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March 7, 2014 8:15 AM   Subscribe

The Invention Of The AeroPress
There’s really nothing bad to say about the device other than the fact that it’s a funny-looking plastic thingy. Then again, its inventor, Stanford professor Alan Adler, is a world renowned inventor of funny-looking plastic thingies; while Adler’s Palo Alto based company Aerobie is best known today for its coffee makers, the firm rose to prominence in the 1980s for its world-record-setting flying discs. This is the story of how Adler and Aerobie dispelled the notion of industry-specific limitations and found immense success in two disparate industries: toys and coffee.
posted by the man of twists and turns (95 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm sure this coffee is great but there's no way it's more famous than the freaking Aerobie.
posted by escabeche at 8:19 AM on March 7 [8 favorites]


the freaking Aerobie

Never heard of it.
posted by zamboni at 8:21 AM on March 7 [7 favorites]


I should get commission the amount of people who've bought an aeropress after a conversation that started "what the hell is that?" while I've been making coffee at work.
posted by jiroczech at 8:24 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]


wait . . . according to that picture, you're supposed to put the plug in, flip the whole press, then steep the coffee that way?

That makes so much sense.

My mind is fucking blown - am I the only one who's been doing it wrong?
posted by Think_Long at 8:28 AM on March 7


I should get commission the amount of people who've bought an aeropress after a conversation that started "what the hell is that?" while I've been making coffee at work.

Oh, yeah. It's inevitable someone is going to ask if for no other reason than you look like you're performing some sort of chemistry experiment in the break room. I've noticed business people tend not to get it but engineering types do.
posted by tommasz at 8:28 AM on March 7


I love my aeropress. But, no, you don't steep it upside down like they are doing in that picture, because you're supposed to stir it and also, that would cause the filter to shift. And let me tell you, if the filter is not accurately positioned, what a mess.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:31 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]


Anyone remember the "Wham-O Pluto Platter Flying Saucer, the Toy of the Geophysical Year" -- that would be 1957-1958; probably the first commercial version. I have a blue one and a gray one set aside. Looking them up .... holycrap, I'm rich! I'm rich! well, slightly ...
posted by hank at 8:32 AM on March 7


am I the only one who's been doing it wrong?

Well, I've been doing it the other way round, but I can see so many potential catastrophes that way (even if it is the official way) that I don't see myself changing soon.

I've bought several of these, apart from my own, as gifts for friends. It really is as good as people say.
posted by Grangousier at 8:32 AM on March 7


I love these things, I'm on my fifth or sixth AeroPress by now. They're great for travelling. I've even been known to pack a mug, spoon, recently-ground coffee tightly sealed in one Zip-Loc bag inside another, some paper towels, and a little electric kettle when I know I'm going to be in a benighted hotel room with none of those things. On a recent Europe trip I had better coffee in my room, for free, than the €6 coffee the hotel was pushing. Oh, and to be nice I also bring some flimsy poly bags to pop out the hockey-puck grounds into before tossing them, so not to leave a mess.
posted by mono blanco at 8:34 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


wait . . . according to that picture, you're supposed to put the plug in, flip the whole press, then steep the coffee that way?

That's the inverted method, popular with coffee nerds.
posted by zamboni at 8:34 AM on March 7 [10 favorites]


wait . . . according to that picture, you're supposed to put the plug in, flip the whole press, then steep the coffee that way?

The video in the article (lower down on the page) shows it the other way, which is also the way I've seen people using it.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:36 AM on March 7


I use mine upside-down. Mainly because it makes the whole process easier and cleaner. I wouldn't think it'd make a huge flavor difference though.
posted by elwoodwiles at 8:36 AM on March 7


> if the filter is not accurately positioned, what a mess.

You don't wet it first? It stays where you put it once it's wet.

Although now I'm using a perforated metal disk filter but... still. It's not really a problem.
posted by ardgedee at 8:37 AM on March 7


Also yeah. Inverted method ftw. I used my Aeropress according to the directions approximately twice, didn't get what the enthusiasm was about. Tried the inverted method once, and was enlightened.
posted by ardgedee at 8:39 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


I think I gotta buy an AeroPress after all this hype!
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:42 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


I think the inversion method is most reliable if you use one of the aftermarket permanent filters, which sit tighter. But the filter sticks very well.

