We have been curious about the Aeropress coffee maker for a long time, and last fall we asked if anyone had tried it. We had some encouraging comments, and so recently we picked one up. All we can say is, wow!
Pictures and review below...
The Aeropress was dreamed up by a sixty-seven-year-old Stanford professor and inventor. His boomerang-type flying rings are wildly popular, and an innovative coffee brewer doesn't seem quite the natural thing to turn to next. But he was interested in making a better cup of coffee, one that didn't upset his stomach with the acids and oils, and one that used the natural power of air pressure. The result is an amazing little gadget that makes an extremely good cup of coffee - and for under $30.
Here's how the Aeropress works.
The basic apparatus is very simple: a plastic tube with an airtight rubber plunger. Several other things come in the box too: paper filters, a holder for the filters, a coffee scoop, a stirrer, and a funnel. The main thing, though, is the tube and plunger.
A rather large amount of coffee is used, per cup. One thing we noticed right away about the Aeropress is that it extracts every flavor from the coffee. Our beans were a bit old and we could actually taste the stale flavors in the cup.
A small cap fits on the end of the tube, with a round paper filter. This is fastened on and the coffee grounds are poured into the tube. The enclosed funnel is not necessary, but it's useful - we kept spilling coffee grounds until started using it to pour them in the narrow tube.
Then you pour in hot water, stir the grounds for a few seconds, and push the plunger down slowly and steadily. From the time the water is poured to the time the coffee is ready is just about a minute.
It produces a small amount of very concentrated coffee that people often just add water to for an Americano-esque cup. We usually add an equal amount of hot water to the brewed coffee.
Cleanup is easy - just take off the cap at the end and push out the filter and compressed puck of coffee grounds.
We have been using this for our daily morning coffee for a little while now, and we can't tell you how great it is. It makes a full, clear cup, rich with flavor and body, but without the grittiness and chew of French Press. The air pressure pushes the water very forcefully through the grounds, unlike the French press, where the grounds (not the water) are being forced to the bottom, and we think this makes for a very different kind of coffee.
It's been compared to the Clover, and while it also operates on very different principles, the clearness and body of the cup are comparable. We are finding that really, really good coffee beans are a worthwhile investment with the Aeropress; you can taste every note.
One thing to clear up: the Aeropress claims loudly all over its packaging and advertising that it makes a great cup of espresso. It doesn't. This is not espresso; the technical differences between a pulled espresso and Aeropress coffee are numerous and we won't list them here. It does make a very strong, concentrated brew with all the flavors of the coffee intact, and the small amount of coffee that emerges does look like an espresso. But get your espresso fix elsewhere - this is simply a very, very good cup of coffee.
You can find the Aeropress at many specialty food and coffee shops. ThinkGeek has them online for $25.99.