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Thread: Aeropress happy: do I even want a machine?

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    Aeropress happy: do I even want a machine?

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    I'm definitely a newbie in this high-powered forum, so my thoughts are probably extremely primitive. But anyway I've been a very happy AP user for several years. All the while I've assumed that getting at least a mid-range domestic machine would be the go for longterm coffee snobbery. I've been gearing up lately for taking that step (and have posted in the mid-range brewing equipment forum with that in mind).

    But after some scouring and reading of various topics around this forum, I'm starting to seriously wonder whether there's actually a good enough reason to do it. The AP is so compact; practically effortless to clean; well regarded by CSs for the brew quality it produces - and (so it appears?) with almost no learning curve; and has no mechanical parts to wear out, seize up, get blocked, leak, develop scaling, etc. If I now ask myself to justify the machine purchase, about the only honest answer I can dredge up is the milk frothing (which has never been an essential for me, anyway).

    So to put my question out there among you hardened CSs who hang out here . Just suppose I had rather more Scottish blood than I actually do have - if I were to say 'Geez guys, $500 sounds a lot of money to do coffee at home!' What you say to convince me to swap my AP for a machine? Really interested in your thoughts.

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    Senior Member deegee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eN0ch View Post
    So to put my question out there among you hardened CSs who hang out here …. Just suppose I had rather more Scottish blood than I actually do have - if I were to say 'Geez guys, $500 sounds a lot of money to do coffee at home!' … What you say to convince me to swap my AP for a machine? Really interested in your thoughts.
    Hello eN0ch, I'm not a hardened CS - I'm a relative newbie, but I'm going to jump in here anyway.

    I used a plunger to make my coffee for a long time, until I spent a month house-sitting for a relative who had a Sunbeam 4820. It took a little while to get it right, but before the month was up, I was hooked. And had found this forum.

    I shopped around and bought an old Gaggia Classic and MDF grinder off gumtree for less than $200. They needed a bit of TLC but were soon making coffee at least as good or better than the Sunbeam (about twice the price).

    I have since had a few coffees from an Aeropress, and while it is a little better than the plunger, neither of them can match the depth of flavour in espresso, or the ability to make a really condensed shot for milk based coffees.

    In reply to the question on your other post, I found this article quite helpful when I was first starting out. "www.sweetmarias.com/library/content/espresso-definition-basic-techniques"

    Good Luck - DeeGee.

  3. #3
    Senior Member javabeen's Avatar
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    It's easy really. If you like espresso and have had good espresso from good establishments, then you need to step into the world of espresso grinder and machine. The AP produces filtered coffee, not espresso.

    Oh, and don't swap the AP, keep it. This will let you experiment with particular beans and brew methods ie machine or AP.

    have fun
    Javabeen.

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    Thanks folks (so far). Good food .. er .. espresso for thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by deegee View Post
    I have since had a few coffees from an Aeropress, and while it is a little better than the plunger, neither of them can match the depth of flavour in espresso, or the ability to make a really condensed shot for milk based coffees.

    [snip]Good Luck - DeeGee.
    DeeGee, one comment I'd make (while admitting I'm a minnow among geeks here!) is that I wonder whether whoever made the AP coffees you drank knew what they were doing (not that there seems to be an awful lot to know). In my experience, having made hundreds of AP coffees, the results are much more than "a little" better than a plunger. A true aficionado may either gag or collapse in laughter; but at least to my primitive palate many cups I've produced myself with the AP have tasted every bit as rich as some of the best I've had in cafes.

    Does that make a philistine? ;-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by javabeen View Post
    The AP produces filtered coffee, not espresso.

    [snip]

    have fun
    Javabeen.
    Is this the general consensus in this august company? Or is it one of those philosophical points endlessly debated? … It's just that the AP manufacturer himself claims it's a "coffee and espresso maker", and a lot of reviews declare it so too. And to my layman's observation, the taste would appear to back this up and the method would appear to at least broadly support standard definitions of espresso.

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    I have an Aeropress complete with Coava disk sitting in its box beside me as I type this post, I no longer use it.
    Even though the maker claims it's " a 1-4 CUP COFFEE and ESPRESSO MAKER" it's not an espresso maker, it makes good filtered coffee and that's it.
    If filtered coffee is your thing it will suit your requirements, if you prefer espresso you will need to be looking at buying a decent grinder and an espresso machine.

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    Spot on javabeen and yelta, hit up few good cafes to see if you want to delve into the espresso world, for the city im thinking auction rooms, naked espresso, patricia and maybe western suburbs common galaxia in seddon, the dutchess in spotswood, mies in spotswood, actually head to ascot vale to reverence coffee i think they put a lot of time into their shots as they arent too busy to take the time. IF you love it then it makes sense to invest some money - im biased towards lever machines, generally you'll pay less for better results. If you're enjoying filtered coffee then i would recommend the hario v60 dripper and kettle and a good grinder rocky, vario etc, I really enjoy mine much better than the AP in terms of complexity and richness of taste.