I'm not all that into coffee and generally only drink it when I'm out, but my husband drinks it every day and I am the one who does most of the work in the kitchen. I am easily irritated by coffee-making mess and the AeroPress makes none. No drips, no grounds all over the counter and sink and the press needing washed. Even the little puck of used coffee just disappears in the trash instead of being shaken all over.

And, on those rare occasions when I really need a cup of coffee, it's super easy to use.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:43 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


wait . . . according to that picture, you're supposed to put the plug in, flip the whole press, then steep the coffee that way?

You can do it either way. Some addicts claim the upside-down approach helps extract the maximum flavor because the coffee grounds are suspended in the water like a shaken-up snowglobe so when you press the coffee out it doesn't pass through a dense puck of grounds en route to your cup. I tried it for a while but too fussy, so I went back to the traditional approach. There's a whole subculture out there. But I prefer not to overthink my beans.
posted by mono blanco at 8:44 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


I've thought about trying an AeroPress. How hard is it to get a decent crema with one of these? And will it fit on a smaller espresso-sized cup? They look to be sized for a more standard coffee mug. My daily coffee consumption is usually just a double-shot espresso in the morning.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:44 AM on March 7


Ignore the box- it's not espresso, just strong, good french press.
posted by zamboni at 8:47 AM on March 7 [6 favorites]


I never get a very good crema. Just a bit. Maybe because I don't use the inversion method. The kit comes with a large-bore funnel you can use for smaller cups/glasses.
posted by mono blanco at 8:49 AM on March 7


I've been using one of these things daily for years. I use the inverted method but I am actually not sure why I decided to do it that way. At this point, though, I can do it blindfolded on a sleep deficit, much like someone field stripping an AK-47 in the middle of the night in a distant mountain pass. So there's not much sense in changing.
posted by selfnoise at 8:49 AM on March 7 [5 favorites]


“The first time I threw the Aerobie, I was in a state of euphoria,” Adler recalls.

I think I know that feeling. You get that feeling once in a lifetime, if you're lucky. Sounds like he's probably felt it twice, at least.
posted by blue t-shirt at 8:49 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]


As an amateur astronomer in the early 2000s, he ended up inventing a new type of paraboloid mirror and writing a computer program, Sec, that assisted the way astronomers select secondary mirrors. He developed an interest in sailing and proceeded to design a sailboat that won the Transpac race (from San Francisco to Hawaii). Recently, he took up playing the Shakuhachi, a Japanese end-blown flute, and has already constructed several dozen designs.

Screw that Dos Equis guy. This guy is the most interesting man in the world.
posted by TedW at 8:49 AM on March 7 [24 favorites]


This guy is the most interesting man in the world.

And he drinks ... coffee.

I guess that makes sense when you think about it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:51 AM on March 7 [7 favorites]


i gotta see if i can ungift that aeropress I gave to my brother
posted by rebent at 8:53 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


Ignore the box- it's not espresso, just strong, good french press.

Though unlike french press it goes through a paper filter (or super fine grain metal one) and therefore minimizes the amount of grinds or particles likely to come through, more like a Chemex brew.

It's really fantastic - I have a Chemex, French Press, drip machine, and Aeropress - they all complement different types of roasts in different ways, but I've found the Aeropress consistently makes the tastiest cup.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 8:53 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


The kit comes with a large-bore funnel you can use for smaller cups/glasses.

The funnel's for putting the coffee grounds in the cylinder, not for filling glasses.
posted by zamboni at 8:54 AM on March 7 [6 favorites]


Also, unlike a lot of coffee accoutrements they're ridiculously cheap: usually about 25 bucks.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 8:55 AM on March 7


You won't get any crema out of an Aeropress with a paper filter because the filter traps the oil. A little crema is possible with a metal filter, depending on your coffee and how much air is in the cylinder.

But basically it's easier to understand that's not what the Aeropress is for. It can make good-tasting strong coffee but it's not an espresso machine.
posted by ardgedee at 8:55 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


Extra bonus unlike: Unlike the Aerobie, it will never get stuck on your or your neighbor's roof.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 8:56 AM on March 7 [10 favorites]


The inverted method works fine for me, and I am not someone who is capable of doing much before that first, sweet hit of caffeine, so I reckon it's not that difficult. Paper filter, too.
posted by rtha at 8:59 AM on March 7


We actually acquired a second Aerobie because one appeared on our patio one day - presumably one of our neighbors found one in their tree or on their roof and assumed it was ours because they'd see us tossing ours around in the street all the time so they helpfully gave it back.
posted by skycrashesdown at 9:00 AM on March 7


I should get commission the amount of people who've bought an aeropress after a conversation that started "what the hell is that?" while I've been making coffee at work.

