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How to Make Espresso With an AeroPress

Updated on June 14, 2012

We've all heard the cliché money saving advice: stop drinking premium coffee from Starbucks.

Yawn.

For those of us coffee shop addicts, we're going to need some more compelling evidence than that. Tell me where else I can get a Peppermint Mocha or Pumpkin Spice Latte and I'm all ears. Otherwise, I'll continue to park my butt at the local Starbucks and sip my overpriced cup of sugar.

In order to re-create these wonderful beverages, you need espresso. But in order to make a decent cup of espresso, you need an espresso machine. Unfortunately, these usually start in the $150 range on up to $1,000+.

Enter the Aerobie AeroPress.

An intriguing espresso machine that promises to make the best cup of espresso you ever tasted in 30 seconds using nothing more than air pressure. When I found this beauty on Amazon, I was intrigued. The reviews were outstanding. And at a fraction of the cost of a traditional machine, it was worth a shot.

My financial future was at stake. So I took the leap of faith and bought it.

The Good

  • Ease of Use

    The first time I used the AeroPress, it took about 15 minutes to get a decent cup of espresso (and a mess). It takes a bit of practice, but making espresso with the AeroPress is really quite simple. Today, I can whip up a stellar cup of Joe in about 2 minutes.

    Speaking of 2 minutes, check out this quick YouTube video showing the AeroPress in action.

  • Easy Clean-up Process

    If you watched until the end of the video above, you saw how easy it is to clean the AeroPress. Just hold it over the trash can, unscrew the end, push the grounds out with the plunger, and rinse off the end.

    It's about 4% more difficult than taking the filter out of your coffee pot and throwing it away.

  • Great Coffee Taste

    I would compare the taste of the AeroPress coffee to that of a French Press coffee. If you've never had French Press coffee, you're missing out. It is very smooth and not at all bitter like brewed coffee.

  • Customizable Drinks: Peppermint Mocha, Anyone?

    Since the AeroPress makes such a potent cup of coffee (that's essentially what an espresso is), you have the ability to make a wider variety of drinks. Espresso allows you to retain the same amount of coffee flavor without as much water.

    If you tried to make a latte (coffee + milk) using brewed coffee, you're going to get a taste somewhere between gross and watered-down pond scum. If you did the same thing with the AeroPress, you'd have Starbucks.

  • Instant Iced Coffee

    I'm a huge fan of iced coffee. Traditionally, I would have to brew a cup of coffee and put it in the fridge for a couple hours to let it got cold enough. With the AeroPress, I just make some espresso and pour it directly over several cubes of ice. The ice melts quickly, diluting the espresso to make an instant iced Americano. Add a little cream and you've got caffeinated heaven in 3 minutes.

The Bad

  • Operational Time

    The AeroPress can technically make a cup of coffee in about 30 seconds. However, that is from the time you pour the hot water into the chamber. If you factor in heating the water and pouring in the coffee grounds, it will probably take you about the same amount of time that a single coffee maker would.

    However, unlike a traditional push-the-button-and-walk-away coffee maker, the AeroPress requires manual labor. You'll have to stir the coffee grounds and push down the plunger. This means you can't do as much multi-tasking, but your coffee will taste approximately 2.7 times better. It's your call.

  • Size

    One limitation that could be a deal breaker for some folks is the size. The AeroPress can make up a double shot of espresso, which translates to about 2-3 cups of regular coffee (depending on your strength preference). For more than 2 coffee drinkers in the same house, this could be a problem.

  • Non-Programmable

    Many of today's coffee makers are programmable. You can add coffee and water the night before and have it ready exactly when you want it. As we discussed above, the AeroPress requires manual labor which means no fancy timer.

  • Difficult to Get Espresso Foam

    Extreme espresso extraordinaires would probably balk at the AeroPress's espresso. Real espresso is supposed to have a caramel-colored foam at the top. AeroPress will get you a little foam, but not quite like the foam created by $1,000 machines.

    No foam I've ever come across is worth $1,000, so I'm perfectly happy with the AeroPress's end product. Lovers of straight espresso may be slightly disappointed, however.

The Verdict

I really enjoy my AeroPress. It's a lot of fun experimenting with different coffee concoctions and trying to replicate Starbucks' $5 espresso drinks. If you're someone who drinks an entire coffee pot every morning or doesn't want to sacrifice the push-button convenience of a coffee maker - the AeroPress probably isn't for you. If you're anyone else, I would highly recommend the AeroPress.

Disclaimer: This is not a paid review, but there are affiliate links on this site. I don't review products that I have not used or have not been 100% satisfied with. I've done my best to give you the good and the bad.

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