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The various methods to brew coffee make it exciting to learn new techniques and even more satisfying to try them. After completing this Aeropress review, we have reviewed many manual espresso makers, but it is definitely one of our favorites.
This review will explain how to use it, the pros and cons, who should and shouldn’t use one, and the best tips to receive a flavorful brew.
What is an Aeropress?
Aeropress is a smaller, sturdier, easier, and better version of a typical French Press with minor differences. Before everything, it was invented by Alan Adler in 2005 for faster and better brewing.
Unlike other manual brewing apparatuses that take 5-10 minutes to brew an overly extracted and sludgy coffee, It only takes 2 minutes to brew dark black coffee without over-extraction to make the coffee bitter.
Furthermore, it’s smaller and creates a little pressure inside the container to ensure maximum extraction in a short period of time. After an electric espresso machine, it is the only brewing method that brews within 2 minutes.
It comes in handy when you are traveling or camping in the woods craving a cup of coffee.
As the name suggests, it creates slight air pressure through water and coffee to extract flavorful dark black coffee.
It’s a small piece of equipment with three significant compartments—filter cap (to hold the paper filter), chamber (to hold the coffee and water), the plunger to push air and pressure through the coffee+water for extraction.
All these components come together to brew concentrated coffee directly into your cup. You can choose an Aeropress that comes with a coffee mug fitted along with the system, or you can directly brew inside a carafe or mug.
Before initiating the brewing method,
The ideal ratio for brewing coffee is 1:6—with every ounce of coffee, add 6 ounces of water approximately. But, of course, you can experiment with this ratio to match your personal preference.
If you enjoy something darker, reduce the water volume from your ratio, it can go down to 1:5 or sometimes 1:4. If you enjoy something lighter, increase the amount of water in your coffee, it can go up to 1:7 or 1:10.
Given the short brewing time, it’s best not to increase too much water because that might result in no flavor saturation.
A 9 step guide to brewing with Aeropress
- Take the bottom compartment (the plastic filter cap) and place a paper filter inside. The filter paper is small and circular to fit inside precisely.
- Screw this filter inside the chamber; you can then place this chamber above a carafe or a mug, make sure the filter cap is facing the inside of the cup. The filter cap has holes to pour coffee.
- Once done, rinse the paper filter by pouring water through the chamber. Then, remove the water from the mug and place the chamber back again.
- Add two spoons (60g approx) of freshly ground coffee inside the chamber for 12 ounces of coffee. However, if you want six ounces of coffee, scoop in 30g of pre-ground coffee.
- After scooping the coffee, add hot water. The ideal temperature would be 95 degrees Celsius (slightly below boiling temperature)
- You can fill the chamber with hot water or take intervals for perfect extraction and bloom time.
- The coffee brewer comes with a stirrer. Stir the coffee immediately for a complete mix of coffee and water.
- Once the chamber is filled with water, push the plunger down to fill your cup with coffee.
- The coffee will pass through the filter and into the mug. Your hot beverage is prepared and ready to consume.
Please note: Aeropress is small and may not hold 12 ounces of water at once. So, you might need to wait or brew 6 ounces separately to have 12 ounces of dark black coffee.
It also comes with a measuring scoop, a stirrer, and a filter paper holder. Please note: Every compartment of this apparatus is made of heavy-duty plastic and not metal.
With manual coffee brewers, most of the flavor will come from the coffee beans you use. There’s a change in favor between using dark-roasted and lightly roasted coffee beans.
However, the entire picture of the flavor you receive will depend on the beans, the temperature of the water, and the correct ratio between ground coffee and water.
Make sure to grind your coffee right before brewing; if you’re traveling or camping, a manual coffee grinder will be a perfect choice.
Why is Aeropress still better than another manual brewing apparatus?
- It’s small, smaller than Chemex and Bodum French Press. Smaller coffee brewers are easier to store and travel with.
- Travel-friendly: While Chemex and French press might be delicate and heavy choices when traveling, Aeropress is the most travel-friendly we have ever reviewed.
- Sturdier: Unlike a glass Chemex and French press, it’s made of plastic, so you don’t have to worry about breaking it.
- Light-weight: It is lightweight, so you don’t have to worry about carrying it around.
