Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Amazing coffee flavor, brews espresso complete with crema, very portable for such a gourmet result, simple cleanup.
Cons: A lot of little pieces to keep track of, on the heavy side for backpacking.
Best Uses: Camping, traveling, everyday use.
What kind of coffee drinker are you? Do you drink flavored coffee or content yourself with Folgers every morning? Or are you the type who only drinks espresso brewed by a properly trained barista but would rather grind and brew coffee fresh at your own house, just the way you like it? If you are the latter type, then the AeroPress is for you. The distinct winner of our taste tests, the AeroPress narrowly missed winning our Editor's Choice award because its weight and multiple pieces makes it more difficult to bring along on camping excursions than the HarioV60 Plastic Dripper or the Melitta Ready Set Joe. Once you learn how to use the AeroPress, it is not very complicated, the clean-up is easy, and it allows you to brew a perfect cup every time. With its unique high pressure brew process, many a coffee fanatic has switched over to using this coffee maker whether outside or indoors.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The AeroPress is a unique coffee maker that uses a high pressure press resulting in essentially shots of espresso instead of a typical brewed coffee. Whereas many other coffee makers drip water into the center of a bed of grounds, under-brewing at the edges, the AeroPress uniformly extracts coffee from the grounds to provide a rich, bitterness-free coffee.
The coffee from this maker has a low-acidity and extremely clean, rich taste. In our taste tests this maker outperformed all the others.
Ease of Use
Unfortunately, the AeroPress involves a more elaborate process than any of the other coffee makers. Here are quick step-by-step instructions; more detailed information comes with the maker or can be found on their website.
1. Insert microfilter into cap.
2. Screw cap onto chamber.
3. Place chamber on cup.
4. Add coffee. (One scoop for each desired shot of espresso.)
5. Add hot water. (To the fill line corresponding to the number of scoops.)
6. Stir for 10 seconds.
7. Press gently until all water has been pushed through.
8. Either drink as espresso, add milk for a latte, or hot water for an Americano.
The press by itself weighs 7.98 ounces, which isn't exactly lightweight. If you include the extras, like the spoon and the stirrer, then it weighs 9.39 ounces. This would not be the choice for a backpacker who is limiting the pounds. But for a car-camper who wants a gourmet morning, this is perfect.
It is not all that large or heavy, so the AeroPress is portable. However, it is made up of multiple little pieces that can be hard to keep track of. To make it easy to keep everything together when heading on a camping trip, the Press even comes with a bag to keep all of the pieces in.
This press is so wonderful that our reviewer uses it for making coffee every day at home. It also works well for car-camping or traveling, but is not ideal for backpackers.
During this coffee maker test we went to some professionals for advice. We questioned the roaster, barista, and owner of Black Velvet Coffee in Mammoth Lakes, CA, to discover his favorite method for serving up caffeine while camping. Turns out he uses the AeroPress. It allows you to use exact amounts of coffee and water, which results in a pure tasting coffee. Also it has an easy cleanup, unlike a French Press. I bring this with me when I travel overseas to ensure that I can get good coffee wherever I am.
For $30, this is much more expensive than some of the other camping coffee makers on the market. However, it provides you with the best tasting coffee of all of them, so it can be worth it. The AeroPress is the same price as the GSI Personal Press, but it is a better tasting, easier-to-clean system.
— McKenzie Long
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Most recent review: April 26, 2013
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