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AeroPress

r
rubinow Mar 1, 2007 02:02 PM

Has anybody tried the AeroPress? Is it as good as they say?

  1. jayt90 Feb 3, 2008 06:44 PM

    I have been using the Aeropress since Christmas, and love it. I'll try it with concentrated tea soon. Or concentrated coffee taken to work.
    I have fussed with it over some really difficult presses, until I re-read the instructions (tossed out, but conveniently on-line!) I needed a finer grind (had to clean out the KA burrs with barley!) and I had to learn to press slowly. If I do an initial hard press, a puck forms and I'm in trouble. So I go slow and easy, with a fine even grind.
    I have a Zassenhaus on the way, so the grind will be even better!

    1. h
      HLing Dec 28, 2007 09:58 PM

      I broke down and bought an AeroPress (as well as a Bodum Bistro Mug Press instead of a regular French press with glass) It all started with acquiring a stone quern for cold grinding. In fact it actually started with my curiosity in stone ground green tea for matcha. One thing led to another....

      Before I used the Aeropress for coffee I wanted to try it for tea. I wanted to try to make the thicker, non whipped Japanese green tea without the muddiness. Since the temperature tends to be lower for Japanese green tea I figure it was a good way to get what I want. At this point I hadn't figured out the Aeropress, yet, but I see the potential for making green tea concentrate that's good for a few cups of clear but potent green tea throughout the day. Just add hot water to the concentrate.

      It wasn't until I tried it with coffee of various finess of ground that I settled upon using two filters at once for a slightly thicker and sturdier filter. This really helped filtering out the fine grounds, as well as prevent the liquid from draining into the cup too soon (before pressing). I can see how this double filter use will improve my green tea powder press and I will have to go back and try that..after I clean the coffee ground off of the stone quern I'm using.

      During one of the attempts to make a coffee concentrate, I used a lot more grounds than for one cup. I used the same grounds again and it still tasted good. I think the double filter enabled me to try making coffee like I make tea in doing multiple infusion.

      Still learning and experimenting, but definitely happy to have this well-designed to expand new ways of tea and coffee making. Just hope all the purists out there don't get too upset...

      8 Replies
      1. re: HLing
        liu Dec 30, 2007 08:29 PM

        Your report is fascinating to me, HLing. We, too, have experimented a bit with the AeroPress, but not to the extent you have. Please do continue to post as you refine your technique.

        Additionally, perhaps you will want to go to San Gabriel Superstore to buy a Vietnamese coffee making gizmo (stainless steel -- about $4.00 each -- in the coffee section on the upper shelf). I am amazed at how the simple AeroPress can make such great coffee! As well, this Vietnamese coffee apparatus is equally mystifying. It is simple, but it makes wonderful Vietnamese coffee (use the Vietnamese coffee in the San Gabriel Superstore -- in a red can in the front part of the market section). This will give you one more brewing "toy!"

        1. re: liu
          h
          HLing Jan 1, 2008 10:37 AM

          Liu, thanks for the rec. Back in my college days in Houston, TX I have owned a Vietnamese coffee making filter that fits over the cup (and the Vietnamese yellow/orange tin Cafe du Monde, of course). Back then it was that, and a French Press. Then a trip to Italy had me switching to the stove top espresso maker, which had remained the favored method in the last 10 years.

          Recently though, before I tried the Aeropress I had been curious about the stove top Neapolitan coffee pot, which is similar in concept to the Vietnamese coffee filter, I think, though no one in Chowhound actually chimed in on that, so...

          Anyhow, the current new favorite is the Aeropress, but another aspect has been introduced since my French Press and Vietnamese coffee days, and that is the stone grounding of the beans. So I suppose at some point I will revisit the old methods with this added element.

          What will be next? I see it coming, inevitable...home roasting...

          1. re: HLing
            liu Jan 1, 2008 11:55 AM

            "Home roasting..." -- Oh, MY! Perhaps you need a lab...with beakers and viles and burners!

