Aug 28, 2006
Let's get it out of the way right at the start. I like the Aeropress. I like its speed, its ease of operation, its fast clean up, its portability, its robustness, it's newness; generally it is a convenient little coffee tool.
Now, let's get the next part out of the way - it doesn't do espresso. There are some general claims out on the Internet that it does espresso, it isn't capable of meeting that standard. If nothing else, espresso as one of its requirements needs to be brewed using approx 9 bars of atmospheric pressure. I'm generally a fit guy but I'm pretty sure I can't create 9 bars using the Aeropress, and I'd like to get the comic book character into my kitchen who can. I suspect the Aeropress doesn't even reach a 1 bar pressure level.
If you had nothing to compare it against, the Aeropress makes dreamy coffee. I have compared it against drip, french press and espresso and suffice to say it is simply a different taste in the cup. Some positives are it is less muddy than french press, it is reasonably forgiving for temp and grind, once brewed it can sit in the cup a long time (even till cold) and still remain tasty (which is hard to believe).
It is capable of making drinks in rapid succession, an example would be making multiple coffees for folks while I was racing at the 24 Hours of Adrenalin. The coffee was good enough that some were dropping by just for the coffee. One comment from a longtime coffee drinker was "this is the best coffee I have ever drank"; how much of that was due to the fresh blend of the Ethiopian Harar, Sidamo and Yemen Mocca, and how much was due to the Aeropress is anybodies guess. I have never made that person a comparative americano of the same blend on my Brewtus II so even though they enjoyed it we will never know the real reason why - other than some coffee magic being spread around. ;-)
One of the weird things about the Aeropress is that it seems to strip a lot of the aroma away. This kind of bugs me especially when drinking special coffees which can offer a lot of aroma. The Aeropress also reduces other aspects in the coffee, some subtleties can dissapear at times, particularly in the high end - it tends to tone things down I find. I suspect most wouldn't notice and the fact that it can produce an inoffensive good quality coffee should be enough to make it successful.
Would I recommend it to anyone. For sure I would! The less-knowlegeable brewer would probably benefit from the Aeropress as their french press technique is probably imprecise or lacking and the Aeropress would make up for that. If we are talking drip then the Aeropress can "smooth" things out and this can make an "inferior" grind or bean (quality or age) seem much better. For the knowlegeable brewer it is a relatively cheap tool to add to your arsenal which will provide some new fun, make you think about things a little differently and won't replace any of your existing favourites. Give it a go, you might be surprised, I was.