- Short brewing period: Every filtered coffee—Chemex, Hario, Moka pots, French press, etc., will require a minimum of five minutes to brew. That’s not the case with Aeropress; it brews within 2 minutes.
- Moderate extraction: 2 minutes of brewing period ensures that the coffee is not overly extracted and is balanced without any bitterness or grit.
- Better than french press: French press and Aeropress both have a wait time where the coffee and water need to sit together. French press takes five minutes which often over-extracts and gives it a muddy flavor. Aeropress doesn’t wait until the coffee is muddy. Thus, it’s better; it gives you a similar french press coffee without the over-extraction, bitterness, oily concentration, and muddy coffee sludge.
- Easy to clean: Once the beverage is brewed, unscrew the filter cap and push the plunger further down to remove the ground coffee puck. Rinse thoroughly, and it’s done.
- It’s made of plastic: Manual brewers are often aesthetically pleasing, and this isn’t the case here. However, it’s still a sturdy plastic, will last for years, and is hard to break (trust me, we tried).
- Confusing: The assembling and screwing of the compartments may seem confusing initially. You will get the hang of it in no time.
- No QUANTITY: It’s not made to entertain a party. It can only brew 6 ounces of coffee at a time. It’s more of a solo apparatus.
- Learning curve: You will have to adjust your grind size, water temperature as well as your coffee beans to get the perfect brew.
- No espresso: Even though the company claims to brew espressos, you cannot possibly attain espresso without 15-Bars of pressure and accurate brewing temperature. You can brew concentrated coffee by perfecting the water-coffee ratio; it still won’t be espresso.
If you are someone who loves to collect coffee gear, or if you find yourself in need of coffee without access to electricity, it will be a lifesaver. I personally didn’t mind these cons since it made me a great traveling partner during my camping trips.
Does Aeropress make coffee or espresso?
It will exclusively make coffee and sometimes dark, concentrated coffee, but it never brews espresso.
Espresso demands high pressure and temperature to pull a highly flavorful shot in about 25 seconds.
Aeropress can neither create 9-Bars of pressure nor maintain a steady temperature throughout the brewing. You can attain a similar espresso’s water-coffee ratio, but that’s not enough to create crema and flavor extraction.
You can receive a concentrated drink that mimics espresso through experimentation with your water to coffee ratio, grind, and using espresso beans.
Tips for brewing an espresso-like drink
- Place the paper filter inside the filter cap and screw it tightly in the coffee chamber. Place the coffee camber above a mug (small mug to maintain temperature)
- Freshly ground your coffee beans. The grind size should be fine, like Talcum powder or similar to that. Scoop down 15-20g of coffee inside the coffee chamber. Place a paper filter to protect the coffee puck and tamp the coffee down.
- Tamping is necessary for even extraction. Use a similar-sized weight to tamp the ground properly.
- Pour two ounces of water and push the plunger down. Your somewhat similar espresso beverage is prepared. Add foamed milk if you’d like, and enjoy the shot.
Aeropress is specially designed to brew regular coffee. With some adjustments, you can create great coffee with this coffee brewer. Also, you can make better espresso-style coffee with Fellow Prismo (Further explanation down below)
What is it made out of?
The company that makes Aeropress has changed the material that is normally used to manufacture manual coffee makers. It now uses polypropylene which is considered the strongest plastic available.
Except for the plunger’s seal (which is made of silicone), every part of it is made of sturdy polypropylene plastic.
Is it BPA-free?
Yes, Aeropress has been BPA-free since 2009. They first built it with copolyester (also BPA-free) and later permanently switched to polypropylene.
BPA, also scientifically known as Bisphenol-A, is a dangerous soluble chemical substance. It was discovered in the 1890s and was considered a resilient component of sturdy plastic.
BPA made the plastic stronger and unbreakable (not easily, though). Since then, it has been used to make all sorts of plastic, including food storage boxes, containers, water bottles, etc.
However, with research and studies, scientists found out its dangerous effects on the human body. BPA is known to mimic estrogen in the human body, which further promotes the growth of cancerous cells.
Other side-effects of BPA are:
- Cancer: As said, BPA mimics estrogen, confuses the body, and increases the growth of cancerous cells.
