Before I bought the Aeropress a few years back, I spent a couple of months pondering if I should buy it. It was not until I got a job at a new company where a colleague had it and I got to test his out, I instantly decided I needed this device in my life. To this day, it definitely was one of my best purchases I have made.
When I bought the Aeropress I wanted to brew filtered specialty coffee. But strangely, the Aeropress was created to produce espresso-style coffee. Alan Adley who invented the Aeropress originally wanted it to be a manual espresso maker from which you can top up with water and make a drink like an Americano. Although the company still sticks by this selling point, it’s fair to say the Aeropress is known more of a filter brewer and a good one at that. So let me point out a few things you need to know before you buy an Aeropress.
Not an espresso maker
Let’s get one thing straight. The Aeropress does not or have the ability to make good espresso. There is a method provided to make espresso but it’s not the same as an espresso from a really good machine, like in the coffee shops. There have been better methods shared like using two filter papers between the ground coffee, but again, it does not produce that concentrated and delicious complexity of a true espresso.
In my early days of trying to make espresso from it, I can say I found the results not too pleasant. I used various methods and I could not find any evidence to suggest it is a good espresso maker. One of the things the inventor Alan Adler used the Aeropress for is to make an Americano and that is probably a more reasonable type of drink it can make. Which is not too strange if you read on.
It makes delicious filter coffee
The Aeropress unintentionally or not makes deliciously brewed filter coffee. When I mean filter, I mean straight black coffee (no milk or sugar). I never used to drink black coffee without some sort of sweetener. But the Aeropress really changed that because when used properly, it really does produce a clean, lighter body cup of coffee. It also allows those unique flavour notes from a good speciality coffee to come through.
Now there are lots of reasons why you should buy the Aeropress if you like enjoying filter coffee. For example, if you use a French Press/ Cafettierre or a Pour-Over like the V60 then the Aeropress press is a great alternative if you need a manual coffee device for travelling, office or for the making a quicker cup. Because of the different ways, it can be used with endless methods, I don’t you will get bored of it any time soon.
You can make ‘milk-based’ coffee drinks with it
Okay so now we go into a different territory because the Aeropress packaging states it can make milk-based drinks like latte or cappuccino. My answer to that is that it can but not really. Okay, sorry for confusing things. To be straight here, If you like lattes or cappuccinos from your favourite coffee shop that sells speciality coffee then the Aeropress won’t make that same quality. I feel like saying it does really undermines the hard work and quality barista put into making delicious beverages. However, with a good method and few tools it can make a good home-style replica.
During the lockdown in the UK, I had some free time to experiment with different ways you can use the Aeropress. Now what I found was using some delicious coffee I brewed a small concentrated amount with water from the Aeropress (resulting around 50 grams). I would then heat up some milk and texture it to a microfoam using a small electric whisk. Once combined, I actually got a pretty tasting cup of coffee. I would just vary the milk depending on if I wanted something resembling a latte or cappuccino. I must add that for something made without an expensive espresso machine it is not bad at all. As the Aeropress still produces a clean, smooth brewed coffee, it did produce flavourful coffee.
Again, I would not say this should now be your main choice of cappuccino maker as it’s not the same quality against good coffee shops. Also, it takes some time, practice and effort to get it right compared to using it as a conventional filter brewer. However, for me, it’s a nice little trick which I know and I will definitely be sharing the technique in a future post.
Who is the Aeropress for…?
I feel it is safe to say that the Aeropress is really for the coffee lovers who like filtered brews using speciality coffee. For example, I love going into coffee shops and buying a bag of coffee that I tasted and trying it with Aeropress.
Even stating that, I have known people using it with general supermarket coffee. The feedback I got was that they used it and liked it very much. However, they didn’t think it’s something they will use every day. The other two people said they did not understand the Aeropress at all and switched to a Tassimo instead! That’s why I wouldn’t recommend using the Aeropress with supermarket coffee.
Now I did say in this post you can make milk-based drink from it but I still can’t see the general public buying it for that reason as it is manual and a bit of an effort. Sure it can make that Americano style drink you desire. You can also add a dash of milk to have a smooth cup of coffee.
Is it for you?
So the final question to ask about the Aeropress is…is it for you? If you like specialty coffee, enjoy visiting independent coffee shops, black filtered coffee, or you use the French Press, a pour-over device, need something for traveling or the office then it’s definitely worth buying. This does not mean if you don’t like or do any of the above you can’t buy it. In fact, if you are getting into coffee then the Aeropress is not a bad place to start. Just remember, it won’t make bad quality coffee taste good. I must add, it is also excellent for traveling due to its compact size and durability. So if you enjoy a nice filtered coffee, then with the Aeropress you can enjoy it nearly everywhere!
Hopefully this articles will give you a good understanding around how the Aeropress works. If you are interest in the Aeropress then check the current prices on Amazon here.