Aeropress: fast, portable, cheap, easy, delicious espresso

When I decided to take a month off life and hide out at a cottage, I knew I wanted to rough it, but I wasn't about to give up on my morning espresso. So, thinking of Mark's beloved Aeropress machine, I picked one up. I found mine on the shelves at the genuinely excellent Crema coffee-shop in Toronto, and had them grind a couple pounds of each of their espresso roasts for me to try (this coffee went so fast that we ended up sending relations who were joining us later on detours to Crema -- we eventually killed something like 10 pounds of espresso, and I've brought home a couple pounds to enjoy in London).

The verdict? I give it an A, and on a good day, an A+. It's a very simple design: a plastic sleeve with a hollow plastic plunger that is tipped with a tight-fitting rubber tip. You screw a mesh lid onto the sleeve, insert a paper filter (these are reusable, but they're also tiny and cheap, and you get 350 of them with your Aeropress), and pile dry espresso grounds on top of the filter, and rest the whole thing on a sturdy cup or mug. Then you add a measured amount of 175°F water, stir for 10 seconds, and gently but forcefully depress the plunger. The espresso that emerged was uniformly delicious -- sweet, dark, and without a hint of bitterness.

The theory behind the Aeropress is that you can get a better shot of espresso if you extract your coffee quickly, and at low temperatures. In order to do that, you need to really get the water into contact with the fine-ground coffee (hence the stirring step), so that you get a nice shot even without a lot of heat or time.

This is not without its drawbacks: I never managed to get any crema onto any of my shots (looking at Aeropress message boards, I can see I'm not alone). Also, the shots that the Aeropress delivered were really short -- I found myself increasing the amount of water about one third above their recommended levels. Finally, the business of getting your water to 175 Fahrenheit is very fiddly (I used a $6 meat thermometer from Canadian Tire and clipped it to the mouth of the electric kettle). What's more, the Aeropress comes with a couple of largely useless accessories (a funnel and a stand for the filters), but omits the absolutely vital thermometer, which seems ill-considered.

But the disadvantages are vastly outweighed by the advantages. As I said, the coffee is great (everyone who visited us or vice versa got a shot or two, most asked for seconds). The cleanup is really simple: the piston scours the sleeve clean of all grounds and oils, so all it wants is a rinse at the tip when you're done. And the setup is compact, portable, and requires no electricity (though you need some means of heating water). We combined it with a microwaved milk frothed with a little battery-powered whizzer, which was no substitute for properly frothed milk, but beat most chain-store milky espresso drinks hands down.

At $30, the device is a very cheap way of making espresso, and despite the thermometer fiddling, I found it much easier to use than my traditional steam-driven machine in my kitchen. If you're trying it out, pay close attention to the instruction not to press too hard on the piston: just push in an inch or two, wait while the water permeates the grounds, then push the rest of the way in.

I've put my Aeropress in my permanent travel kit.

AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker with Bonus 350 Micro Filters


  1. This appears to be easier to use and better than the bicycle pump powered espresso machine I once had also far cheaper.

    It seems that you have posted it in the past but what else is in the Cory Doctorow travel kit?

    1. Buy a water kettle with a temp gage, PINO is cheapest on Amazon. The temp rule is the Aeropress opinion. You don’t have to follow it.

      1. All manual drip coffee devices have this advice, and it has nothing to do with how to brew better coffee. The 170° F temp rule is legalese for don’t spill hotter water than that on yourself and sue Aeropress for 1st degree burns.

  2. The funnel isn’t useless. The funnel is how you load the grounds without making a mess.

    Also, if you’re using a microwave, it’s pretty easy to learn what settings on your microwave produce appropriately temperature-d water. Yes, I know that microwaving water is usually heresy, but when run through an areopress it doesn’t have any of that flat taste microwaved water usually has.

    1. The funnel is also shaped specifically to fit onto the bottom of the Aeropress, so that one can press coffee into a mug or thermos that has an opening smaller than the press’s filter tray.

  3. Sorry — I hit the wrong key. I meant to say:

    “But the disadvantages are vastly outweighed by the advantages.”

    High praise indeed! I generally steer clear of these devices for several reasons.

    1. I’m afraid that in pressing down on the device, the cup will skitter away across the counter, onto the floor, and then the several pieces remaining into various corners of the kitchen.

    2. The temperature-measuring step. I have a Bunn coffee maker, which heats up the water to just the right temperature to make a non-bitter coffee. That’s the sort of convenience I’d like with my espresso maker.

    3. $30. Or you can pay some more and fix everything above.

    These are kind of deal-breakers for me. Nevertheless, I think for a travel item it can’t be beat.

  4. I am not an espresso drinker, but I use my Aeropress to make coffee in those afternoons where I want one cup (but not a whole pot). Essentially, I’m making an Americano: a generous shot (maybe two) accompanied by hot water.

    I’m not near as picky as Cory about temperatures and such. I put water on to boil, get the coffee ready, take the water off the boil for a minute or two, and pour. Probably not as good as what he’s making, but as good as any coffee I would get in a decent coffee shop.

    The other advantage I would add is that the Aeropress is really easy to clean– dump out the bottom and rinse and you’re done. The one disadvantage to the Aeropress in my view is it requires more coffee than it should for a cup. But that might be my own uses….

    1. I agree, I have been using it in the same way to avoid crummy office coffee for a year and love my coffee from this contraption. I have a machine at home that makes a great espresso. The A-Press is not an espresso, who cares? Temperature, who cares? People who want to fuss, fuss, this little plastic thing is great, easy to use, cleans quickly and makes a great cup without fuss. (although you still have to use decent beans). I have a machine, a napolatina, many moka’s, filter brewer, french press and my favorites are…machine,a-press, moka.

