Jacquie does not like coffee one bit. However, I will go to great lengths to enjoy a quality coffee. I get so disappointed when I spend my money on a coffee that I expect to be of good quality, but turns out to be burnt, sour, or just plain weak. I learnt a great deal about espresso when I purchased my first machine. It was expensive, messy, and a lot of work. There is a much easier, portable and budget way to make the best coffee you have ever tasted. Let me tell you about my little secret… The AeroPress.
TL;DR: The following video by Wired, my favourite magazine, does a detailed job describing the AeroPress.
In essence, the AeroPress is a version of a french press which uses pressure to press the coffee through a small filter. The result is an incredibly crisp and clean coffee where you can taste the subtlety of different coffee beans and roast varieties. Most people describe the Aeropress as an espresso maker. This a bit incorrect, as espresso is made in a high pressure and high temperature system. The AeroPress produces a coffee concentrate which can be enjoyed very strongly, as it is when pressed, or by adding hot water and making it an ‘Americano’ which is basically like a percolated coffee that you may normally enjoy.
Globetrotter Travel Tip: Did you know ‘Americano’ or ‘Caffè Americano’ is rumoured to have originated from World War II, when American soldiers in Europe would dilute espresso with hot water to simulate the coffee to which they were used to? (Source)
The AeroPress isn’t just for the discerning coffee snob either, nor at the price people are used to paying for a good cup of coffee. The AeroPress runs at just under $30 at the time of writing this, whereas a decent espresso maker can run you well over $200 at entry level. Even a Tassimo or Keurig brand will be over $50, not counting the heaps of money you will spend on the capsules.
The AeroPress is not only inexpensive, it is incredibly durable. I’ve dropped the thing more than I would like to admit. You could leave it in a suitcase easily without worrying about it being damaged. Aerobie, the company famous for it’s flying disc (see here) and maker of the AeroPress states:
“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.” (source)
Due to the ease of use and portability, we camped across Canada with this in our bag and I enjoyed incredible coffee whenever I wanted. Prior to leaving Alberta
I kept it in my office. With the way the coffee is steeped, you don’t need boiling hot water which can actually burn the grounds. You’ve experienced this when you’ve had sour tasting coffee which tastes like it was filtered through a zookeepers boot. Not pleasant. I would use the hot water from our offices water cooler.
Another thing I love about the AeroPress is that cleaning the grinds is also very easy. One of the things I absolutely hated about making an espresso was cleaning it. Now, that is part of the fun, but frankly a bit masochistic. I just want to enjoy the coffee. With the AeroPress you simply take off the plastic cap and push the plunger further to watch the compressed coffee puck shoot out…preferably over the garbage. A quick rinse, and you’re ready for your next brew. Done and done.
I find this to be an incredible thing to have in our travel bag. Wherever you are, all you need is a little bit of hot water, your espresso grounds, and your AeroPress and you will have the best cup of coffee available.