In the previous post, a critical boat system–coffee making–failed in such dramatic fashion (twice) that, months later, I am still cleaning grounds from between the floor boards. Once home this launched a search for the perfect boat brewer, whose requirements are:
One could complain that these posts are much ado about nothing, that instant coffee crystals are the one-and-done solution for adventurers whose galley counters are predictably unstable. Sure. Except for the above point number four.
Consider for a moment the de-gustibus-non-est-disputandum principle. H. W. Tillman states, “comfort cannot be expected by those who go a pleasuring,” yet his small crews always included a cook, and many lines of story were dedicated to this or that exemplary pudding “fit for a glass case.” Willie de Roos might be on watch 48 hours straight during his 1977 transit of the Northwest Passage, yet when finally at anchor, he’d bake a loaf of bread before hitting his bunk. At the other end of the spectrum, Webb Chiles ate his oatmeal raw because the extra mastication this necessitated gave him something to do.
Which is to say that there is just no accounting for taste.
AeroPress is tested here…
How it Works
The AeroPress kit includes eight items: 1) Plunger, 2) Chamber, 3) Filter Cap, 4) Funnel, 5) Filters, 6) Filter Holder, 7) Scoop, 8) Stirrer. Oh, and a carrying case. For those concerned with efficiency, let me say quickly that the stirrer, the scoop, the funnel, and the filter holder can be discarded.
First, insert a paper filter into the filter cap and attach the cap to the bottom of the chamber.
Next, add grounds. The numbers along the side of the chamber indicate hot water fill levels. To make espresso, for example, add one scoop of fine grounds and fill with hot water to level one. Here I am adding two scoops of grounds for a “regular American” coffee.
Place the chamber atop a pre-heated cup and fill with hot water. Here I am filling to level four.
The online tutorial calls for stirring the grounds for 10 seconds. Note that filtered coffee will immediately begin to drain through the paper filter and into the cup, so my preference is to stir only briefly and then…
…quickly insert the plunger onto the top of the chamber. The rubber stopper on the plunger creates a vacuum in the chamber, which stops filtration and allows the grounds to steep.
I steep the grounds for at least one minute before pressing the coffee into the cup.
Result: filling to level four produces about 10 ounces of brewed coffee. Top off with hot water if a greater quantity of hot beverage is desired.
Cleanup: grounds are compressed into a hockey puck at the bottom of the chamber for easy ejection.
One advantage of the AeroPress is the brew flexibility it allows. The quantity of grounds can be varied to taste, meaning the AeroPress can produce anything from espresso to an American coffee with the consistency of tea (or tea, for that matter).
This flexibility has given rise to all kinds of published recipes and brewing competitions. One innovation I found particularly interesting was inverting the device and pouring the water in the chamber before adding the filter cap. This stops pre-steeped coffee from making its way prematurely through the filter. For example…
Another is the manual lever kit that has some obvious boating applications.
So, how does the AeroPress stack up against our objectives?
The AeroPress makes an excellent cup of coffee that’s easily customized to one’s taste, but fails the stability and captivity tests and would be difficult to use as sea.
The AeroPress is available from the usual suppliers and the kit is typically under $30.