I felt the same way about Vibram FiveFingers for a while.


As far as coffee goes, I prefer cold brew, where it makes sense to go big. I'm a fan of the Bodum Bean.
posted by Foosnark at 9:05 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


Extra bonus unlike: Unlike the Aerobie, it will never get stuck on your or your neighbor's roof.

Well, sure, if you don't use the super-secret double-reverse-inverse method. Noob.

Oops, I've said too much.
posted by yoink at 9:06 AM on March 7 [8 favorites]


The funnel's for putting the coffee grounds in the cylinder, not for filling glasses.
Oops, you're right zamboni. Alan Alder himself says, " I definitely advise against brewing through a funnel into a small cup. It's not stable." in this forum.
posted by mono blanco at 9:09 AM on March 7


I had a moment of cognitive disconnect while I tried to imagine how a coffee maker ended up getting tossed into a tree...
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:10 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]


The aeropress makes the best coffee ever. I've found just one disadvantage: since buying it, I've learned what good coffee really tastes like. The swill they make at work is no longer good enough for me. Nor is the stuff they sell in the supermarket -- not even the whole beans. I've started buying my drugs coffee on-line, and only from places such as BeanFruit Coffee that can guarantee they will get it to me within a few days of roasting.
posted by Pararrayos at 9:14 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


It was this Mefi thread of eight years ago that led me to it.

(I missed the edit countdown so typo correction for my above--should be "Adler").

OK, enough from me. I can see the bottom of my cup so all done.
posted by mono blanco at 9:17 AM on March 7


the freaking Aerobie

Never heard of it.


You know, for kids!
posted by ceribus peribus at 9:18 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]


The Aeropress is okay I guess, if you need a may to flaunt your coffee bona fides with a twenty dollar plastic thing. But the Aerobie? The best thing ever. And I'm not being facetious. If you have a kid. Or ever go to the beach. Or like throwing things. Or like catching things. YOU NEED AN AEROBIE.

So fun. So satisfying to throw. And the best part is it is about as difficult to do as it looks. You know how you watch snowboarding or something like that and the competitors make it look effortless and easy? The Aerobie is actually as effortless and fun as it looks.
posted by Keith Talent at 9:24 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]


Inversion method and metal filter for me, also - takes away the paper taste, and involves less waste. Although you will inevitably have the moment when you eject the puck of spent grounds into the composting bin, realise that the metal filter was stuck to the bottom of the puck and have to decide whether to fish it out, wash it and carry on using it.

A body can learn a lot about how far they'll go for a cup of coffee, sometimes.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:35 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


Though unlike french press it goes through a paper filter (or super fine grain metal one) and therefore minimizes the amount of grinds or particles likely to come through, more like a Chemex brew.

If you use a burr grinder with your french press, no particles will get through the filter. I've never tried an Aeropress, but it would be hard to beat the taste of coffee from a french press. Not really sure how cleanup could be any easier, either. You just dump the used grounds into the trash and rinse the press off.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 9:39 AM on March 7


+1 on the aeropress... once you get your method down it's hands down the easiest and cleanest way to get a damn fine cup of coffee in the morning. And the fact that it's so portable for travelling is a major bonus.

Top tips to try:

- Don't use boiling water (it's meant to be about 80-85c - no idea how to measure this!) I just don't start till the kettle has boiled so it cools a bit.
- Let it sit for about 30 secs with the plunger in and sealed before you plunge.
- Don't squeeze the last bit into your cup! When you hear air passing through, stop. The last squeeze is the really bitter oils. It'll turn back over without leaking and then just squeeze it out into the sink or straight into the bin before you unscrew the end and bin the filter and coffee.
- Just between 3 and 4 on the marks is about right for a good mug.
- Some people recommend pouring some water through the filter first to rinse the paper of paper bleach. I do this properly set up over the mug with just a bit of the freshly boiled water so it warms the mug and aeropress and also cleans any residue on the plastic filter as well (see below about washing). If you do this don't forget to bin the water that goes through from the mug before you make your brew!
- After I've plunged the disc of coffee into the bin I just give the end a good rinse off under the tap and it's good to go again! I only actually properly wash it once a week but the plunger has such a good seal the inside is clean after you've pushed it through so it's only the exposed bits that need a wash.

