If you enjoy making and drinking coffee, then you know how satisfying it is to find a brewer that just…works.
You stop fiddling with finicky parts, you forget about split-second timing, and you practically know that the result is going to be great.
For many of us, that’s the AeroPress.
After all, it’s distinctive-looking, and coffee fans have plenty to say about it, but what actually makes the AeroPress so good?
The AeroPress is a great coffee brewer because it’s uniquely versatile, portable, and easy to use. It can brew similar coffee to a pour-over or automatic coffee maker. It can also brew coffee like a French Press, but with much easier clean-up. It’s an especially good choice for travelers, too.
Over time, I found a few more benefits that weren’t initially on my radar.
Below are seven reasons you’ve got to give it a try.
I’ll also show you where to find clever and slightly crazy brewing recipes from literal champions.
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It’s a Forgiving Design
Pour-over designs vary, but they all have one thing in common.
Gravity, and gravity alone, pushes the water through the coffee. You can change anything about the coffee, water, and device itself…but gravity simply is what it is.
The AeroPress relies on its plunger to do the job.
You can apply a slow, gentle touch that mimics gravity or just as easily apply your whole bodyweight (but remember use a sturdy mug if you do!). That lets you get exactly the right brewing time even if the grind setting or water temperature weren’t ideal.
Traveling Couldn’t Be Easier
I don’t know about you, but hotel or conference room coffee is never a good start to the morning.
Unfortunately, traveling with a pour-over set-up is not the easiest thing.
While you can get collapsible pour-over cones like this, it’s a bit ridiculous to carry a scale and kettle and the whole nine yards. (Not that I haven’t thought about it.)
With the AeroPress, the convenient side markings help you get water volume right–or at least right enough–for consistent coffee without a scale.
And perhaps most importantly, it’s a durable design with no fragile or easy-to-lose parts.
It Can Taste Like French Press, But Cleaner
Ever get that gritty, silty stuff in the bottom of a cup of French press coffee?
That’s the finest coffee grounds slipping right through the coarse filter.
With an AeroPress, there’s no such problem. As long as you press reasonably gently, almost none of the fine bits get through, which leaves you a much clearer cup.
It’s far easier to clean, too.
And if you really want to replicate the French press flavor without the mess, then try a metal filter. This one is my personal favorite for that style.
With The Right Technique, It Can Also Taste Like Pour-Over
The AeroPress is an immersion brewer, meaning the water stays in the coffee and then all drains at once.
Pour-over brewing is a percolation process, meaning the water just passes through the coffee on its way out. That’s part of why good pour-over brews tend to have such a light body. Some also emphasize fruity and floral notes, if the coffee has any.
It’s my pet theory that immersion brewing brings out more chocolatey and earthy flavors, all else being equal.
But the neat thing about the AeroPress is that minor adjustments–like hotter water and a much coarser grind–can make something similar to a pour-over anyhow.
Pro tip: if that’s what you’re after, then try the super-thick Aesir filters. They’re occasionally available on Amazon, but if not, then you can also just double-up on the standard filters.
Don’t Discount The Fun Factor
There’s something about a plunger that’s just plain fun.
No, I don’t know exactly what. Yes, I realize it sounds strange. But chalk it up to that sort of odd satisfaction you’ve just got to experience firsthand.
And on a more serious note, the more seasoned coffee enthusiast will enjoy controlling grind size and extraction time separately. That’s a topic for another day, but in brief, it lets you fine-tune (or fix) flavors in a way that’s not possible with percolation brewers.
Filters Are Incredibly Cheap
When anything is this fun to use, it’s easy to start experimenting more and more.
And as you start testing different coffees and grinds and brewing methods, you’ll go through filters at an amazing speed.
For some brewers, that’s a minor problem. For instance, I’m not crazy about paying $15 for just 90 proprietary Blue Bottle filters
For the AeroPress, they’re practically free. For about $5, you can get a bountiful 350-pack, and the bulk discounts go up from there.
Bonus: The Best AeroPress Recipe Source Ever
If you think I’m overly interested in this humble coffee maker, you’re right.
But that’s nothing compared to the folks in the AeroPress World Championship.
That is, in fact, a real competition every year. There is even a system of regional and national events whose winners–from dozens of countries–all vie for the world title.
But my favorite part is not the competition itself, but the huge brewing resource (and cool artwork) you can check out here.
Keep in mind that they’re optimized for exactly one coffee in the competition, and may not be ideal for whatever you’re brewing.
Instead, take the inspiration to your own kitchen, and see what else you can come up with!
The AeroPress’s odd design has some uncommon benefits.
Not only is it a fun and versatile way to make great coffee, but it’s a perfect traveling companion, and very accessible priced.
All that versatility also makes it fun to try out different coffees. It’s not always easy to find good ones, especially without committing to an entire bag. These days, I let Angels’ Cup figure that out.
And if you enjoyed this article, then I suspect you’ll also enjoy their subscription. Read my review here to find out why I think so.