AeroPress users guide and review

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Every now and again you chance across something which, without being over dramatic, really does change your life. Or at least the habits and routines of a lifetime. This is what happened to me when I first used my AeroPress.

Ok, I accept I’m going over the top. Of course, a coffee maker won’t change your life like winning the lottery or meeting the person of your dreams. But, believe me, an AeroPress will make a massive difference to how you make coffee.

Let me explain

Prior to plonking down my hard-earned cash to buy my AeroPress I used either an espresso maker, pod machine or very occasionally a drip machine or moka pot to make the coffee base for my lattes and other frothy coffees.

And it worked well. But I have to say once I tried the AeroPress it became my go-to coffee maker. Now, when I want to enjoy a frothy coffee, 90% of the time I reach for the AeroPress.

But nothing is ever perfect. And as good as it is there are some drawbacks to using an AeroPress to make your coffee.

But what are they?

AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker - Quickly Makes Delicious Coffee Without Bitterness - 1 to 3 Cups Per Pressing
  • Popular with coffee enthusiasts worldwide, the patented AeroPress is a new kind of coffee press...
  • Good-bye French Press! The rapid brewing AeroPress avoids the bitterness and high acidity...
  • Makes 1 to 3 cups of American coffee per pressing in about a minute, and unlike a French press,...

Let’s weigh up the good and the bad points of an AeroPress.

Pros and cons of the AeroPress

Pros
So easy to use.
Makes excellent coffee.
Use to make dozens of different coffees.
Very fast process.
Easy to clean.
Great value for money.

Cons
Low capacity.
Can be difficult to push the plunger.
Not genuine espresso.
Manual operation.
More of a faff than making a cup of instant.

Benefits of using AeroPress

So easy to use

When I first opened the box to reveal my new AeroPress I was slightly nonplussed. There were a lot of moving parts in there.

But, after a quick glance at the instructions, within five minutes I’d sussed out how to brew coffee using AeroPress. Now, it’s second nature and it really is very easy to use.

The AeroPress unpacked with all its component parts

Yes, the process is a little involved I guess but once you’ve made one or two coffees, you’ll be able to do it blindfolded – though you probably wouldn’t want to try that.

Putting my hyper-critical hat on – it isn’t as easy to use as a filter or drip coffee machine for example. There are a few more moving parts.

But honestly, you won’t have any issues with figuring out how to make a really good cup of coffee.

Makes excellent coffee

It really does. It’s amazing how this little device makes a good cup of coffee in no time at all. And, unlike a filter or drip coffee machine your brew won’t ‘stew’ and it’s nice and hot.

Having said all that – there is a caveat here. The coffee any coffee maker produces, including the AeroPress, very much depends on the quality of beans you use.

If you use poor quality beans the coffee you get will be horrible. Always use the best quality beans you can.

With an AeroPress it’s also best to use a finer grind. Otherwise, the device may ‘clog’ and for an espresso style drink you do need to use fine ground coffee. And, of course, just to be clear the coffee produced by AeroPress is delicious but it isn’t by any definition espresso. You can read more about that in our article: Can I make espresso with AeroPress?

Can be used to make dozens of different coffees

As I mentioned above – don’t just think of your AeroPress as a way to make espresso. It’s so much more than that.

All frothy coffees, whether cappuccino, latte or Cortado, use a shot or two of espresso as their base. Basically, the process is to brew your coffee, add it to your cup, heat the milk, create foam using a milk frother, then add the milk to the espresso base.

Each recipe is different but the basic process is the same. And your AeroPress is perfect for making the coffee base used in so many different recipes.

The espresso style coffee from an AeroPress tastes great on its own but as we’ve discussed it can be used as the base for numerous other types of coffee.

You can find more information on this on our milk frother recipes page.

Very fast process

‘Fast’ is relative. But making a brew with your AeroPress is a fast process. Yes, you have to assemble the device, and put in the filter and coffee, but…all this can be done while the kettle boils. Once that’s done it’s quick and easy to make your brew.

So, if you’re asking yourself, ‘How long does it take to make coffee with AeroPress’? The answer is as long as it takes your kettle to boil.

Easy to clean

To be honest this has never been a dealbreaker for me. But I do understand from many of our readers that ease of cleaning is important to them. And I do get it.

No-one wants to be stuck trying to clean the inside of a device with a bottle brush every time you make a coffee.

So, I’m sure everyone will be delighted to know that cleaning the AeroPress is easy and straightforward.

It’s also a bit of fun. When you’ve pressed the plunger and decanted the coffee you get to dispatch the plug of tamped down coffee from the plunger with the velocity of a bullet from a gun. It’s great fun.

All that remains is to rinse the end of the plunger, and that’s more or less it. Of course, you have to wash cups etc but you’d have to do that anyway no matter which device you use.

Great value for money

At less than £30 or $40 an AeroPress won’t break the bank. However, it does cost considerably more than a cafetiere (French Press) and is more expensive than many filter or drip coffee machines. It’s also more costly than a small moka pot.

On the face of it then maybe an AeroPress isn’t such great value for money?

I’d dispute that. What you’re getting for your money is a very well-made, robust and highly effective coffee maker. It’s certainly cheaper to buy than electric espresso makers and, for how well it works, I’d say under £30 or $40 is very good value for money.

Drawbacks of using AeroPress

Low capacity

If you like making your coffee in volume, like in a filter or drip machine, the AeroPress isn’t for you.