            Just this morning we made Vietnamese coffee with our two little stainless filters (yes, the type that fits over the cup -- as you described), and the result is divine!
            Originally, we ordered our first filter online -- with some Vietnamese coffee in a deep red can; the coffee is really good, but this particular filter is not right. I think the holes are too tiny. Then, we found the stainless filters at the San Gabriel Superstore in LA, and they are superior to the one that we bought online. The holes drip better. Now we own three of these Vietnamese filters, and surprisingly each one is a bit different. There are probably many manufacturers, even though each looks the same. I think the hole size is critical for proper brewing, and the resultant cup is an amazing surprise of heavenly Vietnamese coffee! Of course, we do add some sweetened condensed milk into the cup before dripping!

            I wish you well with your experiments, and do post back!

            1. re: liu
              h
              HLing Jan 1, 2008 08:26 PM

              Liu, I threw that out there thinking it's a joke, but then I'm reminded (since you are a tea drinker as well) of what the lady at Luh Yu tea told me regarding toasting old tea leaves. She used to sell those roasters for tea (for what's now popular in Taiwan - the Old Oolong. Old as in aged, I guess. I'm not sure of the details, but a toaster/roaster is involved)....so who knows, maybe I will ask her if she'd still have one to sell.

            2. re: HLing
              scubadoo97 Jan 2, 2008 05:34 AM

              ""What will be next? I see it coming, inevitable...home roasting...""

              I've been roasting for 5 years. Once you start, you can never go back. Agreed the aeropress rocks.

              1. re: scubadoo97
                h
                HLing Jan 23, 2009 01:12 AM

                Well, it's taken me a year, but I'm finally here, home roasting. I've never held the green coffee beans in my hands before...beautiful jade like pellets, hard as rocks.

                I am not going to invest in a dedicated roaster, though. Not even a popcorn popper. I'm sticking with primitive & basic.

                The thought of drinking coffee so much more vibrant, the thought of not putting up with the inevitable decaying flavor each pre-roasted, store bought coffee batch, and the thought of saving money...Scubadoo97 is right, I'll probably never go back..

                1. re: HLing
                  scubadoo97 Jan 23, 2009 04:26 AM

                  So how primative are you going? Cast iron skillet?

                  1. re: scubadoo97
                    h
                    HLing Jan 23, 2009 10:41 AM

                    My first and 2nd attempt was using a BEKA copper sauce pan with a lid. I was too chicken to let it go too dark even though I've read that it can get smoky. So, I've heard the 1st crack in both instances but still have to learn about getting the temperature right. The first attempt ground out to be lighter, reddish brown, and the 2nd time I got it a little darker. My observation so far is that the coffee tasted smoother after I've made it and let it set for a few minutes instead of drinking right away. Is that strange?

                    Next I will try the cast iron skillet since it has two lips on the side for some steam to escape. I can't buy anything new at this point, so will have to learn to roast with what I have.

        2. f
          frankbooth Oct 5, 2007 10:09 PM

          we bought one recently after to many vacations without my fancy espresso machine (at the mother in laws house). and all i can say is this- do not let anyone or any literature fool you into thinking you can make a real espresso from this product. an americano type cup of coffee came out fine, but trying to make an espresso was virtually impossible. ZERO crema, nothing like it. but if you are looking for something like a french press but smaller and plastic this is the dealy. easy to clean, once you figure it out it's easy to use, my wife found it difficult to put enough pressure on the machine to use it correctly (slowly but steadily). all in all, it's great for the price and for american style long coffee products. enjoy fb

          1 Reply
          1. re: frankbooth
            scubadoo97 Oct 24, 2007 01:26 PM

            Very true. The AeroPress is not an espresso machine. I just got one and have been playing around with it. I own about very method known to brew coffee so why not an AeroPress. Actually I like it and it will travel well with my other coffee gear. I found a latte less satisfying compared to real espresso which stand up better to milk. For an americano it's great and you can dilute to make a good regular coffee.