In Aerobie news a friend once acquired one because it flew through the open window of his taxi as they drove past a park....
posted by Mr Ed at 9:39 AM on March 7 [9 favorites]


Inversion method and metal filter here too.
posted by gen at 9:40 AM on March 7


For the life of me, I have never gotten a really great cup of coffee out of mine, even with experimenting with every type of grind possible. I will have to try the inverted method (albeit inside the kitchen sink the first time).
posted by Danf at 9:43 AM on March 7


Here is a great little video on how to use an Aeropress.

My favorite coffee lately is from a subscription with Tonx. Beans are delivered within two or three days of roasting.
posted by keli at 9:44 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]


Okay. This is my personal area of complete and total obsession. I've stayed with and used an Aeropress for years, simply because I've not found anything to have a better ease-of-use to reliability (different beans) and quality ratio ever. (This includes pour-over and vacuum extraction).

Here's my guide to getting the great coffee using an Aeropress with a minimum of expenditure. Huge caveat: This is more of guidelines than rules. Coffee is a hugely subjective thing so feel free to argue with me or change things around as you see fit.

First, get some good beans: Stumptown, Inteliigentsia are good, but local roasters tend be more accessible, so I usually like googling "[location, city] roasters" and finding where they are. (I'm in Chicago, and a huuuuuge fan of Ipsento and Dark Matter brewers). Also local roasters often like to wax poetic about their beans/roasts, so you can ask for advice or shoot the shit with them as well. (~$12-20/bag)
If you want to get even deeper down the coffee hole, Sweet Maria offers green coffee beans to roast yourself at home for even more anal-retentive fun.

Optional extras that help get the best coffee possible: I have a plain kitchen gram scale for measuring out coffee, for most beans I do a 1:10 ratio, so 20g for 200g water. According to your bean origin and own personal taste, people do 1:15, or 1:8 ratio based on roast, etc.
I also swear by a Hario V60 Kettle ($40) for pourovers/ease-of-use.

Grind the coffee. Enthusiasts prefer burr grind to blade grinder because it prevents singeing of the cofee bean edges and also helps provide a uniform grind.
I swear by the Porlex Mini-Mill (40$), which is great for travel and home-use: When I fly/camp I usually have this and the Aeropress as portable caffeination device. For Aeropress I usually 'click' the bottom about 5-6 clicks, to have a medium grind; somewhere under French press coarse. Grinders are probably the most expensive part of this whole thing, and the OE Lido 2 ($175) is my personal unicorn. Love the hand-made, artisan aspect of it, will never need to buy it. The Barataza Virtuoso ($229) is a recommended electric burr grinder when you start making more coffee/want to fling your manual grinder into the bushes after a week.

Brew Recipes: Stumptown's instructions for Aeropress are a great way to get started, and they illustrate the inverted method really well. I prefer the inverted method simply because it does provide a little more body to lighter roasts that tend to focus more on higher citrus notes (Kenyan, Ethiopian) in my opinion. Here's some Aeropress World Championship 2013 Recipes to show just how subjective all the testing really becomes. Honestly if you're just starting out, do Stumptown a few times and then see what you like.

Personal Notes: As for the filter; I have since replaced the paper filter with the Able Disc Fine ($12), and I have noticed a distinct improvement. Before I'd use to wet the paper filter with boiling water to remove some of the paper taste, but there would always be a slight cellulose taste that I could discern. Once again, a matter of subjective discernment. My recipe tends to mimick Stumptown, but I brew water at 210ºF, then 1:10 ratio (20 g medium ground coffee to 200g water), using the inverted method. I measure temperature of water using a repurposed food thermometer that goes into an enlarged ventilation hole in my Hario V60. I swear by 205-210º but I've heard of brew temps as low as 195º.

For bare-bones kit: I'd suggest just purchasing the Porlex Mini and the Aeropress (~$80), and considering a normal coffee is $1.50-2.00, even including the beans (~$15), you'll pay off your investment within a month assuming you drink one cup a day.

Last note: For people having problems with the inverted method, make sure to use a cup/glass with an even lip, and make sure the Aeropress is flush against the lid all around. The force of your downward push should prevent any lateral liquid escape.

PM me if you have any questions! I love talking abut this crap.
posted by kurosawa's pal at 9:45 AM on March 7 [30 favorites]


I'm more a pourover guy (Chemex). I don't like French Press so much, so I've never tried Aeropress, though I *am* tempted for travel.

