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The Invention of the AeroPress (priceonomics.com)
280 points by duck on Apr 20, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 127 comments

I am not a coffee nut, but got one of these serendipitously as a present and can attest it makes a good cup of coffee. Here's some facts (maybe obvious to others) I found out after the fact that I wish I had known a long time ago:

1. If you've never owned an electric kettle, you may not know that they will boil water in mere seconds (!) and are a key part in making an Aeropress practical. (And they're cheap: http://goo.gl/8dVnP2)

2. If you ever get heartburn and drink coffee, you MUST buy one of these ASAP, it will help immensely. Fast-brewed coffees have very low acidity, so you should treat yourself with aeropress (or Starbucks Clover coffee, another fast-brewed method) if you have this problem... you will probably feel better.

3. That said, these things brew a coffee that is like a hybrid between espresso and drip coffee, so if that sounds bad/good to you, you'll feel about the coffee you get from this the same way.

4. An aeropress is the easiest to clean kitchen appliance I've ever owned. You will NOT think to yourself "boy this coffeemaker could probably use a thorough cleaning" every time you want a cup of coffee... no such anxiety with this device.

Wait, what? Electric kettles aren't in every house there? That's insane! Here in Australia, it's like the one thing EVERYONE has. Hell, even hotel rooms usually contain a microwave and a kettle even if they have absolutely nothing else.

Maybe it's the fact that in the US, you have 120V/10A max, so your kettles are 1200W peak and therefore take twice as long as ours at 240V/10A and thus 2400W? I don't know. I just find that staggering that someone could not have an electric kettle.

As an aside, it's always been amazing to me that the 'standard' coffee you buy here is espresso, everyhwere, whereas the standard there to my knowledge is usually drip or french press. That in itself (that entire nations can have substantially different ways of making 'coffee') is pretty incredible to me.

All that said, the whole 'makes 5 or 6 cups minimum' problem is the one I've always faced with making coffee at home. I might actually pick one of these things up if it really does solve that and really deliver something that's more towards espresso rather than drip/press.

I have used an AeroPress for years. I also own a $1400 domestic espresso machine and a $700 grinder. These days I'm using one of those Hario pour over cones as my espresso alternative.

The AeroPress is good. But it's not close to espresso at all. If you over dose and are prepared to push very slowly for a long time, you can get some espresso like flavours out of it, but this can take a while.

That said the AeroPress is really worth it. The filters are truly reusable. I still have not gone through my original pack of filters that I got with mine several years ago.

I have a cheap domestic espresso machine, and agree: aeropressed coffee is nowhere near espresso. I find it pretty close to what "Italian" coffee kettles do (this: http://ravistationery.com/images/office%20automation/morphy%...) albeit milder, not as acid or sour as this one. I have not used it much, but I like having my Aeropress, even though it requires quite more coffee than other types of machines.

In the UK, too, almost everyone has an electric kettle. The last one I had there drew 3kW (although strangely I couldn't find such a kettle for sale here in China, which also runs on 220-240V).

Kettles have frequently been cited as the source of surges in power usage during the commercial breaks of popular TV shows. For example: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/5059904.stm

I don't have one, and don't know anyone who has one. In fact, I've never seen one in an actual home. We don't drink tea the way Britain and other former British possessions do.

(in my case I don't drink a lot of hot tea, but I do drink a lot of iced tea, and a worthwhile amount of that is larger than what most kettles can do -- I typically brew a gallon or more at a time)

First time I ever even saw* one was when I was in my 30's and it was at a job I had. I saw a similar thread here on HN where some brits though it was old fashion and barbaric to use a kettle on the stovetop. Well, I grew up with those, though I don't own one myself. I just heat a cup of water in the microwave.

* - or conciously aware of seeing it. I might have seen it and it was just background noise.

You probably hadn't seen one. When my parents retired and began wintering in Arizona, they couldn't help noticing that their neighbours were fascinated by this strange something like a hot pot, but just for water thing they brought with them. It was just like a kettle, but you plugged it in! That was only twenty years ago. So at the very least, there were regions of the US in which the electric kettle was virtually unknown, while here in Canada one was at least as likely to have an electric kettle as, say, a pair of shoes.

