The Amazing AeroPress - what is that thing?


Is that really a coffee maker?

How's it work?

Yup, it makes a damned fine cup of coffee.

Yup, it makes a damned fine cup of coffee.

The AeroPress is a coffeemaker, of course! But it is strange looking and many people wonder how that crazy syringe-thing works.

Here’s the Sparkplug Coffee Scoop on the Amazing AeroPress.

Why use it?

  • The AeroPress makes a delicious cup of coffee. It is difficult to make a bad cup of coffee with it, so long as you have good beans.
  • While it is makes just one cup at a time, taking just 30 seconds per cup, it can churn out several cups in a couple minutes.
  • It is super easy to use and can be either
    • basic and reliable - use the same techniques every time OR
    • geeky and fun to experiment with - try different water temperatures, vary the brew time, or (my fave) do it upside down!
  • And (a feature I love) it is super fast and easy to clean up.
  • The AeroPress is very affordable and almost unbreakable. It’s great for travel or work as well as home use. Bonus!

How does it work?

The AeroPress takes the best of every type of coffee maker and combines them for magic results.

  • Like a French press, it fully immerses coffee grinds and hot water to release all the richness and flavour from the beans. Just for 30 seconds, not 3 - 4 minutes like a French press.
  • Similar to an espresso maker, hot water is forced under pressure through coffee grinds to extract the coffee.
  • The coffee is pushed through a paper filter so the coffee is clean with no sediment, like a drip or pourover coffeemaker.

When you buy an AeroPress, the kit comes with everything you need except the hot water, coffee and a mug. It includes a pack of 350 paper filters (a year’s supply for most cup-a-day drinkers).

Just add coffee and water. Everything you see here is included in the AeroPress box.

Just add coffee and water. Everything you see here is included in the AeroPress box.

This video (under 2 minutes) from a Californian public radio station does a great job of demonstrating the basics.  

Or here’s a longer (5 minute) and geekier video from Tested (starring Will Smith but not that Will Smith)

And here is a 2 minute video on the inverted / upside down method.

Sparkplug Coffee’s AeroPress Rules of Thumb

We follow the basic AeroPress instructions that come with the kit with a couple tweaks. The key things to think of are:

  • Use a sturdy mug and make sure the Aeropress fits over it easily. (Most coffee mugs are perfectly fine, just don’t pick one that is unusually narrow or fragile.)
  • Fresh roasted beans, of course!
  • We like to grind the coffee fine - a bit finer than for drip / pourover but not extra-fine like espresso. Definitely finer than for French press!
  • The scoop that comes with the AeroPress is just right. Use 1 scoop (2 Tbsp/ 30 ml or about 14 g if you’re weighing it) for one regular mug or two scoops for a big mug
  • Water temperature below boiling - boil it and wait about 45 seconds or a minute before pouring
  • Add water then stir - make sure the grinds are fully saturated
  • When you’re ready to press, make sure the mug is on a flat surface. Push gently and steadily - there’s no rush, take your time.  
  • If you’re doing the inverted AeroPress, be sure to hold it firmly where the two pieces are joined when you flip it and be sure the plunger part doesn’t pop out.

Who wouldn’t love an AeroPress?

There are a couple areas where the AeroPress is not ideal. It makes one cup at a time and no wishful thinking will fit more than about 225 ml / 8 oz of water in that cylinder. For large amounts of coffee, you may want to look at a large French press or good drip coffeemaker.

The AeroPress is made of plastic. BPA-free but plastic, nonetheless.

It looks odd and is not a beautiful, stylish piece of equipment you’d want to show off on your open shelves. That said, it is small and can be discreetly stowed away in a cupboard. And it can reinforce your coffee geek cred. Maybe you can even compete in the World AeroPress Championship  one day.

Want one?

You can get your own AeroPress at lots of indie coffee shops and some kitchen stores or you can buy it online from us. We sell replacement filters, too.

If you don’t like using paper filters, you can get metal filters for the AeroPress and we’ve seen cotton cloth filters, too.

Experiment with it to find what taste you like best - vary the type of coffee, the time, amount of water, even the water temperature. Most importantly, have fun!

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