I have gone through every incarnation of coffee maker on the planet—automatic drip, K-cup, old percolator from my grandmother, stovetop espresso, stovetop cappuccino maker, French press, mini-French press, Chemex, ceramic drip…you name it, I have probably tried it.
After years of searching, trying, and failing to find a brewing system that I did not mind using and enjoyed the coffee from I have finally succeeded. The object of my affection is the Aeropress Coffee and Espresso Maker:
Making a cup of coffee is a simple act. Hot water is passed through ground, roasted coffee to produce a cup of hot, brown liquid. Within that simple framework the complexity is amazing. From multi-thousand dollar espresso machines to insane Clover machines to ancient French presses, the variety of ways to make coffee is nothing if not breathtaking.
What the Aeropress does is reduce the act of making a great cup of coffee to something that is dead simple and infinitely repeatable. Insert filter, scoop ground coffee, pour hot water over, stir, and plunge. That’s it, but like the number of coffee making contraptions there is an endless variety of options. How much coffee? How hot of water? How long to wait before stirring? How long to wait before plunging?
Needless to say, the Aeropress may be one of those “simple to learn, impossible to master” kind of pursuits.
Regardless, the positives about the Aeropress are legion. It is very easy to make an excellent cup of coffee. First and foremost, this is the mission of any coffee maker. The coffee also is free of the grit common to many methods where the grounds are infused with water like a French press. Credit the tight weave of the paper filters that the coffee passes through. The pressure of the plunger also produces a coffee with the lusted after crema that you do not get with so many other brewing methods. It’s like the designers managed to cram every positive in without inheriting the negatives of other methods. Damn.
Another big selling point is that the Aeropress requires no electricity. If you ever find yourself waking up to no power and a lot of storm cleanup there is nothing as comforting as a hot cup of coffee while you survey the damage. Mr. Coffee does not like it when the lights go out.
About the only thing the Aeropress does not do is clean itself up. Granted, it takes a quick plunge of the unit to expel the wet coffee grounds and used filter before a quick rinse. That’s the cleaning process. Maybe 30 seconds in total. Dig it.
As a player of ultimate in college, I have a hard time reconciling the fact that the people who have come up with the best coffee brewing system are the same people who gave us the Aerobie Pro Ring. Unfamiliar with this little bit of technology? I am sure you have seen one of these on a roof somewhere in your neighborhood as an unsuspecting child let fly and it just kept going. Trust me, I got very good at getting onto my parents’ roof to retrieve the ring.