I'd really love a lead on a great grinder that will grind to weight, though.
posted by uberchet at 9:46 AM on March 7


My favorite way to get repeatable water temperatures is to microwave a known quantity of cold tap water for a set amount of time. Since I have a digital thermometer, I just did a bit of trial and error once to figure out the correct time, and have been using it ever since.

I suppose outcomes might vary by season due to tap water temperatures, but I haven't noticed any problems.
posted by indubitable at 9:48 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


I ended up with the Aeropress via the Chemex after coming to the conclusion that French press is too acidic for me. It's hard to describe but it produces very smooth coffee which doesn't give me heartburn the way French press will. My only issue with the Aeropress is that I feel like it uses too much coffee for a single cup, but that's probably just because you have to throw it away right then when you're done and it's very visible.
posted by feloniousmonk at 9:49 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


Inverted method, metal filter, hand grinder. Awesome for something to be so good and so cheap.

I used mine in a performance work where I get in your car and drive around my old neighborhood talking about bitterness while making us a fracking cup of coffee (it's like living in the future while tasting the past!) My favorite coffee nerd thing about it was doing the piece 3-5 times back to back. Besides getting really buzzed, the slow drop of water temp in the big thermos I was using made each cup really distinct--definitely showed me how important precise temperature control is.
posted by Mngo at 9:51 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


ps: health and paper filters, read the science on this
posted by hank at 9:51 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]


This Cuisinart electric kettle is perfect for my housemate (tea drinker) and me (coffee drinker), because it has 6 different temp settings. Housemate uses 160°, I user 185°. When the kettle beeps, you know for sure exactly how hot the water is. And it's fast, too - faster than my beloved copper-bottomed Revereware stovetop whistler kettle.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:55 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


I have a K-cup machine for the times when I just need coffee as quickly as possible to drag myself out of a stupor, and an Aeropress for the times that I actually want something that tastes amazing, but it is kind of involved when you just want a caffeine delivery mechanism. Both of them have the benefit of relatively quick brew times that keep out whatever it is that tends to give me heartburn.
posted by Sequence at 10:01 AM on March 7


It's been on my radar for a while. Time to buy one.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:19 AM on March 7


only from places such as BeanFruit Coffee that can guarantee they will get it to me within a few days of roasting.

Whole Foods, at least the ones in SoCal, have roasters in store and date their beans... you can get them on the day they roasted sometimes.

I usually french press, because I need more coffee than the Aeropress makes, but it really does make the best coffee ever. When I need that one extra cup I go for the Aero.

Grinding is another big issue... I still use a little blade grinder, and I've found that starting the blade and shaking the whole grinder up and down a certain number of times gets a pretty consistent grind. I have the little Japanese hand-cranked conical burr grinder and I can't tell the difference.
posted by Huck500 at 10:27 AM on March 7


MetalFilter: inverted method, hand grinder.
posted by Foosnark at 10:28 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]


Oh! And if you guys have cool local roasters, check to see if they do cuppings. Free coffee, cool people, and awesome stories? Yes plz. (ps Dark matter Chicago does them yay!)
posted by kurosawa's pal at 10:33 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


Previously.
posted by alms at 11:01 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


Still using the same French press my ex-gf gave to me from 6 years ago. Still happy with my coffee.
posted by Fizz at 11:13 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


Hmm, Huck500, interesting comment about grinding. I do the shaking the blade grinder thing too, and it always looked like I had a pretty even grind but I always read about how the burr grinders were so much better. I was thinking of getting one, but your comment, combined with using a friends grinder and seeing the horribly uneven grind she got makes me think I'm doing okay.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:16 AM on March 7


For temperature, I did some experimentation when I first got an aeropress and settled on the "two mug method". Pour your freshly-boiled water into your coffee mug: this will pre-warm your mug, and cool the water to 90-95C. After a few seconds, pour the water into mug #2, which, over a few seconds, cools it further. Then pour into the aeropress. It sounds faffy, but it yields remarkably consistent 80-85C water (YMMV*), the whole thing takes about twenty seconds, and of course the second mug stays clean because all you're doing is pouring hot water.

