The AeroPress coffee and espresso maker is the average coffee lover’s dream coffee making gadget.
Because it requires no electricity and is a breeze to use, it’s the perfect coffee making companion for your home or even to take on your travels when you want to be sure of having a great cup of coffee
The sturdy design ensures that the AeroPress won’t break any time soon.
I recently bought the AeroPress from Mantality.co.za. Once it arrived, I immediately opened the package to put this much talked about device through its paces.
The AeroPress is a wonderful little contraption. It makes an espresso the smell of which would wake Rip van Winkle, never mind the taste.
The only problem with the AeroPress is that it can’t produce a large quantity of coffee. If you use it at maximum capacity, it gives you enough coffee for one cup. It’s the selfie stick of coffee makers.
On the flip side, the AeroPress works quick enough to produce two cups of coffee (or more, depending on how fast you work) in under ten minutes.
Who is this review for?
I don’t claim to be a coffee expert. I’ve probably done 10,000 hours of coffee drinking, but that doesn’t make me a coffee master. To become a coffee making master, I’d need 10,000 hours of barista work, according to Malcolm Gladwell. (I’m not going to do that.)
With that in mind, this review is not for coffee making masters. This post is aimed at the standard coffee lover who’s looking for a good coffee making machine that’ll serve him well when out camping, and stands up to a few bumps and knocks better than other low-tech coffee makers.
- Requires no electricity.
- Sturdy build. All parts made from plastic. Great for hiking or camping.
- Easy to use, once you get the hang of it.
- It’s fast. It takes less than five minutes to make a great espresso.
The AeroPress coffee maker sells for R849 through Mantality.co.za (at time of writing).Buy Here
The AeroPress comes with a one year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship, if purchased from an authorised retailer.
I emailed Mantality to find out if they honour the one year warranty.
Here’s Clinton’s reply: “Yip the product does come with a 1 year warranty. Customer would need to send the unit back to us, or supplier for testing. Once fault is confirmed, supplier will issue replacement, or fix. We would only be able to honour warranties, for those purchased from us, as the supplier does need the original proof of purchase.”
- Microfilter means no grit in your cup (unlike a French press)
- Brews espresso style coffee or regular coffee
- Produces 1-3 cups per pressing in about 1 minute
- Phthalate free and BPA free
- Includes 350 AeroPress filters
- Can also be used with the reusable Able DISK filter
- Dishwasher safe (top shelf)
- Made in the USA
- 1-year warranty
Why use the AeroPress?
The AeroPress does not require electricity. To me, that’s the highlight of this coffee maker.
You could happily take the AeroPress on a camping excursion without having to worry about weighing yourself down with a coffee maker that’s fragile or bulky.
You could do that with a plunger style coffee maker (such as a Bodum product) too, but AeroPress’ components are all made from durable plastic, which means you don’t have to mollycoddle it when you’re out roughing it. The AeroPress is tough.
The AeroPress is easy to use. Yes, you need to read the instructions to understand how it works, but once you know how to use the AeroPress, it takes only a few minutes of prep before you’re able to put your lips to a cup of freshly brewed coffee.
It’s easy to clean. Once you’ve made a cuppa, simply unscrew the filter cap from the chamber, remove the used filter, discard of it and rinse the components. Super simple.
Other coffee making apparatuses
Other non-electrical coffee making machines include:
- French press.
- Moka pot (macchinetta).
- Turkish pot.
- Vacuum pot.
- Stove-top percolator.
I have no experience with the Turkish pot or vacuum pot, but the AeroPress easily beats the French press, moka pot and stove-top percolator in terms of time it takes to make a good coffee.
Also consider this: when you use a stove-top percolator or moka pot, you have to boil the coffee for a specific amount of time. If you don’t, you end up ruining a good pot of coffee.
With the AeroPress, you know your coffee is ready once you’ve completed the pressing action.
What’s Inside the Box
The AeroPress box contains the following:
- 1 x plunger
- 1 x chamber
- 1 x filter cap
- 1 x funnel
- 1 x filter holder
- 1 x scoop
- 1 x stir paddle
- ~330 x filters
- 1 x instruction pamphlet
Smallest packing size
Many of the components that come with the AeroPress are nice to have items, but not required for making a good cup of AeroPress Joe.
