, but as for now I highly recommend the aeropress and can assure those who may have similar concern that a hand-press won't deliver "real espresso": It does. One more word: There is real crema if one firmly pumps down an inch or two of air on top of the grounds. The quality of the crema is just so-so, (light, with no distinction) but it's there. A professional espresso machine works at about 130psi (9-10 bars/atmospheres) to get the crema everyone loves; and that is one thing, and as far as I can tell, the only thing, out of reach for the aeropress.
on November 10, 2014
I was excited to finally buy one of these given all the great reviews and hype I've read over the last year or so. It took me awhile to make the jump since I'd already tried various methods and was happy with my stovetop Bialetti. The unfortunate thing regarding the unit I received, is that the smoked plastic is nowhere near as clear as the product photos show. It's dark brown and impossible to see the level of grounds or water you've added. Following instructions that say to "fill to #3" etc, just can't be followed. The coffee was ok, but I'm sure using accurate measurements is key, and that was impossible with the unit I received. Many of the product photos show a MUCH lighter smoked color if not totally clear units. Mine was nothing like those, so be warned.
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.
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.