“My name is Glen and I am an Espresso-holic.” There, I said it.
I recently added an AeroPress to my coffee making paraphernalia. The primary reason was so I could have my morning fix while traveling. At the same time, if it worked as well as advertised, I might use it on a regular basis. My opinion is that “it’s good, but not quite perfect” !
The filmstrip for this post contains a number of images. To simplify my review, I will reference the frame numbers.
The instructions (frame 101) seem overly detailed but it turns out they are clear an every step is needed – with one exception which I’ll get to.
The AeroPress works with the typical coffee mug but I would not try it with a real coffee cup. Nor does it work with my wide mouth coffee mug (frame 102), a demitasse, nor would I get it near my Bodum glasses.
The process is strait forward – screw on the bottom with a clean filter disk in it (frame 103); add two scoops of espresso (frame 105); add boiled water up to the instructed marker (frame 106); let it steep (frame 107); insert and press down on the plunger (frame 108); and then do any post brewing prep – which in my case was to add a shot of chocolate syrup (frame 109). That’s it. But …
When you add the water, the espresso will clump up and the bottom grind will be dry so you must stir it a bit (frame 106). However, if you look closely at frames 106 and 107 you will notice the liquid level has dropped. The filter allows the hot water to drip through so if you let the whole mix steep for 60 seconds, about 1/3rd actually steeped for only 10 seconds and another 1/3rd Espresso grind probably gets about 30 seconds. [See 'update' at the end of this post for a simple solution.]
Note I said “60 seconds – the instructions only steep for the 10 seconds of stir time and then start a slow press. This made for a mellow “espresso” – and I quoted that because I did not find it to be bold and heady enough for me to call real espresso. However, with a longer steep time, it compensated for the filter dripping. I suspect the actual steep time should be about 30 seconds if it were not for that first 1/3rd getting short changed.
The instructions call for wetting the plunger before pressing but as you can see in frame 107 the inside of the AeroPress steams up a bit so wetting the plunger really is not necessary.
One thing the AeroPress does that baffles most other espresso making options is handle inconsistent grinds. I tried it with a grind a fine as Turkish, my regular espresso grind, and something pretty close to drip coffee. With the drip coffee I had to use more coffee to get a good result but it worked. This will come in handy when traveling because I could use the in-room coffee packets in a pinch- I’d just need to use both of them.
Conclusion: I’ve used the AeroPress for a week now and it is quick and easy. It also cleans up as easy as advertised. Am I happy with the purchase ? Yes. It will definitely travel with me on road trips. Will it be my “daily driver” for mochas? Maybe, if I can find a solution to the premature dripping. Yes !
I’ll still use the la Pavoni for pure Espressos – there is nothing that can touch it when it comes to bringing me back to that Rome cafe’ in 2003
Update: Alan from AeroPress posted a comment explaining how to steep for a longer time with zero drip-through by “brewing upside down. It works great ! (Thanks Alan). The instructions are in the comments section and here is a filmstrip I created of the upside down method. It was very easy and the results were more to my personal taste. It shows how versatile the AeroPress can be (once you learn a few tricks).