- Reduced fetal development: It hinders the growth of the fetus by mimicking the natural estrogen hormone.
- Infertility: For all the same reasons; estrogen is a significant hormone that balances the reproductive cycle of humans, and mimicking this primary hormone will imbalance your reproductive cycle.
- Weight issues.
- Brain malfunctioning
Although FDA signifies the extreme percentage of BPA that’s dangerous, it’s still best to avoid BPA as much as possible.
The main threat it possesses is that it’s soluble and dissolves readily when heating up. For example, BPA can easily dissolve in food, water, and coffee when plastic is heated.
This is why you should always use a BPA-free plastic coffee maker when possible.
How much coffee does the scoop hold?
The brewer comes with a complimentary (plastic) scoop to measure coffee beans or pre-ground coffee. It can hold 10-16 grams (approx) of whole coffee beans when full to the brim.
The level might differ (slightly) with the size of the coffee beans and if it’s leveled or not.
On the other hand, you may scoop in more pre-ground coffee or freshly ground coffee using the same scoop.
When brewing with manual coffee brewers or otherwise, always use freshly ground coffee for better flavors, especially with Aeropress because it has a short brewing time.
Also, it’s best to scoop in whole coffee beans. This will reduce coffee wastage, and you will have accuracy while deciding the ratio. However, scooping in coffee after grinding may result in less coffee or more coffee that will inevitably be dumped in the bin.
While you are at it, don’t guesstimate your coffee to water ratio. Instead, measure the whole coffee bean with a coffee scale for accuracy.
A heaping scoop will additionally increase the amount of coffee; thus, always use a coffee scale.
Is it portable?
Manual coffee brewers are travel-friendly and portable unless it’s a glass Chemex. Aeropress is ideal for camping because it’s lightweight, sturdy, not easily breakable, and doesn’t require electricity to function.
However, you do need to keep specific points in mind before traveling with an Aeropress:
- Water boiler: Electric water boiler would be of no use if you don’t have electricity to plug it in. It’s best to carry a burner, a kettle, and a hot water bottle to boil and store the water for a longer period.
- Manual grinder: If you have the choice, always choose freshly ground coffee over pre-ground coffee for best results and complete flavor extraction.
- Complete Aeropress Camping Kit: This kit will come with a tote bag, complimentary paper filter, paper filter holder, a funnel, a brewing mug, and a tight seal to keep the mug hot for an extended period. Ensure that the one you are ordering has a mug and a seal (Aeropress GO) for travel purposes.
The tote bag will carry most of the accessories, including the stirrer, funnel, paper filter, and the complete unit.
Is it easy to use?
The answer can be very subjective. Ideally, it’s not that difficult to use and to get used to it.
Individuals who are used to automatic machines may find it bothersome to screw, unscrew, and plunge to brew your coffee. However, it’s still a lifesaver when you are out of electricity or deep in the forest.
It is easy to use and also easy to clean. It doesn’t require much action, but you will have to go through the learning curve of understanding the grind size, the coffee-water ratio, and when to compress the plunger.
With 2-3 brews, you will eventually understand the brewing process and be quite fast. Keep the coffee brewer clean and rinse it with water after every use for best results.
What grind size is better for Aeropress?
It exclusively brews strong black coffee, and sometimes, a dark, concentrated espresso-like beverage. So, the ideal grind size for the brewer would always fall between fine to medium-fine.
The reason behind a fine grind size is the short brewing time and the requirement for faster extraction.
Fine and medium-fine grind size will readily react with water and get quickly absorbed within the given period.
Coarser grinds usually need a longer extraction period because the water will take time to seep through the bigger grind size. Thus, leading to an incomplete and under-extracted coffee.
Of course, you can experiment depending on the coffee roast you’re using. For example, a medium-fine to coarse grind would be accurate for a darker roast because that wouldn’t concentrate your coffee too much; however, please don’t use too finely ground dark roasted coffee; it will over-concentrate the bitterness of your beverage.
On the other hand, with medium-roasted coffee, you can go as fine as you’d like. Fine to medium-fine grind sizes are accurate for both espresso and coffee both.
Is it easy to clean?
