Last Updated: 9/02/20
Aerobie Aeropress Review
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The Aerobie Aeropress
The Aerobie AeroPress is a unique little coffee maker that has made huge waves in the coffee industry since its introduction in 2005. Not quite french press and not quite pour-over, the Aeropress design is unlike any coffee maker out there. Stylistically, it is essentially a tube and plunger used to press a single serving of coffee through a screw-on filter. This simple yet distinct design has been used to make both regular and espresso style coffee, apparently with more diversity than any other single coffee machine can offer. Many claim it makes better coffee than any other coffee maker, and there is even an annual international competition for Aeropress coffee recipes. So, is the Aeropress as good as it sounds, or is it a classic case of over-hype? Here’s our opinion.
OUR COMPLETE AEROPRESS REVIEW
The Perfect Companion
Why We Love It
At the end of the day, we have to agree with most of the hype around the Aeropress, with a small caveat. The Aeropress is indeed a unique, simple, and super diverse coffee maker. It’s addictingly fun to use, easy to clean and transport, and capable of brewing fantastic coffee.
Who Should Buy This
Anyone who loves great quality espresso, at any time and is willing to learn a little bit about their coffee and how to make it well.
The caveat is that making that perfect cup of coffee is probably not as easy as you think, and as far as espresso goes, it doesn’t hold a candle to genuine espresso machines. While it appears to function as a coffee maker for anyone and everyone, it secretly requires some real finesse and know-how to get that great cup of coffee. This low-key artisanal skill requirement leaves some users wondering what all the fuss is about after their 10th cup of watery Aeropress coffee. For us, this aspect just made us love it more.
What Exactly is the Aeropress?
The Aeropress is a unique plunger style coffee maker. It lies somewhere between a french press, a pour-over and a lever style coffee maker, but is really something different all together. It’s a single serve coffee maker with two copolyester cylinders - one which is the main chamber for the coffee, and one that is used to plunge the coffee through the filter at the bottom of the chamber. It also has a funnel so you can brew straight into your coffee mug. Designed in 2005 by Alan Adler, this unique coffee maker is fun, easy to use, and endlessly diverse.
What We Like & Don't Like
Building on our short pros/cons list above, here's what we love about the Aeropress:
- The Aeropress can brew all kinds of flavour profiles depending on small alterations that are easy to play around with. It’s not just the grind and temperature that leaves room for diversity, it’s also the physicality of how you use the machine that lends to its intrigue.
- Simple, yet Playful
- Just when you think you’ve got the Aeropress figured out, you find another method of brewing that opens all kinds of experimental doors. Standar method, inverted method, gentle press, quick press... for what is essentially a tube and plunger, the Aeropress is endlessly playful.
- Put frankly, the Aeropress is one of the most durable and transportable coffee makers you can get. There’s really no limit as to where you can bring this coffee maker.
- Easy to Clean
- People can have a surprisingly low tolerance for cleaning their coffee makers. Even scooping out the grinds from the bottom of your french press can feel like a chore. Cleaning the Aeropress is a matter of screwing off the filter, dumping out the grinds, and rinsing all the parts. Absolutely dead easy.
- No bones about it, the Aeropress is super affordable. Even if it doesn’t end up being your favourite coffee maker, it’s practically worth it just to say you tried it. Once again, its simple design lends to another huge pro about this coffee maker.
Of course, as much as we liked it, there are a couple downsides you should be aware of:
- Some Technique Required
- If you’re not willing to put some technique into your Aeropress recipe, you’ll probably be left wondering why people love it so much. For all its simplicity, while the Aeropress is capable of brewing fantastic coffee, it’s also really easy to brew tasteless bean water. Perhaps more than any other coffee maker, a proper grinder goes a very long way with the Aeropress.
- Limited Serving Sizes
- It goes without saying, the Aeropress isn’t known for brewing large quantities of coffee. It’s awesome as a single serve, but it’s probably not the unit to turn to for serving multiple people.
- It's Not Exactly Espresso
- There is a lot of hype about “espresso” recipes using the Aeropress, but we have to call foul here. There are techniques that allow you brew a strong, bitter coffee with espresso-like qualities, but in terms of calling it true espresso, you'd probably offend some baristas.
What's in the Box?
There Aeropress comes with a handful of different parts. Here’s what you get:
- The Aeropress tube and plunger
- A filter cap
- 350 paper filters in a filter holder
- A funnel
- A coffee scoop
- A stir stick
- You can also order metal filters separately.
