The Aerobie AeroPress

The Aerobie AeroPress

Aerobie AeroPress coffee maker
Price: £24.99 (£26.99 with tote bag)
Weight: 288g including bag
Country of manufacture: not stated

There was a time when outdoor fans would get their caffeine boost from chucking a sachet of cheap instant coffee in a mug and dousing it in boiling water.

But tastes and expectations change. The UK high streets are peppered with various coffee houses and many people have acquired a more discerning taste when it comes to their pick-me-up beverage.

So how do you get a decent cup of coffee on the campsite or even in the wilds?

Aerobie’s AeroPress delivers something akin to a cup of espresso with a fairly simple device that works in the outdoors.

The device comes in three important parts, and there are a few other bits and bobs in the kit that help you make your cup of coffee. The mixing chamber is a sturdy plastic cylinder with 1 to 4 markings on its side.

The kit has a filter holder that takes the AeroPress’s special round filter papers – there are 350 supplied, along with a cylindrical plastic holder. Place a filter paper in the holder and attach it to the bottom of the main chamber, then place two scoops of fine-ground coffee into it. The kit comes with a scoop for measuring your coffee.

Put the chamber assembly on top of your mug then pour in the appropriate volume of off-the-boil water. Mix the coffee with the provided stirrer, then place the plunger on top of the main chamber. It helps if the rubber seal is wet a little, as it forms a very tight seal.

The kit contains the main chamber and plunger, stirrer, scoop and filters. There's also a funnel if you're grinding the beans

The kit contains the main chamber and plunger, stirrer, scoop and filters. There's also a funnel if you're grinding the beans

Press down on the plunger while holding the chamber steady, and the coffee will be forced through the filter and into your mug. And there it is: a cup of decent coffee.

You can put more coffee in and increase the amount of hot water you pour into the AeroPress to make a couple of cups; switch to your second mug half way through. If you want an Americano, add hot water to the coffee rather than trying to get more into the chamber. If you prefer your coffee with milk, heat a small amount separately and add it to your mug at the end.

The unit is quite easy to clean: unclip the filter holder from the bottom then force the plunger a little further and the grounds and filter paper will usually pop out into your bin in one go.

Our version of the AeroPress came in a tote bag with a zip top, which is useful for keeping everything together and also keeping the coffee maker and filter papers clean.

One thing to watch out for: the filter papers are very light and prone to get blown away from their holder in even light breezes at the campsite unless you weight them down or zip them up inside the bag.

The AeroPress also comes with a plastic funnel to make it easier to get your ground coffee into the chamber if you’ve ground it from beans rather than using pre-ground coffee.

Pushing down the plunger forces the coffee through the filter

Pushing down the plunger forces the coffee through the filter

The Aerobie AeroPress is quick to use and simple once you’ve got used to the procedure. The elements of the kit are made from sturdy feeling components and replacements can be bought separately if necessary, as can the specialist filter papers.

The kit isn’t heavy but it is a bit unwieldy in its tote bag. It’s a shame the various pieces don’t slot together more neatly for storage; the plunger will store fully extended inside the main chamber, but the other bits have to go loose together in the tote bag. If you don’t plan on grinding your own beans, you can leave the funnel out and save 54g of weight and a bit of space.

We used the AeroPress mainly on base camps in the valley rather than trying to pack the thing into our rucksack for wild camps.

It’s also quite useful to use at home for a quick cup of coffee. The taste is good: it won’t match the best espresso from one of those impressive machines you get in the coffee shops, but it’s a whole lot better than the dreaded instant sachets and, with a little experimentation on coffee varieties and quantities, gave us a welcome touch of luxury at the campsite.

Performance 31/35
Ease of use 31/35
Design 6/10
Quality 7/10
Value for money 7/10
Total score: 82/100