This isn’t even a fair fight if you ask me.
My first experience with coffee was in France. I ordered “café au lait” like I knew what I was doing. And once, I even had two in a row. Not awesomely smart for an 17 year old who didn’t regularly consume caffeine. I think I might have had to peel my eyelids off the ceiling that day!
But, the point of this is: my idea of the perfect cup of Joe is European espresso. I believe I was served the coffee from a moka pot. It’s been a while so I’m not entirely sure. But I don’t think it was a French press. Anyway, I came back home to the US, drank drip coffee and never thought about it for twenty or so odd years.
Then I started experimenting, after visiting my dad (who has one of those whopper espresso makers you can get from Williams and Sonoma.) After having true espresso at his home I thought to myself: “I need to find a form of daily coffee that I’m going to love.” Drip was not doing it for me. Not to be deterred by the obvious problem of William and Sonoma prices: I bought myself a cool little glass French press, at some specialty store, and put the idea of having espresso every day to rest for a while.
After I tried the French press, it was over. That was all I wanted. The inclusion of the oils (that end up filtered out in drip coffee) really put my coffee enjoyment on another level.
I used the French press for about a year, and I was happy and thought I’d found my coffee perfection. Then a neighbor, from Italy, made me Italian coffee from a moka pot. (And, during this introduction she was out of milk so she used whipped cream. I have gone full circle. I use whipped cream in mine daily!) As I sipped, I was instantly taken back to France. I also had the most fantastic coffee buzz! She must have used some kind of coffee I haven’t tried yet!
So, no, it couldn’t have been a French press (when I was in France) because moka pots are the bomb, and it was an instant love and happy memory for me. I have happily been drinking coffee from a moka pot for almost a decade.
I loooooooove my moka pot! It’s espresso-like but without the hefty price tag of a true espresso machine.
My love affair finally came crashing down about a month ago. I had gone from my husband’s condo in Colorado up to my mom’s place. It’s about an hour long drive. And because I am actually really gifted at leaving necessary items behind when I go places: I left my moka pot up there.
But wait! I thought. A couple of years ago I had heard about the “perfect” coffee maker: the Aeropress. I finally had an excuse to get one (they’re under 40$) and try it out!
I was actually really excited about this, because I really can’t imagine a better cup of coffee than the deliciousness that my moka pot makes. The aeropress has all these 5 star online reviews. Reviewers all sing the praises of the Aeropress.
I figured I must be about to enjoy the ULTIMATE cup of coffee! Joy! So I happily ran over to Target and picked one up.
The first issue I ran into was, when I opened the box, and realized that the manufacturer had forgotten the paper filters that were supposed to be in the kit. You cannot use the aeropress without a filter. So: I sadly boiled my coffee in a pan on the stove and strained it. It was not a happy day.
But undeterred from this quest, I found some filters the next day at a “going out of business” sale at a Bed Bath and Beyond. So, I was ready the next morning for my ultimate cup of coffee!
Honestly. I believe people who like what the Aeropress offers, don’t like coffee, at least not strong coffee…or, they’re coming from drip coffee. I’m sure it’s better than drip, but it’s been so long since I have had any drip coffee: I won’t try and draw comparisons.
Now there is a caveat to this. I am a keto lifestyle girl. I don’t diet, I’m on it permanently. I started on Atkins back when that was popular and I’ve leaned low carb ever since. As a dedicated low-carber, when I drink “coffee” I make it fit my lifestyle. That simple drink has morphed from a typical “café au lait” to a giant, whipped cream covered, sugar free flavored creamer and Stevia enhanced monstrosity that staves off the carb cravings I have in the morning. Yeah. It’s pretty: “Frankenstein’s monster”. Or maybe: more like what you can get in an American coffee house, which is also crazy and weird. Importantly however: you have to have some strong-ass coffee to do this.
Aeropress failed my needs big-time. I drink imported Italian coffee. The grounds were bland and tasteless in the aeropress. If I put the hot water in it longer, it was bitter. I tried putting more grounds in, for the recommended time. That’s a huge waste of expensive coffee. I thought I must have screwed it up, so I watched more videos and worked on my technique for two weeks. Yeah. It’s a definite “no” from me.
If you know me well, you know I don’t like to talk (or do anything) before I have my morning coffee. Even my kids know not to bother me before I’ve had my daily cup. Yes. It’s a ginormous cup. But I used to drink a whole pot of drip coffee a day, so this is my compromise.
The next problem I had with the aeropress was: that I drink my coffee concoction from a ginormous cup. The aeropress wouldn’t fit on it. It needs a traditional sized coffee cup rim. Not only that, but I had to heat the water up separately. Either in the microwave or on the stove, that’s an extra mug/pan/kettle or whatever. If you want to be precise: it’s a measuring cup.
To use the aeropress: you pour the grinds in, tap the container to level the grounds, add a little hot water and let it “bloom”, then add the rest of the water. I watched a few YouTube videos on how to use this thing and I just made it upside down and flipped it over after I’d stirred it and put the cap and filter on it. It kept the mess to a minimum.
Then I had to use either: the cup I heated the water in, or a new smaller diameter mug, to begin pressing the water out through the grounds (even a small measuring cup’s rim is too large for the pressing stage.) It really is a ridiculous process and I don’t enjoy leaning on a contraption, full of nearly boiling water, to get enough force to press the water through the grounds. So, at the end of this process I had coffee. It was weak, drip coffee, level coffee. The brand claims it takes the bitterness out of coffee. You know what also isn’t generally bitter? Tap water. And that what it tasted like. It was watered down coffee and then I had a mess to clean up and try and find a way to store all of the parts.
Nope. Until I can afford a couple thousand dollar espresso maker, I’m sticking with my moka pot. I will give you one warning: moka pots are frequently made from aluminum. Aluminum leaches into hot, acidic liquid (coffee). You don’t want a bunch of aluminum in your body from these coffee makers. I have one that is stainless steel. You can get one like mine here: stainless steel moka pot
I’ve never replaced any parts (including the rubber gasket.) It’s a forever coffee maker, and I’m pretty sure I will be drinking from mine for the rest of my days!
Unfortunately for me, the aeropress just doesn’t make my perfect cup of coffee. It’s really involved and there’s a lot of steps. It needs several containers to heat water, press the coffee and then put it in a larger cup. The parts are not easy to store and take up a lot of room. The coffee is relatively weak and the paper filter removes the oils that you get with an espresso or French press. I really enjoy the oils. I believe that I will be gifting the aeropress to my mom. She prefers drip coffee and maybe this crazy contraption will work better for her tastes.
So, if you want my opinion on this: go get yourself a moka pot. Make yourself an espresso-like coffee with no extra steps or filters. And upgrade your beans to an espresso roast and grind. Millions of Italians aren’t wrong! They truly have created one of the best, most efficient and tasty ways to make yourself your daily coffee.