An AeroPress is a manual coffee brewer. It comprises two main parts: a cylindrical chamber and a smaller cylindrical plunger. The plunger is topped with a silicone cap that creates an airtight seal when placed into the larger chamber, turning it into a piston, syringe-like device. Ground coffee is placed in the larger tube, hot water gets poured in, and the user pushes down the plunger, forcing the coffee through filter paper into a waiting cup or carafe.
The AeroPress is incredibly easy to use and unbelievably versatile in how it brews coffee. They are lightweight, portable, and "almost" indestructible. This makes the AeroPress an excellent choice for the outdoor coffee lover! They're also effortlessly easy to clean to the point where an AeroPress could be called self-cleaning.
But its versatility makes the AeroPress universally loved by coffee enthusiasts. It even has its own World Championship (the World AeroPress Championship W.A.C). It was the brain-child of Tim Varney and Tim Wendelboe, a former World Barista Champion. The inaugural W.A.C. was held in Oslo, Norway, in 2008, in Tim Wendelboe's eponymous cafe with only three competitors! By 2022, it was held across 56 countries with 4,445 entrants!
Usually, coffee is brewed in one of two ways: immersion or percolation. Immersion is when all the coffee hangs out with all the water for a desired amount of time before being filtered and enjoyed (French press, clever dripper). Percolation is when water passes through a set amount of coffee into a vessel ready for drinking (espresso, filter coffee, moka pot). The Aeropress is both of these methods at once.
With most brewers, you are bound by specific parameters. Take grind size, for example. You cannot expect to make good espresso if you have a very coarse coffee. The water will flow through the coffee too quickly to extract all the flavours. On the flip side, use a very finely ground coffee in a French press, and you will end up with a muddy, silty cup of coffee. The filter isn't designed to catch coffee that fine.
With an AeroPress, you have complete control over nearly all brewing parameters.
All of these factors are variable and controlled by the user, and when combined, mean there are nearly limitless ways to adjust your coffee recipe.
Although there are countless ways to adjust and play with your coffee recipe, the method will fall into one of two styles when it comes to brewing—classic or inverted.
As the name suggests, this is the original way to brew and how it was intended to be used. A filter paper is placed into the cap and rinsed (optional). Then, the cap is screwed in place at the bottom of the larger chamber, which is placed on top of your vessel of choice. Your desired amount of coffee goes into the AeroPress, followed by the desired amount of water. The top part of the piston is then placed into the lower chamber to create a vacuum, stopping the coffee from slowly filtering through. After your desired brew time, plunge downward, filtering the coffee into your waiting cup.
The inverted method is an alternative technique that involves flipping the AeroPress upside down before beginning the brewing process. In this method, the cap and filter paper are the last things put in place before the AeroPress is flipped over and plunged downward. Some coffee enthusiasts prefer this method because it theoretically allows for longer steeping times and greater control over the brewing process. It can result in a coffee with a slightly different flavour profile, often featuring more intense and robust flavours due to increased contact time between the coffee grounds and water.
The AeroPress brewing process yields a cup of coffee known for its rich, smooth, and concentrated flavours. The immersion and pressure brewing technique combines the best of both worlds, extracting the deep flavours from coffee grounds while minimising bitterness and acidity. The resulting cup often features a clean, well-rounded flavour with heightened sweetness and a velvety texture.
Compared to traditional drip brewing, AeroPress coffee showcases more intense flavours due to its rapid extraction and pressure-based process, depending on how you choose to brew. The flavours are often bolder and more concentrated, making it a preferred choice for those who seek a richer coffee experience.
Additionally, compared to espresso, AeroPress coffee shares some similarities in its concentrated nature (again, depending on how you choose to brew with it) but tends to have a smoother and less overpowering taste.
There is no one recipe when using an AeroPress. If you want serious inspiration, check out these winner recipes from the W.A.C. But if this is your first time, follow this simple recipe using the classic method to make yourself a nice mug of coffee.
You can read a detailed story of the beginnings of the AeroPress and its World Championship here in our blog piece.
The AeroPress is widely available. Here at FiXX, we have the original version and the AeroPress Go. This smaller, compact version comes with its own travel mug and is perfect for brewing while camping or hiking. We also have metal, reusable filters and the PuckPuck, an attachment that turns your AeroPress into a Cold Brewer. You can find all of these right here.