Automatic coffee makers replaced the popular percolators back in the 1970s, when they were invented and taken in by house owners all over the world. Their electric and easy to use mechanism proved to be an improvement from the percolator, and this quickly faded into the distance, only to remain relevant for coffee aficionados.
The advantages of these innovative automatic machines were in plain view: without a lot of user interaction and without requiring a lot of previous knowledge in coffee brewing on their part, these devices provided delicious coffee without the fuss a stove top mechanism entailed. Moreover, the temperature of the water and the amount of brewing time was all controlled by the machine itself, enabling the user to just pour water and go on with their business, only to return a few minutes letter to find their coffee perfectly brewed and ready to enjoy.
In order for these machines to work properly, they only require filters and a finely ground coffee bean. The filters can be paper made and disposable or like is the case with some other devices, a cloth one that is washable and included with the coffee maker when bought.
All in all, the coffee they are capable to brew varies. Depending on what species of bean you’re interested in using, you will be able to produce a stronger or weaker cup, according to your personal taste. Coffee connoisseurs often ridicule this method of brewing, since its lack of customization options and its automated process makes it harder to ensure you’re really getting the best coffee possible out of your beans, and that’s when the Aeropress comes in.
Aeropresses are relatively new gadgets that pretty much work like a syringe. They were invented in 2005 and had been commercialized since under the Aerobie brand. With this device, coffee (finely ground) is placed in the inferior cylinder. Afterwards, water is poured over the beans, and -this is up to the user- let steeped between 10 to 50 seconds; the longer the time, the stronger the cup. Once time has passed, it will be required for the user to apply pressure on the superior cylinder, which will force the mixture to be pressed through a micro filter, pouring the ready to drink coffee directly into the mug.
The Aeropress is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to brew coffee that are readily available to home owner. Though this is not a very well known device and I have yet to actually see it in a store, it theoretically combines variables that other coffee brewers possessed but were unable to do so at once. With these presses, you can control water temperature (like with pour over methods and French presses), you can adjust brewing time (also like French presses) but the micro filter resembles more closely that of an automatic drip coffee, getting rid of even the smaller particles, something the French presses were unable to do. What is more, there is no risk (like with percolators or moka pots) to burn the coffee or over brew it.
All in all, these are both great options, but the Aeropress is going to continue to grow in popularity due to its many advantages and the fact that produces a strong and concentrated beverage, and everything from the comfort of one’s own home.