Coffee! I’m not talking about the shit with Viking skulls and cringy quotes on the packet, I’m talking about honest to god, decent coffee. Although I’m partial to one or two of these veteran owned coffee brands (BRCC in particular make a couple of fantastic blends), in all honesty, there are often better (and far less expensive) coffee beans available to the discerning javaphile.
Any outdoor pursuit is enhanced by any additional comfort we can make for ourselves, it makes no matter if it’s a walk on the hills, a day of fishing or spending the weekend at Sennybridge. Either way, there are few things I wouldn’t do for a good coffee on a bad day.
When you’re getting wet and cold, occasional hot food and regular hot drinks can really help keep a positive spin on things. Sometimes, especially when in the great outdoors, a good coffee is just too difficult or too much trouble to make. It’s arguably a lot easier to make a good cup of tea outdoors than it is to make even a passable coffee.
Over the years I’ve tried several methods for making a hot cup of joe whilst out and about, from coffee bags and instant packets to devices such as JetBoil’s coffee press and much more. Some are better than others, but theres usually a distinct compromise in quality or it’s just not practical when on the move. That is, until i learned about Aeropress.
I first heard about Aeropress a number of years ago, a fellow airsofter and coffee aficionado (Gearmonkey) was a big fan of his Aeropress and although I’d considered buying my own for many years, it just never happened. The history behind Aeropress is rather interesting, I’d fully recommend reading up on its history (click here).
Fast forward to winter 2020, my regular walks out into the (relative) wild have been a welcome addition to an otherwise monotonous season (year actually). One component was missing though… Coffee! I’d mostly been using either instant or taking some out in a flask, but part of the outdoors experience for me is the relaxation that comes with preparing a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
My wife was struggling for present ideas and being rather anti-gun, has always refused to buy me anything airsoft or gun related… Laughable really, but I knew what I was signing up for when I married her.
So on Christmas Day, there it was… My wife had done her research, and the Aeropress Go appeared to be what fitted my particular requirements best.
The Aeropress Go was designed to provide a highly portable and easy to maintain coffee press for those who desire a good quality and flavourful brew, released in 2019 it’s the first major product addition to the Aeropress range in over a decade.
The Aeropress Go is slightly smaller than the original Aeropress and coming packaged with it’s own cup, this little coffee press gives those on the move the ability to make a good quality cup of coffee in a portable and lightweight package.
The press consists of a two part design, taking the form of a cylinder and piston, or as Aeropress call them: Chamber and Plunger.
The piston/plunger portion of the press is made from semi-transparent polypropylene, hollow in design which also allows for the storage of the included accessories; a stirrer and measuring spoon.
A chunky silicone plate at the bottom of the piston/plunger provides a watertight seal, far more effective than the thin o-ring type seen on some travel presses or the coil sprung mesh seen on traditional cafetières/french press’s. The silicone piston head is fully removable to aid in it’s cleaning, although Aeropress say their products are self cleaning, you really should take the time to remove this every 10/20 brews to ensure no unwanted flavours impart themselves to the brew.
The cylinder/chamber that forms the main body of the press is made from the same polypropylene material as the piston/plunger. The outer rim of the press is shaped with a squared off lip, this enables the press to sit on top of most mugs rather securely.
The filter cap is made from a black ABS type plastic, a ribbed outer edge helps in securing and removing the cap as and when needed. A bayonet type fitting secures the filter cap onto the bottom, simple yet strong and very effective.
The filters provided are a paper design, around 2.5” in diameter and made from the same type of coarse fibre paper as the humble drip filter coffee makers we all grew up with.
Aeropress start you off with a solid 350 papers, thats enough for a couple of brews a day for nearly a year! There are reusable metal filters available as well as aftermarket paper options (Aesir filters come well recommended). You can also reuse the standard filters a couple of times, but this may impact the quality of your coffee.
A filter holder that fits within the cap holds roughly 20 paper filters, enough for a long weekend with plenty of brews along the way.
The scoop is a basic spoon design, holding the right amount for a good strong cup of coffee (approx 14g). Go ahead, try two scoops… I dare you. The included stirrer folds back on itself, perfectly sized to reach the bottom of the press. Both these items are made from the same black plastic and feel well made, with a touch of flex to allow them to bend without shattering.
The cup is arguably more of a mug than coffee cup in size, big enough to hold a large coffee for one or just enough to share for two people. The mug is ribbed (for your pleasure) on its outer surface to aid in holding when hot, it’s also a pleasant quirk of fate that those neoprene bottle/can coolers you find being given away at trade shows also appear to fit perfectly around the outside… Hence why I’ve added the Mystery Ranch one to mine.
The final piece of the puzzle is the red silicone cap, useful for keeping the contents all together but also worth considering as a grippy surface to keep the cup still when pressing on uneven ground.
In use, the Aeropress Go is very simple to use. There are a number of methods for brewing a decent cup of coffee, too many to mention actually. An official world championships is held annually to see who has that year’s best recipe for success, everything from grind size to water temperature goes into the recipes… Perfect for the geeks within us all.
Many Aeropress owners use it as their main brewing tool, forgoing the more expensive methods and embracing the clean simplicity of an Aeropress brew from the comfort of their own home. Out in the wild is where the Aeropress shines though, combined with a Nalgene water bottle, Jetboil Flash stove and a Rhino grinder (not a kink, I promise) the Aeropress Go provides a compact method to make a surprisingly good cup of coffee.
So what about negatives? Well it won’t make espresso, it literally makes very good quality black coffee. For a true espresso you require 9 bars of pressure forcing itself through the grind. To put it into perspective, that’s the equivalent of putting 300lbs of force onto the press and expecting something not to fail… The press would arguably hold up, but the cup certainly wouldn’t.
I’d also suggest finding another way to hold filters, the included filter holder is shockingly bad. It struggles to stay closed and it’s not very good at keeping the filters dry, I’d suggest keeping your spare filters in a resealable bag, certainly if you’re going out in wet weather.
Overall it’s a fantastic and surprisingly cheap addition to any outdoor coffee lovers kit list, I’d struggle to think of reasons to not bring one along to an outdoor event… There’s even a history of frequent fliers using theirs mid-flight to become members of the #milehighaeropressclub.
Mine was purchased from Neighbourhood Coffee Roasters, who also chucked in a bag of their fantastic coffee for free! (It worked, I bought more from them once I ran out) and retails for approximately £30. It’s also worth noting that they will grind beans to order, if you ask for a grind that will work well with your Aeropress, they’ll do it at no additional charge.
Oh, for those that want to know how I like my coffee, My personal outdoor brewing recipe:
- Fill jetboil or kettle, set off to boil.
- Grind 14g of good quality, full bodied coffee (medium grind… about the same size as white sugar) I’m currently using Neighbourhood’s “Grind Control To Major Tom” Guatemalan Roast.
- Invert Aeropress, set to (3) and add coffee.
- Add two papers to filter cap and wet them with hot water.
- Ensuring water has been off the boil for a few minutes, add just enough water to form a coffee sludge.
- Stir for ten seconds and leave to stand for another 30 seconds.
- Add more hot water up to top of press, attach filter cap and flip over onto mug.
- Wait another 30 seconds and gently push down on plunger, using almost no pressure this should take about 20 seconds. Once the press starts hissing, stop pressing and discard final grind slurry.
- Add an equal amount of hot water to the existing brew.
- Milk can be added instead of water if available, but never sugar. I’ve acclimated to go without… Trust me, it’s better without it.