What Is an AeroPress Coffee Maker?



AeroPress is a coffee maker invented by Alan Adler, President of Aerobie in 2005. It’s made of two cylinders with the smaller one (the plunger) inside of the larger one (the chamber) to create an airtight seal very similar to a syringe.

It’s quite forgiving in terms of coffee grinds. The size should be between espresso and drip coffee. These are the simple steps:

  • Place a microfilter in the bottom of the chamber;
  • Grind coffee beans and add two scoops to the chamber;
  • Place the chamber onto a coffee mug;
  • Boil water to about 165 -175 F;
  • Pour the hot water to pre-infuse the coffee and stir the water and coffee for 10 seconds. Let it steep for 30 seconds or so.
  • Gently push the plunger down to the bottom.

You’ll have a smooth, rich and balanced coffee that many professional writers and coffee tasters couldn’t stop raving about.

You may drink it straight up as “espresso” or add more hot water to make an Americano or froth/steam some milk for a cappuccino or latte. The chamber has corresponding marks for each cup of coffee with a total of 4. Each scoop of coffee makes an equivalent of a single espresso shot or 5-ounce of the American coffee. Adjust the water volume before the plunge or after.

Can you imagine the comparisons made by coffee aficionados against Drip, Espresso, French Press and other brewing methods? The secret why AeroPress has won over so many coffee enthusiasts can be summarized as follows:

  1. Coffee grounds are pre-infused and totally immersed in the water to allow even contact and optimal extraction.
  2. Lower water temperature, shorter steeping time and gentle air pressure extract robust flavor, aroma and coffee oil but not the bitterness and astringency from prolonged brewing such as in dripped coffee. Coffee made in AeroPress is about 1/5 of the bitterness as in drip coffee.
  3. It’s SO easy to operate and not much to clean up either.  Remove the lid from the bottom of the chamber, take the plunger and push the coffee puck out along with the filter into a knock box or a trash can. You are done.
  4. So inexpensive with very little learning curve. You don’t have to invest in a high-end burr grinder in addition to an espresso machine. There are not too many variables to test and tweak as you would with an espresso machine such as grind size, tamping pressure, water temperature, extraction time and pressure. Not to mention the ever-involving maintenance you’d have to do with an espresso machine. With an AeroPress, you just need to measure coffee and add water. If you want to get a bit more scientific, you might invest in a liquid thermometer for the water. Add as much or little ground coffee to please your palate.

I am sure a heated debate would have taken place if I had asked which machine (AeroPress vs. an espresso machine) brews better espresso. Technically speaking, AeroPress is capable of brewing a very strong coffee, not sure if it’s qualified as “espresso” per se. It’s very subjective based on what you consider as important in the art of espresso making. I’ll leave that to your final judgement if you own both and can compare outcomes from each. For now, get this simple device for under $30 and enjoy a good cup of Joe. It comes with 350 microfilters that will last you for quite a while.

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