by Paydn Augustine
The AeroPress Original has been a staple of coffee enthusiasts around the world for the better part of a decade now, and after all that time we were starting to feel like we’d maybe reached a place where mastery and perfection of the unit had met its plateau. The release of the AeroPress GO was a wonderful update to the classic construction, and lead to a multitude of off-brand add-ons that had popped up over the years; some fitting and others leading to terrible pour rates and gloomy watered-down crud. For a while, it seemed like AeroPress had given the market to the third parties entirely, but just recently they’ve dropped a couple of goodies for us in the form of the long-awaited reusable Stainless Steel Filter that was released in the second half of 2022, and the very new Flow Control Filter Cap, a promising little piece of gear that seems to have a lot going for it in a very little package. Let’s chat about the pros and cons of each, and why they’re worthy additions to your Aeropress toolkit!
The Stainless Steel
Let’s start off with the Stainless Steel Filter, a piece that’s been manufactured for a while by many different third parties but recently made official by Aeropress. You’ll probably be able to find metal filters around for a few bucks cheaper than the Aero official piece, but the most notable difference I’ve found so far is that the little guy we’ve got here today is milled perfectly without imperfections. I’ve gone through something like 5 different metal filters in the past and they’ve all had their own host of issues, but the most common was a very poor fit. The metal filter from Aeropress proper sets up just fine in the filter cap and coziest up nice and tight without any gaps along the bottom edge of the cylinder.
The filter itself has the obvious difference of imparting far more of an acidic, oily profile to the coffee and leaves the cup feeling full-bodied with a smooth mouthfeel and heavier profile. In my opinion, the metal filter works better for darker roasts that do well with the thicker emphasis, but there’s a lot more than just taste to consider with this filter in particular. In cups I’ve run side to side I’ve noticed a very clear difference in presentation, all the oils that pass through the steel filter are clearly visible while the paper filters leave the cup clean and lighter in body and taste. Speaking of taste, I was running some of our Trails Foundation Blend and Espresso Blend through both filter styles, and the metal filter came up HUGE in deep dark chocolate flavors and a delightful brunt note on the tip of the tongue, with a finish like a very smooth dark hot fudge, while the espresso was thick, woody, and earthy.