|Manufacturer||AeroPress, Inc. (formerly Aerobie, Inc.)[a]|
The AeroPress is a manual coffeemaker invented by Alan Adler, founder of AeroPress, Inc. It consists of a cylindrical chamber, and a plunger with an airtight silicone seal, similar to a syringe. Ground coffee beans and water are steeped inside, then forced through a filter by pressing the plunger through the chamber. It is capable of brewing highly concentrated coffee, which the manufacturer describes as "espresso style", but can also be used to brew filter strength coffee, or cold brew coffee.
History and design
The AeroPress was invented by retired Stanford engineering lecturer Alan Adler. Adler began developing the brewer in 2004, with the intention of reducing acidity and bitterness in his daily cup of coffee. Adler had tried brewing with an espresso machine, pour-over brewer, and french press, but expressed dissatisfaction with each brewer's limited control over parameters such as brew time, water temperature, and grind size. He first began prototyping the AeroPress in his garage.
The brewer consists of a translucent cylindrical chamber, and a plunger with an airtight silicone seal, similar to a syringe. A filter cap is screwed onto the end, to hold a small round filter (either paper or metal) in place. It comes bundled with several accessories, including a scoop and funnel for loading ground coffee, a stirring paddle, a tote bag, and a plastic holder for storing filter papers.
The chamber and plunger are moulded out of translucent plastic, tinted a grey colour. Early AeroPress models used polycarbonate, but in 2009 switched to BPA-free copolyester, then in 2014 to polypropylene. The company claims that in lab testing, no BPA leached from these early models into brewed coffee. The lettering changed color several times, but the brewer's design was otherwise unchanged between these versions.
In 2019, AeroPress, Inc. released the AeroPress Go, a travel-sized model with a reduced chamber capacity, smaller accessories, and an included travel cup.
The device was officially unveiled in November 2005, at the CoffeeFest trade show in Seattle. In the years after its release, it gained a cult following among coffee enthusiasts, who praised it for its flexibility and consistency in brewing.
World AeroPress Championship
The World AeroPress Championship is an international fan-led AeroPress brewing competition. The event is a multi-round, elimination tournament, in which competitors have five minutes to brew coffee. It was first held in Oslo, Norway in 2008, with only three competitors, but grew in popularity each year after. The 2018 competition attracted 3,157 competitors from 61 countries. The 2020 championship was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The championship resumed in 2021, with both in-person events and a new online format, in which competitors create and submit their recipe remotely.
According to the instructions, fine-ground coffee is placed in the bottom of the larger cylinder on top of a paper microfilter. Hot water at approximately 79 or 85 °C (175 or 185 °F) is then poured over the coffee; this mixture is stirred for approximately 10 seconds before being forced through the microfilter by pushing the plunger downwards. In the different coffee competitions worldwide (World Barista Championship, Brewers Cup), the coffee is more often ground slightly finer than 'filter grind', and the dose is between 14 and 20 g (0.49 and 0.71 oz), with about 200 to 230 ml (7.0 to 8.1 imp fl oz; 6.8 to 7.8 US fl oz) of water at 80 to 92 °C (176 to 198 °F) and a steeping time of 30 to 60 seconds.
In inverted brewing, the plunger is placed into the column from the beginning, close to the "top" of the column, and the entire AeroPress stands upside-down, resting on the top of the plunger. One or two scoops of ground coffee are added, followed by water, and the entire mixture then stirred. While that brews, a filter is placed into the filter cap and moistened to help it stick in place then the AeroPress cap is placed on top of the column and screwed into place. Lastly, once the desired brewing time is complete the AeroPress is either turned right-side-up and plunged normally or held at an angle and plunged horizontally.
This method is more similar to the French press, particularly the extended brewing time in which the grounds and water sit together. This makes it useful for using grinds that wouldn't be optimal in the official method such as coarse grinds that might be used in a French press.
Traditional method coffee properties
- Claimed to have roughly the same concentration as espresso
- Higher pH (thus lower acidity) than drip coffee
- 30-second total brewing time
Contrasts to other immersion brewing methods
The AeroPress uses finely ground bean, has a short brewing time of 30 seconds and, similar to espresso, uses air pressure to extract flavor. French press uses a much coarser grind and consequently has a much longer brewing time of 4–5 minutes. French press utilizes a metal filter and is unpressurized. Siphon brew uses intermediate fine grinds and has a 90 second brewing time, using a cloth filter, and is also unpressurized. Espresso runs high temperature water at very high pressure through ultra-finely ground coffee. In contrast to the AeroPress, the water is pressurized mechanically, instead of through muscle power.
To lower the environmental footprint, third-party reusable metal mesh filters exist for the AeroPress. Aerobie does not recommend these, saying that coffee made with paper filters has tested better for taste.
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