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Should you buy the Aeropress coffee maker?

Aldi is selling this cult handheld coffee maker for $34.99 in the lead-up to Father's Day - we put it to a quick test.

aeropress product lead
Last updated: 16 August 2019

CHOICE verdict

We conducted a simple taste test, comparing coffee made in the Aeropress with coffee made in a standard plunger. Note that we used pre-ground supermarket coffee, as the portable nature of the Aeropress suggests most people won't be grinding their beans just before using. Although it's quick and easy to use, we rated the resulting espresso poor overall (for comparison, the same coffee prepared in a plunger rated OK overall). Four of the five who sampled the coffee say the Aeropress espresso was watery. Some experimentation with the amount of water, brew time and grind of coffee may get you a better result. 

Price: $45 

The Aerobie Aeropress has a cult following among many caffeine addicts, who've elevated this handheld espresso maker to rock-star status. 

Online, you'll find coffee obsessives discussing how they achieved the perfect brew with this innovative gadget (there's even an unofficial timer app), and some rigorous debate about whether the Aeropress is really any better than a plunger – or, heaven forbid, a cup of decent instant stuff.

It's lightweight, easy to clean and portable, so it's often touted as a good option for coffee lovers to take camping, hiking or travelling.

How do you use it?

It's very simple to use: place a micro paper filter in the cap, twist it on the chamber and stand it over a mug.

Next, put two (or up to four) scoops of coffee in, then fill it with hot water up to the corresponding number of scoops – the instructions recommend 80°C for dark roasts, 85°C for light. Mix the coffee and water for ten seconds then press the plunger down using a gentle, steady motion for 20 to 30 seconds. 

Cleaning is easy too – it just takes a quick rinse.

How did we test it?

To test it, we used pre-ground supermarket coffee, figuring that most people who are using it will be on the go, and probably not grinding their own beans for it. 

A panel of five CHOICE staff sampled the resulting espresso, and rated it poor overall. For comparison purposes, we prepared the same coffee in a plunger, which the panel rated OK overall. Four of the five said the Aeropress espresso was watery. 

Most of the panel also observed a lack of crema and aroma to the espresso, with a couple declaring it bitter. From what the die-hard fans say, some experimentation with the amount of water and brew time may yield better results. Also, check out our readers' tips for using the Aeropress in the comments below – there are plenty of fans out there!

The type of coffee you use is also important – you may see better results and superior flavour if you use freshly ground coffee from a barista. Or, if you'd prefer to buy beans and grind your own, check out our coffee grinder reviews to ensure you're getting the best results. 

If you're after a drinkable coffee on the go, the Aeropress does the job, but we saw better results from a standard plunger. There are some cafes (mainly in Melbourne and Sydney) that are serving coffee made in an Aeropress, so you may want to pay them a visit to try it out before handing over your cash.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.