First came the French Press in the early ‘20s— a revolutionary device of its time. Then Alan Adler invented the AeroPress in 2005—and the coffee industry has been singing ballads of its awesomeness ever since. Now, there is a new ‘Press in town (the It’s American Press)—and it has bold claims that seem to call out its suffix-sharing counterparts. To settle the score, JayArr coffee set out to pit the three ‘Presses against each other.
What is the It’s American Press?
The American Press is a nifty device that made its debut in 2016. The idea of this ingenious device was born out of the frustrations of a college student who grew tired of cleaning out grounds from the bottom of his French Press.
Admit it; we all love a cup of French Press coffee—the appliance always has made a reliable cup of coffee that was relatively simple to brew. However, cleaning a French Press can be a pain! The It’s American Press seeks to highlight the advantages of French Press brewing without the ensuing mess.
It’s American Press consists of three main components:
- The flask – holds all the water.
- A Glass Pod – holds the coffee grounds and it’s fitted with a metal mesh filter-basket (100-micron).
- The piston – for plunging.
How Does the It’s American Press Work?
The American Press takes an innovative yet simple approach to brewing—which makes you wonder how on earth it never crossed anyone’s mind. Essentially, it’s a re-invention of the French Press (the outwards appearances are even similar).
However, unlike the French Press—which leaves a rather unsightly coffee sludge—the American Press utilizes a filter basket that keeps all the mess in one place. As the piston (attached to the pod containing the coffee grounds) is pushed into the water flask, the water is forced into the pod, creating a pressurized environment. As you push, water passes through the grounds into the upper section—extracting coffee along the way. The metal mesh filter effectively prevents the coffee grounds from passing into the brewed coffee.
As an immersion-brewing technique, the extraction is largely determined by how long the coffee grounds are exposed to water. The It’s American Press even allows you to pre-infuse the coffee—much like blooming the grounds—before plunging!
But how does it fare in comparison to the other Presses? Is the It’s American Press better than the AeroPress and French Press? Read on for a side-by-side comparison of the three apparatuses.
Our Experience with the It’s American Press
When you think about it, finding the best coffee maker relates to finding the right balance of overall convenience and the taste of the resulting brew. For this reason, our review and judgment were primarily based on these two factors.
To start off our experiment, we dug a little into the It’s American Press website and uncovered their recommended recipe for brewing with the coffee maker. According to the manufacturer’s instructions, the It’s American Press brews 14 ounces (roughly 400 ml) at a time—with a brewing time of 2-3 minutes.
- Coffee: Medium-coarse grind of medium-roast coffee. A fine grind may create too much resistance when pressing (as it clogs the filter basket). For our tasting experiment, we went with a nice fresh bag of Costa Rican coffee.
- Hot Water: Roughly 355 ml. Please note that the manufacturer does not explicitly state the optimum water temperature.
- It’s American Press
- Coffee mug
- Add the coffee to the glass pod. (PS: Although the manufacturer states that we should use 20-24 grams of coffee grounds to fill up the pod, we found out that it can only comfortably fit 15-20 grams).
- Add the hot water to the max line on the flask. For our experiment, we used 93 degrees Celsius (200 degrees Fahrenheit)—which is the common brewing temperature for immersion brewing.
- Attach the plunger to the water flask.
- Press the plunger gently until you see the first drop of coffee roll over the top.
- As per the manufacturer’s recipe, you should pre-infuse for 30-120 seconds. We went for the lower figure as we basked in the enchanting aroma of our coffee as it off-gassed.
- After 30 seconds of pre-infusing the coffee, press the plunger gently for between 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Based on our research, we discovered the brew gets better the longer you press—and that’s exactly what we did. (PS: If you encounter any resistance while pushing down the plunger, lift it a couple of inches and press again).
- When the plunger hits the base and the coffee is fully extracted, pour into a cup, and enjoy.
Comparison with other the AeroPress and French Press
For accurate results, all other factors were held constant aside from the coffee makers—i.e., we used the same type of coffee grounds and water temperature.
- AeroPress (1st Place): As typical of the AeroPress, it seemed to extract all the right fruity flavors and oils you’d expect from high-quality beans. The cup was volatile, clean, bright, and lively. It had a ‘zing’ that shifted vividly on your palate. In other words, we thoroughly enjoyed the AeroPress brew.
- It’s American Press (2nd Place): Unlike what we sampled in the French Press, the It’s American Press did not have any woody tones or texture. The cup was smooth with little acidity and a thick mouthfeel. It extracted a lot of the flavor, but we couldn’t help but feel it was “missing out” on the full experience.
- French Press (3rd Place): The cup was solid but it had a slightly woody overtone—which often characterizes coffee that has been immersed for too long or over-extracted. The mouthfeel was thick as typical of a French Press brew. The flavor was not unpleasant, but it didn’t fully bring out the potential of the Costa Rican beans. Some of the nuanced flavors that characterize the coffee just didn’t come out as seen in the other two devices.
- It’s American Press (1st Place): In all honesty, we were pretty impressed with the overall convenience of the It’s American Press. The appliance is drip-free, it’s surprisingly easy to use, and cleaning is a walk in the park. Just pull out the pod and wash it the same way as your coffee cup.
- AeroPress (2nd Place): Generally—and in comparison to most coffee makers—the AeroPress is quite convenient. However, it has several moving parts that need some extra attention while cleaning.
- French Press (3rd Place): This was a no-brainer! The French Press takes ages to clean out and the grounds tend to get stuck at the bottom—not to mention the mess they leave all over your sink (*grunts).
Verdict – A Hit or Miss?
What we Loved About the It’s American Press – Pros
- Eco-friendly: Right from cardboard packaging, you can tell that the American Press company is dedicated to environmental efforts. The 100-micron filter also leaves a lower environmental footprint than disposable coffee filters.
- Easy to Clean: Its convenience is easily the coffee maker’s main selling point. Assembling, disassembling, and cleaning the American Press requires little-to-no hassle.
- Enjoyable Brewing Experience: The design of the device is simply well thought-out and creative. Plus, watching the contrast between coffee and water as you plunge is quite visually-appealing.
- Portable: The device is compact enough to fit in your office bag or backpack for a camping trip.
- Quality of the brew: According to the advertisement of the product, it’s touted to brew better coffee than the French Press. While it effectively backs up this claim, it doesn’t quite live up to the level of the AeroPress. Either way, we enjoyed the sediment-free and full-bodied coffee.
What we Didn’t Love – Cons
- Capacity: 14 ounces per brew leaves a lot to be desired—that’s barely two cups (obviously not sufficient for groups or coffee enthusiasts).
- Costly: The It’s American Press retails at around $80—in comparison to its closest competitors (the AeroPress) at $30.
Taking all these factors into consideration, the It’s American Press got our thumbs up. If you’re purchasing decision is hinged on convenience, you can’t go wrong with the device—grab yourself an It’s American Press. However, if you’re primary goal is to find a coffee maker that gets the best extraction out of your beans, you may want to stick with an AeroPress.