      However you drink your coffee, enjoy it.

  5. Personally I’m a big fan of the steampunk eco-gorgeous Presso which I most wholeheartedly endorse (disclaimer: not affiliated in any way).

  6. If you don’t want to measure your water with a thermometer every time, and also want to avoid the microwaved-water heresy, the other approach is to measure the time it takes for the water to cool down from the boil (or heat up, maybe it’s not as important to use boiled water for coffee as tea). My kettle takes about 20 seconds to get down to the right temp for black tea, and about 2 minutes to get down to white tea temp.

  7. As an espresso maker, it’s just okay. But as a coffeemaker, it’s fantastic. I usually add water & cream and treat it as an Americano rather than use the coffee extract it produces straight-on.

    1. Do you put the cream in the water and press? Surely not? You mean you add cream after pressing, right?

  8. I’ve had one for three years and love it. Just used mine about 30 minutes before seeing this post.

  9. I love me my Aeropress and have turned many of my friends on to it. It’s especially wonderful for camping, as the plastic is sturdy and the design is overall quite compact.

    I generally use it for coffee-style, not espresso, drinks and find that it’s pretty forgiving in water temperature for a decent cup. It’s very possible that the “best” temperature is 175 F for dark roast espresso grind, but I’ve done many different roasts and grinds find that it still works quite well for them all, though temp and stirring amount vary. Although I personally think that espresso grind is a bit too fine and I find myself pushing down harder than I’d like. Maybe I’m not patient enough.

    Two other notes: (re: @Robert)
    I’ve been using this for years and have only broke one mug pressing down and I was an idiot for trying to use this specific mug in the first place (thin walled, hand-made ceramic mug that flared out at the lip).

    Also, the paper filters can be used multiple times, so the 350 you get initially go a long ways – years potentially.

    Yay Aeropress! Now that I’m thinking, I should look into getting a second one for work. The French press I have there is just a pain to clean up after.

  10. I’m fairly certain trying to nail the 175-degree thing is a bit silly, despite that the Aeropress manufacturer makes a fuss about it. Heat your water to boiling in a kettle. As long as you’re not pouring still-roiling water directly into the Aeropress, it’ll be close enough for government work.

  11. There was a discussion of the Aeropress on Metafilter quite a while ago, and the inventor chimed in to answer some of the questions that had been raised.

    I’m partial to drip coffee for my morning cup, but the Aeropress always goes with me when I go camping.

  12. We used ours for almost a year for all our coffee needs. The only complaint we had was that it appeared to use a lot of grounds per shot as compared to other methods. Otherwise I love it. The only lower waste option is a french press, and since our lovely little worm composter will handily dispose of both grinds and filter, that’s not too much of an issue.

  13. I have one of these and I rave about them anytime someone asks for advice on making good coffee. I have used expensive espresso roast and regular old store brand coffee and find that the best way to get crema is to let all of the brewed coffee drip into the mug and only then push down the plunger, quite slowly. Forcing air through the grinds seems to create a nice crema. Ironically, I get the best crema from PC-brand West Coast Dark Roast coffee in the giant 1 kilo can. The Aeropress does use quite a bit of coffee per cup, so I can’t afford to always use the $30/kilo stuff from the local co-op.

  14. Grinding no more than a minute or two before you steep makes a huge difference. When I go camping I always take a hand cranked burr grinder. Just say no to pre-ground coffee.

  15. If it’s not too expensive I would consider trying it but it does seem way too fussy to be bothered with. Mind you, I don’t drink espresso for my morning coffee. I use a french press which is beyond easy and makes perfect coffee. But for an espresso, how is this better than a stove-top model used in Europe?

    Sadly, I’ve run out of coffee beans and I’m in the middle of a move from Toronto to Montreal. I’ve been drinking Folgers for two days. Somebody kill me now.

    1. You beat me to the question – I use a Bodum or a regular old espresso stove pot when I’m boating or camping. This just seems like a slightly fancier Bodum for espresso. Not a bad thing mind you, but I had great results with regular boiled water in the espresso pot.

  16. I got one of these on Mark’s video recommendation as well, and have been very satisfied. It’s far better than any of the $100 to $600 espresso makers that I or friends have bought over the years for a consistent drink.

    I found a few things. First, I needed to pre-grind my coffee in a professional grinder (at the store) to nearly turkish fineness. If I ground more coarsely, I didn’t get a good cup nor the crema.

    Second, the “175 degree” thing is ridiculous. I bring water to a boil in a Braun electric kettle. Wait about 10 seconds, then pour in a measure. This works better than dipsticking a thermometer.

    Third, the instructions suggest 2 scoops, which is too many. I use one heaping one.

    I always get crema with this method. I suspect the grind is the problem, Cory.

  17. I grew up in Italy on the Bialetti Moka pot. It’s what I used all my life, and all through college.

    Then, last year, my wife and I got the aeropress, partially on the strength of the review posted here. And I haven’t looked back.

    Like the moka pot, it doesn’t make espresso. You’re never going to get any crema, because you can’t build up nearly enough pressure. However, it makes very good strong coffee, which can be drunk straight or diluted with either milk or hot water. The coffee it makes is much more espresso-like than a French press, which is why comparisons to Bodums don’t hold water.