My flabber is well and truly ghasted :-)

And with that, I'm of for a brew and to recuperate...

To be fair I own several & most of my friends do as well.

The first time I realized that every home didn't own an automatic drip coffee pot, I was also aghast.

Most asian households have one, super convenient for tea, cup noodles, etc. I use one that is more of a boiler/pot so it keeps water always at the right temperature.

They're basically miniature water heaters.

I'm in Canada and most people I know have an electric kettle (anecdotal, but still).

I'm pretty sure it is because of the 120V. Most circuits are actually rated for 15A, but it's possible that kettles sold here draw lower currents. Anyway, that's going to heat water a lot slower than on 240V.

I've never seen an electric kettle in anyone's home, but almost everyone I know does have a stovetop kettle.

Most new circuits are rated 15A and up. Older residential installations still have tons of 10As. I just had a new service put in, before that everything was 10A except for the a couple in my basement workshop.

Well yeah but Europe is 240V 16A (or more, but 16A is typical).

Actually most European countries are 230V not 240V (though that was the standard in some countries previously (like the UK who dropped it for easier compatibility with continental systems (back in 93))).

Prior to harmonisation Europe was mostly 220V so 230v was the average of the two common systems (in reality because of tolerances there are big overlaps).


Interestingly while the standard is 230v the average supply in the UK is 242V (but within the tolerance of the standard).

Electric kettles are definitely popular, but I don't think it makes such a difference compared to a decent standard kettle [0].

Boiling one or two cups of water won't take too long (30 sec ? 1min) on a gas or IH stove, it's easier to clean, no electric components, no maintenance, you can roughly adjust the temperature you want (i.e some teas are best at ~80°C), and it works with a gas burner during black outs.

[0] for home use of course. I don't see any way an hotel could provide a classic kettle without a full kitchen corner.

> Wait, what? Electric kettles aren't in every house there? That's insane!

Anywhere people don't drink that much tea, use a Moka pot for coffee, and boil the milk.

Germany is definitely not a tea country, yet everyone I know has an electric kettle.

Same in Sweden. It's also faster than heating water on an electric stove, so it's useful when you're making something like rice or pasta as well.

Exactly, it's also more accurate, as you know the water will be consistently just below 100C as you pour it on the pasta. I set my timer to 7.5 minutes to get a perfect al dente, just slightly undercooked so it can still absorb some of the sauce you mix it with.

And always remember, no oil in the pasta water!!

Electric kettles are not very common, which is probably easy to believe considering the higher popularity of coffee than tea here.

Yep, the stats in the US heavily favor coffee since around the time of the revolution. In certain places, it was unpatriotic to drink hot tea. About 85% of tea is iced in the US[1].

1) http://www.teausa.com/14655/tea-fact-sheet

ps: the fact sheet in 1 seems to be the basis of a whole lot of magazine articles. It seems like "tea facts" is quite the fill-in article.

>Wait, what? Electric kettles aren't in every house there? That's insane! Here in Australia, it's like the one thing EVERYONE has. Hell, even hotel rooms usually contain a microwave and a kettle even if they have absolutely nothing else.

I remember once I watched a friend's cats while he was on extended vacation back home in China.

You try very hard to be accommodating when someone capable of covering your pager shift asks for a favor, because you know the currency in which that favor is to be repaid. Besides, he was senior to me (in terms of skill) and got me the job in the first place, so I kinda owed him at the outset. But it's almost always worth it to put in a lot of effort to have more than one person who can cover your pager feel like they owe you. But still, I'll totally clean out your cat's liter box if I think I can get you to cover my pager.

Anyhow, the weird thing was that he had like six electric kettles scattered throughout his house; and most of them were in 'sleep mode' - they were still on and plugged in and ready to dispense water fairly quickly. I guess the idea was that they were heavily insulated, so it didn't take a lot to keep the water warm?

Being me, I unplugged them all.

I've considered a kettle for myself, but the kettles I've used, mostly in ersatz office situations, all took a pretty long time to warm up from 'cold' - and all of them were nasty, because some asshole decided to put tea (or something) directly in the kettle.

