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Aeropress coffee maker review

22 Oct 2019
Verdict:

Cyclists are self-confessed coffee snobs and the Aeropress can ensure a good cup anywhere in the world

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Small and compact • Robust • Easy to clean • Makes tasty coffee
Against 
Only makes a cup at a time • Still need to buy good coffee

The Aeropress coffee maker makes a lot of sense for us cyclists. We are a snobbish crowd, admittedly, when it comes to a good cup of Joe. We drink so much of the stuff to keep us pedalling the cranks that we can tell the difference between barista-quality and dreaded instant. We also expect the best coffee at all times, too.

At face value, the Aeropress is a little gimmicky and an indulgence rather than a necessity but so is most cyclists' approach to coffee, myself included.

Some of us would tolerate an instant coffee or a cup of brew seeped out of a hotel coffee machine, rather than the faff of making your own stuff. But for those who are not, or are just simply interested in improving their coffee experience while on the go, the Aeropress could be a nifty, cost-effective option.

Practicality

I admit, I was for a long time happy to grin and bear a cup of instant coffee from various hotel rooms or AirBnbs while on riding trips as, after all, bad coffee is better than no coffee. But after using the Aeropress, I do believe it offers a legitimate solution to bad coffee without a massive amount hassle.

The grey plastic used in construction looks basic but all the parts seem incredibly robust. Pulling and pushing at all the parts I thought seemed weak, the material barely budged, making me confident this could survive even the gnarliest baggage handlers or bikepacking trips.

All the components - plunger, stirrer and measuring scoop - pack down nice and neatly, barely taking any room in a holdall, backpack or pannier. All the parts detach and reattach for cleaning and it’s incredibly light, meaning it will barely be noticed when chucked in your backpack before departure. Plus, all the components can be bought separately from the Aeropress online store if damaged or lost, too.

Buy the Aeropress coffee maker from Amazon

What about the bikepackers? This sector of our society that’s growing and growing with every handlebar bag release. More and more riders are opting to go off-road and off the grid to find more exciting, safer ways of exploring by bike.

Surely they would bite off a hand for a way of making good black coffee via a packable, light process.

Ease of use

Making coffee is a science, so I’m told by Cyclist deputy editor Stu Bowers. He says it involves a lot of weighing ground coffee and checking water temperatures, making it seem as if you need to spend three years at Oxford to get your head around it.

Thankfully, because the Aeropress was the brainchild of Alan Alder - the man who famously invented the Aerobie, a frisbee that recorded the world’s longest ever flight - the science needed to use the Aeropress is more GCSE than Masters degree.

All you do is place a paper filter into the black plastic disc, attach it to the water chamber and place over your mug. Add your ground coffee, pour in your boiling water and give it a stir. Let it brew for a bit and then plunge the coffee out.

It essentially mimics the process of a cafetiere, just pouring that coffee straight into the cup rather than containing it in a large, fragile glass jug.

That, however, is also the biggest drawback. The Aeropress can only make one coffee at a time.

So while it’s neat, packable and doesn’t get in the way, if you are making coffees for multiple people before setting off on your ride, it will take time reloading with coffee and filter papers for each cup. I mean, it doesn't take ages to make multiple cups, but it’s not as quick as simply stirring some granules around your mug.

And just because it’s easy to use, that does not guarantee you a great-tasting cup of coffee, either. You still need to buy good ground coffee (which you can buy here) and use limescale-free water, the latter being potentially unavoidable if you’re pouring from an old hotel tap, but you can guarantee that it’ll probably still taste better than instant.

It’s also worth noting that the Aeropress only really works for lovers of ‘Americanos’ too. Of course, you can add a dash of milk but if you’d rather a morning cappuccino or latte, you’ll need to rely on a purpose-built machine or a barista.

Cleaning

Being made from a PBA-free plastic material, the Aeropress is also easy to clean, something I found to be a bonus when using in basic hotel rooms with limited facilities.

All the components separate, including the rubber attached to the bottom of the plunger, and the material is as such that the coffee does not seem to stain even if you do not give it a wipe immediately after use. You are also helped by the fact that the airtight rubber plunger brings away the residue coffee, effectively performing a self-clean, too.

Buy the Aeropress coffee maker from Amazon

It meant that on a recent trip riding in the Alps where I stayed in a ski lodge, which was basically just a bed and a toilet, I could make myself a good cup of coffee pre-ride, flog myself for a day in the mountains and then come back to a quick and easy clean that only required a rinse of water and a wipe.

I could imagine being 'easy clean' would also suit the bikepacking crowd who certainly need the caffeine kick after a night of wild camping in a field but are not necessarily within reach of the fairy liquid for a few days.

Essentially, the Aeropress is the ultimate luxury. But at less than £30, it’s not a massive outlay and gives you the tools needed to make a decent cup of coffee wherever you may be and banish that devilishly terrible instant stuff from your life forever.

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Price: 
£27.99

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