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Rise of the Aeropress

The Aeropress is becoming a favoured instrument of choice when it comes to coffee perfection and single cup brewing. It’s become a significant part of the Melbournecoffee scene in recent times and is popular among coffee purists. It looks like a plunger but operates more like an espresso machine. We note the rise of the Aeropress.

Why is it so popular? Firstly the amazing flavours it produces. The best coffee. The first (and second and third) consideration for most coffee lovers. Secondly the simplicity of the process. That means you are more likely to keep using it. And you can use it even when you’re half asleep. Thirdly it is easy to clean – just a rinse. Fourthly the waste can be composted – environmental considerations are paramount these days (technically the paper filter can be used a few times).

The Aeropress is a plastic, simple device with 3 main components - but is remarkable in how it brings out coffee complexity. For something plastic (and not stainless steel) it’s amazing. The advantage over drip techniques is less acidity and bitterness. A great balance and clarity of flavours. And a total 30 second brewing time!

Serious coffee establishments around Melbourne stock the Aeropress – just visit the site

Invented in 2005 by Alan Adler of Aerobie (who also make toys), the device is steeped for about 10 seconds then passed through a microfilter. It comes out as espresso strength coffee. It consists of two cylinders, a smaller cylinder with rubber which fits into a larger cylinder to create an airtight seal, similar to a syringe. Alan Adler wanted the results of the French Press but with less acidic flavours.

Fine ground coffee (slightly more than some methods, about 20g for 160ml) is placed into the larger cylinder on top of the paper microfilter (grind should be about the same as a drip filter). Hot water (not long off the boil) is then poured over the coffee. The mixture is stirred and allowed to steep for only 10 seconds (much quicker than other filter techniques). For a stronger brew the steep time can be up to 1 ½ minutes. Then it is forced through the microfilter using pressure by forcing the second cylinder downwards.

The conventional approach leaves much of the oil in the press but there are inverted Aeropress techniques which expel the oils. The inverted method is favoured by past winners of The Aeropress World Championships. Check out YouTube clips such as

As I said, cleaning is easy with the Aeropress – just pull apart and rinse in hot water. Grounds and the paper filter can be composted.

You can get Aeropress in the US for under USD30 a unit but its more expensive here in Melbourne.

As every home should have a decent espresso machine, there’s a case that every home should have an Aeropress.