What I find funny is that I bought one of those fancy super-automatic espresso machines of craigslist; You know, one of those brushed-aluminum deals where you pour whole beans in the top and just press a button? It doesn't take that long to warm up, and it's on a 5-15r (15 amps of 120v) - I know the reservoir on this thing is room-temperature, and it's pretty quick to warm up. Much faster than any kettle I've tried.

It makes pretty good espresso, too. Not as good as, say, chromatic coffee, or even B2 in san jose, but it beats the heck out of starbucks, and I don't have to put on pants. It does require periodic work, which I don't mind. I like working on mechanical things. Just don't make me do it in the morning, you know? As for effort expended to get my coffee? it's gotta be even easier than the aeropress. Expensive, though. I think I paid $300 for mine, and it's about 4x that new.

You fill normal kettles at the time you use them, and you only fill them with the water you need.

You can buy fast boil kettles which tend to be noisy.

I am surprised that kettles don't have a think skin of insulation. I sometimes wonder how much energy could be saved by micro-enhancements like that.

>You fill normal kettles at the time you use them, and you only fill them with the water you need.

But my espresso machine, it's got a pretty big (room temperature) reservoir, and only heats up the water as-needed. I mean, I probably have to fill it every second day, and that's with two people using it, and using the steamer.

Especially when my performance is impaired due to withdrawal, it seems a reasonable optimization to save the 'fill the damn thing up, but not too much' step.

>I am surprised that kettles don't have a think skin of insulation. I sometimes wonder how much energy could be saved by micro-enhancements like that.

All the electric kettles I've seen did have very thick insulation; it looked like they were intended to be left on or in standby all the time.

Heating water in a microwave also works well.

As long as you watch out for this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_OXM4mr_i0

and don't inadvertently superheat the water.

Not for tea. There is a substantial difference in flavour if the water isnt boiling. It's one of the shocking things a british person experiences in america, handed tea made with a microwave. It really is quite disgusting in comparison.

Do you mean to imply that a microwave cannot boil water, or brings it to a different kind of boiling?

I think it's more that no one ever actually boils it. They microwave it to drinking temperature. I'm not sure it would be safe to boil it in a microwave, the water would go everywhere.

Microwaves don't always superheat water. I find that when I'm making an individual cup of tea, it gets superheated far less than half the time, and even when it does it doesn't react violently enough to the introduction of the tea bag to be a concern.

Put a teaspoon in the water - it will boil not superheat. Thought everyone know this :)

Just not a metal one.

Does microwave boiling remove the gasses trapped in the water? It's what makes water taste flat.

Yeah, 240 sounds really convenient. But are you scared of it? How dangerous is it to get hit with that kind if voltage? Is everything over there GFIed?

> are you scared of it? How dangerous is it to get hit with that kind if voltage?

it really depends on what body part touches it, and where the electricity wants to go (ground). the longer the path, the more dangerous it is.

I got hit once, from a broken electric kettle, in fact :) I had accidentally dropped the thing, some plastic bit had broken off and exposed some metal strip that was bent out of shape (in the base part, that the kettle part gets power from). Let's attribute it to not having had my morning coffee yet, when I figured hey let's bend that bit back to where it should be, not realizing the thing was still plugged in.

It hurt. It felt literally as quite a shock. But it was just my arm. A jolt, like when you're holding a stick and someone hits that stick with another stick really hard. Except a bit harder than that. I remember feeling quite shaken afterwards, could be adrenaline, could be my nerves being all agitated, I dunno.

After a few minutes I was fine again.

Guess I was lucky, maybe?

The very same day I got a new electric kettle (the cheapest ones are just €10), because really for me it's in indispensable kitchen tool, like the microwave or a chef's knife.

It helps that European plugs are all better designed - it's impossible to touch live prongs by mistake while plugging a device in (which has happened to me in the US).

Better designed? You can plug an grounded plug into an ungrounded socket and there are many ungrounded plugs that won't go into grounded sockets.