I can believe that temperature and brew time make a difference, but I have a really hard time believing that pressure has anything to do with it. Next time you're using an aeropress, leave some air at the top: when you push down, what happens to that air gap? Even using two paper filters stacked and pushing the coffee through quickly I can't get the air gap to shrink by half, meaning that it's getting much less than 1 atmosphere of extra pressure. Alternatively, is it noticably more difficult to depress the plunger with coffee than without? If not, what you're feeling is friction from the plunger, not pressure on the coffee. I see plenty of claims about its importance, including in this article but, for me, the pressure thing seems like bunkum.

Alan Alder himself says, " I definitely advise against brewing through a funnel into a small cup. It's not stable."
Huh. So why does the top of the provided funnel exactly fit the bottom of the aeropress? Regardless, I have used it for exactly that plenty of times, and not horribly scalded myself. Yet.

*Your Mugs May Vary
posted by metaBugs at 11:17 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


I assumed the funnel was so you could pour the grounds in without spilling them, but maybe that only makes sense if you use the inverted method.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:19 AM on March 7


wow the sheer nerdery on display here is intense even for metafilter

keep going please i am learning all the things
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:43 AM on March 7 [5 favorites]


My favorite is the extremely over-engineered plastic holder for the filters. Is there any reason for it to be so bulky? Same with the funnel. They're like the opposite of finesse and style.
posted by Think_Long at 11:53 AM on March 7


I have the little Japanese hand-cranked conical burr grinder and I can't tell the difference.

Me too. Ive read about more than one taste test that shows that people really can't tell the difference.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:57 AM on March 7


Me too. Ive read about more than one taste test that shows that people really can't tell the difference.

Well when I use my hand-grinder I break a sweat and it gets into my beans and I feel that helps extract EVEN MORE of all the precious coffee tasting midichlorians /joke

It's worf a mention that hand-grinding helps with methods that are more sensitive to grain size like pour-over. Aeropress is a little more forgiving, but coffee ≠ dogma. I had a really cheapie blade grinder and I could definitely tell the difference between that hunk-a-junk and hand-grinding.
posted by kurosawa's pal at 12:10 PM on March 7


For those of you wondering how to get your water to the right temperature, get yourself a cheap ThermoWorks thermometer. Seriously. It might seem super geeky, but you'll find yourself compulsively measuring the temprature of everything once you get one. You'll also know exactly how long a boiled pot of water takes to cool to your desired temperature after a few times.

(Not a coffee drinker — I use it for tea.)
posted by archagon at 12:13 PM on March 7


Don't use boiling water (it's meant to be about 80-85c - no idea how to measure this!)

One more to add to the suggestions above: I found that the probe of this thermometer was just right for sticking down the spout of my electric kettle. Set the temperature alarm for 175F, start the kettle, shut it off when the alarm goes off; done.

If I'm feeling fancy, I slosh the water in the kettle around a bit after the alarm goes off, in case the probe was sitting in a convection hotspot or coldspot. Never seems to make more than 1F difference though.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:20 PM on March 7


I wouldn't use the funnel to press into a too small cup- the pressure is to high, so there could be instability and even cup breakage, but it is designed to perfectly fit the base to go into sturdy wider containers with small openings. As well as funneling in the grounds.
posted by wotsac at 1:37 PM on March 7


I just ordered one (and the metal filter) for using at work thanks to this thread. I've been sick and tired of the big pot of coffee that sits out for five hours, so good timing here.
posted by naju at 1:40 PM on March 7


I bristle when someone says it's "like a French press." No it's not. But it is the perfect coffee maker for work. No mess and our water cooler/heater puts out 180 degree water so no microwave or electric kettle.
posted by wiinga at 2:00 PM on March 7


I've never used the funnel to put grounds into the barrel. I use the inverted method.
posted by rtha at 2:09 PM on March 7


I love these things, I'm on my fifth or sixth AeroPress by now.

For this to sound like a positive testimonial, I want to hear that you're just very absent-minded. (Or they're stuck on your neighbour's roof.)
posted by RobotHero at 2:23 PM on March 7 [12 favorites]


I used to keep three AeroPresses at three different locations that I rotated among, so that’s three right there. And I've given one or two away to friends. (I used to live in Asia, where they’re hard to find.)
Also, I've been using it pretty much every day for the past eight years, 2-3 cups/day. After three or four thousand plunges the rubber bottom wears down a bit around the rim and you don’t get a tight seal…unless you first pour boiling water over it to expand it then it still works fine. But I’m lazy, and they just cost around $27, so every few thousand plunges I like to get a shiny new one.
posted by mono blanco at 2:54 PM on March 7


Can you make a latte-like beverage with an AeroPress? Does it matter that you're using... whatever it is that the AeroPress produces rather than espresso? Can a frother you buy on Amazon produce, uh, latte-art-capable frothed milk? (As opposed to the coffee + foam pillow you normally get at Starbucks?)
posted by archagon at 2:58 PM on March 7


I like Alan Alda's version better.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:10 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


I’ve been using an AeroPress for about six months now and love it. It’s the perfect way for nerds to make coffee, because there are so many factors to go into play that can affect the final cup.

