Looking for one coffee maker that can provide you drip coffee or espresso-style drinks or cold brew? The AeroPress is a simple device that delivers delicious coffee at home or while traveling.
When I moved from the US to the UK I left my trusty drip coffee maker behind. Thankfully, I picked up an AeroPress and started experimenting to make a good cup of coffee. One year later, I have found no reason to supplement it with anything more expensive or complicated.
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Why Is the AeroPress Different than Other Coffee Machines?
The AeroPress coffee maker was invented in 1984 by inventor Alan Adler. Since then, this small but mighty coffee maker has drawn a devoted following of coffee lovers. More recently, the company added the AeroPress Go for campers or travelers in need of an even more compact coffee brewing solution.
Consisting of a simple plastic tube with plunger system, you would be forgiven for thinking this is just another version of a French press. The AeroPress does rely on immersing the coffee grounds (full immersion) like a French press but the plunger system adds pressure to the process, allowing for even more flavor extraction.
While it can’t approach the pressure of most espresso machines, the pressure AeroPress adds to the brewing process allows for a good at-home espresso that won’t break the bank.
Who Would Benefit Most From Using an AeroPress?
Those coffee enthusiasts who would love an AeroPress are:
- Coffee geeks who love manual coffee makers
- Those with small spaces (it’s very compact)
- People who live alone and only want a single cup of coffee
- If you only have a small amount of water (camping, traveling)
- Anyone who needs an easily portable coffee maker
How to Use an AeroPress
The standard brewing process with an AeroPress is straightforward:
- Remove the plunger from the tube;
- Insert one of the AeroPress paper filters into the filter cap and screw on to the end of the tube;
- Place the tube on top of your favorite coffee mug;
- Add your desired amount of fine ground coffee into the tube (the bottom of the brewing chamber);
- Pour in hot water (175°F/80°C recommended)(for best results use filtered water);
- Use the AeroPress stir stick to agitate the coffee grounds;
- Insert the plunger and apply gentle pressure to extract the coffee into your mug;
- Listen for a hissing sound that occurs when you’ve reached the full extraction point;
- Remove the cap and squeeze out the used coffee grounds directly into your trash or compost bin; and
- Rinse all pieces in warm water to clean.
You can find the full illustrated brewing instructions that come with an AeroPress here.
The coffee brewed using this basic process will be like an espresso. If you prefer a drip coffee, then simply add hot water to the brew until it reaches your desired strength.
Experimenting with AeroPress
One of the nicest things about the AeroPress is how much room it leaves for you to find your perfect brew. As a starting point, use one rounded scoop of coffee and fill in water up to the circled 1 on the tube. Don’t hesitate to vary these combinations by adding more coffee and/or water until you find the combination that you like best.
This method is one of the experiments I’ve adapted into my everyday coffee brewing. Essentially, you leave the plunger partway in the tube at your preferred number setting, then add in the ground coffee and hot water before adding on the filter cap. Before you brew, you’ll need to place the mug upside down over the filter cap and then flip the whole thing over. It’s not nearly as difficult as you’d imagine.
The reason for this method is that you don’t have any drip through the filter until you’re ready. This technique also prevents pressure loss to a slow drip if you’re distracted mid-process.
Making a Latte or Other Espresso-style Drink
For an espresso-style drink like a latte, brew with your AeroPress as usual. Then treat your result like an espresso shot and add milk to your desired latte consistency. Using a milk frother will get you closest to coffee house results.
Making Cold Brew
AeroPress cold brew is really a game changer. It can be made in just a couple of minutes and doesn’t rely on a hot brew diluted over ice. AeroPress recommends this recipe for making a single serving of cold brew:
- 1 rounded scoop of fine ground coffee;
- Room temperature or cold water up to the circled 2 on the tube;
- Stir briskly for 1 minute (absolutely necessary to get full flavor);
- Press as usual.
You can add cold water, milk or flavors to suit your preference from here.
The Best Accessories to Perfect Your Aeropress Brew
You can thankfully make excellent coffee with an AeroPress without adding expensive gadgets to your process. This is what makes it such a wonderful travel or camping option. The AeroPress Go even comes contained in a travel mug to further cut down on extra pieces.
When you want to get the best results, though, a few accessories go a long way.
Each AeroPress comes with a stack of paper filters. These work well and are very compact. If you’d like to try a more sustainable option, give a stainless-steel reusable filter a try. These also provide a very good filter, though a bit more sediment is usual when compared to the paper filters.
The easiest way to get excellent results from your AeroPress is to control your water temperature. This is easy to do with a kettle that ensures you the perfect 175°F/80°C.
A fine grind is best for the AeroPress. To get consistent results, a quality burr grinder is a must. You can save some money (and work your arm muscles) with a manual grinder.
Buy a Manual Burr Grinder Here (Hand Grinder)
If you love a latte, nothing quite replaces that luscious foam on top. Make this part of your AeroPress routine easily with a simple handheld milk frother.
Is the AeroPress What You Need?
The AeroPress isn’t for everyone. But if you have a small space, travel, or just don’t want to make a big pot of coffee, the AeroPress is perfect for you. It’s easy to use (after you use it once, it will be super simple). Cleanup is easy and fast. Is the Aeropress right for you?
Written By: Victoria Pearce
About the author: Victoria is a freelance writer and American expat who lives in England with her husband and daughter. She encourages her fellow Americans to fall in love with the UK at alifeaway.com.
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