In the UK (exclusively, I think), the sockets have gates - in [1] you'll see that there's a lever in the top hole - that pushes down the plastic covers in the bottom hole allowing the pins to be inserted. The earth plug is longer than the live and neutral plugs, meaning that you cannot electrocute yourself with a plug unless you really try. At the same time, plugs [2] typically have plastic guards around most of the pins, such that no electricity can be flowing through the pins while it's exposed.

Of course, it was all for nothing when as a kid I put a braddle or something in the top hole and then mucked around with the bottom hole. Also, I imagine that the foot injuries you get in the UK are also greater because the plugs typically face up (although I've only seen someone actually impale their foot on a holiday in America). But yes, we have the safest sockets in the world according to my old schoolteacher.

[1] https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d4/Uk_13a_d... [2] http://img.diytrade.com/cdimg/533618/3871293/0/1182923133/Br...

The UK is an anomaly when it comes to plugs and sockets - the very fact that almost(?) every plug has to have its own fuse is a tell.

It's not scary in normal use but you don't want to stick you finger on a live wire - the shocks a bit nasty.

As I said, maybe obvious to others.

ever since we have an induction stove, we're technically "e-kettle free". so I could state the contrary: "what? you still own and use an e-kettle?" ...

I think most/all people in North America have electric kettles. With HN, you're probably dealing with a particular demographic (recent college graduates) that would have a lower adoption.

I think your average age for HN is off by 5-6 years. Atleast that is my impression from the comment quality and the recent poll:

  Age     Votes
  0-10       65
  11-15      42
  16-20     552
  21-25    2030
  26-30    2400
  31-35    1532
  36-40     735
  41-45     359
  46-50     148
  51-55      84
  56-60      44
  61+        52

California for 16 years - I've been in a lot of houses, old and new, but I've never seen an electric kettle. Lots of stove top kettles though, some with whistles, some without. Also, In Canada (British Columbia) I've seen a few in hotel rooms, but never seen them in houses. Stove Top kettles are very popular there though, particularly with older homes.

Grew up in North Carolina, and I've never seen an electric kettle in anyone's home, ever. The only place I've seen one (besides Target, Wal-mart, etc.) is in the break-room of the building where our local hackerspace is. And sadly, it broke recently, so now we need a new one!

Having been exposed to them now, and even more so after reading this article, I do plan to buy myself an electric kettle though.

FWIW, everyone I know has always heated water in a saucepan or kettle on the stovetop.

Have you been to North America? This is not even remotely true in any sense.

Most homes I know of in Florida don't have electric kettles. I have one, use it with my ap. many homes have stove top kettles here.

I grew up there, maybe that explains my kettle ignorance.

could it be since its a warmer climate, hot drinks aren't consumed at home as much? or coffee is prepared differently down here (espresso?)

I'm originally from Missouri (wife as well), Mom's from Wisconson, Dad's from Boston, currently living in the Seattle area. Nope, never even saw one until I was in my low to mid 30s. We used stove top kettles.

However, dorm rooms often do allow them (heats up water for ramen), but it isn't universal, and I'm imagining most kids are like "WTF is this," looks it up and learns about it for the firs time.

Not sure why you got so heavily downvoted for that :| Upvoted for balance.

Fast-brewed coffees have very low acidity

Try cold-brewed coffee if you're really going for low acidity. It makes a delicious iced coffee.


I agree with try. To me, cold-brew coffee generally tastes a lot like "semi-instant" machine coffee (made from paste/syrup -- probably essentially cold brew+added hot water) -- and it is absolutely different from other kinds of brewing methods. I think it tastes rather awful -- but whatever one prefers...

I got one of those electric kettle you linked. It is made of plastic - the boiled water smells, tastes like plastic. This is not just the first time, even after a dozen times it tastes the same, and it is horrible.

I don't know anything about aeropress, but it is not a good idea to buy a plastic electric kettle. stainless steel ones are better.

It's just your kettle that's bad. An electric kettle made of plastic should not impart any flavour on the water. I have used a bunch, never had a problem (and I consider myself highly sensitive in that regard).