For the purpose of prepping your hiking or camping pack, leave off packing the stir paddle, the filter holder and the funnel. You could even forget the coffee scoop (provided you pack a spoon), although it’s a handy addition to the AeroPress.
If you’re planning on taking your AeroPress out into the wild, you don’t want to carry the filters in the designated filter holder that comes with the AeroPress. Rather store your AeroPress filters in a plastic bottle, such as can be seen in the picture below. This ensures that your filters are kept dry and don’t fall around your bag, or even out of your bag.
The bottle for storing the AeroPress filters has a length of 125 mm and a diameter of 69 mm. The rest of the package, which includes the chamber, the filter cap, the plunger and the coffee scoop, measures 175 mm in height and 106.5 mm in diameter. This is all you need if you want to take the AeroPress with you when you go camping. Leave the paddle stirrer, the funnel and the filter holder home, and pack your filters inside a plastic bottle
This does not take into account your coffee cup, which any sensible hiker packs, regardless of whether they own an AeroPress or not.
What you need to make coffee with an AeroPress
To make a cup of coffee with the AeroPress, you need the following:
- Hot water. For this you need a kettle.
- One AeroPress
- A cup or mug
- Milk (optional).
- Sugar (optional).
I hope my addition of milk and sugar to the list doesn’t offend the coffee purists out there, but I like a good cup of coffee with milk.
How to make coffee with the AeroPress
Making a good cup of coffee is a breeze with the AeroPress. It’s also lightning fast.
Follow these ten easy steps to make a cup of AeroPress coffee:
- Remove the plunger from the chamber.
- Place a filter inside the filter cap and twist the filter cap onto the chamber.
- Place a scoop of ground coffee inside the chamber.
- Give the chamber a shake to level the bed of ground coffee.
- Place the chamber on a cup or mug. Make sure it’s sturdy. Do not fill the chamber if it’s not standing on a cup. It leaks, albeit it slowly. (That’s the whole point of the AeroPress; it’s supposed to leak.)
- Add hot water to the chamber. You can use the funnel to ensure that you don’t make a mess. AeroPress recommends using water with a temperature of 80 degrees Celsius. Fill the chamber up to the number 2, clearly marked on the side of the chamber.
- Use the stir paddle or a spoon to stir the mixture for ten seconds.
- Insert the plunger and press down gently for 20 to 60 seconds.
- The coffee filters through into the cup and you’re ready to drink.
- Clean the AeroPress immediately after use.
The AeroPress, when filled to the number 2 mark on the side of the chamber, produces roughly 84 ml of coffee and I can assure you, what comes out of this little coffee maker is a stiff kick in the pants. It’s a lovely espresso by any standard.
At this stage some coffee purists might start throwing tomatoes at me and booing me off stage. “Real espresso requires 9 bars of pressure,” they’ll yell. If that’s your only standard of measuring an espresso, by all means, don’t buy the AeroPress. If, however, you’re happy with a low-tech machine that gives you a brew the taste of which “simulates” that of real espresso masterfully, get the AeroPress.
Can the AeroPress make cold coffee?
The AeroPress can be used for making proper cold brew coffee. However, It’s a long process that doesn’t rely on the use of an AeroPress.
Proper cold brew coffee requires you to soak your ground beans in water. For how long? You determine that, but it seems anything from 12 hours on qualifies as properly hipster.
I wanted to try the AeroPress with cold water (without having to wait 12 hours). I made a cup of coffee with the AeroPress in exactly the same way you would with hot water, but I substituted boiling water with cold, filtered tap water. It produced a fine cup of cold coffee.
If you’re out in the woods and you don’t have hot water but you crave some caffeine, use cold water with the AeroPress.
My better half insists that the only proper cup of cold coffee that’s worth putting to your lips, contains condensed milk. I declined to comment.
One thing that struck me was that, when I’d finished making the cup of coffee, she asked, “Is that all? Are you finished?”
The AeroPress is fast.
Upside down coffee
Some people reckon that using the AeroPress upside down allows them to better control the brewing time of their coffee. You’d need to experiment with the AeroPress to determine whether a longer brewing time gives you a better tasting coffee.
I’m content with using the AeroPress right side up. It’s a quick way to get a high quality caffeine boost.