    The biggest reason that I love it is its ease of use. The coffee is very similar to my trusted Bialetti. However, it never ever over-boils, never gets charred, never makes a mess on the stove, never loses pressure, never melts the rubber gasket…

    You just pour in water a minute or so after it’s boiled (you really don’t need to fuss with being exactly 175.98°F or whatever), stir and press (sometimes the last step requires a bit of elbow strength). We make enough for two cups in one go, and add hot milk for lattes. Then pop out the puck of coffee (right then, or the next morning, it doesn’t matter), a quick rinse, and it’s all done.

  18. My BIL got us one of these quite a few years ago. I’ve found it to be very durrable and to produce a great drink. The water issue seemed simple for me to solve. I just used ratiometric mixing of boiling water and tap water. If you measure the tap temp–or use room temp water–you can quickly work out a ratio that will give you the temp you want. Though, like several others here, I found the temperature not to be all that pickey.

    We don’t use our press much anymore. We’ve moved on to cold filtered coffee–thanks again to the BIL for that advice. It’s trivial to make, very process tolerant, and makes an even better drink.

  19. We’ve used our AeroPress going on 2 years now. We don’t make coffee any other way anymore. It’s convenient, makes great coffee, easy to clean. We take it on vacation (down with those little hotel filterpaks or instant). I just can’t give up enough love for it. It’s wonderful.

  20. I got better foam when I used cheap Chock Full O’Nuts coffee. It dissolves in the cup by the time I’m done rinsing the tubes, but it always gives a thick blob of foam. Chock Full O’Something.

    My favorite thing about the Aeropress, besides the lure of making science-coffee, is that even cheap beans taste great this way. BREAKTHROUGH! Science coffee win!

  21. I have to put my “Three Cheers” in for the Bialetti Mukka Express. It makes Cafe Latte or Cappuccino right on the stove-top, is fail-proof and, since I make a perfect cup of Cappuccino every morning complete with a nice layer of creamy foam, it’s fool-proof too.

    The only thing, it’s white and black, sort of “cow” painted if you know what I man and… I wish it were just polished aluminum.

    I have another pot for espresso, the standard stove-top “put the water in the bottom and it comes out the top” two piece model that’s been around for ages.

    Ermott, Cowichan Bay BC.

  22. I love my Aeropress, too. The office coffee is pretty foul, so I bring my own ground coffee and keep an Aeropress at work. The minimal cleaning is a really big deal, and the coffee is spectacular.

    As many people mentioned, it makes a stellar Americano. I use a hot water tap, (not the sink tap) so the temperature fiddling isn’t an issue for me.

  23. scoobertron (13) – I have the both an Aeropress and the GSI espresso maker (the 4-cup version). I haven’t taken the Aeropress backpacking but I’ve lugged the GSI around (Most recently Killarney). The GSI is *really* heavy (when backpacking), and rather inflexible (the 4-cup version doesn’t do 2-cups very well, and you need to let the whole thing cool down before you can clean it or brew another pot).

    freshacconci (16) – YMMV, but I find the aeropress far less fussy than a French-press, especially for cleanup. I haven’t had extensive experience with various stove-top makers, but it’s nice in that it doesn’t need a stove, just a kettle. I keep one in my office.

    RE: Temperature. I find that the pour from the kettle to the *inside* of the piston (to measure water), brings the water temperature down to just about the right temperature. Then pour again into the grounds.

    As others have pointed out, it does use a lot of coffee on a per-cup basis, but buying some reasonable quality fair-trade coffee still, it’s still a lot cheaper than at the coffee shop.

  24. I recently retired my Aeropress from all use except backpacking. My single biggest beef with it is that it is NOT easy to clean. And when I say clean, I don’t just mean visibly clean; my coffee gear has to pass the sniff test. There’s no better way to kill a good cup than to use dirty equipment. Even my super special coffee detergent couldn’t get that plastic back to factory-fresh, and I could smell and taste the rancid oils of cups gone by. That’s why I use my Bonmac or Chemex pour-overs for my daily cup or my Sylvia for the occasional espresso.

  25. I have a double shot macchiato every morning with this little beauty. Lavazza’s Crema e Aroma. I think it’s based somewhat on the Vietnamese coffee makers – little aluminium filters that let the water through faster than a drip filter.

  26. it doesn’t make espresso. espresso is a process that requires pressure – higher pressure than you can produce with the aeropress.

    the coffee is closer in profile to moka pot or vietamese coffee, and it’s quite good! it uses a lot of beans with a short brewing time, which reduces the extraction of the untasty parts of the coffee bean.

    however, that short brew time also reduces the extraction of the interesting parts of the coffee bean. the advantage here is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on single-origin beans craft roasted yesterday – regular beans of reasonable freshness will taste just fine. the disadvantage is that you miss nuance (you know, if you’re a really obnoxious coffee snob, like some commenters :)

  27. It’s great to hear all the different techniques people have developed for such a simple machine! I don’t obsessively measure my water temp (although I’ve always meant too, just never awake enough). And I think the funnel is actually essential. I use it to slowly pour water in down the sides so that the grinds get a uniform dose of water and it prevents splashing the grinds up the sides of the thing. And oh yeah. Small, strong sturdy cups. I’ve broken a few mugs with this thing. Hot coffee sludge everywhere. OWWWW Burning mess! Late for meeting. Searing Pain. etc. Worth every penny and then some.

  28. It makes lovely coffee, but it ISN’T ESPRESSO. The whole concept behind espresso is that you’re extracting from the beans at optimum temperature and pressure; that pressure is considerably above one atmosphere. A hand press like this isn’t capable of generating that much pressure.

    So it makes a great cup of press coffee but misses out on extracting all the oddball (and delicious) oils you get when making espresso.

