The Aeropress may look like a toy (and at less than $25, it is priced like one), but it is an excellent single-cup coffee maker. It is easy to use and simple to clean, which makes it ideal for making coffee at the office — or anywhere else.

I even took it camping with me last month, and it worked like a charm in sub-freezing temperatures.

Why Aeropress is best

In general, I agree with Andy that a French press makes the best coffee. However a French press also makes a mess, and you need a full sink with a garbage disposal to clean one, and probably a dishwashing machine. There is also some evidence that unfiltered coffee (like you get from a French press) can raise your cholesterol.

You could get one of those pod coffee makers, like a Keurig. They do make great coffee, but both the machine and the pods (or K-cups) are quite expensive compared to just buying coffee. Plus, I just feel like a jerk throwing away all those plastic pods.

The Aeropress works a lot like a French press, but with a filter, and it is simple to clean. In fact, you basically don’t have to clean it because it cleans itself. You just have to wipe off the plunger with a cloth. Or your finger. It does use a filter, which you have to throw away, but it will compost just fine. And you can just get a reusable stainless steel filter.

It is the perfect coffee maker for the office, whether you work in a cubicle or you have access to a full kitchen.

Making coffee with an Aeropress

Like a French press, the Aeropress is an immersion brewer, meaning you let the grounds get all wet like tea leaves, then filter out the brewed coffee. There are two ways to use it, the regular method and the inverted method.

Once you get the hang of it, you might want to try some of these recipes from the World Aeropress Championships.

Regular method:

Instructions for the regular method come in the box with the Aeropress. It is not really espresso, although the instructions claims it is. It is really just strong coffee, and you should dilute it to taste.

Here is a video showing you how to make coffee using the regular method, as well as how simple it is to clean an Aeropress:

Inverted method:

The inverted method is sort of an Aeropress “hack,” because it wasn’t intended to be used this way. But it works really well. This is how I usually make my coffee. In the video below, you can see the inverted method in action. I find that I still need to dilute my coffee a bit. I use close to a full scoop for brewing, and top off my coffee mug with hot water after brewing the coffee.

What you need

To make coffee using an Aeropress at the office

  • A source of water.
  • An Aeropress, obviously.
  • An electric kettle. I highly recommend one with variable temperature settings (200ºF is ideal), but you can certainly get by with a cheaper one.
  • A cloth to wipe the plunger. Or you can use your finger, if you don’t have a reusable cloth nearby and don’t want to waste a paper towel.

If you want to get fancy, you can also get a fancy grinder and a coffee scale to up your game.



  1. Leo says:

    “You could get one of those pod coffee makers, like a Keurig. They do make great coffee…”

    HERESY. BURN! How dare you call yourself a coffee snob?

  2. I use an aeropress daily at home. I use the inverted method and I’m not sure I’ll ever own another coffee maker. If done right, the coffee is on the par, if not better than a french press.

    I also recommend experimenting with temperature. I know it applies more to tea, but I kind of like my coffee “steeped” at around 180 – 190.

  3. Krueger says:

    I get the fact that some people (insert derogatory term here) don’t like Keurig machines. Fine – but Sam, c’mon. your objection of ” I just feel like a jerk throwing away all those plastic pods.” is kinda lame. All you have to do is recycle it. Guilt-free single-serve overpriced coffee!

  4. Lukasz Gos says:

    If I recall correctly, the owner of an innovative little small town train station café attended by plenty of bar en route to the court house yards away has recently told me about either Chemex or Aeropress being responsible for the creation of “breakfast coffee”, which is characterised by: “you can gulp three of them easily enough but they have more caffeine than normal.” Probably means it’s smooth and easy on your throat. Besides, non-standard coffee accessories would be the first thing I used to impress clients with if I had a physical office (either in use or just on display). I’d even spend 10 minutes brewing one in the “syphon” just for the kicks of it. (The more complicated the better but I’m cheesy like that.) I really wouldn’t underestimate the effect of a client enjoying the coffee he got at his law firm (along with the lovely cup he was allowed to keep), especially if he had the taste buds to tell it wasn’t a discount bean, and plenty of clients arriving at a law firm would die for a good cuppa, from distressed individuals to Armani suits.

  5. Love the concept for home use, but the process seems too involved for office use except perhaps for the first cup of the day.

    Agree on the environmental impact of the Keurig. Love the convenience of it, coffee is better than standard drip and cheaper than purchasing from local coffee shop. Hate Hate Hate throwing KCups out all the time. Use a filter insert for Keurig most of the time to reduce waste but still find it best option for office use.

  6. With the grinder, “getting fancy” makes the assumption that you must purchase an expensive grinder. While I don’t disagree that it’s a great addition, I’ve just found this to be perfect for even grinds and a morning workout routine — at a much lower price point:

    Yes, it is my only morning workout, currently.

  7. BGriewahn says:

    I still use my French press frequently, but I use my Aeropress even more. It’s quick and easy, and it does make a great cup of coffee. I prefer the inverted method, too, because the regular method tastes more like Toddy coffee than the real stuff. I usually brew mine for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes.

    If wish I could find cheap paper filters for my French press, similar to those used in an Aeropress. You wouldn’t get the really easy cleanup you get from the Aeropress, because the Aeropress compacts the used grounds so much that they come out in a small, firm puck. Still, it would cut down on the cafestol in the coffee, and might reduce the fine sediment once gets with a French press.

    I also agree with Sam on the Keurig. All those pods are a waste.

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