          2. liu Apr 26, 2007 08:45 AM

            Thanks to all the very helpful information on this post on using the AeroPress, we found it quite easy to use from start to finish. Yes, the AeroPress coffee is very smooth, with no residue left in the cup. I am not a Starbuck's fan, but we had some fresh Starbuck's coffee that I was quite reluctant to use. However, the AeroPress even made good of the Starbucks. I tasted no burnt tones or other "off" flavors. I am sold on the AeroPress!

            1. Condimentality Apr 20, 2007 01:44 AM

              I just got one of these the other day. Though I'm not exactly a connoisseur, I think it makes an excellent and convenient cup of coffee。

              The major advantages over the french press that I used before are 1)the coffee is a lot less bitter 2)there is essentially no sediment left in the coffee once it‘s been filtered and 3)it is much much easier to clean。

              I usually make a relatively strong double and add hot water to fill a 12 oz coffee mug for an americano。

              The only thing I could really forsee someone not liking about this thing is the fact that the coffee isn't steaming hot if you heat the water to the temperature indicated in the instructions (170 degrees, I think). If that's an issue, one could probably just heat it in the microwave after it's brewed.

              I got mine for 25 dollars plus shipping from Amazon.com. I think it's an incredible deal at that price.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Condimentality
                a
                AlanAdler Apr 20, 2007 08:21 AM

                Hi Condimentality,

                Here are a few thoughts about brew temperature:

                If you drink it straight from the AeroPress (espresso strength), and want it hot -- pre-heat the cup with the same hot water you use to brew with.

                If you dilute to American strength using the same hot water you use to brew with, your brew will be very hot -- perhaps so hot that you'll want to add some cold.

                My tests indicate that about 145F (when in the cup) is the hottest anyone can drink and that can burn some people. I prefer it cooler. Many of us discussed drinking termperature on another forum and agreed that when the brew is too hot, you can't taste it as well.

                Sincerely yours,

                Alan

                1. re: AlanAdler
                  r
                  redchile Apr 21, 2007 10:20 AM

                  Well, I went from initially being unable to remove the plunger from the chamber upon opening the AeroPress box, to just brewing my first cup of AeroPress coffee.

                  The first cup was okay, not great, not bad. The results were quite different from my Senseo. The Senseo creates a frothy cup, but the first few sips have a bitter, somewhat burnt quality, perhaps it's the temperture of the water or the age and quality of the coffee in the pods.

                  The Aeropress cup was mellower. Being my first cup, I'm surprised it wasn't a disaster. The AeroPress is a simple, logically designed device. And, the clean-up was a snap, about the same as the Senseo.

                  I can see where the Aeropress would be a tinkerers dream, given the number of variables. They include the coffee used, the grind, the water and it's temperature, the stirring time, the pressing time etc.

                  I'm not a coffee connoisseur. I like one cup of coffee, once in a while, that's why I bought the Senseo. However, I grew tired of the Senseo's limited pod choices, their price, and their questionable quality. I think the AeroPress fits my needs well, because I can buy many different whole bean coffees, grind them myself, and determine which ones I like best.

                  I do have a question about the water temperature, though. I heated about 10 ounces of water in the microwave for an Americano, but I determined the temperature by simply by touch. I could have been off by 20 degrees, who knows.

                  Anyone have a more exacting way of determining the water tempertaure that's not too involved, or expensive?

                  1. re: redchile
                    Condimentality Apr 21, 2007 12:18 PM

                    I used a microwave with a thermometer probe attachment, so I just filled the plunger to the appropriate level, stuck the probe in there, and set it to heat to 170.

                    If you don't have an attachment for your microwave, you could just use trial and error with a regular thermometer to determine how long it takes in your microwave to heat your ideal amount of water to your desired temperature. Afterwards, just heat it for that long each time.

                    Also, @ AlanAdler:

                    Pre-heating the cup with hot water made a huge difference in maintaining the temperature of the coffee after it's been brewed. I always do the same thing whenever I make tea, so I'm suprised I didn't think of it. You've invented a great product, and I'm looking forward to experimenting with it.