  29. Huh. I get crema out of my Aeropress all the time.

    However, it’s one of those paradoxes, I can’t tell you what I do because I use my Aeropress before I’ve had coffee…

    I do know I don’t fiddle around with temperatures, and I either use frou frou beans from some of those local small batch folks here in Portland, or Fred Meyer generic coffee.

  30. Dear me, the coffee snobs that Aeropress mentions seem to bring out, rather like the outraged howls from hifi snobs who dissed MP3 when it started to become popular. Sometimes ease of access to something is better than ideological purity. The snobs may be correct within their narrow world view but they are irrelevant silly people.

    Anyway, ignoring those idiots, here are some entries from the, God help us!, World Aeropress Championships …

    1. What coffee snobs? Point to one: all I read are people comparing notes on how to make coffee and how to make better coffee. If the Aeropress works, well good. From the description I read it seemed overly fussy, that’s all. I don’t recall reading anything on this particular post condemning the Aeropress as “not coffee” or insufficiently “pure” or whatever else you imagine a coffee snob would say. It’s actually been a pretty refreshing sharing of info and techniques.

  31. Erm, a correction, so far this thread is idiot free. I was remembering some of the contributors to MetaFilter and other threads. Still early days yet …

  32. Wouldn’t the paper filter take out some of the oils that you get with Vietnamese coffee or a bodum? I feel like that also might be one reason you’re not getting any crema (besides the lack of pressure). Can you get a reusable gold or aluminum filter?

  33. I either missed it in the instructions or am particularly thick but since I purchased my Aeropress 2 weeks ago I have been wracking my brains out trying to work out what that weird shaped thing included was, of course its a filter holder.

  34. I’ve been using an Aeropress daily for a couple of years. I use a Sunbeam Hotshot countertop hot water dispenser for the water. Cost about $12 at Target. Heats the water to 170F, and takes 90 seconds, which is pretty much just right.

  35. A few things:

    1, a disclaimer. I’m disinclined to thoroughly read all the comments, so I’m sorry if I’m repeating information.

    2. WARNING: Semantics. Aeropress coffee is not, in any fashion, espresso. Espresso is coffee brewed under a good amount of pressure (typically 9atm). Aeropress is brewed at 1atm. It can be used to brew especially strong coffee, but that’s not espresso. You can add water to the strong coffee you make on an aeropress, but that’s not an americano. It can be used to brew less-strong coffee, as well.

    3. Everyone should go to

    4. Have a nice day.

  36. I’ve been using mine for a year now. I love it. After much experimentation, I’ve found that following the directions on the package makes the best brew. Who’da thunk it? 175-180 degrees is a must for optimal results. Finicky, but not difficult with some practice.

    The only drawback to the Aeropress is the beans per cup ratio. As someone who cannot always afford to buy the better beans, I find the quick extraction makes for a terrific cup even with inferior beans.

    Now, top quality beans through an Aeropress will rock your world, especially considering the cost.

  37. I’ve been using one for almost 2 years now. It’s not as fussy as you make it out to be.

    Water temp of 175 is the inventor’s preferred temperature, but is not necessary. I’ve used water anywhere between 205 and 175 and the coffee’s come out fine.

    Also, if you want to brew a stronger-tasting cup, approximating what you might get at an espresso bar, there’s a neat trick you can pull that involves upending the Aeropress to get a longer extraction time. This has become my preferred method.

    1) Measure out your water and put in a cup.

    2) Put plunger partially down in the top of the Aeropress, and flip it over, standing it up on the top of the plunger.

    3) Add grounds to Aeropress, hot water, stir. Let sit from 3-5 minutes.

    4) Give one more stir, carefully put on strainer w/filter, upend it, and plunge.

  38. The reason I stopped using my Aeropress is that it’s made from polycarbonate – the kind which contains BPA. BPA plus hot water isn’t particularly good for you.

    I practically begged Aerobie to make a borosilicate glass version, but they are historically a plastics company so they wouldn’t do it.

    Otherwise, the Aeropress is really cool. Maybe they’ll at least start making a BPA-free version someday (if they haven’t already).

  39. I mix boiling water with a little cold water in a cup before pouring it in. Experiment a bit with the proportions and you can easily hit the right temperature within 5 degrees or so. Then you can skip the thermometer.

  40. I actually use the funnel with my Aeropress daily. I measure 2 scoops of beans into my grinder, then dump the grounds straight into the Aeropress. Without that funnel I’d have more grounds on the counter than anywhere else. And the stand that holds the filters also holds the rest of the equipment if you figure out how to stack & nest it all just right.
    Love my Aeropress!

  41. I find that I won’t get a crema unless I use fresh beans and grind them just before putting them in the aeropress. The crema isn’t as rich as with a proper espresso though. Still quite tasty, better than most of the baristas in my town.

  42. I use Aeropress for my coffee, which replaced the Melitta filter. I grind finer than for the melitta; the funnel is essential to getting more grounds into the press than onto the counter. Also important, allow the plunger to sit in the hot water heating your cup. This expands it to fit more closely in the tube. Do not use two of the Aeropress measures, which is the volume of one regular coffee measure which is 2 tablespoons (not one tablespoon. The ratio of coffee grinds to an 8-oz or mug of coffee is 2, two, tablespoons coffee for grinding). Re-using filters would mean more oil into solution and would plug up the filter.

    (cat stepped on keyboard trying to get another helping of breakfast from me)

  43. Excellent collection of advice here. I’ll add a point about hot foam and how to ditch those little battery-powered frothers.