Which type of coffee to use
According to Aerobie, the best type of coffee to use in the AeroPress is a fine drip or espresso grind.
Roughly translated, use a coffee of your choice.
If you don’t have a coffee grinder, buy ground coffee and experiment. I tried ready-ground coffee and had a friend grind me some coffee.
I suspect the only person who’d really know the difference between coffee made with bought ground coffee and home ground coffee, is the true coffee aficionado.
The makers of the AeroPress warn that you need a coffee grind that’s consistent. They claim that a good grinder gives a more consistent particle size, which is apparently better.
Cost of a cup of AeroPress coffee
Please note: these calculations exclude electricity and labour.
I counted 331 filters in the AeroPress box. Let’s round it down to 330.
If we work on the premise of making only one cup of coffee per filter (they’re reusable, though), that gives us 330 cups of coffee.
The AeroPress sells for R695. That means the AeroPress costs R2.10 per cup (if the AeroPress lasted only 330 cups; I expect it to last many years, considering the build quality).
For coffee we’ll choose the most expensive of the following brands: Truth, Black Insomnia and Bean There:
- Truth coffee beans (Single Origin blend) – R0.60 per gram.
- Black Insomnia beans – R0.62 per gram.
- Bean There beans (Ethiopia blend) – R0.34 per gram.
For one cup of coffee, you need a scoop of ground coffee. Let’s not get too technical here, because that’s very easy to do. A coffee that’s been ground finer, will have a higher density, and thus weigh more. But let’s keep it simple.
I used a scoop of coffee beans ground to my liking, which amounts to 15 g. So each cup of coffee requires 15 g of coffee, or one AeroPress scoop.
Let’s see what this translates to for each of the brands I’ve chosen:
- Truth – R9.00 per cup
- Black Insomnia – R9.30 per cup
- Bean There – R5.10 per cup
Cost of AeroPress coffee without milk and sugar
Price for a cup of AeroPress coffee (if you make only one cup per filter), sans milk and sugar:
- Truth – R11.10.
- Black Insomnia – R11.40.
- Bean There – R7.20.
Let’s add some milk and sugar…
I chose Clover and Huletts, two well known South African brands:
- Clover milk – R0.015 per ml (2 L plastic bottle, Pick n Pay, online)
- Huletts sugar – R0.015 per g (2.5 kg pack, Pick n Pay, online)
Milk is difficult to measure. Your, “a little bit of milk,” might differ greatly from my, “a little bit of milk.” But for the purpose of this post I poured some milk into a cup (the quantity I normally add to a cup of coffee) and it came to 65 ml.
Among my friends, two spoons of sugar seems to be the norm. I measured a heaped teaspoon of sugar, and it weighed 6 g. That’s a total of 12 g of sugar per cup.
Let’s do the math for one cup of coffee, based on the above prices.
- Milk – R0.975 per cup.
- Sugar – R0.18 per cup.
As you can see, milk and sugar don’t make a large difference in the price. For two tea spoons of sugar and a little bit of milk, it works out to R1.16 per cup.
Cost of AeroPress coffee with milk and sugar
Price for a cup of AeroPress coffee (if you make only one cup per filter), with milk and sugar:
- Truth – R12.26.
- Black Insomnia – R12.56.
- Bean There – R8.36.
How long does it take to make a cup of coffee?
It takes less than five minutes to make an espresso with the AeroPress.
In my test, it took me two minutes and nine seconds to make a cup of AeroPress espresso.
For the purpose of this test I didn’t count the boiling of water or adding sugar and milk. This is merely adding a filter, pouring the water, stirring the water, inserting the plunger and pressing the coffee.
I did this at a slow pace, as if I were out camping.
For what it’s worth, I boiled 500 ml of water, which took 1 minute 40 seconds to boil.
How many cups of coffee can the AeroPress make at one time?
The AeroPress makes only one full cup of coffee.
For this test I added two scoops of coffee to the AeroPress and filled it all the way to number 4.
This was one heck of a strong cup of coffee; basically a double espresso; not a good idea if all you’re looking for is a normal cup of medium strength coffee.
If you’d like a standard cup of coffee, not an espresso, make a single shot of AeroPress coffee and add hot water afterwards, as opposed to doubling the ingredients and trying to make two cups at once. Or use half a scoop of coffee and fill the AeroPress chamber to number 4.
