For many coffee lovers, the espresso is the ultimate cup of coffee because it perfectly highlights the flavor and aroma of coffee. Since a cup of espresso is only pure coffee and a layer of crema, you will be able to enjoy the full flavor of your beans without anything to dilute the flavor profile.
Indeed, the beauty of espresso is in its simplicity.
However, many people are not able to enjoy an espresso as often as they would like because it’s expensive to keep buying coffee from a café. And espresso machines aren’t exactly cheap, either. What’s more, learning how to pull a shot of espresso properly takes time, patience, and practice.
So, what do you do if you want to enjoy espresso without spending too much and without having to be your own barista?
Enter: the Aeropress. In this article, we’ll find out what an Aeropress is, how it works. If you can make espresso in an Aeropress, that’s comparable to one made with an espresso machine.
What is an Aeropress?
An Aeropress is a handheld machine that’s used to create espresso and espresso-based drinks. It is a small tube with a screw-on cap that contains the filter.
Using an Aeropress is simple. Here is a simple step-by-step tutorial on how to use an Aeropress:
- Place the microfilter in the cap and screw it on the Aeropress chamber
- Fill the Aeropress chamber with your preferred coffee grounds. Use the included scoop to measure your grounds properly.
- Fill the Aeropress chamber with hot water until the indicated level.
- Mix the coffee grounds and water with the stirrer until the grounds are thoroughly saturated.
- Press down the plunger through the chamber, forcing the water through the grounds and filter.
- Enjoy your freshly brewed espresso or mix with it other ingredients such as heated milk or hot water to produce espresso-based drinks.
Benefits of an Aeropress
Here are benefits to using an Aeropress:
- Easy to use
- Portable and lightweight
- Extremely compact
- Manually powered, no need for electricity
- Comes with own microfilters (350 pieces)
- Brews quickly
- Espressos have low acidity
- Can be used during camping or other outdoor activities
- Quick and easy cleanup
The basic Aeropress kit is priced at $29.95, although you can get the travel version for $31.95. You can also purchase extra microfilters and spare parts for your Aeropress directly from the manufacturer.
Aeropress vs. Stovetop Espresso
The Aeropress is an option for people who don’t want to spend money on an espresso machine. However, these people can also opt for making an espresso on their stovetop by using a device called a Moka pot.
A Moka pot is a stovetop coffee maker that’s basically a mini espresso machine because it also forces hot water through coffee grounds to produce espresso. The difference between an Aeropress and a Moka pot is that the former uses manual force to provide pressure while the latter uses steam.
While Moka pots are easier to use because it’s the steam that does the work, they are not as portable and easy to clean as an Aeropress. What’s more, many Moka pots don’t use microfilters, which can lead to stronger, more acidic espressos.
Aeropress vs. Espresso Machine
Now, what if you do have the budget for an espresso machine?
There are several features that espresso machines have, which you cannot find in an Aeropress. Espresso machines produce a minimum of 9 bars, with higher-end models being able to produce at least 12 bars or more. What’s more, espresso machines are designed to heat up the water precisely. Espresso machines use mesh filters, which allow for better extraction. Finally, many espresso machines have a built-in milk frother that enables you to heat milk and create milk foam.
All of these features work together to produce a cup of espresso that’s rich, flavorful and has that distinct crema layer on top.
So, Does the Aeropress Stack Up to an Espresso Machine?
Simply put, a legitimate espresso machine will outperform an Aeropress. There are several technical reasons why an Aeropress does not produce espresso at the same quality level as an espresso machine.
First, espresso machines are designed to heat the water to a precise temperature. If you are using an Aeropress, chances are that you won’t be able to regulate the temperature of your water. Thus, you might end up with water that’s not as hot as an espresso requires, and you’ll end up with an under-extracted cup of espresso.
Second, espresso machines produce at least 9 bars of pressure, which translates to around 640 pounds of pressure. The high amount of pressure is necessary to extract the full flavor and aroma of your coffee grounds. By comparison, an Aeropress will only produce around .35 to .75 bars of pressure, which is only around 25-50 pounds of pressure. The significant decrease of pressure means that you won’t be able to extract nearly as much flavor and aroma from your beans.
Finally, the high amount of pressure is also necessary to produce crema. This is why an Aeropress cannot possibly produce any crema. The best that you can produce with an Aeropress is a thin layer of foam, but it is not the same layer of crema that’s produced with an actual espresso machine. Know more about making espressos.
Some Final Thoughts from the Earl
Now that you know how an Aeropress works and how it stacks up against Moka pots and real espresso machines, let’s go back to the original question: can you make espresso in an Aeropress? Technically, the answer is no. You won’t be able to produce a genuine cup of espresso because you lack the temperature control and amount of pressure required, and you won’t be able to create the crema layer. However, if you’re in a pinch and you need a cup of quick espresso, the Aeropress can still create an acceptable cup of espresso. While you do sacrifice some flavor and aroma (and do away with the crema layer altogether), the Aeropress makes up for it because of its portability, ease of use, and convenience.