Over the past couple of months, I have been on the hunt to replace my automatic coffee maker. I had mainly been feeling that I wanted to be more involved in the process of making my morning coffee, and to enjoy that process as much as drinking the coffee itself. I have tried pour over, moka pot, and french presses, but nothing quite checked all the boxes I was looking for.
Then I found the American Press, and it has quickly replaced my automatic coffee maker on a daily basis, and has allowed me to not use my automatic coffee maker for quite a while now. It is easy to use, makes great coffee, and allows you to be a part of the process of making coffee. While it may have a hefty price tag, it offers a lot of things those other coffee makers don’t.
Now let me start things off, with the fact that I did not pay for this American Press, and was sent this out for review! However everything in this review is my own opinion, and I was not paid to say anything one way or the other.
I hope by the end of this article, you will know if this coffee maker is right, or not right for you! I’ll be trying to go as in depth as I can, so that you can see if this works for your kitchen.
The American Press’ claim to fame is the ease of cleaning up after use, and I can attest that it is actually very easy.
One of my biggest issues with the other manual coffee makers that I have used is their difficulty of cleanup, and because of this, regardless of the taste of the coffee, I would find my way back to using my automatic coffee maker, because I didn’t want to deal with it.
Because of the ease of cleanup, this hasn’t happened yet!
Great tasting coffee
Now being able to clean the coffee maker is great and all, you probably want to make sure you are drinking great coffee as well.
The coffee really tastes great with the American Press! With the method I have been using, of allowing for a minute of pre-infusion, and then two minutes of pressing, it gives a flavor similar to a french press, but doesn’t have quite as much of the mud that you would find from the french press.
Because of the method of brewing this coffee maker uses, it also doesn’t have nearly the bitterness you will find in some other brewing styles.
I can’t say how much I actually enjoy the cup of coffee that this maker is able to brew, and constantly come back to it as my main coffee maker on a daily basis.
As of this writing, I haven’t gone back to my automatic coffee maker, and alternate between this and an Aeropress as my coffee makers depending on how I am feeling.
This coffee maker is built really well! I was a bit worried about it, as I knew the main portion was made of plastic, however it is a thick plastic, and means I won’t be breaking it any time soon.
The plunger, and all of the pieces of the basket inside are well made. And I don’t think any of them will wear out any time soon.
There are some gaskets on the inside that may worry me in the future, but at the moment I haven’t seen any issues with them.
How to use the American Press
Making coffee with the American Press is a really simple process that you get used to quickly. Here is a step by step on how to use it, and also how long it takes!
1. Boil water
I use a standard water kettle and boil the water. Once boiled I will let it sit for one minute to make sure it brews correctly, and doesn’t damage the plastic container due to excessive heat.
If you want to get really fancy, you can buy really nice coffee specific kettles like the Chettle.
2. Add coffee to basket
This step is generally done while the water is heating up. I generally fill up the basket so that it is just under completely full. That tends to get me my favorite taste, as well as ease of use.
3. Assemble basket and plunger
Again, I still tend to do this while the water is boiling. All you do is screw the basket on to the top plunger portion, however make sure the other filter is present on the plunger. There are two filters, one on top that is loose, and one that is fixed to the bottom of the basket.
4. Put water in container
At this point your water should be boiled, and has sat for a minute to cool down. So I will add the water to the 12 fluid ounce line.
5. Put plunger with basket into water and push down slightly
This step is for pre-infusing the coffee. I will push down just enough so that brewed coffee will run over the top of the plunger, and into the top of the container.
6. Let sit for 1 minute
For this step I start a timer, and let the coffee pre-infuse for that minute.
7. Plunge to the bottom for 2 minutes
Once my timer hits 1 minute, I then plunge the coffee maker from then, until minute 3 on the timer. I try to make sure I finish plunging it right at 3 minutes to get the ideal taste. You get a really good feeling for how this works just after a couple times using it.
8. Serve coffee
Your coffee is done! This makes me a single serve cup of coffee that tastes awesome. Need a good mug? This article that I wrote has a great list of them.
How long does it take to make coffee?
I actually timed myself from start to finish to get a great idea on how long it takes to use an American Press.