                    1. re: redchile
                      e
                      EclecticEater Oct 5, 2007 09:59 PM

                      For $10 you can buy a Taylor instant read thermometer. It can tell you the water temperature. You can use a microwave and get the timing down or you can buy a cheap Marvel hotpot with a small rheostat on the side that gives a crude way to limit the temperature to lower than boiling.

                      1. re: EclecticEater
                        Windy Oct 23, 2007 11:07 PM

                        Regarding the water temperature, you can also buy an electric kettle, preferably one with a variable temperature dial. There's a high end version from t-fal, or get one of the hot pots at an Asian grocery. Cooler (165-175 degree) water is essential for delicate green teas and oolongs, and definitely produces smoother coffee.

                        I love my Aeropress.

                2. u
                  Uncle Ira Apr 17, 2007 01:03 PM

                  For those of you who have tried it, are the results all that different from a French press?

                  Uncle Ira

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: Uncle Ira
                    fini Apr 17, 2007 01:09 PM

                    That's a very good question. It's like a very smooth, full-body cup of coffee. Some people liken it to espresso. I myself am not so generous to compare the two methods, and believe it tastes more like coffee brewed from a moka pot or a little like a Caffe Americano (espresso topped off with hot water).

                    1. re: Uncle Ira
                      paulj Apr 17, 2007 01:12 PM

                      If you use the coffee and water quantities that they recommend, you get something stronger than the typical French press, which can be diluted to taste. You steep the grounds as with a press, and then force the coffee through 2" paper filter with a modest amount of mechanical pressure. The result is more like a moka pot in quantity and strength. I've gone back to the Milita cone filter.
                      paulj

                      1. re: paulj
                        p
                        Panini Guy Apr 17, 2007 01:32 PM

                        There's really not much "steeping" at all - no need. It's more like an espresso extraction in that regard (and when done well, you could actually get crema in addition to a hard puck). It's cleaner than a press pot - shouldn't be dregs at bottom of the cup. And it brews terrifically at 175F (manufacturer's recommendation),

                        The issues with the Aeropress currently are with the paper filter - some third parties are playing with metal screens for it, and that the first drops commence immediately after pouring in the water, where you'd ideally wish for puck saturation before extraction. Minor points though - for $30 it's a great single cup brewer (can do 2 cups as well, but wouldn't push it past that).

                        1. re: Panini Guy
                          a
                          AlanAdler Apr 17, 2007 04:37 PM

                          Hello All,

                          I invented the AeroPress and enjoy helping people get the most from it.

                          For redchile who wrote “I'm not mechanically gifted”, I suggest a viewing our video:

                          http://aerobie.com/Products/videos/AreropressSmall.wmv
                          (for dial up connections

                          )

                          or

                          http://aerobie.com/Products/videos/Aeropress.wmv
                          (for fast internet connections

                          )

                          People have found this short video to be very helpful.

                          Redchile also asked for a recommendation on "whole bean coffee". I presume that you realize that the AeroPress uses ground coffee. We recommend fine drip grind. Dark roasts taste especially good to me.

                          My experience with coffee pods is that they are stale. One study that I read found that the average time between grinding and consumption for pods is nine months! Ugh!

                          I recommend that your grind the beans right at the store. That's available in supermarkets or in coffee shops such as Starbucks. Of course they may also offer pre-ground coffee, but they can also grind it when you buy it – which is fresher. The sources suggested by fini are definitely first rate.

                          Panini Guy mentioned that some people have asked for metal filters. Here are a couple of comments:

                          I did blind taste-testing with metal filters vs paper. Every single taster strongly preferred paper. It's smoother and less bitter.

                          You can re-use each paper filter twenty times just by brushing it off under running water. So the 350 filters in your AeroPress box could make 7,000 pressings.