>you may not know that they will boil water in mere seconds

What are you talking about? Even the link you shared had comments saying that even the minimum boiling time was over 2 minutes.

For a liter, a cup of water takes less.

I guess if you're a badass you can boil less water than the required "minimum" line :)

I've been using an AeroPress almost every day for over 3 years, and love them.

I've had only one issue with them, in that the inside has become scratched and discoloured, which somehow messes up the taste as well (after about 2 years use).

A totally worth-while purchase. I'm now on my second one, hopefully this lasts longer, but if not, I'll just buy another one in a couple years.

One thing I like is how manual the process is - I can make a much weaker cup of coffee for guests who don't like it so strong without it becoming bitter. For different types of coffee, I can brew it in different ways.

And it's odd, but even cheap pre-ground supermarket coffee tastes hugely nicer with the AP. These days, I buy pretty much whichever the cheapest fairtrade coffeebeans the supermarket has, and grind enough for each cup, and it tastes great.

I been using an Aeropress daily for 2.5 years and even with scratches I haven't noticed a difference to brand new ones (I own several). What colour is your brewer? If it's clear with a blue tint, then it might be due to plastic they used to use. Few years back they switched to more brown coloured plastic as there was some issues with the old plastic they used (I don't know the details).

Yeah, my first one was a clear/blueish plastic one, the new one is a tinted brown. I'm hoping it's that. :-)

> And it's odd, but even cheap pre-ground supermarket coffee tastes hugely nicer with the AP.

I'll second that, with the AP even decaf folger's will brew a cup that I really enjoy.

At the risk of sounding insane, sometimes my biggest motivation to stop working and go to sleep at night is that I can have a cup of coffee in the morning. I actually just confided that fact to my wife, and she empathized, so either we're both insane or it does indeed make very good coffee.

I hadn't noticed the scratches affecting the taste on my unit (now 3 years old). But it could also just be the coffee flavor leeching into the plastic over time.

I find that with drip coffee, it's much harder to tell the difference between bean varieties and burr ground vs conical. The AP brings out the flavor as intensely as you can stand.

How do you feel about it compared to a Chemex, which is what I used when I drank more coffee and less tea (now I'm the other way around, in part due to this: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1934051).

I've never used an actual Chemex, but I do quite like other pour-over coffee makers. They're convenient, and much more controllable than auto machines.

I find that areopress tends to make cleaner coffee - if that makes sense - and that the flavours come out more. Especially certain kinds of coffee it's nice to let them brew longer - french press / cafetiere style. The areopress can do that easily (inverted style), but the pour-over ones can't.

If you want, you can use an areopress pretty similarly to a pour-over, by simply not pushing down the plunger and letting gravity pull the water through.

They're pretty close in my book (have been using the AeroPress for ~1 yr and the chemex for a few months). The chemex is a bit easier if I want several cups at a time.

yeah, I'll have to test it out; I use a pour over funnel similar to this, a hario something or other. I like it a lot better than the bog standard bodum press.

Possible delta: UV exposure will yellow plastic. Has it been in direct sunlight?

Not really - a little while in the drying rack, maybe. It seems to be all inside the tube, which would seem so indicate something to do with the hot water, or something. I wondered if it were the water being too hot - but figure that that can't be it, as the top part, which I put water into first from the kettle to cool down to 80 deg, isn't cracked or scratched at all. I'm hoping its just a one off issue.

Just ordered my first AeroPress, wondering what type of grind works best?

> With his plans mapped out, Adler went to Westec Plastics in Livermore, California, > ordered $100,000 worth of molds, and put the invention into production.

Just how does one go about stepping up from something like 3D printing (manifold meshes [0] are easy) to something like injection molding?

[0] http://www.shapeways.com/tutorials/prepping_blender_files_fo...

"Just how does one go about stepping up from something like 3D printing (manifold meshes [0] are easy) to something like injection molding?"

