As a leaving present from my last company, I was given an AeroPress, a coffee maker that looks like a big syringe. This was a very appropriate gift because I’m a bit of a coffee addict (I’ve even got a section on coffee on this blog), and I think sometimes I’d resort to shooting up coffee to feed my habit.
I’d heard about the AeroPress before: there’s quite the buzz about it on various forums on the web, with many people saying it’s the best coffee they’ve had. The testimonials on the box were also pretty hyperbolic.
So one sunny Sunday morning, we decided to compare the coffee brewed with the AeroPress against 0ur other brewing methods: the Moka pot and drip filter. The coffee we used was our usual favourite from Monmouth Coffee: a rich, full-bodied caramel roast from Brazil, which lends itself well to brewing with a filter.
The AeroPress box contains everything you need to get brewing (apart from the coffee itself, of course). The box itself is pretty amusing, with plaudits from coffee experts I’ve never heard of as well as customers in Wisconsin, New Jersey and Milton Keynes!
Using the Aeropress is pretty straightforward, if a little fiddly. Grind your coffee so that it’s very fine. Load a “microfilter” into the Aeropress (supplied in the box – refills available). Fill with coffee and hot water and stir:
Make sure you’ve put the Aeropress on a sturdy mug first – it will slowly drip coffee into the mug, and you’ll need a sturdy mug for the next bit, the press itself:
The Minnie Mouse mug is the sturdiest mug I have. I bought a pair of Mickey and Minnie mouse mugs whilst on a work trip to Disneyworld. They’re pretty much bomb-proof. It’s just as well, because you need to apply quite a bit of force to get the plunger down on the coffee, keeping a constant pressure over about 30 seconds.
The result is a pretty good cup of coffee. No grounds got through the filter or around the sides of the filter, as I initially feared they might. There was a good bite to the coffee as well, but it felt as though some of the body of the coffee was gone. One huge plus for me was that the coffee came out pretty strong and quite cool as well.
I’m talking caffeine payload here. The winner is the Moka pot: the water boiling up through the Moka comes through slowly and at pressure. The filter comes second, with a very strong, jitter inducing dose. A close third is the AeroPress: it
A very subjective thing this, but on balance the filter does it for me as a black coffee drinker. The roast we drink lends itself well to drinking black. For white coffee drinkers, you may like to know that our resident white coffee drinker ranked the Moka and the Aeropress jointly second. The Aeropress gives a very smooth brew. It’s also worth noting that the Moka doesn’t trap the oils from the coffee, so you get all that oily goodness with the Moka.
Simplicity of use
The filter wins here. Very simple to use and to clean. The Aeropress is a little more fiddly to use and clean, but, like the ceramic filter, it’s also usable in a scenario where there’s no stove available. The Moka is the loser here: there’s quite a bit of work to do in comparison to the other two methods, and it’s a bit more work to clean.
The clear winner is the Aeropress. You can pretty quickly get a cup of coffee squeezed out and ready to chug in under a minute, as opposed to the five to eight minutes for the Moka, and three minutes for the filter.
I’m going to keep experimenting with the Aeropress. I’ll be messing around with grounds quantity, brew time and plunge speed to see what works best. The Aeropress definitely complements my other coffee preparation methods, delivering a nice shot of strong coffee very quickly. For mornings where I want to have a sociable couple of cups of coffee with R,we’ll be sticking to the Moka for now.