What is the Aeropress? And How/Why Should You Use It?

A set of tubes and a filter- utilizing air, pressure and hot water to extract coffee.  This is the AeroPress!

Aeropress parts

It may be surprising to learn that this coffee press of the future, the AeroPress, was actually invented by the same man who invented a super Frisbee disc of sorts (Alan Adler). His coffee press is truly unique and lends itself to some intriguing techniques and styles of brewing. Let’s check it out!

For your information, if you click on a product on Jayarrcoffee.com and decide to buy it, we may earn a small commission.

What is the Aeropress?

The Aeropress is essentially configured like a big syringe (no needles, though!).  Coffee grounds are immersed in a reservoir for hot (~205 degrees F) water for about a minute and, afterwards, pushed with a plunger through an attached paper filter into a coffee cup.

Aeropress plunge

The AeroPress is regularly contrasted with the French press, with which it shares a few attributes. But- a few qualities set it apart:

Initially, the Aeropress uses a much finer (medium-fine) grind as opposed to the coarser grind used by a French Press.  In concert with this finer grind, the Aeropress uses paper filters which strains out almost all of the dregs that you often get with a French Press.

Aeropress filter holder

The Aeropress also brews quicker and more evenly than a French Press due to the use of pressure, reducing the acidity of the resulting coffee and yielding a smoother flavor.

Additionally, the Aeropress is quite cheap (~$30), compact, and durable- making it a great option for travel.  It is also remarkably easy to clean- unscrew the fliter holder, hold it over a trash can, eject the grounds, and then rinse the bottom.  Voila!

Aeropress clean

Personally, it has become my preferred coffee making device.  A French Press doesn’t achieve quite the smooth flavor an Aeropress does and pour over can often feel both frustrating and unreliable.  In contrast, the Aeropress allows you to reliably make a great cup of coffee both quickly and easily.

Using the Aeropress: 2 Methods

Instruction Manual/Traditional Method

This is the “default” method of AeroPress brewing. Its name simply refers to the fact that this is the manufacturer suggested method of using the AeroPress. But don’t confuse this style as being “basic” or “boring” by any means. The “traditional” method can still serve up some exquisite coffee.

Conventional Aeropress method

Inverted method

The popular Inverted method allows you to keep all of the water inside the reservoir during infusion.

Inverted Aeropress method

The AeroPress Championships

Since the inventor of the AeroPress also invented a type of Frisbee for competitive play, what would be the AeroPress without its own competitive displays of skill and mastery? Well, luckily, two enterprising young men decided to make a game of who could brew the tastiest cup of coffee via Aeropress but decided to make it somewhat official. Tim Williams and Tim Varney held the first World AeroPress Championship in 2008  in a small room in Oslo, Sweden. The competition had three total participants and an additional Tim- Tim Wendelboe- presiding as the first ever judge of this Herculean show of coffee power. Today, the World AeroPress Championship is held all over the world in 60 different countries, 120 different regions and features over 3000 competitors.

The competition has a multi-round elimination format. The pressure is on as three competitors at a time brew simultaneously. There are only 8 precious minutes per participant, so brew and present as fast as you can! A blind taste test decided by three different judges determine who moves on and who is eliminated

The rules are simple, although they are myriad. To try to be concise but not sacrifice any important info: 

-Competitors must use an authentic AeroPress, no other brewers. 

-Any sort of kettles or scales are acceptable.

-All the parts of the official AeroPress must also be used. 

-There are various rules covering the measurements and materials recognized during a competition. (for example, only coffee and water are to be used, no embellishments with sugar, etc.)

Initially, elimination rounds are held where 3 competitors square off with only the winner moving on.  As the number of competitors thins out, semi-final rounds determine who will advance to the final round to determine the World Aeropress Champion!

The benchmarks for judging are unusual. The judges are not permitted to deliberate and discuss and there no particular judging guidelines other than, “which of the three contender’s cups of espresso might you want to drink the most?”

After a count to three, the judges all point to their choice for best cup. However, when the judges all pick different cups, the Master of Ceremonies or a Head Judge steps in to make a final decision.  Overall, the competition has a less serious tone than others and successfully strikes a tone of celebration of coffee- and more specifically, the Aeropress.

Interested in seeing some winning recipes from the World AeroPress Championships? Check out our look at the last 5 winners here!

Jay Arr

Jay Arr is passionate about everything coffee. What began as a simple interest in the history, production, and brewing of coffee led him to a job as a barista at a national coffee chain. That’s not where Jay’s story with coffee ends, however. Roasting and brewing day in and out, he continued to gather knowledge about all things coffee.

Recent Posts