    Into a tall, thin glass jar (think olives or pickled onions) pour about a third of a cup of milk. Microwave on high (uncovered) for about a minute. Not to boiling or it might overflow. Screw on the lid tightly, cover with a kitchen cloth (it’s going to be too hot to hold without one), and shake it like you mean it. Thirty seconds of vigorous shaking will create generous foam which will separate and stiffen if left to settle for another thirty seconds or so.

    You may need a long-handled spatula to scoop out all the foam.

    Skim milk makes the biggest, stiffest foam. Whole milk, much less.

    Pickle jars can be deodorized quickly with a little white vinegar, FYI.

  44. I originally read about the Aeropress on Boing Boing, I believe, a few years ago. I was living in Sapporo, Japan, when I came across them for sale in a local chain of outdoor stores, 秀岳荘 (Shugakuso), kind of like a Cabelas on steroids for rock climbing and camping gear. About 30$ US there too.

    Picked one up, and while I don’t use it that often nowadays, it is a fantastic device. I’ve taken it on every hiking and camping trip I’ve gone on since; it’s been with me all through the mountains of Japan. It made me coffee at the base of Mt. Rishiri when there was no plumbed running water to be had, I used natural spring water at a spring head near the base of the mountain, and cooked it up on a Primus Omnifuel mountaineer’s stove.

    I just kept brewing cup after cup, and filled a 1 liter jug full of espresso. I kept drinking the coffee when I ran out of water- nearly gave me a heart attack, but it was exceptional espresso, and it got me up the mountain!

    If you camp, hike, or just like living off the grid, you need one of these. I’m not a rep for them, but I honestly think it’s a brilliantly made little device. A thermometer should indeed be included though!

  45. Agreed though on many comments here- you need to get the grind just right to get a good crema. If you grind too fine, it won’t even brew.

    BE CAREFUL of this. Get a cheap burr grinder (I have a black and decker, like 30$) to control the consistency of your grind, and work it to where you can brew, but still get the strength you like.

    I only get a good crema when I get my grind just right. Practice, and you’ll get it every time too.

    1. YES! I second this. I have both an electric blade mill and a manual burr grinder. When I just want an Americano (and that’s pretty much all I ever make), I use the blade mill. But if I want an espresso, I want crema— and for that, I use the burr grinder.

      I’ve also noticed that the more oily the coffee beans, the easier it is to produce a nice crema. Coincidentally, a fresh grind (which has the most unoxidized oils) always makes the best crema. The common factor here is oil content.

      All of which only matters if you want crema. For regular coffee, go nuts. Grind your coffee with a brick. Use Maxwell House. The Aeropress will still turn it into black gold.

      1. Oooooo, go easy on the oiliness.

        I used to go for the Italian Roast, maximum oiliness. Then I listened to a talk given by Fransceso Illy (I think). If I come across the file, I’ll post a link to it.

        I’ve since pulled back to “just a hit of oiliness” (which is doable if you’re roasting the beans yourself). Now I get great crema, and a much more complex and interesting espresso.

  46. I have two of these: one for my wife (who drinks half-caf) and one for myself. Absolutely wonderful indeed.

  47. Well, I’ll be the obligatory Italian snob: GTFO.

    A good espresso will need pressure. The best espresso will need a bar full of old-time friends disagreeing on football and politics, with the occasional tale of impossible sex escapades.

    Unfortunately, this is more and more difficult to find even in Italy.

  48. My roommate has one of these delightful objects and I find, even with my general impatience, microwaving the water and using it at whatever temperature it comes out, and using random coffee from the back of the freezer, I always get a delicious cup of tasty Americano (we mix the shots with some water for a regular-sized cup) or homebrew latte. The coffee just tastes better, and this little device is so easy to use it feels like cheating!

  49. perhaps not as cool as the thermostat controlled electric kettles listed above, this handy little infrared thermometer would definitely fit in your travel kit:

    I have one for around the house and used it to find hot spots on my grill, calibrate my oven, and even to check my kid for a fever. it read on a wider angle, which is why it’s cheaper than thermometers that can read the temperature from across the room, but for a pot of water, it’ll do fine. I even check mine by measuring ice water and boiling water temps and it was spot on.

  50. We’ve been using our Aeropress exclusively for almost three years now (actually we’re on our second as spouse accidentally threw away the filter holder one morning). We get crema…I think the coffee type/grind makes a difference. I tried a cold filter recently but went back to the Aeropress as I felt like I didn’t get enough caffeine (although I still use it for iced coffee). We recently purchased a Aerolatte to go with our press and now have lovely frothed milk too. Maybe it’s not REAL espresso, but it’s a great cup of coffee…better than a friend’s expensive machine I think.

  51. From what I have heard, many espresso blends contain robusta beans for good crema production. See Sweet Maria’s for more info.

    Also Cory, the AeroPress that you linked to is sold by third party seller on Amazon that is more expensive and also includes a shipping charge. Here is a link to the AeroPress sold by Amazon that is cheaper, and also qualifies for free shipping.

  52. My big question, which Aeropress didn’t answer when emailed about it: does the plastic contain PABA or other harmful chemicals? Pouring boiling water over many plastics is a recipe to saturate your cuppa joe with potent toxins.

    1. Hi Ted,

      I confirm that AeroPress does not contain BPA (bisphenol-A).

      Best regards,

      Alan Adler
      AeroPress inventor and owner of Aerobie, Inc.

  53. Been using an Aeropress for years and swear by it.

    I just use it for regular coffee; I was really picky about temps early on; but got lazy and now just use water off the boil and it’s fine (though I’ve got my eye on a kettle with an adjustable thermostat…)

    For those looking at the multi-step instructions and shaking their heads (normally those who use a French press in my experience) you should know that it goes by really fast; especially once you get used to it. You can have a coffee ready 25 seconds after the water comes to a boil; and the press is clean and ready to go again 10 seconds after that.

