Early clear-bodied AeroPress and included accessories (filter papers not shown)
The AeroPress is a device for brewing coffee. It was invented in 2005 by Aerobie president Alan Adler. Coffee is steeped for 10–50 seconds (depending on grind and preferred strength) and then forced through a filter by pressing the plunger through the tube. The filters used are either the AeroPress paper filters or disc shaped thin metal filters. The maker describes the result as an espresso strength concentration of coffee, but its most frequent use is more in the filter brew strength.
The device consists of two nesting cylinders. One cylinder has a flexible airtight seal and fits inside the larger cylinder, similar to a syringe. The cylinders are moulded of polypropylene, tinted a grey colour. The first Aeropresses were moulded of clear polycarbonate, then later of copolyester, clear and later tinted. AeroPress switched to copolyester in 2009 because unlike polycarbonate, copolyester does not contain Bisphenol A (BPA). To reassure customers still using the original models, they also claim that testing they performed showed no leaching of BPA into brewed coffee from the polycarbonate.
Methods of brewing
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, reusable metal mesh filters exist for the Aeropress, though Aerobie does not recommend reusable filters, saying that coffee made with paper filters has tested better for taste.
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- New York Times article
- Los Angeles Times article
- Interview with the inventor, Alan Adler in Fast Company