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Learning to Love the Aeropress

It’s open to endless experimentation, good and bad.

AeropressWhen the Aeropress first appeared, I was skeptical. It was a big, plastic syringe that looked like it belonged in a sex shop more than a fine kitchen. And the hyperbole on the packaging rankled serious coffee nerds like me – particularly calling the resulting brew “espresso,” which is a very different beverage. Coffee pros were quick to dismiss it.

But the Aeropress won hearts and minds among coffee consumers. For a lot of people, it was a big upgrade from their older brewing tools for very little money. Aeropress users were evangelical in their praise. Almost any article about coffee on the web was loaded with plugs for the Aeropress in the comments.

Gradually the coffee pros started coming around, improving upon the included instructions, working it into coffeebar setups, and starting a World Aeropress Championship. Even I had to concede that the Aeropress was worthy. In fact, it’s now the brewing method I use most frequently at home.

Why I Love the Aeropress

  • It’s quick and easy.
    You can have a great cup in just a couple minutes. Nearly as fast as those awful capsule coffee machines, but using great fresh beans. And the Aeropress can be a bit more forgiving than many other methods when missing the mark on dose or grind size.

  • It’s not messy.
    With only three main parts, the Aeropress cleans up in seconds. Just pop the grounds out with one shove of the plunger. Cleaning a typical french press feels like a chore by comparison.

  • It’s nearly indestructible.
    I've never broken one, which is more than I can say for just about every other coffee gadget I've touched. This must be why it makes such an excellent traveling companion.

  • It’s open to endless experimentation.
    Tweaking your coffee-to-water ratio, adjusting the dwell time, and playing with your grind can get you closer to that perfect cup with just a bit of care and experimentation.

Why I Hate the Aeropress

Okay, maybe “hate” is too strong, but there are a few things that still bug me.

  • It’s plastic.
    The Aeropress is BPA free, so the plastic it uses isn’t considered a hazard, but many folks still prefer to avoid all plastics when hot water is involved.

  • It’s sort of ugly.
    It looks like a strange medical device, no doubt. Compared to more elegant coffee making methods, the Aeropress just looks goofy.

  • It’s open to endless experimentation.
    The trial-and-error to dial in a perfect brew is fun for many of us, but when you can tweak as many variables the Aeropress allows, it is easy to lose your way. There are enough different techniques online to fill a calendar year of daily brewing.

Any coffee brewing gizmo is just another way of combining hot water with coffee grounds and filtering out the resulting nectar – the real magic is always in the beans. I recommend adding an Aeropress to your arsenal if you want to brew single cups of coffee with ease, are looking for something portable and light, or just have an inclination to experiment with your morning routine.

In Devin’s Just Add Water video, he uses the simple “inverted” technique where the tip of the plunger goes on first and the cap and filter get attached last. This prevents coffee from starting to drip out right from the beginning and allows you to use a wider range of grind sizes. Most coffee pros have embraced some version of this method.

I suggest starting out with a standard coffee/water ratio in the neighborhood of 14 grams (2 Tbsp or one Aeropress scoop) to 220ml (just under 8 ounces), making small adjustments to suit your taste. I like a grind that is just a bit finer that a typical drip grind and shooting for close to 2 minutes total brew time. If you’re feeling experimental, try a finer grind with a shorter brew time or a coarser grind with a longer brew time.

Wanna Give It a Try?

Tonx members can buy an Aeropress directly from us. Not a member? You can grab one on Amazon. (But you should totally become a member if you’re not already. It’s awesome.)


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By Tony Konecny

Tonx Cofounder & Bean Fiend

Published Sep. 16, 2013

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