AeroPress Vs Espresso Machine – Which Brews the Best Specialty Coffee?

AeroPress Vs Espresso Machine

We’ve been talking a lot about the AeroPress lately. We’ve covered topics like [using (~) it] for an amazing iced coffee and brewing coffee with the [Inverted (~) Method], and we’re not stopping there.

The AeroPress has so many merits, we’ve gotten questions about how the AeroPress works in place of a dedicated espresso maker, and it’s a valid one!

There are, in fact, benefits to making espresso-like coffee with an AeroPress, which we’re going to outline in this article. While the AeroPress can be an excellent coffee maker for the coffee drinker who prefers espresso-style coffee, it’s not an all-around replacement in every way.

There are several key differences between an espresso machine and an AeroPress. In choosing one, you need to consider what your key goals are, like whether you want true espresso coffee or simply a highly concentrated coffee.

In this article, we’ll outline some of the main benefits of using the AeroPress in place of espresso machines. By the end, you’ll have a clear take on which machine makes the best espresso. So pour yourself a fresh cup and read on.

Coffee beans, coffee ground and flat white

AeroPress vs Espresso Machine: The Key Differences

There are many pros and cons to consider when choosing between an espresso machine and an AeroPress, so let’s take a look at some of the differences.

An espresso machine works by forcing water through ultra-fine coffee grounds in order to produce a concentrated shot.

With an AeroPress, you pour hot water through a filter. Both methods produce a delicious cup of coffee, but when it comes to true espresso shots as opposed to your typical cup of coffee, one has some clear advantages.

While both are good for single servings, they differ significantly in their convenience and brewing methods.

An espresso  machine

While the AeroPress is not a true espresso machine, it’s still an excellent way of making coffee. Although it can make a strong brew with a lot of caffeine similar to espresso, it lacks crema and that real espresso flavor enthusiasts will have come to expect.

Can an AeroPress Make a Good Espresso?

The difference between an AeroPress and an espresso machine is, in practice, not so significant—especially if you’re using the former in a pinch. Both methods are capable of making great coffee, while the AeroPress has the substantial added benefit of being portable. This makes it a great alternative for people on the go.

While the AeroPress is easy to clean, affordable, and lightweight, it’s definitely not designed to make espresso. One might argue it’s also not the most aesthetically pleasing if considering the choice from a decorative perspective.

 AeroPress has the substantial added benefit of being portable. This makes it a great alternative for people on the go.

The AeroPress also requires pre-ground coffee beans whereas an espresso machine will make its own coffee grounds from fresh coffee beans added on the fly. In addition, it will rely on filter changes and a bit of manual work vs. the passive ease of letting a machine brew the exact same cup every time it’s used.


AeroPress Coffee vs. True Espresso

True Espresso or Just a Very Strong Cup?

The AeroPress makes a great cup of coffee, but it’s far from an authentic espresso. While it typically approximates the flavor of a pour-over, and allows the user more control to increase the concentration of the brew, it simply can’t make the distinctive crema that is characteristic of an espresso.

A cup of Espresso

As a result, the coffee produced by an AeroPress will inevitably lack the full flavor of espresso, and comes with the added risk of tasting bitter if you over-extract your coffee beans by trying to up the caffeine content too much.

Grind Size & Process

The grind size of the coffee typically used in an AeroPress is similar to that of an espresso, but it’s slightly coarser. The finer grind is better for the machines because it helps prevent the water from flowing through the coffee too quickly.

Coffee beans, coarse coffee, finely ground coffee in black spoons

On the other hand, the AeroPress requires less force and pressure to produce a very similar result. If grinding coffee beans is a part of the brewing process you desperately want to automate, an espresso machine may be worth considering, since it’s a distinctly manual part of using an AeroPress.

The body of an AeroPress “espresso” is slightly thick with large bubbles on top. It will be rich, but not as strong as a true espresso. This difference is subtle though, and in fact, newbies have trouble telling the difference between a good AeroPress coffee and a true espresso from a traditional machine.

Don’t let the technicalities sway you! The difference isn’t always noticeable, so try both before deciding whether being able to define your coffee as true espresso is really worth the nuance and expense. If you love the taste of a strong AeroPress espresso, our verdict is you probably won’t be missing out on much.

When we weigh our consideration for cost and convenience, there’s no question that espresso-style coffee from an AeroPress is worth considering if you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on an espresso machine.


Advantages of The AeroPress for Espresso Coffee

While espresso machines are, sadly, the only way to get yourself a true cup of espresso, they’re also notoriously difficult to use, and if you want to minimize the associated headache while getting the best brew for your burden, you’ll need a high-quality machine.

For those reasons, the AeroPress is often marketed as a utilitarian alternative to espresso machines even though its brewing method isn’t 100% capable of creating authentic espresso.

While the AeroPress is designed to make a cup of coffee that tastes similar to espresso, it is admittedly not quite as strong. On the positive side, it doesn’t come out as hot as espresso and you can adjust the strength to your liking.

 Easy to Clean

In addition, the AeroPress takes up minimal space and is far easier to clean. However, it is important to note that it is not a substitute for a real espresso machine. The results are still impressive, but it is not an exact match.

