I traveled a lot at a former job, training cafes how to use their new espresso machines. But no matter how much caffeine I was going to down later that day, I would start every morning in the hotel room, by myself, with a cup of coffee and reflection. And since hotel coffee is rarely worth the trip down to the lobby, I brought my Aeropress everywhere I went.
It’s easy to fall in love with the Aeropress: its small, cylindrical chamber is perfect for brewing one cup at a time. And because it’s designed around a filter cap, a chamber, and a plunger, it can make espresso-style coffee, plunger-assisted drip coffee, and even brew immersion-style coffee—just flip it upside down. Since every part of the Aeropress is made from plastic, it’s also lightweight enough to toss into your bag for travel (you'll impress everyone at your campsite, just saying).
Personally, I really like using it with the Fellow Prismo attachment. While the standard Aeropress cap has an array of holes that lets the coffee drip through as it’s brewing, the Prismo adds a pressurized valve that holds everything in the top chamber until you press it down with a plunger. It’s a great way to turn your Aerorpess into an immersion brewer (like a French press) without having to invert it. Plus, the Prismo comes with a reusable metal filter (so you don’t have to remember to pack the paper ones). And if you’re really always on the move, there’s also the Aeropress Go, which features a travel case and a cup (though the chamber is a little smaller).
Even though I work from home now, the Aeropress is still my go-to afternoon brewer, and I enjoy taking my freshly brewed cup to a comfy chair and enjoying the quiet ritual of sipping it—just like all those pre-dawn hotel mornings.
To buy: Aeropress, $40 at amazon.com; Aeropress Go, $40 at amazon.com
Good to Know
- Materials: Plastic, silicone
- Weight: 8 ounces
- Brewing capacity: 10 ounces
- Surface diameter: 6 centimeters
- Base diameter: 9.5 centimeters
- Length: 17 centimeters
Does the Aeropress make espresso?
While the Aeropress does use pressure to brew coffee, it can’t generate the same amount of pressure that an espresso machine does. Filter caps with a pressurized valve (like the Fellow Prismo or the one Aeropress now makes themselves) can build more pressure for a stronger espresso-style coffee, but it’s still not technically an espresso shot (even if it’s delicious).
Is an Aeropress better than a French press?
There are big advantages to both the Aeropress and a French press for brewing coffee, but the main difference is volume. The Aeropress maxes out around eight ounces of total brew volume, while many French presses are at least 32 ounces. Most French presses are also made from glass and are fragile, however, so while a French press might be better when brewing for a crowd, the near-indestructible Aeropress is great for travel and brewing one cup for yourself.