Does the AeroPress Coffee Maker Measure Up?

One of my friends got an AeroPress Coffee Maker for the holidays. Dubious about this multi-part plastic doohicky, I set forth to have a few cups of coffee through it so see what my friend was on about. At first glance it seems a bit “As Seen on TV,” what with all the different brown plastic bits and complicated setup, but the marketing copy promises a better, faster cup of coffee than with any other method, as well as the ability to make espresso.

The Bad

My friend says he goes through one AeroPress every year. He uses it twice or three-times daily, and eventually the press breaks. He says he gets his for $10 each, but I couldn’t find that price online. Amazon has it for $25.

It also uses much more coffee than other methods. Depending on the strength, it uses about a tablespoon and a half of grounds for a single cup. The same amount in a French-press usually nets me twice that. And if you want more than one cup you’ll have to run the AeroPress several times. It also takes a lot of time to prepare and clean. There’s also no crema on the espresso.

The Good

It uses the same granularity of grounds as a drip coffee maker. This can be invaluable if you don’t have a burr grinder.  The coffee tastes rich and slightly sweeter than out of a drip brew (which was the only comparison available to me at the time of writing this). The espresso comes surprisingly close to the dark, bitter taste of a real machine-pulled espresso.

On the whole, I would say the AeroPress is pretty good. It makes richer coffee than a dripolator and is pretty close to the taste of a Café Americano or a long-pull espresso (which is what you get when you order coffee in Europe). The espresso it makes is okay, but lacks a crema.

However, all the little parts are a pain to keep clean, and to keep from disappearing in a forgotten kitchen drawer. It’s also not as sexy as a Bodum French press or an antique percolator. Unlike a vacuum pot, you definitely couldn’t put it on display. I’d recommend it if the best coffee solution (whole beans and a burr grinder with an espresso machine, French press, or vacuum pot) is not available and you want something a little better than a drip brew machine.

Speaking for myself, I’ll stick to my French press. And I’ll use my vacuum pot for times when I feel like building a Lego set in order to make coffee.

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4 thoughts on “Does the AeroPress Coffee Maker Measure Up?

  1. Hi. Have to correct you a bit. You don’t have to use more coffee with an aeropress than with the French press. It’s all about a balance in extraction time and granularity.
    You can make a perfect coffee with 6-7 grams coffee pr dl water.
    I think this is one of the best things with the aeropress; you can make your coffee the way it pleases you 🙂

    -jh

  2. Thanks for your comment. I’ll have to start varying the amounts of coffee I use in the AeroPress as I’ve just been going off the instructions, which recommend using one scoop with the included spoon.

  3. 2 points:
    1. May be more tablespoons of ground coffee, but in terms of weight of grounds it’s certainly no more. often around 60g/litre for both methods.
    2. It isn’t an espresso, it’s a filter method.

  4. Great article, but I don’t quite get what you mean by it being a pain to clean? I find it easy – but perhaps I’m not cleaning it right…?

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