The makers say you can make up to three cups at a time which will be ample for most of us. However, I have to say that I think the device works best when you make one or two cups at a time.

This isn’t an issue for me as I only make a single cup whenever I use my AeroPress. But I appreciate the low capacity will be a big turn-off for some of you.

Can be difficult to push the plunger

This is a really strange one. But it’s essential that you know about this before you purchase an AeroPress.

There are lots of people on the internet asking why the plunger on their AeroPress is difficult to push. There can be a few reasons for this such as the plunger not being clean or even the grind of the coffee being used.

The Aeropress can be tricky to press down

But the main reason is the natural suction pressure that the plunger has. There is always pressure and the key is to take it slowly and push the plunger steadily downwards.

So, the thing is – even though people are asking why the plunger is so hard to push; that’s how it should be.

However, the big thing is that if you have weak wrists then you may struggle with an AeroPress. My wife has arthritis in her hands and can’t depress the plunger. Please bear this in mind before you purchase an AeroPress.

Not genuine espresso

The coffee produced by the AeroPress is best described as ‘espresso style’. It is very close to genuine espresso but isn’t quite the same. The reason for this is the required pressure than needs to be generated when the water passes through the coffee grounds can’t be achieved manually.

The espresso style coffee produced by AeroPress. Double shot from one ‘press’.

If you’re looking for genuine espresso with its trademark crema you need an electrical coffee maker. But the coffee produced by AeroPress is close enough for most of us.

Manual operation

If you’re the sort of person who likes to plug in an electrical device, press a button and sit back while your coffee is made for you – an AeroPress isn’t for you.

Making coffee with an AeroPress is manual labour all the way. There’s nothing to plug in and you have to do everything yourself. All of which is a pain in the backside if you’re in a hurry and late for work or a train.

More of a faff than making a cup of instant

There are times when you just want a coffee and you really don’t have the time to hang about. That’s why all of us will reach for the jar of instant now and again. Probably every day for most of us.

We drink instant coffee because it is so quick and easy. A spoonful of granules, a dash of milk, add hot water and you have a cup of coffee. No, it won’t be as fulfilling and as tasty as a drink made with real beans and heated foam milk. But it is coffee. And it’s very quick and easy. There’s no faff.

With AeroPress – although it is fast. There is definitely a lot of faff. Much more so than making a cup of instant.

This is of course the same with any coffee maker. But – if you’re looking for something as simple and as quick as lobbing some granules into a mug the AeroPress isn’t for you.

Ok – we’ve looked at the pros and cons and talked a lot about the device. But let’s get into the nit and gritty with our…

AeroPress review

How to use AeroPress

We’ve said how straightforward a process it is to make coffee with an AeroPress. But how exactly do you do it? Here’s how…

Step-by-step guide to making coffee with AeroPress

OK, assuming you’ve got all your AeroPress bits and pieces out of the box, the kettle has boiled and you’ve got ground coffee to hand; this is how you make your espresso style coffee:

1 Remove the plunger from the chamber – just give it a push.

2 Put a paper filter into the filter cap.

3 Fit the filter cap onto the chamber by giving it a twist.

4 Pop the chamber onto your mug.

5 Add one scoop of coffee (use the provided scoop and only use finely ground coffee).

6 Give the chamber a little shake just make sure the coffee grounds are level.

7 Add your hot water – stop at the level marked ‘1’.

8 Use the paddle provided with your AeroPress to stir the mixture for around 10 seconds.

9 Insert the plunger into the chamber and press down slowly until the plunger is temping down the grounds.

10 Remove the plunger from your cup and push the plunger to eject the used coffee (eject straight into a bin). Rinse the seal when you’ve done this.

You can see the full process in our Illustrated Guide to Using AeroPress.

And that’s it. You’re left with a very nice cup of espresso style coffee. Easy peasey.

Now, just add your heated and foamed milk to enjoy a wonderful frothy coffee.

Pretty easy right?

Yes, there are a lot of steps to the process but as you can see it isn’t difficult to use an AeroPress.

What else can I use my AeroPress for?

As I mentioned earlier you can use the espresso style coffee produced by your AeroPress as a base for any number of frothy drinks including latte and cappuccino.

For a longer drink like an Americano simply increase the number of ‘shots’. For an Americano you want to be on number 3 or 4 (depending on how strong you want it) – then top up with hot water.

You can even use your AeroPress to make cold brew coffee. We explain how to do that in this article.

Should I buy an AeroPress?

If you’re looking for a way to make espresso style coffee in one or two cup batches, with the minimum of fuss and don’t want the hassle of expensive barista style coffee machines than you should definitely buy an AeroPress.

I’ve reviewed lots of coffee makers on this website and I have several in my own kitchen. But since buying the AeroPress I haven’t looked back and its now my go-to coffee maker.

The only time I don’t recommend the AeroPress is if you’re making multiple drinks at the same time. A barista machine or filter machine is better equipped for this task.

But, for if you’re brewing your coffee one cup at a time, I heartily recommend the AeroPress.

AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker - Quickly Makes Delicious Coffee Without Bitterness - 1 to 3 Cups Per Pressing
  • Popular with coffee enthusiasts worldwide, the patented AeroPress is a new kind of coffee press...
  • Good-bye French Press! The rapid brewing AeroPress avoids the bitterness and high acidity...
  • Makes 1 to 3 cups of American coffee per pressing in about a minute, and unlike a French press,...

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