Not breaking new ground with this one, I’m sure. The Aeropress has been around for a long time and has kind of a cult following – it has its own world’s championships and movie for heaven’s sake. There are many ways to make coffee with it and it can even make something near to espresso. There are several reviews and brew guides with the Aeropress as a subject, mostly by people who actually know what they’re doing, but I have nothing else to write about and have been using my Aeropress exclusively as of late so it seemed fitting.
Again, these are thoughts from a still fairly new home brewer with absolutely no other coffee brewing experience or training. Take these thoughts with a grain of salt as I myself do not claim to be an expert about this brewer.
Inverted or Normal (uninverted/upright)
The Aeropress, I believe, is an Immersion Brewer. The interesting thing about it is that you can steep the coffee in the hot water for a shorter time compared to other Immersion brewers (like the French Press) as it takes a page out of espresso makers to help extract coffee. It’s called the Aeropress because, well, you press down on it to fully extract coffee, get the all the liquid out of the chamber, and filter back the coffee grinds all in one motion.
Now, the Normal Method of brewing with the Aeropress was how the creator envisioned it to be used. However, brewing normal/upright allows some of the coffee to drip down while you’re still steeping even if you put the plunger on top to kind of create a vacuum. The inverted method, where you put the plunger and flip the entire thing over (thus the term inverted, fun) allows you to really steep the coffee in water and retaining everything in the chamber before you need to plunge.
I use both methods, depending on the beans I use. I find that lighter roasts or coffee that supposed to be bright works best (for me at least) when brewed inverted. However, I tend to use a lot of coffee beans grinded coarse. By a lot of coffee of course I mean how much my Timemore C2 can handle, about 20 to 25 grams depending on the size of the beans. Essentially, it’s making a coffee concentrate and adding water to it after (the polarizing bypass). This was borne from reading about winning recipes from the World’s in previous years. For coffee with more body, the normal method with little to no bypass after works fine although the grind must be finer to help lessen the drip of liquid before the plunge/press.
You mentioned espresso?
Before I got my Flair, I was making “Aeropresso” whenever I was looking for strong coffee. There are third party attachments that supposedly make you brew espresso with your Aeropress, and I have not tried any of those yet. I find the concentrate made without the attachments works fine already.
“Aeropresso” is making a coffee concentrate using finely ground coffee with little amounts of water. Brewing the coffee Inverted really works when you don’t have a special attachment. This allows you to extract the coffee with a longer steep time. I make sure to churn the slurry pretty thoroughly the paddle that comes with the Aeropress as the fine grind makes the coffee clump together after adding the water.
The taste is close to espresso, but it does not have the body from a proper espresso shot. The taste does not come in waves like an espresso shot, it’s more just a wall of coffee coming at you fast. “Aeropresso” is better when made into an Americano (“Aerocano”?) or added with milk (not necessarily a latte). In short, I suggest not drinking Aeropress “Aeropresso” on its own.
So, yeah, what exactly are your (unqualified) thoughts about the Aeropress?
The Aeropress is a fun brewer to make coffee with. It’s versatile and you can make it easily adapt to whatever coffee you are using or how you want your coffee to taste like. It’s not really easy to use, it can actually be dangerous if you’re not paying attention especially when brewing inverted, but it’s not as technical as say an espresso machine or an origami. You make pour-over to espresso like coffee with it, and you can also make coffee when you just need coffee.
The Aeropress is made of plastic, so you don’t have to fuss much about it. It’s portable especially if you get the Aeropress Go version. Although it’s a bit expensive, it can actually help you save money by not needing other coffee gear to make decent coffee. A gooseneck kettle is not really necessary with it, it has markings on the side that you can use to measure water so you can live without a scale, and you don’t need a fancy server as you can brew directly to the cup you’re going to use. Given its range, the Aeropress is a good option to consider if you’re looking at only having one brewer.
The coffee made with it tastes great. It’s more forgiving than pour-over and gives more complexity than other immersion brewers. The coffee yield can be limited, but it’s fairly easy to clean so you can keep using it to make several cups if need be – plus there’s the bypass method to help stretch the brewed coffee.
Overall, I like the Aeropress. It’s a welcome addition to my coffee gear. See, I told you I’m not breaking any new ground with this one.
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