    I think the shockingly expensive Clover machine uses the same concept as the $30 Aeropress:

  54. Love mine overall.

    Like: One cup @ a time. *Easy* to clean! Customize water temp to taste.

    Not like: Some effort involved pushing the plunger. Because of this narrow bottom cups can tip and go flying accross the counter (I told you so, Wife!).

  55. Its just a french press with a cup on the bottom. French Presses though don’t need a paper filter (so cut the waste of paper) and I have my own grinder so the beans are always freshly ground.

  56. Love my Aeropress! Have been using it for about a year and a half now. There’s definitely a bit of a learning curve to get things just right for your particular taste, but once you do, it’s easily repeatable, every morning.

    Here’s my recipe for morning bliss:

    Peugot Nostalgie hand grinder:

    Lavezza Super Crema beans:

    Pino Digital Kettle Pro:

    Bodum Maximum manual milk frother:

  57. You can (and I always do) just microwave the water in the top plunger part. Do it for a given amount of time.

    I like to just measure mine with a handy infrared thermometer like this:

    Oh wait I’m not that guy from breaking bad. Coffee temp sensitivity must come with having a gender neutral first name.

    I’ve made a lot of aeropress coffee, with a lot of different beans, grinds, etc… main thing is the stirring and not being way too hot.

    Anyone else interested in seeing just how big Cory’s travel kit is after the years and years worth of must have devices he’s put into it?

    snarky anonymous internet commenters would like to know.

  58. If its not ‘real’ espresso, how is this any different or better than a regular Bodum “french press?”

  59. Cory –

    You are mis-representing the AeroPress.

    IT IS NOT ESPRESSO. It never will be.

    The AeroPress makes a concentrated coffee, just like the stovetop Moka pots.

    You can’t get crema, because A)You’re using a paper filter. And who cares, because B) Crema tastes horrible. Seriously. It’s despicably bad tasting.

    You’re using it wrong, too. You should be doing an inverted AeroPress with a single origin coffee, ground minutes before use at a medium grind, and in the 200F range. Coffee is a science, and it extracts best in the range of 200F.

    Please don’t continue posting about coffee when you’re creating mis-information. Mark could have told you ANY of these points I’m telling you.

    James Hoffman video on crema:

    1. Ok, it needs to be said- you are correct on some points, but I hope you realize you really came off like an ass/snob. And this is coming from someone who had the audacity to put “bastard” in their name.

      The technical definition of what the aeropress makes can be called espresso, but I’d say “weaker espresso”. No, it is not brewed at the 8 bar and up pressure of your “pure” espresso.

      It’s a coffee grey area, or brown area, if you like, but it’s a kind of espresso BECAUSE it is brewed under a pressure. At least, that’s my take on it.

      Of course, always grind from whole beans as soon before brewing as possible. But that isn’t always practical. Ala one of the best uses for the Aeropress- the camping/hiking portability. Unless you have room for a 10 lb. cast iron hand grinder, I doubt any serious java person who wants coffee in the outdoors would rig up a solar panel for their burr grinder. We pregrind and properly seal.

      When you get into single origin coffees, now you’re just sounding silly and elitist. If you do it to try a specific region’s flavor, yes. Good. But anyone who makes a point of only drinking such “pure” single-origin, organic and what else coffees for “purity reasons”…

      …are just being snobs. Much like wine snobs.

      You’ve forgotten the financial impracticablity of that approach to coffee for 98% of the world’s people, and the god-honest point of drinking coffee. People do not drink coffee solely to affirm a regions’ taste. That would be like eating sushi only from the west coast of Japan, and your reasoning being “TRUE sushi is only from the west coast of Japan. The rest is just fish!”.

      People drink coffee to enjoy it, and wake up. The majority of the point of drinking coffee is not to affirm some regional or cultural “image”- it’s to just goddamn enjoy the flavor. And good flavor can be found from any number of coffees from beans that aren’t just single origin.

      There are many ways to enjoy coffee. Anyone who prescribes to a single method of drinking is cultured, or a connoisseur. When they insist, however, that everyone else must use THEIR way, they leave the realms of good or refined taste, and just become an ass or snob.

      I can definitely sympathize with a connoisseur. I get and appreciate the mentality of being exact to enjoy something. It’s when we assume everyone must do as we do that we all become asses.

      Please remember that.

      That said, I see you being up this “inverted” method a few other people mentioned. That’s how you get props- bringing up stuff we may not know about in an intriguing way. I will look into this myself now.

      For the record, my favorite bean is Tanzanian Peaberry. Hard to find. Non-existent in Japan- I’ve looked everywhere. But the best damn bean I’ve ever drank.

      1. Espresso is a technical definition of a brew method. It either is or it isn’t espresso. AeroPress does not make espresso. It makes a pressurized, concentrated coffee.

        The single origin comment is in reference to utilizing the brewer inverted, as an immersion brew method. Coffee for espresso is generally roasted a bit darker, and won’t taste nearly as good as a single sourced coffee at a good medium roast when brewed inverted. Blends are typically lower quality coffees put together in order to make something palatable. Buying a higher quality coffee is generally the best way to get the tastiest coffee you can.