                          Uncle Ira asked about the AeroPress vs the French press. AeroPress coffee has no grit, has one fifth the acid level, and is far less bitter. You can also make espresso-strength brew in the AeroPress, which is necessary for cappuccinos or lattes. Finally, the cleanup is much quicker with the AeroPress.

                          There are about a thousand posts about the AeroPress here:

                          http://coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/m...

                          This is page 110, but you can page backwards, or even go to the first page.

                          I hope this is helpful. I'll be happy to answer questions posted here, or sent directly to me at: alan@aerobie.com

                          Sincerely yours,

                          Alan Adler

                          1. re: AlanAdler
                            p
                            Panini Guy Apr 17, 2007 09:50 PM

                            You do get around!

                            Here's what I love most about the product: I detest hotel room coffee makers. Instead, I simply pack my Aerobie in the suitcase with some freshly ground coffee to last the length of my trip and I'm good. Can't do that with a Bodum... it would be in shards.

                            (and I'd still like to try a metal filter... maybe even cloth or something other than paper, but that's nitpicking)

                            1. re: AlanAdler
                              liu Apr 18, 2007 05:25 PM

                              Hello, AlanAdler!
                              I love that you posted here in response to all of our curiosity and questions about the AeroPress. Ours just arrived today and now with all your very detailed and helpful information we are ready!
                              Thanks!

                              1. re: AlanAdler
                                e
                                EclecticEater Oct 5, 2007 09:55 PM

                                I have an AeroPress, use it daily with three scoops of coffee, and then with a frother (AeroLatte or from IKEA) heat and then foam up some low fat soy milk or low fat milk, and combine the coffee with the foamed soy milk or milk, and have an excellent latte that lets the flavor of the coffee through. I use Zabars coffee, or Keanes, or Melitta Columbia, or Trader Joes Italian Roast, and each tastes different, each taste is clean and clear, and the AeroPress is responsible for it because it lets the flavor through, minimizes the oils, and extracts the essence of the coffee fully. I'm sold, obviously, on the AeroPress and have been using it for about a year. Yes, there are some things to learn and it does involve a number of steps, but the price is so right and the flavor is so good, it's well worth it.

                                1. re: EclecticEater
                                  liu Oct 24, 2007 05:26 PM

                                  We have been using the AeroPress now for about 6 months. We LOVE the coffee it makes! We, too, have tried lots of other gear and their various processes, but the AeroPress makes a superior cup of coffee -- with no bitterness or gritty residue. Did I mention: we LOVE it!

                                  1. re: liu
                                    yayadave Oct 24, 2007 08:36 PM

                                    But tell the truth, liu. How do you feel about your Aeropress? TeeHee

                                    1. re: yayadave
                                      liu Oct 25, 2007 05:44 PM

                                      Silly!
                                      But to answer your question:
                                      I am primarily a tea drinker. When I do drink coffee, I am very sensitive to any burned or "off" flavors. The AeroPress magically makes a great cup of coffee...EVEN from Starbuck's beans.

                                2. re: AlanAdler
                                  monku Jan 24, 2009 08:31 PM

                                  Love the coffee from my AeroPress and the fact that I do use the filters for 2 weeks before I replace it. Now that I know I can use them 20 times?
                                  Stopped using my French press.

                                3. re: Panini Guy
                                  h
                                  HLing Jan 1, 2008 08:20 PM

                                  Panini Guy, I wanted to use a finer ground and still not have it the first drop start so soon, the problem is solved by using a double filter. Works really well. No leaking. I also get the fuller flavor that comes with a finer ground. I don't think a metal filter would work as well for my purpose, selfish as it may seems.

                            2. fini Apr 17, 2007 09:56 AM

                              It's actually a great device. See if this doesn't help you:
                              http://www.sweetmarias.com/aeropress_...

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: fini
                                r
                                redchile Apr 17, 2007 10:09 AM

                                Thanks. I took a look at it, but I still can't figure out the press parts. I'm either missing a piece, or this clear plastic cylinder is actually two pieces that should be somehow separated. If they're to be separated, I'm concerned abot forcing something, and breaking it. I want to be able to return it unbroken if I never figure it out.

