I love everything about coffee, the cafes, the smell, the buzz, the different equipment, and yes.. even the drink.
This week I purchased an Aerobie AeroPress coffee press from RedcliffeTech in Queensland. They posted it the next day and this morning I collected it from the post office.
The product promises to make the smoothest, richest, purest coffee in the fastest time.
Compared to a standard coffee press where a porous plunger pushes the coffee grounds down after they have transferred their flavour into the hot water, this system uses air pressure to force the water through the grounds, then through a fine paper filter and in to your cup.
The other important difference is that they urge you to use water that is just 80 degrees C rather than boiling and they go so far as to suggest sticking a thermometer into the kettle to know when to stop heating the water.
You get lots of parts with this gadget, including a redundant stirrer (I have a spoon already), a funnel for delivering the coffee grounds into the tube (again redundant), a coffee scoop, and a good number of thin paper filters.
The plunger part has a soft rubber-like end on it that makes an air-tight seal as you push it down. My guess is that this is the part that will wear out in the end. All parts are very solid and for the money I think it's good value.
The coffee is very smooth and there's much less bitterness than the same coffee plunged in a traditional plunger. I'm not sure how much of this is due to the lower temperature - I'll certainly try this with my old plunger too.
The instructions are designed for an American taste where they make a very strong brew compared to what I like, interestingly they advise against just adding more water to the press to make it weaker, rather they suggest adding extra water to the cup and this does seem to do the trick.
It's a bit more fiddly than a simple plunger and it's a little difficult to get the filter paper out for cleaning.
All in all I'm very happy with the AU$62.15 it cost (including delivery).
Update: a comment from the importer
Great blog post, I started to write a comment but decided to write directly to you instead. I didn't want to come across as if I was "correcting" you, especially as my first impressions were similar to yours.
I've been using my original AeroPress for 3.5 years now, 3 times a day on average. Like you I initially thought both the stirring paddle and funnel were unnecessary. However if you grind your own beans and pour directly into the mixing chamber you'll find that the funnel is perfect and very useful. Also the paddle is exactly the right length (and shape) to mix the coffee and water without accidentally hitting and tearing the paper filter. The square shape of the paddle ensures you get all of the coffee mixed in.
So far I have only replaced two or three plunger seals in 3.5 years, mine still works great. The part I do occasionally replace for customers is the basket that holds the filter. For some reason it seems to get thrown out accidentally from time to time?
One of the interesting things about the Aeropress is that it's a great platform to experiment with. It lends itself nicely to changing variables and methods. That's probably why it appeals to Geeks (like us) so much. There's a really interesting discussion on the Coffee Geek forum that you might find interesting:
It's a huge thread but there's lots of good information there.
When you clean your AeroPress you can just basically rinse it under the tap. The first step is to twist off the filter cap, you can easily peel off the paper filter now. After you eject the used grinds into the bin just use hot water to rinse everything off.
By the way, you can reuse the paper filters. They're quite strong and you can just rinse them off. I use a filter about six times before replacing it.
Also the AeroPress is available from thirty-some retail outlets in Australia.
I'm sure you'll continue to enjoy your AeroPress and I hope you do a follow up post after living with it for a while. If you ever have any questions just let me know.
- Thanks Curtis for writing in and being so informative.