        There are many different ways to brew, but as far as the AeroPress is concerned, there really only is one right way. And that comes down to basic brew science. AeroPress by default creates a concentrate that can be sipped as is, or have water added to it. It doesn’t create espresso, so generally people are adding water to it, creating a diluted americano style beverage. Diluting the concentrated means you are betraying one of the most basic aspects of coffee — the body a coffee can have. The heaviness on the tongue, the silky mouthfeel — these aspects are all lost when brewing a diluted concentrate. Henceforth, inverted immersion method.

        The issue his is the propagation of misinformation. If someone said “oh hey, architects are fairly useless these days because we have AutoCAD software that can map everything out,” architects would be up in arms. That’s misinformation. If someone said we didn’t need IT professionals because we have McAfee software, that’s misinformation.

        Tanzania Peaberry — info about this coffee:

        1) Peaberry refers to a genetic malformation in which a single coffee seed is inside a coffee cherry instead of two. They are typically smaller, have a roundness to them, and have a different bean density.

        2) Peaberry lots are built from a variety of lots from a farm or an estate. This means the farmer discovered they had enough green peaberry (discovered through a sorting by size process with screens) in order to produce a full lot to sell.

        3) Therefore, the availability of the peaberry is fairly rare and, to be honest, not necessarily anything that affects the flavor of the coffee.

        More importantly, then, is the information about which farm/estate that coffee from Tanzania came form. The excellent flavors you experience were due to good processing, high quality coffee, and a skilled roaster.

        The few things that make a delicious coffee — lack of defects, great land husbandry, freshness of the coffee from the farm, a good roaster, and freshness of the roast.

        The best a coffee will taste will be between 2-12 months off the tree, and within two weeks of being roasted. Line up those variables with the general profile of a coffee you like, and you’ll find a delicious coffee.

        And finally, it’s the Internet. Everyone sounds like an asshole, because there is no way to convey inflection. I might have been laughing and using a sarcastic tone during that entire first comment.

      2. Re: Tanzania Peaberry

        I work at a small coffee shop in Western Massachusetts, we roast and brew that, and will shortly beginning our forray into e-commerce, so you can order straight from us.

        Check out Tunnel City Coffee in Williamstown, MA

        /shameless plug

  60. The thing is, this doesn’t make espresso. It makes coffee. But a damn good cup of very strong coffee. I have used an aeropress (and am a barista) along side of other portable methods such as the pour over or fire/stovetop mocha pot and I think that the Aeropress makes a very different, but comparable cup of coffee and is much easier to carry around in your bag while on the go.

  61. Another trick for water temperature, if you don’t like microwaves for some reason (or you’re camping somewhere that doesn’t have a handy electric socket) and don’t want to mess with thermometers, is to mix measured quantities of boiling water and room-temperature water. If you want 80C water, that’s 25% at 20C plus 75% at 100C, so it’s 3:1 boiling. It works nicely for green tea, which is more sensitive than espresso about using sub-boiling water.

    Also, the Aeropress funnel is incredibly handy for adapting to different shape cups or pouring in coffee grounds out of the grinder. I usually use a Bodrum press instead of the Aero, and the funnel’s just perfect for coffee grounds.

  62. Mark posted about the aeropress a few years ago, theres even a video on boingboing tv of him going on about how great an aeropress is for coffee.

    I bought one, liked it and bought one for my parents and one for my aunt.

    Good stuff but are cory and mark getting a cut of the sales or something? *L*

  63. These things make a damn good cup of coffee.

    BUT they’re not espresso. Unless you grind super fine, make a custom tamper, and utilize a juice press [yeah, people have tried that], you’re not getting anywhere near the amount of pressure required to make espresso.

    The AeroPress has always seemed closest to a vacuum coffee pot to me , both in principle and flavor profile. This isn’t bad – it’s actually really good — and probably describes why so many people love the flavor profiles these extract. The celebrated $11,000 clover machines work on nearly the same principle [ clovers and vac-pots use vacuum pressure , this is just the inverse ].

    There are better things to talk about than dumb semantics, but this stuff isn’t extracted at 9+ bars nor is it at 190-205° (depending on blend), and it sure as hell doesn’t taste like espresso made from the same beans. It’s a great way to make coffee, but its just not correct to call it espresso.

  64. Just because the vendor calls it “espresso” doesn’t mean it is. (Roobios red espresso, anyone?)

    And, btw, welcome to 2007, Boing Boing. I hope you had a nice nap.

  65. I don’t like the fact that it uses filter paper – I’ll stick to my french press or italian vacuum thanks :)

  66. I’ve been using my Aeropress for 2 years and I love it. The big advantage over a bodum is that the filter paper keeps the grounds out of your cup so the last swig is as good as your first. Also, this means that once extracted the coffee doesn’t get more bitter over time so you can make a batch ahead of time. Just add hot water for a delicious strong, smooth americano.

  67. I’ve had an Aeropress for a couple of years now, and it does make fantastic coffee. Before that I used a French press, and I find the Aeropress gives a much better tasting, more consistent, and more concentrated cup. Plus the clean-up is much easier (cleaning a French press is hell). A few points:

    1) I find the optimum brewing temperature depends highly on how dark your roast is. For dark roasts and espresso blends, I find the manufacturer’s suggestion to use cooler water works great. I use 75 C (sorry, don’t do Farhenheit) water and allow about 90 seconds extraction time (inverted method gives you much better control over this.) I usually drink lighter roast coffees with high acidity, such as Ethiopians, and for these I find a higher temp (85 C) and shorter extraction time (less than 30 seconds) gives the best cup. Your palate may vary.

    2) The Aeropress isn’t made from polycarbonate (in it’s current incarnation – the original ones were), and thus does not contain BPA.
    Entirely possible that other substances may be leaching from the plastic though.

