The AeroPress and Better Motel Room Coffee

I probably take my coffee more seriously than most and while I'm probably nowhere near as hard core as some, I do appreciate a good cup o' Joe. Which is why, when I'm on the road, that first cup of coffee in the morning can be a bittersweet moment.

You know you feel the same way. You want that hot cup of caffeine-rich goodness and this is all you see.

Someone with more discerning tastes would probably just man up and wait to get to that quaint coffee shop that they scouted out the previous evening as if marking caches of black gold (not Texas tea). But I'm either not a man of discerning tastes or I am more of an addict than I thought. (I can quit anytime I want. Really.)

What's a java junky to do?

Lucky for me I packed my AeroPress in my toiletries bag.

I first got really interested in the AeroPress when I heard Marco Arment (of Instapaper fame) talking about it on the show (Build and Analyze episode 9) that he does with Dan Benjamin on the 5by5 network. Marco is a real coffee nerd and I suspect he would be aghast at what I'm about to suggest.

(For a very good write-up on the AeroPress, check out this blog post by Shawn Blanc.)

Where were we? Oh! Yes. We were going to use the AeroPress to make coffee by using the supplies that our very reasonably priced room has been stocked with. Well, with one exception. With your Aerobie hardware, you need to also pack a small supply of filters.

So let's do this.

Normally, you are provided with two servings of coffee. Four if you include the decaf servings, which I don't. What you will want to do is take the coffee packet out, open it and dump the contents into your AeroPress. These square coffee pods are actually very easy to work with.

Use both packets. This is about getting the most bang for our buck here. No skimping!

We need some hot water. Fortunately we can make some use out of that coffee maker. Granted, there is not a lot of control over the temperature of the water we will get, but you work with what you've got, right?

Take one of the cups they have provided, fill it with water and run it through the coffee maker.

While things are heating up, take the other cup and get it set up to receive the bounty we are about to receive from our little plastic wonder.

Add water to your liking. Keep in mind that you probably did not end up with as much in the way of ground coffee as you would normally want to use. Adjust the amount of water accordingly. Probably up to the number 2 marked on the side.

Now the standard steps. About a 10 second stir and a 20 second press. Be very careful with the pressing. Depending on where you stay, you may have to deal with paper or styrofoam cups. The hand not doing the actually pressing needs to be holding the cup and, if possible, actually providing some support to the AeroPress base. (I couldn't show this because I don't have three hands and I really needed one for taking the pictures. Yeah, I know they aren't that great, but I hadn't had any coffee yet.)


If you prefer a more Americano style coffee, add more of the hot water that you did not use previously. If you like sugar, sweetener and/or a creamer-like substance, feel free. Personally, I like it straight from the tap.

This will not be anywhere close to the greatest cup of coffee you will ever taste, but given the ingredients at hand (hey, it did say "gourmet" on the package!) it will hold us over until we can find better. If you want to brave the TSA, a Ziploc bag of quality ground coffee from home might not be a bad thing to pack next to your shaving cream and deodorant.