AeroPress - anyone tried it?
- Caitlin McGrath
I'm sure this is old news on dedicated coffee message boards, which I don't read, but I just learned of the AeroPress in an article in the San Jose Mercury News (see URL at the bottom of this post; I believe you must register, but it's free and they don't spam).
It's a single-cup coffee press invented by the same guy who invented the Aerobie, that ring-shaped frisbee thing (hence its name). It brews espresso-strength coffee using below-boiling water (175 degrees or so) and takes under a minute. It also claims to brew extremely smooth coffee with a huge reduction in acidity. They do say you can add more "edge" (read bitterness) to your coffee by brewing it at higher temperature. As an occasional at-home coffee drinker, I'm intrigued with the idea of quick prep of a single cup and quick cleanup. I've been fairly happy with my Toddy for making iced coffee, but this could be good for a hot cup apparently without the reduction of caffeine you get with the Toddy, and with more control over the flavor and consistency of the brew. I've read the good reviews on some coffee-vending sites that sell it, but I'm curious about any hound experiences before I plunk down $30 to try it out.
Started using the AeroPress and have it now for over a month. Love the taste of the coffee, whichever type you use, because it lets the basic coffee flavor come through. Just changed the proportions of water to coffee; for example, if I make four cups of coffee in the AeroPress, I use three x four or 12 ounces of water; the result is very strong but not bitter or acidic coffee that can be kept all morning. I use the AerobiePress to make the coffee, put the water in the bottom of my Braun coffeemaker (in the glass pot) and then when I've made the coffee, I pour it into the Braun carafe and it stays there, hot. I had some old filters so I cut them in circles to size and now have enough filters to last me three months or so. I've just tried a coffee from the Laguna Coffee House and like it, a combination of Sumatra and Columbia, I believe. If you like espresso you can make it directly and you can also make cafe olay or a latte with the Press, heating the milk separately and foaming it, then pouring the concentrated coffee into it. I've tried so many types of coffee, from Trader Joes Kenyan to Illy, and they all taste good in their own way. Make sure you get a drip type grind as very fine, Turkish style will make it hard to press the plunger. All in all, I like the way the coffee flavor comes through, and it's easy cleanup, also the coffee lasts all morning without the oils turning bitter. So I'm hooked. I'd be interested in what coffee you use and prefer, and the same from other writers/chowhounds/readers. By the way, since the scoop is big, this Press uses more coffee more quickly but that's because it extracts more from it, I believe, so it's worth it.
So far I've only tried it with an Italian roast bean I bought from CostPlus and with a Folgers grind. I'm not saying the Folgers grind is good coffee, but it's the best I've ever tasted it.
My favorite all time cup of coffee was a lightly roasted Chiapas coffee in a Frensh press. The problem with a French press is that you need to use an expensive grinder to get just ground coffee kernals and no dust. Otherwise the coffee turns into mud. The filter eliminates that. I haven't found that coffee to try it again with the AeroPress. I think I'll probably be drinking coffee made from Starbucks beans for the next few months since I have a $30 Starbucks gift card to use up.
With the Italian roast, I use about 3 1/2 scoops of ground coffee to make the four "cups" of concentrate, then fill up the cylinder twice all the way to the top with hot water. It's nice and rich.