If you’re looking for more satisfying ways to enjoy your coffee, then you’re likely not only trying out different beans but are also experimenting on coffee makers. There are, of course, a ton of available coffee devices to choose from, and finding the perfect method and making the best brew is mostly a matter of personal taste and preference.
But let’s start small. And portable. For this feature, we’ll be comparing the merits of two brewing devices recently being pitted against each other—the SteepShot and the AeroPress. “Both are single-serve brewers, portable (just need hot water to brew), can use paper and metal filters, and allow home brewers to ‘experiment’ with recipes,” says Yardstick Coffee co-founder Andre Chanco.
Here’s a lowdown on the two coffee makers:
SteepShot’s unique technology, which is designed by Ari Halonen of Norway, utilizes the pressure built up inside the cylinder to speed up the brewing process. The short brewing time helps eliminate over-extraction, which happens when the coffee grounds react with water for too long. Over-extraction is said to be the common reason why coffee tastes bitter.
It would take about a minute to assemble the SteepShot brewing kit, a few minutes to boil the water, and a mere 30 seconds (or a bit longer, depending on how fine your coffee grounds are) to allow your coffee to brew. This method is ideal for people who want a good cup of freshly brewed coffee in a simple, fast and convenient way.
The AeroPress, meanwhile, invented by American Alan Adler, sounds to be just as user-friendly. First, you push the plunger out of chamber, put the paper filter in the filter cap, and attach the filter cap onto the chamber. Then you place the chamber on a sturdy mug and put your fine drip grind coffee in the chamber. Adler says it’s best to shake the chamber a bit to level the coffee, so that water doesn’t go through too quickly. Add hot water, or tap water for cold brew, and stir (for about 10 seconds for hot brew, a minute for cold brew). Insert the plunger and press gently (about 20 to 40 seconds) until the plunger reaches the coffee grounds. AeroPress requires longer brew time than the SteepShot, says Andre.
Between the two brewing kits, it takes lesser effort to clean the AeroPress. “The SteepShot requires a bit more work,” says Andre. To clean the SteepShot, you first need to remove and rinse all the remaining coffee sediments from the cup and the lid. Dismantling and putting the parts together may need some getting used to. Then for a more thorough cleanse, you can pour some hot water into the cup, seal the lid, shake it a bit, and then twist the valve open to release the water into the sink. To clean the AeroPress, simply remove the filter cap, push the plunger to eject used coffee, and then rinse.
Taste and quality of brew
Andre, who’s been in the coffee business for ten years now, says the quality of brews from the two coffee devices are very close. “In SteepShot, it’s more bodied; in AeroPress, you get cleaner brews,” he says. The advantage of the more established AeroPress over the relatively new SteepShot is that there are lots of available recipes online that can be used with the former, so home brewers can have fun experimenting.
The SteepShot is a bring-anywhere brewing device. It has a minimalist design, so you can bring it with you when you travel—you know, from the bedroom to the garden, as we don’t really get to go out that much these days.
The AeroPress is also suitable for some types of travel (say, camping or going to work) since it’s lightweight and compact. But since it’s got several moving parts (the chamber, plunger, filter cap, filter holder, funnel, stirrer and scoop) it would be a challenge to use inside a moving vehicle.