Serious coffee drinkers swear by the Aeropress Coffee Maker, and for good reason.
SHORT VERSION: The Aeropress coffee maker has gained legendary status since its introduction in 2005. It’s not for everyone, but it will appeal to coffee drinkers who value taste and consistency over push-button convenience. Just about everyone agrees that it makes great coffee, and it comes with none of the hassles that plague automatic drip coffee makers.
This is the part of the review where I usually talk about how tall a coffee maker is and how accessible the water reservoir is, but none of that applies to the Aeropress coffee maker. It’s less of a gadget and more of a coffee making kit. It’s shockingly simple and, with a couple of accessories such as a thermometer (you can get one for about $7) and a reusable stainless steel filter (as of now, $10), you’ll be set for a long while as far as coffee making equipment goes.
REASONS TO BUY AN AEROPRESS COFFEE MAKER
Raise your hand if any of the following applies to you:
- You hate bitter coffee
- You’ve dealt with “plastic taste” from past coffee makers
- You’ve had coffee makers break down on you
- You’ve had coffee makers overflow and barf coffee all over your kitchen counter
- You’ve struggled with poorly designed carafes that leak all over the place
- You’ve bought expensive coffee makers only to have them disappoint you
- You’re wasting tons of cash on K-cups (not to mention the environmental impact)
Okay, you can put your hand down now. The Aeropress coffee maker solves all of these problems, largely by removing the electronic element that basically defines the drip coffee maker universe. Here are the basic steps needed to make Aeropress coffee:
The superior coffee this Aeropress coffee maker produces is the result of several different characteristics of the Aeropress brewing method. First, the recommended water temperature is 175° F which is quite a bit lower than the generally accepted “optimal” brewing range of 195° – 205° F. This lower temperature makes for a coffee that’s smooth, not bitter. The much shorter brew time also helps quite a bit. And, unlike drip coffee makers (despite whatever they may claim), it is exceedingly rare for the coffee grounds used in drip methods to be uniformly extracted. The Aeropress coffee maker guarantees uniform extraction.
“But why is the tube thing so small?” you wonder. Don’t be fooled by the compact size. When you brew with the Aeropress coffee maker, you’re actually making a coffee concentrate which could loosely be defined as espresso but isn’t exactly espresso in the truest sense of the word. Nonetheless, that’s why this product’s official name is the “Aeropress Coffee and Espresso Maker.” The Aeropress can produce up to four cups of “normal” coffee in one press; all you need to do is add hot water.
Here’s a little how-to video produced by the makers of Aeropress:
Mechanical drip coffee makers are subject to all kinds of problems and hassles, and most buyers agree that the Aeropress coffee maker produces a far superior cup. Plus, it comes with 300+ filters. Some coffee makers don’t even come with one.
REASONS TO NOT BUY
First things first…the Aeropress coffee maker is not what you’d call “convenient.” It takes some effort. You have to heat water, preferably with a thermometer in place to make sure it’s right around 175° F (or whatever temperature you like). There are also a bunch of parts that you need to keep track of and clean, although most people say cleaning is very easy. You also need to press down on the plunger pretty hard in order to push the water through the coffee and filter. This routine isn’t for everyone.
Dissatisfied Amazon.com reviewers, many of whom concede that they love the coffee they get from the Aeropress, have also complained that it takes a lot of coffee to make a single cup. Keep in mind that the Aeropress coffee maker falls under the category of “manual coffee makers” so this complaint is fairly subjective. The amount of coffee one person feels is necessary may differ from another’s. Aeropress recommends one scoop of coffee per cup.
A more significant complaint is about the Aeropress coffee maker’s plastic construction. Some say that extended use has led to plastic being scraped from inside the cylinder and, in theory, into the coffee. It seems improbable that actual plastic is making it through the paper filter, but I can see how it would seem unappetizing to know that plastic is being scraped off at all. Others have commented that the constant exposure to hot water eventually causes the plastic to crack which means that the Aeropress will eventually have to be replaced. How often it has be to replaced depends on how much it gets used, of course.
Also, as mentioned earlier, this Aeropress coffee maker doesn’t really make espresso. It makes something that resembles espresso, but hardcore espresso drinkers will argue until they’re blue in the face that it’s not espresso. Okay, fine! It doesn’t make espresso! Geez.
This “coffee maker” (again, it’s more of a kit) is so popular and so renowned for producing incredible coffee that it’s spawned an entire subculture. There’s even an international coffee-making competition for Aeropress enthusiasts.
If great coffee is more important than convenience, then you should buy an Aeropress coffee maker right now. This goes double if you’ve spent any time in coffee maker hell with bitterness and overflows and leaking carafes and all that nonsense.
As long as you don’t mind the parts, the manual boiling of water, and the pressing of a plunger, there’s a great chance that you’ll be smitten with the Aeropress coffee maker and will never buy another electric drip coffee maker in this lifetime.
Just for fun, I’ll close with a couple of fun facts:
The inventor, Alan Adler, is a professional tinkerer who is probably best known for inventing the Aerobie flying ring. Parker Brothers once sold it under the name “Skyro.” Also, Adler has stated in interviews that he made the first Aeropress in his garage and it hasn’t changed much since then.
Wasn’t that fun? Store that information in your fun fact file and whip it out at cocktail parties and barbecues. Everyone will be amazed by your breadth of fun fact knowledge.