What, Exactly, Is An AeroPress Coffee Maker?

The AeroPress coffee maker was invented in 2005 by engineer Alan Adler. It is a manual immersion brewer that utilizes pressure to make a smoother cup of coffee than what many other machines can produce. Like a moka pot, the AeroPress is typically small and can brew up to two cups of coffee at a time.

There are three connecting pieces that make up the AeroPress: the plunger, brew chamber, and filter cap (where the coffee grounds go). The design allows pressure to build up in the brewing chamber. Once the AeroPress is pressurized, the user gently presses the plunger down to push the coffee through a filter, out of the bottom, and into a cup.

Although you can use the AeroPress to brew nearly any type of coffee drink by changing the grind size, water temperature, and filter, the espresso-style brew is less bitter than traditional espresso because the process uses lower-temperature water. The recommended grind size of medium-fine produces a richer cup of coffee than a percolator and makes it easier to use the plunger.

How to use an AeroPress

Using an AeroPress is simple, but for the best-tasting cup, attention to detail pays off. First, AeroPress recommends using water at a temperature of 175 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the industry average of 195-205 degrees. Water that is too hot produces bitter coffee, while overly cool water doesn't extract enough flavor. AeroPress also recommends using medium-fine coffee grounds, which prevent water from dripping through the grounds too quickly and provides a fuller-bodied, rich-tasting coffee. 

To use the AeroPress, attach the filter cap to a mug and connect the brew chamber. Add the coffee grounds and hot water to this chamber and stir for 10-30 seconds, depending on whether the coffee is to be brewed cold or hot. Next, add the plunger and gently push down until the coffee is extracted. For ease of use, it's best to depress the plunger a couple of inches, pause to allow the pressure to build back up, and then continue to push down.

The AeroPress is portable, afforadable, and easy to clean, making it a great way to brew a cup of coffee. Likewise, this is a great option for travelers or anyone who is starting out with brewing their own coffee at home.