People have been drinking coffee, in one variation or another, for over 500 years. It’s a staple of diets the world over, one of the last addictions to be socially accepted, even joked about, like a sweet tooth. And so it may be surprising that just one decade ago, one of the biggest changes to coffee-drinking hit the market: the Aeropress Coffee Maker.
The Aeropress came from the invention laboratory/car garage of Alan Adler, the man behind Aerobie, best known in the ’80s and ’90s for flying discs and rings. But the company’s success outdoors has been quickly overtaken by sales of their portable coffee maker, which is essentially a big plastic syringe.
It wasn’t an immediate success. The single-serving Aeropress coffee maker costs $27 — cheap over the life of the product, but expensive when compared to drip brewers that make 10 times the amount of coffee; it also requires a bit more work than Keurig’s single-serving pod system, the main competition for single-serving coffee drinkers. However, the Aeropress is extremely portable, and, most surprisingly, makes coffee with a taste to rival systems that cost much more. Coffee often suffers on the road, on the trail or visiting relatives who only take tea, and the Aeropress solves these problems with the convenience of a single serving, portability and easy cleaning, all without sacrificing quality or taste. Its secret is allowing for a “bloom” phase, along with a relatively short “wet time,” meaning that carbon dioxide is released without over-leaching, leading to sweeter, less bitter cups.
Adler’s design soon caught on in the coffee-drinking world, such that a discussion around it became the most viewed thread on the “Machines and Brewing Methods” forum on CoffeeGeek.com (a part of the authoritative online community based on coffee), double that of its closest rival. Today many coffeehouses offer Aeropress coffee as their standard cup, and an Aeropress World Championship has been held annually, starting in 2008 in Oslo, to see who can make the best brew. Below are instructions on how to make the best use of the Aeropress — the best, most inexpensive coffeemaker for the road or at home.
The Inverted Brewing Method
The users of CoffeeGeek.com love the Aeropress but hate the included instructions, which recommend using water at 175 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring for 10 seconds and then plunging for 20-60 seconds. Below are instructions that are slightly different: they use the inverted method (favored by about half of the World Championship competitors), which allows for a “bloom cycle,” and uses a process resembling a French Press, but without the grit in your mug.
1. Grind between 15-25 grams of coffee slightly finer than you would for drip coffee.
2. Into an inverted Aeropress, pour about a fifth of your water (heated between 175-200 degrees Fahrenheit), stir a handful of times and allow to bloom for about 30 seconds.
3. Add the rest of the water, pouring for about 10 seconds.
4. Add a pre-wetted filter inside the cap and screw the cap onto the inverted chamber.
5. Carefully flip the entire setup atop your coffee mug and press down smoothly for 30-60 seconds.
6. Enjoy the best-tasting coffee you could ever make in under 2 minutes.