How do I use the Aeropress?
The Aeropress is known for its diversity, which makes it a really fun coffee maker to use. While there are all kinds of techniques that we’ll get into, there are two main methods for using the Aeropress.
The traditional method is how the Aeropress was originally designed to be used. With this method, you start by attaching the filter to the main chamber, then resting the chamber on top of your coffee mug. Scoop the coffee grinds into the chamber so they’re sitting in the filter. Then you fill the chamber with water and stir the mix for 10 seconds. Finally, press the plunger through the chamber, pushing the coffee into your mug.
The inverse method is essentially the same, but with the unit flipped upside down. With this method, don’t attach the filter cap to the chamber right away. Push the plunger into the top of the chamber, just enough to make a seal. Then flip the unit upside down so that the plunger is at the bottom and the chamber is at the top with the attachment for the filter left open. Scoop the coffee grinds into the chamber so they’re sitting on top of the plunger seal. Pour the water in and stir for ten seconds. Then you screw the filter cap with the filter paper into place. Now flip the unit right-side up over your mug (it will start to drip as soon as you flip it). Then you simply press the plunger through the chamber, exactly as you would with the traditional method.
Which method is better?
The inverse method is widely considered the most popular. Some claim it makes better coffee, but most agree that flipping the Aeropress upside down simply means you don’t have coffee dripping into the mug the moment you fill the chamber with water (as is the case with the traditional method). As far as coffee quality, we found no difference between the two methods. With the traditional method, the few drops of coffee that end up in your mug before you’ve pressed the plunger were not enough to change the flavour, and we’re skeptical that anyone can actually detect such a minute dilution. The inverse method simply seems to make more sense once you’ve tried both, and is a little less cumbersome. So inverse was our preferred method overall.
While there are only two main methods of using the Aeropress, the recipes and techniques are where the Aeropress’ diversity really comes into play. With a simple google search, you’ll encounter hundreds of different Aeropress recipes that you can experiment with to your heart’s content. Like any coffee maker, playing around with different grind sizes, temperatures and brew times is easiest way to experiment. But there are some other factors and techniques that we really enjoyed experimenting with the Aeropress. Here are some of our favourites.
It’s probably not too surprising that playing with different grind sizes made one of the most noticeable differences between brews. The most popular grind size for the Aeropress is medium-fine, with many recipes playing around slightly above or below filter grind. For stronger, espresso like coffee, you can experiment will extra fine grinds. Keep in mind that you’ll want to adjust your temperature, bloom time and plunge speed with different grind sizes. But that’s all part of the fun!
The directions on the box do not officially call for blooming the coffee, but since Jeff Verellen included blooming in his winning recipe in the World Aeropress Championship (yes, that’s a thing), it has become a favourite method of subsequent WAC winners. If you’re not already aware, blooming is when you add a small amount of water to the grind and let it sit before adding the rest of the water. It’s called blooming because the coffee releases fats and oils when it contacts the water, and appears to “bloom” with a crema-like froth in the shallow water. All of our personal favourite Aeropress results included a blooming method.
The plunging aspect of the Aeropress is what gives its artisanal, lever-style aspects. As it turns out, how you plunge your Aeropress can have a noticeable impact on the flavour and texture of your coffee. For the most part, a slow, soft plunge that stops before the Aeropress starts “wheezing” is the preferred method of WAC contestants. We found this method tended to brew the best coffee, but again, half the fun is in experimenting! Some claim you can get crema by combining very fine grind, small coffee:water ratio, and plunging as quickly and forcefully as possible. We haven’t been able to produce anything you could reasonably call crema, but trying to achieve that quick, forceful plunge is definitely an amusing (and at times frustrating) challenge.
Our Favourite Recipe:
Once you get your Aeropress, chances are you’ll become obsessed with different recipes. There are countless lists of unique Aeropress recipes out there, so here is one of our favourites. We like our coffee classic and bold, so if that sounds like your taste, give this one a try.
