aeropress-hero-260The Aerobie AeroPress looks like a penis pump, but the only hard-on you’re going to get is when you taste the quality of coffee this thing pumps out. It brews a great, strong cup of coffee—much quicker than a French Press or a Bialetti. There are no grinds in your cup. And there’s virtually no messy clean-up.

I’ve tried it all. French Press. Bialetti. Turkish. Pour over. A delicious cup of coffee in the morning is one of the great pleasures in life. When the zombie apocalypse comes, you can be sure that good coffee will be the thing I miss most.

Espresso is the highest expression of a coffee bean, if you ask me, and when it’s done right, nothing’s better. Second best, though (and a distant second at that), is the AeroPress.

The AeroPress pumps only one cup at a time. But the genius of it is that once you have boiling water, you can just pump out cup after cup like a Starbucks barista. When I’m camping, I will boil a liter of water in my JetBoil (~ 4 minutes). Then I’ll make four or so cups at once, and keep them hot in a thermos.

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AeroPress and accessories. JetBoil (plus lighter, because the everyone knows that built-in auto-starter only lasts, like, 2 weeks on these stoves). Bonfire Coffee, fresh roasted by Jeff Hollenbaugh, unsung badass of alpine climbing.

I’ve read some people who claim the AeroPress is an espresso maker. This is NOT true! If you know what real espresso is, you’d never say the AeroPress makes espresso. Let’s just call it “strong coffee,” and leave it at that.

OK, let’s have a closer look at the best process I’ve discovered for brewing up a cup of AeroPress joe:

Get your grind right

The grind, of course, is one of the most important parts of the coffee-making process. I’ve experimented with various grinds in the Aeropress. In general, I’d say you want your grind to be a few hairs coarser than a true espresso-grade grind. The “drip grind” is way too coarse, but an espresso grind is too fine and will make it too difficult to plunge the coffee. Still, I recommend erring on the side of too fine than too coarse. Somewhere between drip and espresso grind is where you want to be.

Boil water

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I love my Jet Boil Sumo Canister Stove. Easy to set up. Reliable. Boils water quickly in any condition. First, I boil the water to a roiling boil. Then let it sit for a minute. You don’t want to pour boiling water directly onto your coffee grinds as it scorches the beans and imparts a burnt taste in your coffee. AeroPress recommends a temperature of 200 degrees F. I’ve never actually measured my water’s temperature. I just let my boiling water sit for one minute.

Assemble the AeroPress

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Like so.

Insert the filter

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Insert a filter into the AeroPress’s cap.

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Wet the filter with your hot water. This helps keep the filter in place, and it supposedly removes some of the paper taste imparted by the filter. You can perform this operation over your coffee cup: the hot water will trickle into your cup, and heat it up, which is nice if it’s a cold morning.

Add the coffee

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My AeroPress came with a few accessories, including a funnel for adding grinds, a measuring spoon, and a stirrer. All of which I find very useful, particularly for adding the ground coffee.

Using the funnel, I add one spoonful of coffee—which basically fills the AeroPress up to the first number.

Add water

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Fill the AeroPress up a little more than halfway with your 200-degree water.

Stir

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Stir for 10 seconds.

Add more water

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Fill up the water the rest of the way. Let sit for 1 minute.

Screw on the cap

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Flip and Plunge

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Flip the AeroPress over onto your cup and start plunging in one smooth motion! You want to exert about 30 pounds of pressure, which is roughly what a 5.9 arm bar in an offwidith feels like. If you find yourself doing 5.13 arm-barring, your grind is too fine. If you’re doing 5.6 arm-barring, your grind is too coarse.

Now for the best part …

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Clean-up is as easy as unscrewing the cap, and plunging the puck out (please Leave No Trace, if you’re camping). Easy, peasy. No mess. And now you’re ready to enjoy strong, delicious coffee.

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  • Will Butler

    Reactor Stove => to a Frieling French Press. I think you’d be “hard pressed” to improve on that model.

  • Bobby

    The best part about the funnel (which took me a few awkward presses to realize) is that it serves as an adapter for skinny travel mugs, so the Aeropress will be stable even on a mug or thermos into which the bottom of the press cannot fit.

  • It’s so strange you’re filling it up with water and stirring it upside down. I mean it works the same way, but did you read the directions? Weird, but carry on….

    • This is the best method!

      • Forgive me as I just got mine this week, and have been “practicing” daily to perfect my craft. Seems the easiest way is to put the filter in the cap, screw it on, dump a scoop of coffee grounds in the tube and swirl it around. Then put the half of the tube devise on your mug, then pour in the water to your desired line, then stir the hot water in the tube (I use the back end part of the provided measuring spoon instead of that spatula thing) then after 10 seconds of that, put the top tube in and push down. But how or why is it better upside down? thanks!

      • Just tried it this way. The actual coffee is only marginally better IMO from the regular method (relatively speaking; Aeropress coffee’s great either way). But the cleanup is easier than the regular method, for sure.

        • I have been using the AP consistently in both regular and inverted methods, depending the recipe (yes, there are many, with 2 different apps to provide support). The main advantage of inverted is you don’t have the pre-steep leak into the cup, which occurs to some degree when you add water using the regular method with the filter down. With regards to the Frieling or other FP method – you will typically get some grind in the coffee and the clean up can be troublesome in general. Lastly there is nothing short of using a single-cup plastic melita/filter that compares with the portability of an AP – I am working in Africa currently and it adds negligible weight to my 23 kg limit. My travel grinder is always the hand-crank Prolex which pairs nicely with the AP. Best of all, you can pick up a metal Able Brewing filter and never have to carry paper again… some think it provides a more robust flavor profile. I travel with the Able “fine” filter, then no worries about searching for paper when in the bush…

  • Can’t agree more with this review. It certainly doesn’t make espresso. It does, however, make superb strong rich coffee. It also gives very consistent results and (almost) cleans itself.

    All I can say is that the very first cup I made was coffee exactly the way I like it, but made much quicker than the double filter method I formerly used. My filter cones have been gathering dust ever since.

    Getting a metal mesh filter is a very good investment for the Aeropress, by the way.

    The downside? Limited capacity, and that’s about all. Oh, and you may soon find yourself spending more to get better quality beans.