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    Hardened CS... hahaha, I like that! You're certainly not a philistine.
    Don't let anyone put you off the AP, it produces some fantastic coffee, not really espresso, but in no way inferior if it's what you like. The quickest and cheapest way to upgrade would be a good grinder, if you don't already have one.
    If you're already hooked on espresso as your drug of choice, well then I'm afraid there's no cure, the best approach is to find a good support group. Just beware of sudden bouts of upgraditis, it's contagious and can be painful.

    You haven't really told us how you like your coffee, which is central to the question of whether you really need to change.

  9. #9
    Senior Member deegee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eN0ch View Post
    DeeGee, one comment I'd make (while admitting I'm a minnow among geeks here!) is that I wonder whether whoever made the AP coffees you drank knew what they were doing (not that there seems to be an awful lot to know). In my experience, having made hundreds of AP coffees, the results are much more than "a little" better than a plunger. A true aficionado may either gag or collapse in laughter; but at least to my primitive palate many cups I've produced myself with the AP have tasted every bit as rich as some of the best I've had in cafes.

    Does that make a philistine? ;-)
    Answer - from one minnow to another - Hell NO !!. Not in my book, and from what i have read here, there are a number of well established members who rate AP coffee highly and there may well be some who prefer it to espresso.

    I happen to like my coffee as a flat white, or an occasional double espresso shot. So for me, espresso is the method of choice. But if I drank mostly long blacks, I might be just as happy with the aeropress, since it seems to me that this is what they do best.

    As to whether my friend knows how to get the best from his AP, I'm not certain. He buys fresh roasted beans, grinds on demand, and has been doing this for at least a year or maybe more. He has one of the fine mesh metal filters, and brews upside-down, but his is the only AP coffee I have ever tried so I have nothing to compare it with other than memories of my french press and my current espresso. Since I'm working from memory, it could be that his AP is more than just "a little" better than my plunger used to be.

    I do believe in the saying " if it ain't broke - don't fix it" and I agree with people who know when they like a good beer or a particular red wine, even if they can't tell you what hops were used, or which side of the hill the grapes were grown on. So if you are happy with your present coffee you should only change it (or spend your hard earned cash) if you have experienced something which you believe is significantly better.

    Regards, DeeGee.

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    Senior Member bennett's Avatar
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    I drink 3-4 double espressos every morning with breakfast and every afternoon I have an aeropress.

    I luv both for different reasons.

    Everytime I make an aeropress, I ask myself "damn that's good coffee, do I really need my espresso machine??" But the reality is that I am unfortunately addicted to caffeine, and in the morning the aeropress just won't cut it. To have the equivalent caffeine hit I would have to drink a large volume of aeropress, whereas my 4 espresso shots would total 200ml in volume. So horses for courses for me. Equally I don't think I could stomach an espresso at 4pm either.

  11. #11
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    I have a decent espresso machine and prefer to drink flat whites.
    I also have an AP which I mainly use for travel or work situations.
    My wife is a long black drinker and if she had her way I'd use the AP for her coffees.

    I find the AP produces a cleaner tasting coffee than a plunger and like the convenience of it when I'm not at home with my machine.

    If you do buy a machine keep your AP.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Have to say I'm so impressed with my AP that I'm planning on listing it in the for sale section in the next few days.

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    I drink espresso and bought an AP for travel. Was quite disappointed after all the hype. It makes strong coffee but not espresso. None of an angel pissing on my tongue with an AP. Saying an AP is better than a cafe reflects more on how bad cafes can be rather than how good an AP is.

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    Thanks again, one and all. Some useful learning. Guess at the moment I'm hovering on the border between "take the plunge with a machine" and "save your money". Either way I'd certainly keep the AP - no doubt about that.

    Maybe I just haven't visited the right cafes yet?

    Pondering continues ….

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    Have you looked at the Portaspresso range? Cheap, high quality, portable espresso.

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    Aeropress happy: do I even want a machine?

    Thanks for that tip. I'm starting to have a look now. Does look interesting ...

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    portaspresso isn't exactly cheap, though.

    to the OP: if you're happy with the coffee you get from an aeropress, then stick with it. if you want something different, get that something different.

    (I took my EM450 and aeropress with me to this country town for work. Making a triple with it every morning. So much better than hospital cafe coffee. There's a boema espresso machine and grinder in one of the staff tearooms but it's not dialled in properly and there's a sign saying 'do not touch grinder settings' so I'm not going to dial it in.)

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    Thanks for chiming in, Hildy

    I am actually coming more and more to the view that I'll stick with the AP.

    But ya' never know ….

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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by eN0ch View Post
    Thanks for chiming in, Hildy

    I am actually coming more and more to the view that I'll stick with the AP.

    But ya' never know ….
    Nothing wrong with that view at all. I don't think the Aeropress guys do themselves many favours advertising it as an espresso maker. Being Americans I guess they think an espresso is just a filter coffee with some frothed milk, anyway (usually cold). Spent a month in the US last year and did not get one decent coffee the whole time. I am happy with my AP for weekends away but for me it does not replace the machine. If you can't get an espresso you like better from a reputable cafe, I guess you just don't like espresso much. That being the case, I am sure you could develop an itch that it takes a $3K + pile of brass and chrome to scratch, but why bother? If long black were my poison of choice I could easily get around to preferring the AP.



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