For on-the-go coffee lovers, there are few portable coffee makers that rival the consistency and efficiency of an AeroPress. Released back in 2005, the original model — a cylindrical chamber with a paper filter and airtight plunger — delivered a high-quality cup of coffee with little acidity or bitterness. The 5.5-inch chamber could brew up to 10 ounces of coffee at a time, perfect for individuals needing a pick me up at the office, a hotel or while camping.
In the years that followed, the AeroPress developed a cult following, and even gave rise to the enthusiast-led World AeroPress Championship. Though the original design has gone essentially unchanged, in 2019, the company released a slimmed-down travel version dubbed the AeroPress Go. Available for the same price, it features a slightly smaller brewing capacity (8.0 ounces) and comes with its own 15-ounce mug that securely holds the chamber, plunger and other brewing equipment.
Sounds good, in theory. But what about in practice? To see if the trim travel AeroPress Go stands up to the hype of the original — and more importantly, is better suited for camping and traveling — we went hands-on with it to see for ourselves.
What's Good About the AeroPress Go
The AeroPress Go manages to pack a lot of brewing capability into a small space. Even compared to the original design, it's a big step up.
On the original, the dimensions of the chamber and plunger were 5.4 in x 4.2 in x 3.8 in, but you had to also pack a mug, scoop, filters, stirrer, etc. The AeroPress Go packs all that into a travel mug that's smaller than the original brewer (5.3 in x 3.9 in x 3.9 in=). The chamber and plunger are slightly smaller, and it brews 2 fewer ounces of coffee than the original design — but that trade-off is worth it for the increased portability.
It Gives You Control
Like the original, the Aeropress Go is all about controlling your brew. Depending on your preferences, you can dial in the exact extraction time and concentration for your favorite beans, unlike other portable brewing methods. Also, because it's designed for a single cup, you don't run the risk of over-extracting like you might with a multi-cup French press.
Here's how it works. Just pour medium-to-fine ground coffee into the chamber, add hot water (not boiling), stir and plunge. The longer you wait before pressing the plunger down, the more compounds are extracted from the bean (but grind size and water temperature also play into this equation).
It Makes Damn Fine Coffee, Diane
Without a doubt, the AeroPress Go makes a great cup of coffee. The brand notes that its coffee "contains about one-fifth the acidity of drip brewed coffee and one-ninth the acidity of French press-brewed coffee." This means you can enjoy the nuances of the roast no matter where you are.
Compared to other travel options — traditional pour-over, French press, instant coffee — it sits at the top of the pack in terms of flavor alone. So when you consider portability, it's a no-brainer for those away from home.
What’s Not Ideal About the AeroPress Go
There Are Some Moving Parts
Unlike pour-over brewing, which uses a filter, brewer and cup, or a French press, which uses a carafe and a cup, the AeroPress Go is a bit more involved. Even in its most basic form, it's still a plunger, chamber, filter cap, filter and cup. For people who misplace things easily or don't like a more involved process, this may not be for you.
But, the few extra steps offer a notable payoff in brew quality. Also, while the AeroPress has more small parts, those parts take up less room in your bag than other brewers' pieces — and they're super durable, so you don't have to worry about breaking them en route.
Not for Extreme Minimalists
Ultralight hikers and extreme minimalists beware: the AeroPress Go weighs 11.5 ounces, not including coffee or filters. That's a few ounces more than the original, thanks to the included mug — but it may be more than some hyper-focused athletes want to tote.
If that's the case — like with anything in the ultralight / minimalist space — you make concessions. In this case, you could opt for a decent instant brew to cut down on weight. Still, the final brew wouldn't be the same quality as something from an AeroPress.
AeroPress Go: The Verdict
You'd be hard-pressed to find a better portable coffee maker than the AeroPress Go. The small, durable form allows it to be packed into backpacks, duffle bags, totes or suitcases without a second thought. The brewing method is extremely easy and fast — and most of all, delivers a superior cup of joe.
For $40, you can have the comfort and pleasure of great coffee whether you're in the mountains, on a remote beach, at a hotel or anywhere else your travels take you. Hell, it's even great to use at home.