Brew Method: Inverted
Grind Size: 4.5 (Medium-fine)
Amount: 16.5 grams
Water: 190F, 220 grams
Brew time: 2:15
- Bloom with 50 grams water for 30 seconds (stir occasionally)
- Pour in remaining water, stir, steep for 45 seconds
- Flip, plunge for 30 seconds
Quality & Durability
The build quality of the Aeropress is excellent as far as portable coffee makers goes. Originally made with polycarbonate, the Aeropress cylinders are now made with copolyester because it is BPA free. It’s a durable plastic that can handle any weekend getaway or camping trip. The seal is rubber and the other components are made with plastic. It’s nothing chique or fancy, but it’s durable and long lasting. Since there aren’t any moving parts, there is really no reason for the Aeropress to succumb to wear and tear.
Design & Cleaning
The design is exactly what stands out about the Aeropress. It’s new and completely unique. Its designer, Alan Adler, is an inventor who has lectured on mechanical engineering in prestigious locations including The Royal Aeronautical Society, NASA, and multiple Universities. The design built on his knowledge in optics and aerodynamics. Perhaps it’s not the coffee maker of all coffee makers - but due credit must be given for the Aeropress’s simple yet distinct and exciting design.
Capacity is one area in which the Aeropress is lacking. On one hand, it wouldn’t be so charming and fun to use were it large enough to brew vast amounts of coffee. On the other hand, it’s a single serve coffee machine, no more. Even there, you’re limited to about a medium sized cup of coffee at best. So if quantity is what you’re looking for, you won’t find it in the Aeropress.
The Aeropress is almost easier to clean than it is to use. You simply unscrew the filter, dump out the grinds, and rinse all the pieces. Short of the product cleaning itself, it doesn’t get any easier than that.
This is a tough category to judge simply because the Aeropress is capable of brewing so many distinctly different flavours. It really depends on your coffee and brew methods. If you’re looking for espresso, the Aeropress will leave you wanting. But as far as manual coffee machines go - which tend to brew more delicious coffee as a general rule (as far as we’re concerned at least) - the Aeropress is as good as any. It comes with the added benefit of being so fun and diverse.
Ease of Use
Logically speaking, the Aeropress is dead easy to use. Dump grinds, pour water, stir and plunge. The process itself is really simple. The complexity of the Aeropress comes in the hidden techniques and recipes that take it from a very average coffee machine to an excellent and fun one. The method will feel pretty new at first, but once you’ve done it, there’s no doubt that the Aeropress is very easy to use.
The traditional method of brewing with the Aeropress is a bit cumbersome. Not difficult, just not particularly smooth. Between the coffee dripping through the filter as soon as you add water to the somewhat awkward act of plunging the Aeropress while balancing it over your mug, it doesn’t always feel graceful in the way plunging a french press does. The Aeropress also demands more technique than you might expect. It’s not very forgiving if your ratios or temperatures are off, and you’ll end up with a pretty terrible cup of coffee. But that’s also what gives the Aeropress its charm, and makes it so fun to use and experiment with.
Final Verdict: Should You Buy One?
We have to agree with the masses here and recommend you get yourself an Aeropress, if only to give its unique, fun and diverse brewing method a try. It’s affordable, making it easy to justify even if it doesn’t end up replacing your favourite coffee maker. It’s also simple and durable, so there’s no risk of getting a lemon. Even if you find the Aeropress to be overrated or generally lacking, we can pretty much guarantee it’ll find its way back into your kitchen or campground for another go at the plunge. It’s too easy, too unique and too charmingly simple to be left out of your kitchen arsenal.
The Aerobie Aeropress
If the hype of the Aeropress doesn’t intrigue you, there are lots of alternatives to fulfill your coffee desires.
If you want a single serve machine but don’t want to limit yourself to just a black coffee, the Ninja Coffee Maker is a great all-arounder. It has multiple drink settings, a milk frother, and a recipe book with heaps of coffee drink options. You can check out our review of the best single serve coffee makers here.
If you prefer the simplicity of the Aeropress but want something different, a french press or pour over is a great choice. They’re just as easy and artisanal as the Aeropress, but often more forgiving and capable of brewing larger amounts of coffee. If you want our suggestions, we reviewed the best french presses and the best pour over coffee makers here.Finally, if you like the unique flavours and non mechanical aspects of the Aeropress but are more of an espresso fan, you’ll probably fall in love with the moka pot. The classic moka pot is a great choice, but you can read about our favourite stove top espresso makers here.
Aerobie Aeropress Review
Last Updated: 9/02/20 Aerobie Aeropress Review K - EliteTop Rated Overall K - CafeBest Bang For Your Buck K - SelectThe Economical Op