Pretty straight forward actually. If you have the solid shape you want and can find a line of symmetry that does not result in any over hangs, a good CAD package will let you slice the shape and create two halves. You use boolean subtraction from a solid block to create the mold profile, now you will add alignment pins (at least 3) and add sprue paths (this will depend on the injector you are using) then send that to a suitably equipped milling machine to mill out of a couple of blocks of alumninum. Assemble to two halves and hold them together (you can use a press or bracket for that) take your thermo plastic under modest pressure and heat, and squirt it into one sprue hold until it squirts out the other. That has to happen reasonably quickly as the plastic starts to harden as soon as it hits the Alumninum.

Pull apart the mold, pop out the part. if you get a machine like this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/140895101602?lpid=82 you can pop out a hundred copies pretty quickly.

$12k??? is there no way to prototype an injection mold for less money? I'm trying to make something like the Xbox Kinect housing, for example.

Its possible to 3D print something as a prototype (a number of shops use stereo lithography for that) for a couple of hundred dollars. But that doesn't insure that it can actually be injection molded. You need a shape you can represent as a convex hull.

The process of developing the molds (aka putting them into a CAD system, slicing them, and then cutting the mold itself. Is called 'tooling.' Any tool and die shop can give you a quote. Back in '99 when the company I was with got quotes for tooling for a desktop gateway, a tool and die shop in Milpitas quoted us $36,000 out the door, and then $4,800 for each additional set of dies. A set of dies was good for between 100,000 and 500,000 uses. I don't doubt they were not the cheapest way to go, shops in China were willing to spread the tooling cost across an order of 100,000 units.

So are you trying to see if your design "fits"? If so get a stereo lithography shop to print one for you. If you are trying to see what it will cost to make take your printed part to a tool and die shop and ask for a quote. You will probably specify which type of machine you are going to use for the molding (dies are specific to machine models).

Toolmaking is not cheap. You're starting with a large block of steel or aluminum, and that's usually a custom alloy with extra hardness if you plan to make more than a few thousand. The molds wear out over time. So that's money right there.

Then it's a couple of weeks of milling, drilling, polishing, welding on support channels, etc. There's a lot of CNC time involved, and that's runtime on million-dollar machines with high maintenance and deprecation costs. If you want it done by hand by experienced machinists, that's even more money.

The Aeropress has some pretty tight tolerances on it's design, so there's more money right there. Size also kills. You want something the size of an Xbox housing? That's gonna be even more.

Protomold[1] are probably that niche, although I'd treat it more as proof of concept than as scalable as proper production molds. If you've validated your prototype that way, you'll probably end up with DFM[2] changes you want to make before dropping 10's of K (or more) on full production stuff.

[1] http://www.protolabs.com/protomold

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_for_manufacturability

Yes, that is the reason why 3D printing is a big deal :)

I use a fairly fine grind, although not as fine as I use for espresso. According to the stock AeroPress instructions it should take about 20s to depress the plunger, if it's too hard to press it's too fine, and conversely if it presses with little to no resistance then it's too coarse.

I use a very fine grind (actually I cheat and use Cafe Bustelo right out of the bag). I've noticed using the inverted method makes the plunge step a lot easier, probably because the grounds are mostly still suspended in the water and not sitting on the filter right away.

20s with 'average' pressure... good guidance, thanks!

I go with the finest possible while not impossible to push down the plunger. I bought an AeroPress about 18 months ago and haven't made coffee different way since.

Around a medium grind, finer if you prefer richer coffee (closer to espresso). Since you're using a filter, it doesn't need to be nearly as large as a french press grind.

For my shame I now mostly use a Nespresso, but my Aeropress is certainly the best coffee _placebo_ I've ever used. I have no idea if the coffee was better or worse, but it certainly felt like I was sciencing up the perfectly crafted liquid with space-age tools. It's a lovely ritual, especially when it breaks you out of a hard problem at work to grind the exact right number of beans, measure the exact right temperature, steep for the exact right number of seconds etc.

For anyone interested in quantitatively measuring the flavor profile of your coffee, and seeing how dosing and other changes effect your perceived quality of your daily (hourly?) ritual....

My startup [0] makes an Android App just for the occasion! We run statistical quality control and flavor profiling for coffee roasters, beer brewers, and distillers, so your reviews may actually help your favorite coffee companies make better roasting and sourcing decisions.