Yes, it is easy to clean and also dishwasher safe, the company claims no need to clean the apparatus in a dishwasher, but it’s always safe to do so.
You can wash it on the top shelf or use soap and warm water to manually remove the stickiness from the silicone seal or the body.
How to rinse after brewing:
- Once you are done brewing, unscrew the filter cap and push the plunger down to remove the ground coffee puck. Make sure there’s something below to avoid creating a mess with the ground coffee or residual water.
- Dissemble the compartments and rinse them all (filter cap, coffee chamber, and coffee plunger) with warm water.
- It’s best to wash it weekly with soap and water to remove any stickiness from its surface. Also, clean the silicone seal (present at the bottom of the plunger) to keep it clean and tight.
Overall, the whole process is pretty straightforward unless you are using a metal filter. This is because a metal filter will take more time to get thoroughly cleaned.
Is it aesthetically pleasing?
Honestly, I wouldn’t call it aesthetically pleasing because firstly, it’s made of plastic, and secondly, it looks like a massive PLASTIC syringe. Syringes are essential in life but not an impressive piece of equipment to add to your coffee bar.
Simply put, it’s not a beautiful piece of equipment like the Chemex, glass French Press, or Turkish metal grinders.
How much does it cost?
Unlike the mega-expensive espresso machines, automatic drip coffee, or electronic grinders, these manual coffee brewers are very affordable and will only cost you around $30
Aeropress manufacturers offer multiple and different packages with varied price tags. For example, the complete Aeropress kit would include the mug, mug seal, paper filter holder, paper filters, etc. This is the most expensive one, and it only costs you $31.95.
There are many other kits with minor accessories and lesser pricing. For instance, the most straightforward kit would include an Aeropress, a stirrer, a scoop, and a paper filter holder.
Cost comparison between Aeropress and other manual brewers:
- Quality espresso machine: The cost is $500 to $3000.
- Automatic drip coffee machine: $250-$300. Aeropress will brew similar, faster, and even better coffee than a $300 automatic drip brewer.
- Chemex: will cost you $40-$50 and may not include paper filters.
- Hario V60 and coffee gator have a similar price tag, but individuals often prefer Aeropress over other manual brewing methods.
- French Press: It may cost you $30-$60 depending on the material used.
People often prefer Aeropress over pour-over or drip coffee because it maximizes the extraction.
In fact, individuals often choose it above a french press because it uses a similar mechanism but is shorter, smarter, faster, and hotter.
Where should you buy it?
Please note that many companies will try to sell you counterfeit products that look like Aeropress but are made with poor, unhealthy quality and BPA-plastic.
It’s best to choose authorized retailers and online marketers to purchase an authentic and original Aeropress.
The company provides a one-year warranty if you purchase the product from authorized and reliable sales. To be on the safe side, it’s best to purchase your Aeropress kit from Amazon to avoid scams.
Who shouldn’t buy it?
- People who want automation and don’t have the time to invest time in brewing: Individuals who are used to pre-brewed drip coffee or are usually short on time shouldn’t buy it.
- If you prefer authentic espresso and milk-based beverages, this tool is definitely not going to replicate a real espresso taste.
- Aeropress are portable devices and are built for people that find themselves without electricity, or people that travel and camp . If you don’t find yourself in any of these situations, there’s no need to buy one.
With that being said, I genuinely believe it is a great purchase. If you’re a coffee enthusiast, you’ll enjoy experimenting with different coffee tools.
However, if you don’t drink black coffee or are not keen to frequent trekking trips, don’t purchase it.
What accessories should you buy for it?
A complete package (tote bag) comes with every accessory you’d possibly need for brewing with the Aeropress (paper filters, stirrers, plunger, paper filter holder, scoop.
Of course, you’d need an extra stock for the filter and spare parts; other than that, the brewer is unbreakable.
Whole Coffee beans may not be thought of as an accessory but are the ideal choice whenever you are brewing because they will make your coffee taste authentic, natural, and fresh.
In comparison, pre-ground coffee is often stale with zero or minimum flavor value and has many artificial sweeteners, which may upset traditional coffee purists. So, invest in real whole coffee beans and a grinder.
Manual grinders will work perfectly alongside the Aeropress if you’re traveling, camping, or having a power outage.
