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What is an Aeropress?

If you love brewing coffee at home, you’ve probably heard of the Aeropress. And if you haven’t, prepare to have your mind blown. This unassuming and affordable little brewer makes an incredible cup of coffee.

This article will look in detail at the Aeropress – what it is, how it works, and what type of coffee it brews. Read on to discover if it deserves a spot on your coffee bar.

What is an Aeropress?

An Aeropress is a compact coffee maker invented by Alan Adler in 2005. Made from BPA-free plastic, it has three main components: a brewing chamber, a plunger, and a filter cap. Plus it comes with accessories, including a coffee scoop, funnel, stirrer, paper filters, and a filter holder.

Watch this video with world-renowned coffee expert James Hoffmann for a quick rundown on the Aeropress design:

The Aeropress coffee maker is lightweight, durable, and doesn’t require electricity, so it is popular for travel and camping. With only a 10-ounce brewing capacity, it is typically considered a single-serve brewer. However, it is possible to brew very strong coffee that can be diluted into multiple cups.

What is the Aeropress Go?

The Aeropress Go is a more travel-focused version of the Aeropress that was released in 2019. The coffee maker’s design is identical but scaled to two-thirds the size. The brewer and all accessories fit inside an included travel mug that doubles as a carrying case.

How does the Aeropress work?

When developing the Aeropress, inventor Alan Adler was inspired by the espresso machine. He believed that a faster extraction would yield a sweeter brew and decided to use air pressure to speed the brewing process (1).

I realized that I had to contain it somehow in an airtight chamber so I could apply pressure to shorten the time.

The Aeropress is an immersion brewer, which means that the coffee grounds steep in hot water before it is filtered. Adding the plunger creates an airtight brewing chamber. When the plunger is pressed after the brew time, the high pressure forces the water through the coffee and filter into a waiting mug.

Aeropress coffee

What is Aeropress coffee?

Aeropress coffee is very smooth and sweet, and it has little bitterness or acidity, especially if you follow Alan Adler’s original recipe. He advocates using 175 ℉ brew water, much cooler than the 195 to 205 ℉ recommended by the Specialty Coffee Association.

A main selling point of the Aeropress is its versatility. There are literally hundreds of different recipes.

You can brew nearly any style of coffee by changing grind size, water temperature, coffee-to-water ratio, filter material, and brew style.

Coffee made with Aeropress is often described as “espresso-style coffee” because, depending on the recipe, it can be stronger than traditional drip coffee. You can use it to brew an intense coffee shot similar to what you get from a Moka pot. But you can’t make true espresso with an Aeropress because there is no way to achieve the necessary 9 bars of pressure. After-market accessories like the Fellow Prismo or Joepresso will get you close, but it still won’t be espresso.

Final Thoughts

The Aeropress is one of the best home coffee makers. Period. The fact that it is small, simple, and affordable is just icing on the cake! Whether at home or deep in the backcountry, a rich and smooth cup of coffee is only minutes away with your Aeropress.

FAQs

The best Aeropress filters depend on the type of coffee you want to brew. For a clean cup with greater flavor complexity, stick with the traditional paper filters. Consider using a metal filter instead for a heavy-bodied cup with a creamier mouthfeel and bolder flavor.

You should use medium-fine ground coffee in an Aeropress for the most flavorful extraction. The Aeropress is a versatile brewer, so you can use any roast level or flavor profile you enjoy.

The difference between an Aeropress and a French press is that the Aeropress relies on pressure to extract coffee, similar to an espresso machine, so it brews much faster. If you use an Aeropress paper filter, you will also get a cleaner cup compared to a French press’s metal filter.

  1. Levy, S. (2015, March 16). First Alan Adler Invented the Aerobie, Now He’s Created the Perfect Cup of Coffee. Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/2015/03/first-alan-adler-invented-the-aerobie-now-hes-created-the-perfect-cup-of-coffee/
Julia Bobak
I love trail running, rock climbing, coffee, food, and my tiny dog — and writing about all of them. I start every morning with a fresh Americano from my home espresso machine, or I don’t start it at all.

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