It took me almost exactly 8 minutes to use this coffee maker. However about half of that time was used to boil the water. During that time I am able to do other things like clean up the kitchen, or whatever else I need to do. So not all of the time is dedicated to making the coffee.
Actively, you will be using the coffee maker for probably around 4 minutes. Which accounts for actually making the coffee, and setting it up.
You can use regular coffee, for regular people
This is one of my favorite aspects of this coffee maker. American Press recommends a medium grind coffee for this coffee maker. This means you can purchase any regular pre-ground coffee at the store.
So outside of this coffee maker, you don’t need anything else special like a grinder and whole beans to use it.
In fact, I am going to go a little more in depth later in this article that I actually recommend only buying pre-ground coffee, as it can cause issues if you use anything else.
Most people I would assume aren’t going to be buying specialty coffee, and whole beans. So this will perfectly fit the lifestyle of so many people out there, and I think this is a really important aspect that not many other high end manual coffee makers account for.
Who is the American Press for?
The American Press is perfect for those who want to use a manual brewing method, but are tired of the mess, and difficulty of most other coffee makers out there.
It also is great for those that like a little thicker coffee than you will find out of your normal automatic coffee maker, but don’t want a standard french press.
On the other hand, this really isn’t meant for those that aren’t willing to spend the money that is required to get one of these, or aren’t wanting to manually make coffee.
It really isn’t for everyone, but of course neither is an automatic coffee maker right?
So how much is the American Press?
I have talked quite a bit about pricing, and that it won’t be for everyone. However I guess it is probably time to let you know exactly how much that is.
The American Press is priced right at around $80 on their website. This gets you everything you need (Except the coffee and water) to get going!
You of course do also need a kettle to boil water, and I would highly recommend the Stagg EKG kettle you can read more about here.
Important notes for before and after buying
Like everything you buy in life, there are things that you should think about before, and after buying things. Here are just a couple notes that I wanted to mention.
Something that is important to note, is that you want to make sure you let your water sit for a minute before using it. The plastic is capable of warping on the inside, so you just want to make sure you don’t damage your unit.
Customer Service at American Press
The customer service at American Press seems to be awesome. I had an issue where I couldn’t press down for some reason, after an email to their support they sent me back a list of questions. They then were able to narrow it down to a couple issues that could possibly be causing it.
Thankfully it came down to an inconsistent grind on my side, and it wasn’t a real issue. However they were quick to help, and quick to resolve my issue.
I will mention I learned about the water temperature thing from this conversation I had with them and thought it was important to share.
Cleaning the American Press with a sponge
Cleaning this coffee maker is incredibly easy! However I wanted to mention to not clean it with the hard side of your sponge. I did that right when I got my unit, and it put some small scratches all over the coffee maker.
Moral of the story? Pay attention, even when you are extremely excited to use a coffee maker.
Pros of the American Press
- Simple to use
- Makes really good coffee
- Makers the right amount of coffee
- Fun to use
- Pours out really well
- You can use regular store bought coffee
Cons of this coffee maker
- Issue with washing it with sponge
- You can’t really use different grind sizes, as it can make it difficult to push down
American Press vs Aeropress
For most people, I am going to guess they may be cross shopping the Aeropress and the American Press to see which they should get.
Thankfully, around the same time I got my hands on the American Press, I also got to have an Aeropress Go sent out to me as well. This is awesome, because I am getting to learn about both at the same time.
Later on, I plan on doing a full article about the exact differences between the two. However this is what it comes down to.
If you want a very clean cup of coffee, that isn’t super full bodied, the Aeropress is probably going to be your go-to. It also offers more flexibility with what you can do with it.
However if you like a much more full bodied cup of coffee that is much more substantial, I have found the American Press will give you exactly just that.
My recommendation? I would probably get both, as you will be able to get the best of both worlds for under the cost of a decent automatic coffee maker.
If you are looking to ditch your automatic coffee maker, but want something that is easy to use and makes the right amount of coffee every time this American Press is the perfect alternative. It may take a bit longer to use, but it is worth it.
This makes delicious coffee, is fun to use, and is well designed! If you want to buy your own, you can buy them directly from the manufacturer on their website here.