Other extra accessories to stock:
Fellow Prisma is a metal filter and filter cap combination exclusively built for Aeropress. The stainless steel filter has a very fine partition and is equivalent to an espressos filter.
In fact, with Fellow Prismo, you can brew highly concentrated and pressurized espresso-like beverages.
This is possible because of the extra-fine metal filter mesh and the pressure-actuated valve system inside the filter cap.
Unlike the Aeropress’s original cap with too many holes, Prismo’s cap has a single pressure valve (small hole) that only opens up when applying pressure at the plunger.
When you apply additional pressure at the plunger, the filter cap opens up to brew from the single hole present below.
This technique builds some manual pressure while brewing and thus, results in an espresso-like beverage. Of course, you will have to decide the ratio.
- For espressos: It would be 1:2 (one gram of coffee to 2ml water.)
- For filter coffee: 1:6 (one ounce of ground coffee to 6 ounces of water.)
Whether brewing espresso or coffee, fellow Prismo uses more techniques to brew a better beverage than the regular paper filter and cap.
Plus, many award-winning coffee baristas get better results with metal filters rather than paper filters that soak away the essential oils from the ground coffee.
However, if you don’t like oils (acidic content) in your coffee, you can use a metal filter+paper filter.
- Metal filters allow more flavors and oils in the coffee.
- The pressurized valve increases extraction and enhances complete immersion.
- There’s no additional paper waste that you’d need to go through because metal filters are reusable and easy to clean.
- Paper filters are known to have toxins in their composition. Metal filters are safer.
- Additionally, you won’t be wasting paper and will be contributing to nature in a way.
- Compared to the cleaning process, paper filters are easy to dispose of.
- The metal filter and the tiny pressure valve make it harder to push the plunger down, especially if you are brewing a cold brew. If you have issues applying pressure due to arthritis or joint problems it may not be a great option.
- The fine ground may block the holes inside the metal filter.
Fellow Prismo is an added expense at first pay for itself over time since you won’t be paying for paper filters over and over again.
Aeropress comes with separate tools that are at risk of being lost if not stored properly. This Companion organizer will stock every piece found inside the box beautifully on your kitchen counter.
It’s a stand with dedicated spots for the stirrer, scoop, Aeropress body, paper filter, etc.
The Companion organizer is approximately 9 inches tall. The body of this organizer is made of cold-rolled steel, and its base is made of high-quality laser-cut cork.
The cork ensures firmness on the counter and keeps your apparatus from slipping or sliding away.
The cork base holds 350 paper filters. Three cylindrical poles hold the papers inside. On the same base, there’s a filter cap holder. It has a circumference of 0.25 square feet and looks decent on the counter without consuming much space.
There’s a C-shaped holder supported at the top of the companion to hold the chamber and plunger combined. The C-shaped holder has two holes to adjust the scoop and the stirrer.
That’s it; your Aeropress is organized without having to deal with a bag. It can sit on the farthest corner of your counter. This companion adds a little more style to your coffee bar.
I would consider this to be a little expensive. Especially since it comes with a tote bag and all of the items can be stored in that.
If you want to display it on your coffee bar, this would be a wise purchase, but other than that, I don’t see the point in it.
Even if you are using a metal filter, it’s best to stock paper filters for emergencies. For example, the Aeropress tote bag kit comes with 350 complimentary paper filters.
A single brew with the coffee maker will use a single paper filter unless you decide on double paper filter extraction. So, that would be 350 brew counts.
Paper filters are more affordable and will cost you less compared to metal filters. For example, a single metal filter may charge $25-$30. For the same price, you can purchase 2100 PAPER Filters.
However, a metal filter is reusable and may brew a similar count (2100) and even more if you keep it under excellent condition.
Professional baristas recommend using metal and paper filters to brew Aeropress beverages for best extraction without grit and sludge. Thus, investing in extra paper filters would be a good choice.
A single box of paper filters holds 350 counts and will cost you $5-$7(included shipping charges).
The official Aeropress paper filters are toxin-free and have a micro-filter structure that ensures no ground and sludge in your brewed beverage. It also soaks in the acidic oils from your coffee’s composition.
