The Aerobie Aeropress

No brewing method, at least as far as I know, has captivated the coffee industry in such a way as the Aerobie Aeropress. There’s even a World Aeropress Championship that functions separately from the World Barista Championship and Brewers Cup!

Invented in 2005, by Alan Adler, the Aeropress was designed to create the strongest, smoothest, most flavorful cup of coffee in the shortest amount of time.

The device is like a hybrid of the French press and a drip brewer; the grounds are put in the chamber, water is poured over the grounds, and the coffee is allowed some time to steep. Then, a plunger is inserted into the chamber, thus creating a vacuum, and pushed down. The air that is trapped in the vacuum forces the water through the grounds.

However, and I can’t stress this enough: the Aerobie Aeropress is not a French press. There are a few very big differences between the two devices. First, the Aeropress uses a disposable paper filter which removes most of the coffee solids (a French press uses a coarser wire or nylon mesh filter); secondly, air pressure is used to extract more coffee flavor rather than a metal plunger; thirdly, the Aeropress requires a much shorter brewing time; and, lastly, the Aeropress produces a much cleaner cup of coffee.

The other thing about the Aeropress that must be said is that it does not make espresso, as the company advertises; rather, it makes a highly concentrated coffee. Espresso is highly concentrated, oily, and has a layer of thick foam called crema on top of the liquid; both of which is a by-product of high pressure brewing used by an espresso machine to produce the beverage. Aeropress coffee – even if you use a lot of coffee grounds and very little water to steep them with – still does not become espresso; it is just strong coffee.

To be sure, you probably couldn’t make a quality cup of espresso at home for less than $600.00; but that’s neither here nor there.

how it works

the pros

  • makes a very strong cup of coffee
  • makes a smooth, clean, sediment-free cup of coffee
  • air pressure (rather than water pressure) extracts more flavor from the coffee
  • capable of making cold-brew coffee in addition to hot coffee
  • small and compact, making it easy for transportation
  • manual, making it perfect for making coffee in the car, on camping trips, at work, and anywhere else
  • only needs three of its parts to be fully functional, so there’s very little cleanup
  • dishwasher-safe
  • at $25, the Aeropress is very inexpensive
  • “hackable” – if you don’t like the technique spelled out in the instruction manual, it’s easy to improvise!

the cons

  • only makes one or two cups at a time
  • uses a bit more ground coffee per cup than other methods (depending on the technique you employ)
  • this device does not make espresso as the company advertises; rather, it makes concentrated coffee
  • pushing the plunger may require a bit of muscle depending on the grind of the coffee
  • requires special filters

further reading

The Aerobie Aeropress is a device that has been “hacked” over and over again. People have found all sorts of ways to make really great coffee even while veering away from Aerobie’s original method.

For more Aeropress methods and techniques, be sure to check out my post, “Aeropress Mania! Recipes and Methods from Aeropress Experts“!