One, the type of bean/roast. Two, the fineness of the grind. Three, the amount of ground coffee. Four, the temperature of the water. Five, the length of time you let the coffee steep. Six, the amount of water to add to the final product, which is not espresso, just an extremely strong coffee. Did I leave anything out?

Changing any one of those factors will likely change your coffee, so there are dozens and hundreds of ways to do it right and do it wrong. After six months, I still find myself still experimenting slightly different ways almost every time.

Good coffee is important, but I often end up using just the cheap Folgers stuff and it’s not too bad. One downside to the AeroPress is that compared to a standard drip coffee maker, you have to use a lot more coffee. Like at least twice as much as your drip coffee maker. And if you’re buying pricey beans, you can expect to pay more for your coffee in the long run, even if the AeroPress itself is dirt cheap.
posted by zardoz at 3:15 PM on March 7


Actually, what I've found is that I use the same amount of grounds as I would in a drip coffee maker, because I loaded the drip maker up with the correct amount of grounds per cup - which is 1.5x - 2x what "they" usually tell you to use. And even then, the Aeropress makes better coffee.

I usually have 2 (large) mugs of coffee per day, occasionally 3, and using an Aeropress I run through about a pound of beans a week same as I did with a drip maker.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:35 PM on March 7


Well, I'm pretty much sold, and now plan to buy at least three (two as gifts).

Question: How is there not a 6-8 cup version with a 6” wide cylinder? When I can make good coffee, I want to share it with friends, especially if I can show off the process with something weird and new. But I imagine that making six consecutive cups with the Aeropress would not be so host-friendly.
Has anyone had experience using the Aeropress for more than one person at a time?
posted by LEGO Damashii at 3:54 PM on March 7


crush-onastick: if you use a paper filter and wet it, it never slips using the inverted method.

If you are using a fine grind and going for something as close to espresso as possible, the inverted method gets you much closer, because you get a little bit more of the oils. You're never gonna get much crema to speak of though.

I've got my roasting & aeropressing dialed in to the point where I prefer it to lattes at all but the very best of vancouver's cafés. It is by far the most repeatable home brewing method, unless you want to spend two orders of magnitude more money.

LEGO Damashii: It'd get pretty hard to press one that large with a fine grind.

mono blanco: I used to think the rubber seal was wearing down, but I left one in a drawer for several months once that was still useable, and when I looked at it had become completely unuseable. So I think the seal shrinking/degradation may just happen over time, because it is real (not synthetic) rubber.
posted by lastobelus at 5:08 PM on March 7


archagon: there are actually quite a number of temperature-controlled electric kettles on the market.
posted by lastobelus at 5:10 PM on March 7


lastobelus, yeah, and we have one, but I use my thermometer all the time in situations where I don't have access to my kettle. (Traveling, for example.)
posted by archagon at 5:13 PM on March 7


hank: that plus the fact that fines MAY be carcinogenic are why I use paper filters.
posted by lastobelus at 5:21 PM on March 7


I have trouble with the plastic path for the hot water part, isn't anyone concerned about that?
posted by Joe Chip at 6:43 PM on March 7


We buy our coffee from a local roaster who sets up at the farmers market and roasts the coffee right then and there, and he also sells the Aeropress. He's really big on them. I'll get one of them one of these days.

Man, I miss chucking Aerobies around. The fantastic thing about them is that they fly so friggin' far. (Want to play catch completely across a good sized city park? No problem.) The bad thing about them is that they fly so friggin' far. (Did you throw it so that it went two inches above your buddy's head? If there's a fence within 500 feet that's an inch taller than your friend, that Aerobie is gone. )
posted by azpenguin at 8:37 PM on March 7


I'mma get me one of these. But. I got a coffee one the train in France and it seems like it was kind of the same thing: hot water went in the top, then it sat for a while and lovely coffee dripped out the bottom into the cup. (Like The coffee you sometimes get in Vietnamese restaurants.)
Here you're just pushing he coffee out with a little pressure?
Or is there other magic/engineering involved?
posted by From Bklyn at 4:35 AM on March 8


Nope, that's basically it. But the pressure makes all the difference because the longer the water's in contact with the coffee, the more bitter the coffee.
posted by mono blanco at 6:30 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]



>I have trouble with the plastic path for the hot water part, isn't anyone concerned about that?