[0] www.Gastrograph.com [1] https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gastrograp...

If you're looking for a grinder to go along with the AeroPress, the Hario hand grinder[0] is a good choice.

[0] http://www.amazon.com/Hario-Coffee-Mill-Slim-Grinder/dp/B001...

I prefer a conical burr grinder as they give you more control over how coarse/fine of a grind you need:


The Hario Slim is a conical burr grinder. You can adjust the grind size by adjusting a small bolt on the underside of the grinder mechanism.

gotcha. good to know. i have the capresso which is electric and have had it for a solid 2 years at least. if you keep it clean, say, every month or so, it's really convenient.

I can recommend Iberital MC2 grinders. Getting grind consistent and not too fine makes a big difference to taste (esp. reducing bitterness) when making non-espresso.

Hario Slim is a match made in heaven with the Aeropress, as it fits neatly inside the Aeropress's opening to dispense coffee grounds without needing to use the funnel.

It takes a good 5 minutes of vigorous cranking against resistance to grind just two scoops of coffee though. Forearms are not amused. I'm shopping for an electric.

Should users be concerned about pouring hot liquid into plastic and then consuming the result? BPA and such?

> The AeroPress is made of three different plastics. The clear chamber and plunger are made of copolyester. The hard black filter cap, filter holder, funnel, and stirrer are made of polypropylene. The rubber like seal on the end of the plunger is made of a thermoplastic elastomer. All of these materials are FDA approved for use in contact with food. None of these materials contain bisphenol-A (BPA) or any phthalates, chemicals that have been in the news lately because of possible health effects.

> Aerobie has been shipping AeroPress coffee makers made of the materials described above since August 1st, 2009. Prior to that date, the clear chamber and plunger were made of a very special high humidity and temperature resistant polycarbonate. Polycarbonate does not contain phthalates but it does contain BPA. Even though the FDA and other governmental agencies around the world approve polycarbonate for use in contact with food, we had an independent lab test coffee brewed in a well used AeroPress to determine how much, if any, BPA leaches into coffee brewed in a polycarbonate AeroPress. Absolutely none was detected. Given that result, one could ask why we switched to using copolyester. The answer is simple. The use of copolyester removes any perceived risk from BPA and it is a more attractive material.


Plastics containing BPA were once FDA-approved too. Copolyester (currently in Aeropress) may be dangerous.

Most of the world uses plastic electric kettles with no ill effects.

I used an Aeropress for a while but now I'm back on a glass French press. Its easier to deal with, glass feels cleaner and more durable, and the coffee is delicious.

I switched back to a French press as well. For half the amount of beans I can get twice the amount of coffee out of the French press.

Have you tried the inverted method for Aeropress? Pretty similar to french press, and you use about half the coffee of the 'normal' Aerorpess method. It also tastes better, IMO.

I don't get the inversion thing... Obviously you invert it after inserting the plunger (right?)... What does inverting it so for you?

1) attach filter holder & filter. 2) pour through a bit of hot water to wash it all. 3) take off the filter & filter holder. 4) put plunger in about 1 inch 5) turn it upside down, so it's sitting on the plunger. 6) put the ground coffee inside, so it's resting on the plunger rubber head. 7) pour hot water in 8) let it brew as long as you like - thus the french press type taste using larger grounds, etc. 9) attach filter & holder 10) turn upside down and place as normal onto a cup (you need to be fast!), and press as normal

This way, you get a longer brew time, but still get the benefits of finer paper filtering, easy cleaning, etc.

I often use this method for columbian light roasted coffees, I feel it works better for some reason. You can use less coffee, and a much coarser grind. For some coffees, and for "espresso"-ish things, it doesn't work so great though.

That's what's cool - you can tweak so much with how long you brew, temperature, grind, etc.

Interesting... I have, independently developed a similar method (I didn't realize there was such a large AeroPress hacking community out there).

I add water and ground as normal, stir for a little while, then top off the water and put the plunger in place. Depending on the coffee, I then wait 0-90 seconds before depressing the plunger. The plunger seal holds the water in place with no problem.