                                Maybe, I'll have to stick with my Senseo, even though I'm not crazy about the coffee quality. I bellieve the Aeropress was meant for people who are more mechanically minded. than me.

                                Aerobie should have a toll-free number for klutzes like me.

                                1. re: redchile
                                  fini Apr 17, 2007 10:26 AM

                                  Here's a video, hopefully this gets it going for you.
                                  http://tealco.net/Aeropress.wmv

                                  1. re: fini
                                    fini Apr 17, 2007 10:31 AM

                                    Here is another video, this one might be a little more telling.
                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pHqYV...

                                  2. re: redchile
                                    paulj Apr 17, 2007 10:29 AM

                                    It is basically a big plastic syringe, with an outer clear plastic case, and inner (hollow) plunger. The one I used was borrowed, so I don't know how it comes from the factory. But I suspect you have to pull the plunger out of the of case. Given that the plunger has a rubber gasket, the first pull might have to be forceful.

                                    Working from memory of using one several months ago, the basic steps are to:
                                    - remove the plunger
                                    - unscrew the black plastic base (unscrewing the base first might help in loosening the plunger)
                                    - put a filter pad in the base (I believe that has a grid or holes), and screw the base back onto the main body
                                    - put coffee in body (from the open top) (the funnel helps)
                                    - the plunger is hollow, and can be used to measure water
                                    - boil a measured amount of water
                                    - pour hot water (just the right temperature) in the body
                                    - wait a short time, then insert the plunger, and press down
                                    - there will be air between the plunger and the liquid, so that compresses some before the water is forced through the coffee and filter.

                                    paulj

                                    1. re: paulj
                                      r
                                      redchile Apr 17, 2007 11:32 AM

                                      Thanks, both of you for the help. My problem was in removing the plunger from the chamber. It did take a pretty forceful pull to remove the plunger. As I stated earlier, I'm not very mechanically minded, so I'm usually very cautious about not breaking things.

                                      Anyway, I was successful in removing the plunger, now I can get past step#1. Now, I have to go out and buy some whole bean coffee. I haven't bought any for a few years now. Any recommendations of good whole bean coffees to use with the Aeropress?

                                      I have a few more days of pods left for my Senseo. I'll be trying the Aeropress probably next week. I'll reun the video links when I do, they were quite good.

                                      1. re: redchile
                                        paulj Apr 17, 2007 01:04 PM

                                        Would a senseo pod fit in the base of the press?

                                        1. re: paulj
                                          r
                                          redchile Apr 17, 2007 01:14 PM

                                          It looks like a Senseo pod would fit, but don't you have to paddle the actual coffee around in the Aeropress before pressing?

                                          Also, I'm not crazy about the quality of the coffee resulting from the Senseo pods. The questionable quality, along with limited choices and availability of the pods has led me to buying the Aeropress. The Senseo medium roast pods are fair, the dark roast is okay, the flavored coffees are undrinkable, at least for me.

                                        2. re: redchile
                                          fini Apr 17, 2007 01:07 PM

                                          I'm really not a fan of grocery store coffee; if you have a local coffee house that roasts, that would be my first bet. If you don't mind mail ordering coffee, there are some excellent choices.

                                          Here are a couple links to some outstanding coffee.
                                          http://www.stumptowncoffee.com/
                                          http://intelligentsiacoffee.com/

                                          If you don't have one already, you might consider buying yourself a decent burr grinder so you can prepare your beans right before making the coffee. It makes a world of difference.

                                  3. r
                                    redchile Apr 17, 2007 09:45 AM

                                    I just bought one yesterday, and I just opened the box, and I'm completely confused by it. I can't tell one part from another. The instructions are way too vague for me, granted I'm not mechanically gifted. I will probably have to return it because I can't figure it out. Aerobie doesn't have a toll free number to call to talk me through it either.

                                    I'm really disappointed.

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