This espresso pack includes a whole Aeropress kit (chamber, plunger, scoop, stirrer, 350 complimentary paper microfilters, and filter holder).
This pack includes a massive stainless steel coffee bean canister to store your whole coffee beans and an extra bag of 350 paper microfilters.
The oggy’s stainless steel canister has a capacity of 62 fluid ounces. Therefore, you can accommodate slightly fewer whole coffee beans than the said volume.
It comes with a tight-fitted rubber gasket that keeps the inner content fresh and away from air contamination. Also, the top lid is transparent to see inner content more easily without opening it up whenever you want to check the amount inside.
The stainless steel used for making these canisters is of food-grade quality, and the top transparent lids are BPA-free to provide utmost safety.
You can store anything in these containers, like espresso coffee beans. These containers are sturdy, and the metal would look great on your kitchen counter, along with the Aeropress companion organizer.
What is Aeropress GO?
It’s an Aeropress Travel package with the whole unit, including a travel mug and mug seal. This mug can actually hold every component of the Aeropress inside—The plunger+chamber combined, scoop, stirrer, and a small paper filter holder.
Please note: This box comes with a separate unit of 350 complementary paper microfilters. The given holder can only hold a traveling amount of paper filters inside (10-20)
The complimentary coffee mug has a dual nature—you can brew and drink your beverage with it. You can also store the whole Aeropress Go kit inside without carrying any other additional baggage for the kit when traveling, trekking, camping, or simply going to the office. The mug and its lid make traveling and brewing easier.
- You don’t need to carry any additional mugs while traveling.
- It won’t require an additional bag to carry it all.
- You wouldn’t be losing your accessories because they would be all inside the mug.
- You wouldn’t be searching your bag for them either because they would all be stored in one single travel-friendly mug.
- It’s light-weight and sturdy.
Aeropress VS Nespresso
If you are unaware of the brand, Nespresso brews instant espresso shots with aluminum pre-ground coffee pods and is basically an automatic espresso machine that brews pods instead of freshly-ground barista coffee.
On the other hand, Aeropress is a manual coffee maker that makes dark black coffee and espresso-like concentrated (non-pressurized) shots.
There’s a vast difference between the two products:
- Nespresso uses electricity to heat the water and apply 9-Bars of pressure. Aeropress is a manual device and requires pre-boiling water from a water boiler at the time of brewing.
- Aeropress cannot reach 9-bars of pressure even with a Fellow Prismo. Prismo can apply 2-5 Bars of pressure on your coffee.
- Nespresso is a big espresso machine and sometimes comes with a steaming wand/steaming canister. Aeropress makes dark black coffee and doesn’t come with a milk steamer. However, you can purchase a separate milk whisk to foam your milk.
- Aeropress can use freshly ground coffee as well as pre-ground coffee. On the other hand, Nespresso can only use pre-ground coffee aluminum pods to brew. Pre-ground coffee can never produce as delicious shots as freshly-ground.
- Nespresso can brew quality coffee and espresso; Aeropress can only brew dark and concentrated coffee.
- Nespresso has a more stable temperature and pressure system. Aeropress can never be accurate with its temperature while brewing.
- Nonetheless, Aeropress is more affordable ($30) than Nespresso machines that may cost you $200-$300.
- Aeropress is travel-friendly; Nespresso cannot be used without electricity. Also, Aeropress is very lightweight, and Nespresso is very heavy with all the equipment inside.
Overall, both the machines are entirely different from each other, but very good nonetheless. You can purchase a Nespresso machine for instant coffee and purchase an Aeropress for traveling and trekking.
While pre-ground coffee is not the best choice, sealed aluminum containers are fresher than loose ground coffee.
Also, these aluminum pods come in great flavor profiles and packed freshness. They offer unique caffeinated and decaffeinated varieties as well.
It’s a small purchase, but Aeropress is an excellent coffee tool. In the end, it brews tasty, delicious coffee in under 2 minutes. In addition, every part of this coffee brewer is available separately if you need to replace a part that is damaged or lost.
“Final verdict: It’s an affordable product and great for coffee enthusiasts. If James Hoffmann (famous coffee consultant) enjoys this coffee brewer, there’s certainly something magical about its brewing method. It brews exceptional beverages without a doubt.”