    3) Several have commented that the Aeropress brews at 1 atm of pressure. This would be true if you just let the coffee drip through, but if so – you’re doing it wrong. I haven’t actually measured the pressure I exert when pressing a cup, but I suspect it is significantly more than this, and significantly less than a true espresso machine.

    4) The coffee from an Aeropress is not very comparable to a French press. The increased pressure, along with the ability to grind your coffee much finer, forces an emulsion of the coffee oils, which is why you get a slight crema-like head. The short extraction time gives you more aromatics and less acrid/bitter flavours. Also, the paper filter removes sediment to give you a much cleaner cup, ie. no sludge like at the bottom of a French press cup.

    5) Unfiltered coffee, such as that from a moka pot or French press, contains cafestol and kahweol, two compounds that are known to increase serum cholesterol pretty significantly. The paper filter in the Aeropress removes these. Whether this increase in cholesterol translates to an actual health risk is debatable, but something to think about if you’re trying to lower your cholsterol.

    Sorry for the long post, I hope I haven’t been too pedantic…

  68. The Eastman copolyester used in the new Aeropress seems so far to be a safe replacement for polycarbonate in water bottles etc. The Aeropress used to be made of polycarbonate, and the inventor swore up and down in online forums at the time that BPA was not a problem. That might have even been true at a cool 175F, but it is well-established that BPA leeches in substantial amounts from such materials with hotter liquids. If you own an older Aeropress and like to brew with near-boiling water you might want to buy a new one.

  69. I’ve never understood why people are always so fussed about not having any bitterness in their coffee. Sure, you don’t want it too bitter, but just a bit. Mmm….

  70. I have an aeropress at home and love it. The smell, texture,and ease of cleaning puts this simple gadget over the top for me.

  71. love the aeropress. makes a great ‘espresso’ (i know, it’s not really espresso, but the taste is there and it satisfies the urge). i drink french roast brewed in a coffee press in the morning, but when i want a little something in the afternoon the aero is perfect.

    we use the cuisinart perfectemp kettle:

    it doesn’t turn itself off, but i don’t like electric kettles, especially ones that are plastic (some metal ones even have plastic bases). anyway, it’s a great setup.

  72. try it without the paper filter? the perforated metal basket in lieu of a paper filter is what gives espresso it’s unique flavor and texture– the paper sops up all the oils and goodness from the ground coffee, making this device little better than a standard $2 pour-over from Target.

    1. anon #96.
      What an absurd statement. I assure you it makes an outstanding cup of coffee. I regularly make better coffee with The A-Press than I have had made for me on expensive espresso machines.

      Most people associate paper filters with what is used in drip machines – lots of paper that soaks up oils during the slow drip process. You can see the oils wicked up on the unused part of the filter. The paper disc in the A-Press is tiny (and easy to rinse off and reuse) and the whole process is fast, any downside is negligible (and no sludge!).

      In a way, the A-Press pulls some of the best elements of espresso machines (fast extraction under pressure), french press (full immersion of grounds), toddy (low acid, you can actually heat the coffee up later and it will taste pretty good), and it’s the fastest way I’ve found to get a cup of killer joe in the morning.

      And it’s, like, $25 bucks. A work of genius from the inventor of the world’s most un-fun frisbee…

  73. I love my aeropress. It took a little experimenting, but I found a method that works for me and my taste and I can easily reproduce it every morning. One of the keys for me is that I do not add water to the coffee it produces. That always tastes like watered-down coffee to me, and I might as well just drip brew. Instead, I use about twice as much water in the aeropress as is recommended, and it comes out perfect for my mock-americano that I usually drink. Alternatively, I use the recommended amount of water and make a mock-latte instead. Either way, never adding water to the pressed coffee and slowing the brew/filtration process slightly (inversion is one way to do that, a finer ground is another) results in a consistently great cup of coffee, even with pre-ground supermarket brands and much more so with a nice Sumatran.

  74. The funnel is used under the Aeropress to fit it to any coffee cup this is a bit too narrow for the press.

    (Without the funnel “adapter” you would end up with coffee all over the counter)

  75. DUDE! YES!! Aeropress rules! I haven’t found a better way to properly brew an Americana without a several thousand dollar machine. Aerobie makes a kickin product, and it’s SUPER durable, even though it’s all plastic. The cheapest I’ve been able to find it is at The Captain’s Coffee.
    There’s other places that have it, but they have the best customer service.

  76. I just bought one a few months ago – lured by the idea of getting rid of one more machine and gaining a little more counter-space. I love it. I’m not experiencing the issues with the crema – I push the plunger down a little quicker than they recommend and that seems to do the trick every time. I also have to add far more water than called for. Awesome little gadget.

  77. RE: Aeropress coffee is not espresso:

    You’re right, it isn’t. It’s better than espresso.

    People used to drinking swill office coffee, upon tasting some awesome AP brew almost invariably ask what I added to the coffee to make it taste so good. When i say “nothing – that’s what coffee actually tastes like if you don’t ruin it” they are amazed. My dad swears I’ve been drinking ‘flavored’ coffee or that somehow some flavored coffee must have mixed in with whatever I bought or was left over in the grinder at the store. Sorry pops, I only buy fair trade stuff from the hippy-food store, and they don’t sell flavored coffee.

  78. The aeropress may not be a necessary piece of technology to achieve what you are going for. I have been using a simple french press style coffee maker to do this for years. You simply grind the coffee very very fine, then pour in the water, stir, then immediately press the plunger down. Then you pour out a cup right away. Exact same effect as the aeropress, except french presses are everywhere and very cheap…

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