Dave Roberts reviews the Aerobie Aeropress coffee maker, on top of Wales’ second highest mountain…
If you’ve read some of the articles on this site, then you’ve probably realised that we’ve got a bit of a coffee fixation. Making that perfect cup of coffee on the hill is our holy grail (well, one of them!) and we may finally have found the solution.
While the Aerobie Aeropress has been around for a while, there was so much hype and evangelistic praise surrounding it that we thought it was a) produced by Apple, and b) would never, ever live up to that hype. Well, we were wrong on both counts, though it does bear a passing resemblance to the new Mac Pro.
What you get on opening the box is, obviously, the Aeropress, 350 filters, a coffee scoop, a stirrer and a funnel. Of these, you’ll only need the Aeropress and the filters on the hill. The Aeropress is simplicity itself to use. Put a filter paper into the holder which then twists to fit into the Aeropress. Place as much coffee as you deem necessary into the tube, a couple of scoops seems enough to make reasonably strong espresso but it obviously depends on your coffee and taste. Give the water and grounds a quick stir, and within 10 seconds you place the plunger in and slowly force it down. Unlike using a cafetiére, you actually use some force to do this. Within 20 seconds you’ve got just enough coffee for one (with a second mug in the offing easily done afterwards).
According to Aeropress:
[this] is an entirely new way to make coffee … AeroPress brews simply delicious coffee, 1-4 cups per pressing. Ideal water temperature and faster brewing yields rich flavour with lower acidity and without bitterness. Other brewing processes use near boiling water and long exposure to coffee grounds. Quickly brew a variety of coffee drinks including an Americano or an espresso-style shot for use in lattes or cappuccinos. Its total-immersion system permits extraction at a moderate temperature and a short brew time. Water and grounds are mixed together for 10 seconds, then gentle air pressure pushes the mix through a micro-filter in just 20 seconds, which avoids the bitterness of long processes such as drip brewing. The air pressure also gently squeezes the last goodness from the grounds, further enriching the flavour. The total brewing time of only 30 seconds results in an exceptionally smooth brew.
And the coffee? You may need to experiment with the quantity of grounds needed, but we found 2 scoops to be sufficient for a cup of coffee that was equally as good as that produced with our stove top espresso maker and head and shoulders above that made in a press. While there’s meant to be an optimum temperature for brewing, we’re buggered if we were going to get the thermometer out, and found that hot water just off the boil worked fine. I’ve been drinking Aeropress coffee in the morning, and cafetiére coffee in the afternoon and the latter just tastes bitter in comparison.
So the press works in a domestic environment, and will turn heads as you make your mid morning cuppa at work. But on the hill? As it’s constructed from thick plastic It doesn’t weigh too much 235g, and is actually a sligtly lighter option than taking a small stove top espresso maker. That’s for the coffee press only, we don’t thing you’d need the rest of the paraphernalia on the hill, so we’ve ignored them. While you will need a filter for each cup of coffee you intend to produce, you can easily carry a load of them with your coffee. They cost about a penny apiece, with packs of 350 around £4. We received 700 filters with our Aeropress, so we’ll be OK for a year or so.
The only thing you’ll need is a level, rigid surface in order to rest your mug while you produce the coffee. We found that you did need to give it some welly to make coffee, something more difficult to do while lying down in the tent than bent over the Aeropress. It’s hardly that much hard work, but it does mean you need to take care not to send the lot flying and the only result being the sad sight of a desperate wild camper sucking futilely at a patch of damp, coffee stained mountain turf.
Overall, this may be the best solution for decent wild camping coffee. You can shell out for disposable grower’s Cup filter pouches, but that soon get’s pricey. While an espresso maker is bulky, if not much heavier. This has the advantage of an innately packable shape, with room inside for enough coffee to last a short trip. You’ll more likely than not find this being ‘pressed’ into service wherever you drink coffee, and in that respect it works out as good value for money. For the caffeine dependent wild camper with taste buds, this is highly recommended! We’d give this 6 stars if we could!