That said, ease of use is a massive advantage with the versatile, portable AeroPress. They’re also far easier to clean than an authentic espresso machine.

At the end of the day, while purists may stick up their noses at the notion of calling even the most concentrated AeroPress brew “espresso”, the simplicity, flavor, level of control, and ease of operation and maintenance give it a clear edge for the vast majority of coffee lovers.

With its unique brewing process, the AeroPress produces an impressive cup of coffee. It also melds the brightness of espresso with the pleasant taste of brewed coffee in a unique and innovative way. But if you’re a big fan of crema, the AeroPress may not be for you.

The AeroPress uses a pressure-controlled cylinder to brew espresso.

While it’s difficult to push down the plunger, it moves down smoothly and evenly.

The plunger may take about 20 to 30 seconds to completely compress the coffee.

The AeroPress’s pressure allows for a much higher level of pressure than other espresso machines.

So, if you’re looking for a low-cost machine that still produces good espresso, this might be the right choice for you.

Partial view of barista preparing coffee with aeropress

The AeroPress brews the coffee in an immersion-style method. The coffee is immersed only for a few seconds, allowing the water to pass through the ground coffee.

Unlike the French press, the AeroPress’s grounds are generally finer than the espresso grind. The plunger is manually pushed, forcing the water out and the ground coffee into the brew chamber.

The AeroPress has become extremely popular since its invention in 2005. The World AeroPress Championship has also been established as a competition between users.

Another advantage of the AeroPress is portability. With its compact design and no need for electricity, you can easily take it with you wherever you go.

Unlike an espresso machine, an AeroPress will not work well for large crowds. However, it’s an excellent option for traveling and everyday use. So, if you’re tired of wasting precious time in the kitchen, this coffee maker is perfect for you.


How to Make Espresso with an AeroPress

You can create an espresso-style coffee with an AeroPress if you know how to adjust the brewing process. However, the method is more complicated, and you’ll need some extra items to be able to get the same result. First, you’ll need to pre-heat your AeroPress.

Then, you’ll need a secondary filter to grind the beans before using the coffee. Next, press hard to brew the coffee at high pressure. While this method doesn’t make true espresso, it’s close enough to be a delicious alternative to an espresso machine.

How to Make Espresso with an AeroPress

Preparation

Before you can make your first cup of coffee with an AeroPress, you need to prepare the device. Before you begin, you should wet the filter cap with hot water. This will remove any unwanted paper flavor and also pre-heat the mug underneath.

This step will also ensure the best extraction of coffee grinds. Next, you should put the freshly ground coffee grinds into the chamber of the AeroPress. Press the plunger firmly into the grounds, and the espresso will be ready in a few seconds.

Before you begin, you should wet the filter cap with hot water

If you’re new to the world of coffee and are wondering how much caffeine is in an AeroPress espresso machine, keep reading to find out.

Unlike other coffee brewing methods, which rely on steeping the grounds for several minutes before brewing, the AeroPress extracts about 50 to 70 milliliters of coffee.

It’s important to know that the more time the grounds steep, the more caffeine they will contain, but if you steep them too long, the coffee will become bitter and taste unpleasant.

Caffeine, Quality and Crema

A number of factors play a role in the caffeine content of an AeroPress coffee. This can include the amount of coffee used, how long the grounds are submerged, and the amount of pressure used to extract the coffee’s components.

If you want your coffee to be stronger, you can increase the pressure you apply to the grounds while submerging them. Higher pressure will make for a stronger cup of coffee, so try submerging the grounds for a longer time or pack your AeroPress with more coffee.

The AeroPress has the same caffeine content as a standard espresso, but the process is different. The AeroPress uses finely ground coffee, a small amount of water, and a rapid plunge, which means that the coffee doesn’t reach the same pressure as an espresso.

Because the AeroPress doesn’t apply enough pressure, it doesn’t have the flavor and crema that make it a true espresso.


Wrap-Up: Espresso Coffee in an AeroPress

So, does the AeroPress brew coffee that tastes like espresso? While it makes an impressive, personalizable cup of coffee, in the end it falls short of the taste of a true espresso.

The coffee produced from the AeroPress tends to have a bit more bitterness than that of espresso, and it does not have the caramel-colored foamy top that distinguishes a good espresso.

a cup of coffee brew with AeroPress

The big difference here is that the AeroPress doesn’t have the crema that a real espresso has.

The AeroPress is a popular choice for coffee enthusiasts looking for a portable way to enjoy a fine espresso-like brew.

Because it’s a portable device, many coffee connoisseurs travel with their AeroPress to enjoy a coffee reminiscent of espresso wherever they are. Critically, it’s made of a strong plastic and does not require electricity.


The Verdict

So, if the criteria is “true espresso”, the verdict is that the AeroPress won’t be able to deliver what a fully-featured machine can.

But if we’re comparing the two based on their various merits, and analyzing which is the better choice for coffee lovers who like a sharp, punchy cup of espresso-style coffee, the AeroPress has countless advantages over espresso machines, and we highly recommend you try one for yourself before deciding it won’t make the cut.

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