This is what AeroPress says about that.
posted by mono blanco at 6:33 AM on March 8


...the metal filter was stuck to the bottom of the puck and have to decide whether to fish it out, wash it and carry on using it.

I'm pretty sure that all you need to do is wash the filter with soap and it's going to be as germ-free as it was when you opened the package. If you're really worried you could pour boiling water over it before you make your next cup of coffee. (Disclaimer: I regularly drop the coffee funnel/holder from my stovetop espresso maker in the compost and just rinse it off afterwards. Compost is filled with nasty bacteria and molds, but 99 point 9 zillion % of them are harmless to people.)

Interestingly, I've noticed that if I leave the old coffee in the espresso maker for "a couple" of weeks, it never goes moldy. ;-)
posted by sneebler at 1:18 PM on March 9


I have had an aeropress for a couple of months. I use it most days for a coffee at home.
But I have no idea who these people saying it is the best coffee ever are?
I like it a bit better than a french press for taste, and it is much easier to clean up. It is massively better than a drip machine, and beats a viet style metal drip thing for clean up and lack of sludge.
It produces coffee in the ballpark of a $15 stove top esspresso, or a nespresso capsule machine, but is easier than the first and faster and cleans up quick, and cheaper than the second with the bonus of using any coffee you want, especially is you want more than the 60mL the nespresso's dole out.
It isn't in the same ballpark of a commercial espresso machine, however, not even really very close. Here is Oz, more and more people seem to be getting commercial grade or close machines for their homes, although I blanch at the cost.
Suffice to say, in about 15 or 20 years the average American will be as anal about coffee as the average Australian is now, so you better get used to spending increasing amounts of coffee and bean systems!
posted by bystander at 9:58 PM on March 9


Well, maybe, but not everybody into coffee worships at the altar of espresso.

I'm a regular coffee guy. I haven't really found Aeropress compelling, since it seems way more fiddly than my Chemex.
posted by uberchet at 3:50 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Chemexes (Chemices?) are lovely, but mine broke with an accidental tap against a faucet (one of those stupid things, especially since it had travelled between continents). The aeropress has the advantage that, for the lifespan of the plug, it is basically indestructible.

(My pour-over compromise of durability and portability is the Clever Dripper, which I picked up in Demi-Tasse in LA, or a small, plastic Hario V60 dripper - not ideal, but light and tough.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:02 PM on March 10


My favorite part of an AeroPress, other than the wonderful taste and super easy cleanup, is that I completely understand how it works. I kind of have an idea how my fridge works, car, my computer. But know for sure how an AeroPress works. And that's a good feeling. I feel in control of it.

I've never tried an Aeropress, but it would be hard to beat the taste of coffee from a french press. Not really sure how cleanup could be any easier, either. You just dump the used grounds into the trash and rinse the press off.

I use to say the same thing regarding cleanup. How could it possible be easier than a French Press? Because agreed, French Press cleanup is easy. But that's how easy the clean up for an AeroPress is. It's a couple of seconds and done. Now when I go back to a French Press the cleanup is annoying.

but it is kind of involved when you just want a caffeine delivery mechanism. Both of them have the benefit of relatively quick brew times that keep out whatever it is that tends to give me heartburn.

As someone else basically said, eventually you can do it on autopilot. Once you've got it down, it doesn't feel involved. Though of course, anything is more involved than pushing a button.

I bristle when someone says it's "like a French press." No it's not. But it is the perfect coffee maker for work. No mess and our water cooler/heater puts out 180 degree water so no microwave or electric kettle.

It's definitely not like French Press coffee. It's easy to taste the difference. Both very good, and from there, it's subjective. I prefer coffee from an AeroPress, my girlfriend prefers the French Press.
posted by justgary at 11:11 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]


Crema is normal when I use mine. Paper filter for the win. It isn't clear why it does or does not happen. Perhaps a function of air trapped under the plunger.
posted by Goofyy at 11:40 AM on March 11


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