I tend to wait the longest with South/Central Americans, and don't wait at all for Africans. Most Indonesians are somewhere around 30 seconds.

Funny - I hadn't really connected the dots, but that's pretty much how I do the different continents too. I guess we're doing something right then! :-)

And a quarter the quality!

Why? Just because you use less coffee? That's not a good measure of coffee quality. Good beans, good grind, clean water are. I actually prefer the coffee from a french press, having grown accostumed to it over the years. If you use a coarse grind, there's little grit and residue, and all the tasty oils are still in there.

Same here. The main factors were that brewing with the Aeropress is fussy (all the stirring and timing and inverting), but more importantly, it doesn't make very much coffee (I like to drink somewhere between 12-16 oz). French press makes as much as you want and you just dump in the water and coffee, wait, and press.

The Aeropress cleanup is a breeze though, and it makes a nice clean cup. I'm not a fan of the sludge and mess of the french press.

I can never work out the amount of coffee to put in the French press so that the plunger still goes down all the way and the coffee is a good strength. So if you go with a 7g scoop per cup in a (say) 8 cup press, then there is more coffee grounds than there is space for the plunger to go down all the way. Any tips?

I like both Aeropress and French press results, but I find them both to make too little coffee while being hard to clean and operate. Standard drip coffee machine still does better on those metrics.

Meanwhile in all cases having fresh roasted and evenly ground beans makes a big difference.

Where is the difficulty in cleaning the aeropress? I wash mine once a week, otherwise I just rinse it off. I also prefer to make coffee by the cup - it's much tastier than making a pot and leaving it to stand.

Buy a bigger french press, and use a thermos if you need storage?

French glass press is also known as a cafetiere.

I had to google French glass press.

Cafetiere is what they're called in the UK - you'll hardly ever hear them called "French Press" here.

Also Moka Pots are often called "stove top coffee makers", and vacuum pots are often called "Cona"s.

(Also, Espresso is often called "Expresso", Tasimo or Nestle pod machines are often called "Espresso machines", and Instant is often called "Coffee"...)

Cafetiere can also mean a moka pot.

Have this, enjoyed it. Cut coffee out as my caffeine deliver device, so I could gift one with a pile of filters.

Very good. You don't get the creme that you get with a French press, but it's still head and shoulders above drip. I had roughly equivalently good quality coffee over a wide range of beans and a fairly moderate range of grinds/grinders from espresso to fine grinds in the cheapy bean/spice grinders you can get at your grocery or walmart/target.

Cleanup and maintenance is better than my drip ever was and the process is quicker, somewhat fun even, and a little bit zen.

I'm yet to get an aeropress, but what was striking me most about it, was what I would consider an "internet-age packaging" - with a customer testimonial printed on the package. I thought it was brilliant and can't recall any other product that does it - then again, I don't shop much, so I could be wrong.

I wonder if they A/B tested it ;-)

Someone PLEASE make a glass or stainless Aeropress. Aerobie refuses to, I don't want to mix hot water with plastics, and the plastic discolors.

I love the Aeropress! It's also lightweight and tough, so you can take it camping. A big upgrade from instant coffees.

I use the inverted method, which is pictured in the first photo. It helps you get all the oils, which float to the top.

I use the inverted method myself, but I found that the paper filter absorbs the oils. A Kaffeologie S filter [1] seems to help in that aspect.

[1] http://www.kaffeologie.com/shop/s-filter-for-aeropress-coffe...

I'm curious as to how this compares to a percolator. Anyone tried both?

We've done a few blind taste tests at the office between an AeroPress and percolator (and keurig and pour over if we're counting). I suspect it's largely personal preference as the percolator advocate has chosen the percolator brew and I (the AeroPress advocate) choose the AeroPress. To me the percolator has a certain (undesirable) taste profile that always tastes like percolator. Academically I don't like that the percolator keeps "recycling" the water during the brew cycle.

Thanks for the info.

Side note, I just discovered that what I was referring to as a percolator, is actually called a Moka Pot : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moka_pot

I wonder if I could just use a large bore syringe and some cotton wadding?

The aeropress is like 25 bucks.

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