In my pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee, I am always on the lookout for interesting ways to make coffee while on the road or an extended ski tour. A true coffee addict (and snob), I always travel with some level of coffee making apparatus and some quality beans in case I need a fix.
My default apparatus of choice is a simple cone (preferably a #2) filter set-up. This system is reliable and makes an excellent single cup of coffee. It is light and easy to pack on a multi-day ski tour or road trip. And it requires nothing more than coffee,hot water and a paper filter.
Recently, I was turned on to a cool new coffee making tool that may well replace my standard cone filter set-up, the Aeropress Coffee Maker. It is a simple espresso style coffee system, and it makes an excellent cup of coffee. It is light and very packable. It is also unique in its brewing method.
Using a small paper filter and an espresso style coffee filter basket, the Aeropress pushes hot water and grounds into the filter basket using its plunger. Unlike a French press, the Aeropress plunger forms a tight seal and it is air that actually pushes the forces the water through the filter.
In the end, you are left with an espresso style puck in the filter basket, a great cup of coffee and very little clean-up, as the plunger completely flushes the aeropress cylinder. The small paper filter allows no grounds into your cup, so you have a completely grit-free cup of coffee.
I have been using it to make an Americano style cup where I essentially brew a double shot of espresso and then top up my cup with hot water. I am a harsh critic of a poorly made cup of coffee, and the Aeropress coffee maker brews an excellent cup. It is not a pro-level shop made Americano, but it is smooth and tastes great. It is a smooth, supercharged version of a good cup of drip. The Aeropress appears to be similar to a French press, but the process is actually pretty different, and the cup of coffee better.
In addition, the Aeropress is very portable and super simple to use. At 7.5 ounces, it weighs more than a cone filter, but the lack of a messy filter post brewing is a nice bonus. The small paper disc filter from the Aeropress is easy to deal with.
The Aeropress Coffee Maker is available online including through Amazon - cost is around $30. Sure, I may be addicted to caffeine, but at least it is legal, inexpensive and readily available...