How many times can one filter be used?
I’m far too lazy to try and save my AeroPress filters. However, if you’re willing to do so, by all means, reuse your filters.
Some AeroPress users reuse their filters dozens of times.
To reuse your filter, simply remove it from the filter cap after use, rinse and place back inside the filter cap to dry, ready for your next cup of AeroPress coffee.
Keep in mind that a used filter might alter the taste of your coffee.
Some coffee filter manufacturers sell metal filters specifically for the AeroPress.
However, keep in mind the health benefits associated with using paper filters.
Many coffees contain cafestol and kahweol, both of which increase bad cholesterol.
Aerobie ran independent tests using metal filters and paper filters.
A paper filter “removes virtually all of the cafestol and kahweol from the brew,” according to Aerobie, who verified their tests with an independent lab.
It’s clearly more healthy to use paper filters.
Also important to remember: if you use the AeroPress with any other filters except the ones made by Aerobie, you void your warranty.
Where to buy AeroPress filters
Mantality supplies filters for the AeroPress.
I doubt you’d be buying filters soon after purchasing the AeroPress. As mentioned elsewhere in this article, some AeroPress users successfully reuse their filters multiple times.
But should you wish to buy filters, Mantality can help.
If coffee upsets your stomach, the AeroPress might be perfect for you.
According to this beanbox.co post, a paper filter is “far superior” to a wire mesh filter. This is because a wire mesh filter allows more coffee bean solids, which is harder to digest, into your cup of coffee.
The AeroPress allows no solids through, or hardly any at all.
Notice the difference between the two cups of coffee in the picture below.
The first cup contains what’s left of coffee made with a French press; the second cup contains what’s left of coffee made with the AeroPress.
It’s clear that the AeroPress gives you a much “cleaner” cup of coffee.
How to clean the AeroPress
Clean the AeroPress in six easy steps:
- Take the AeroPress off of the coffee cup or mug. Work over a surface where you’re allowed to mess.
- Unscrew the filter cap from the chamber.
- The used coffee might be stuck to the inside of the chamber.
- Shake out the chamber in a dustbin or inside the sink.
- Remove the filter from the filter cap and discard (or rinse the filter if you want to use it again).
- Remove the plunger.
- Rinse the components under running water.
- Dry or stand to dry.
The AeroPress is much easier to clean than a French press. Coffee clogs up a French press; that does not happen with the AeroPress. With this amazing coffee maker you go from dirty to clean in ten seconds.
Is the AeroPress dishwasher friendly?
Do not clean the AeroPress in a dishwasher.
Aerobie claims that their AeroPress is dishwater safe. To test it, I ran the AeroPress through a dishwasher.
It cleaned the AeroPress but left a little surface residue. However, a few things need to be said. First off, the AeroPress wasn’t all that dirty. Secondly, I have yet to come across a dishwasher that cleans and dries plastic properly.
The cleaning is not what bothers me…
The dishwasher seemed to damage the printing on the side of the chamber. The logo print wore away, as well as parts of the numbers. This is by no means a huge issue, but it’s a pity.
Conclusion? The AeroPress is dishwasher safe, sort of. But rather rinse it by hand using warm water.
It’s not rocket science to clean a low-tech coffee machine such as the AeroPress, since ground coffee washes off easily. It’s much quicker than a dishwasher too.
Will it make coffee in adverse weather conditions?
If you can produce hot water, the AeroPress can produce a coffee in any conditions.
Actually, as stated elsewhere in this post, you don’t even need hot water. It makes a good cup of coffee with cold water.
The AeroPress is not dependent on good weather to produce a fine cup of coffee. It’s a weather independent product.
The AeroPress is a superb coffee maker. This phenomenal device allows you to put a lovely cup of espresso to your lips in less than five minutes.
It lacks in one area: it’s not really made to produce more than one cup of coffee with a single press. But if you’re a solo coffee lover, this is definitely a fantastic low-tech coffee maker you need to get.
You could get a moka pot, French press or stove-top percolator, but all of those coffee makers fall short when it comes to getting a coffee maker that’s good for camping or hiking. They’re either too large or too fragile.
I highly recommend the AeroPress coffee maker.
By Jansie BlomBuy Here