Is it an inefficient turkey baster? A giant syringe? Something less suitable for work? No, it's the AeroPress, a coffee brewer which uses nothing more than water, coffee, and a little of your own elbow grease to make a delicious cup.
All the rage in Europe and mysteriously unsung on its own shores, the AeroPress is the sole non-athletic gadget manufactured by the team who brought us the Aerobie Flying Ring, and is one of the most versatile, portable ways to brew a delicious single cup of coffee. As it is lightweight, small, and requires no electricity, all you need is a source of hot water to make coffee pretty much anywhere. (We have reports of barista competitors on overseas flights actually making their AeroPresses on the plane, but that sounds like it could get messy.)
The AeroPress' relatively youthful status in the lineage of coffee brewers means recipes on how best to brew are constantly in the making—and inventing your own may be just as good as following an existing method. To this end, the World Aeropress Championship was established in 2008 in in Norway to celebrate the versatile brewer and those who brew it inventively—a niche sector, to say the least.
What You'll Need:
Water, coffee, AeroPress, AeroPress paper filters (or Coava DISK filter), paddle or spoon.
Coffee dose: 16 grams or approximately 2 heaping tablespoons
What To Do:
Step 1: Premoisten Aeropress filter by placing it in the "cap" part of the press and rinsing over a cup.
Step 2: Begin boiling water and grind your coffee, somewhere between what you'd do for drip and for French press but leaning to the coarser side. Put the Aeropress upside down with the plunger extended to the "4", and pour coffee inside. NB: If you spill coffee grounds into the channel where you will screw the filter top onto the press, you will not be able to make a firm seal and will get coffee absolutely everywhere when you flip it back over. Make sure to pour your coffee grounds in neatly, and if you mess up, blow or rinse the coffee out before brewing.
Step 3: Wait for water to cool down just a little off the boil—we're aiming for 197-203° F, which can be achieved quickly by simply decanting the water into a measuring cup to measure out your 170 ml dose of water.
Step 4: Add water and stir, and steep for two minutes.
Step 5: Stir once more, screw top and filter onto Aeropress and carefully invert over top of a right-sized sturdy cup. Press down firmly until you almost hear the air escape—and serve.
Notes: Since the AeroPress makes such an excellent portable brewer, you may want to look into a portable grinder to make your mobile coffee taste even better. The Hario Ceramic Slim is a wonderful hand-held ceramic burr grinder that is about the same size as the AeroPress.
Extra credit: The internet is full of interesting AeroPress techniques to play with, the most unusual collection residing at the World Aeropress Championship Recipes page. Peruse championship-level recipes from around the world, and choose the one you like the most!