I recently came into possession of one Aeropress, a coffee-making apparatus from the fine folks at Aerobie. Yes, the same Aerobie that makes flying utensils such as the eponymous Aerobie ring that amused many of us as children.
And while I’m a fan of old-timey things (such as my new razor and my pour-over coffee-making process), I can faithfully say that the Aeropress makes the best coffee I’ve ever tasted. It is, as far as I’m concerned, a superior product.
There are three parts to the product, and one consumable element.
- The chamber (shown inverted in the photo above, in the center of the photograph)
- The plunger (similarly inverted, to the left of the chamber)
- A filter basket (the black disk on the counter)
- Filter disks (disposable, but are apparently washable)
Somewhat hard to conceptualize until you actually see the thing in action:
The filter disk goes in the basket…
Which locks to the bottom of the chamber with four flangey-bits.
Two generous scoops of coffee go into the assembled chamber/filter/basket.
And then you wait for water to boil.
Add a small amount of the hot water—just below boiling, ideally—to set the grounds; this is important, as it somehow prevents the steeping coffee (next steps) from prematurely evacuating the chamber.
Stir the mix around a bit to make sure all the grounds get moist. This should also contribute to getting better flavor out of the coffee.
Then fill the chamber with the rest of the hot water. I like to use this opportunity to rinse the stir-stick (included with the kit).
Grab the plunger, and slowly insert it into the chamber, and with similarly gentle action, depress it until it stops. The air pocket you create will be pushed through the grounds, getting all the good stuff into your cup. As with a French Press, the slower you push, the less resistance you’ll face.
The finished product is a bit of a cross between American coffee, espresso, and vac-pot; as such, it’s strong enough to be amended with a little leftover water.
Cleanup is pretty easy, too. Just press the plunger all the way through the chamber, and a little coffee + filter puck will pop out the other end. This is best done over a trash can or compost bowl.
All in all, the Aeropress is a simple, inexpensive alternative to almost every kind of coffee-making equipment out there, and for my palate, bests them all. By varying water temperatures, grind sizes, and ratios of water to grounds, you can faithfully replicate any type of coffee output you desire, from drip to “true” espresso. It’s made of seemingly durable plastics that don’t impart a flavor to the final product, and the filter disks are small, environmentally sensitive disposables.
If you have the means (and I know you do), I highly suggest you pick one up.