American Press Coffee Maker

I’m always on the look out for new boat-friendly coffee makers. Just as there is no one perfect boat for everyone, there isn’t a single coffee maker that is right for everyone.

Dave and I have been using the American Press for about three weeks now and have to say that we really like it. It has a number of boat-friendly features and makes a great cup of coffee.

First, how it works and then the pros and cons.

The ground coffee goes in a pod — just fill it up and then screw the top — with the plunger — on. You don’t need a filter or any special grind of coffee. TIP: If the top does not easily screw onto the pod, check for coffee grounds in the threads (it only happened once to me, but took me a few minutes to figure out why it wouldn’t go together).

The American Press Coffee Maker -- no electricity need, no glass to break, no filters to throw away -- just delicious coffee!

Pour boiling water into the flask, up to the fill line. The flask is double-walled BPA-free plastic — the same type as is used in baby bottles. So that you don’t accidentally pour boiling water on yourself if the boat moves, always put the bottom down into the sink and then pour the boiling water into it.

Then put the top on and press the plunger just so the pod is fully under water. Stop there for a minute or so. This is called pre-infusing and helps get the full flavor out of the ground coffee. Then slowly push the plunger down the rest of the way. Alex, from American Press, suggests taking a couple of minutes to press. What I usually do is slowly press it a third of the way, let it sit about 9o seconds while I’m doing other things, then slowly press another third, let sit again and then press it to the bottom.

The American Press Coffee Maker -- no electricity need, no glass to break, no filters to throw away -- just delicious coffee!

When done, either pour the coffee into a Thermos to keep hot (it will stay hot 15 to 20 minutes if just left in the flask) or into your mug. The flask is warm to the touch but insulated enough that it’s comfortable to hold in your bare hand.

The American Press Coffee Maker -- no electricity need, no glass to break, no filters to throw away -- just delicious coffee!

Let the coffee maker cool for a minute or two, then you can remove the top, unscrew the pod and dump the used grounds out. Most will come out and there is no need to get them all out or wash the unit if you’re going to immediately make another pot.

The American Press Coffee Maker -- no electricity need, no glass to break, no filters to throw away -- just delicious coffee!

I’ve found that the easiest way to clean the pod without using a lot of water is to put some water into a small container and swish the top and bottom of the pod around to get all the grounds out.The American Press Coffee Maker -- no electricity need, no glass to break, no filters to throw away -- just delicious coffee!

Every week to 10 days, I soak both parts with denture tablets to get all the oils out. A bent toothbrush works well to give a quick scrub out, too (see how to make one here). The flask is easy to wash out with a bottle brush.

Here’s a one-minute video showing it in use:

There are several things that I really like about about the American Press:

  • It is not top-heavy so it’s far less likely to tip over as I’m making coffee than some other methods. Because of that, it’s also easier to wedge into the sink when making coffee underway or in a rolly anchorage.
  • While it’s not totally start it and forget it, it doesn’t take a lot of tending or precise timing.
  • No glass to break.
  • No electricity needed.
  • No filters to buy or throw away. Less to store and a little less trash.
  • It’s smaller to store than most other coffee makers. A lot smaller than the electric ones!
  • No special grind needed for the coffee.
  • Does not use a huge quantity of water to clean (although there are methods that use less).
Three things to note, however:

  • Makes 12 ounces of coffee at a time — that’s enough for two people to have a partially full mug each (Dave and I never fill our mugs full to avoid slopping so this isn’t a problem). I end up making two or three “pots” each morning.
  • To keep coffee hot for longer than 15 or 20 minutes, you need to transfer it into a Thermos (see the best Thermoses here).
  • The American Press isn’t cheap — but it is less expensive than a Keurig and much more environmentally friendly!

You can buy the American Press on Amazon (US) or directly from the company:

A couple other things you may want to go along with it — from Amazon:

NOTE: American Press gave me one of their coffee makers for review purposes. But I wouldn’t say I liked it if I didn’t — this is my honest review with the pros and cons as I see them.

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15 Comments
  • Carolyn Schrodel
    Posted at 03 December 2016 Reply

    We’ve used ours for 10 weeks and still love it! Consistent, great coffee, so easy to clean and environmentally friendly.

  • Tony Gariepy
    Posted at 03 December 2016 Reply

    This looks like a good coffee maker. I prefer the French press method of making coffee overall. My only problem with it is the extra high levels of cholesterol. I switched to the aero press, and have to deal with the filters, but I’m on land…

  • Lewis Sipfher
    Posted at 03 December 2016 Reply

    I have the metal filter for my aeropress, like the reusable aspect and easy clean.

  • Patti Holma
    Posted at 03 December 2016 Reply

    We love our double walled stainless French press- keeps it warm a long time, makes enough for both of us to have a cup and a half each(12oz cups) it’s unbreakable, fits in the cabinet and easy to clean!

  • David Lake
    Posted at 03 December 2016 Reply

    I make great cold brew coffee in my French press,..and it keeps in the fridge for up to a week

  • Les Bauman
    Posted at 04 December 2016 Reply

    I love French press coffee but it makes the highest cholesterol coffee

  • LaMarr
    Posted at 05 December 2016 Reply

    Starbucks has an insulated French press coffee maker, I’ve just pushed the plunger down and drank from the rim. It was a white elephant gift at a Christmas party, it didn’t cost me a thing.

  • wally
    Posted at 06 December 2016 Reply

    I like the concept. Looks like using a reusable filter bag in a regular french press would be a lot less expensive and get more coffee per press

  • Pierre de Villers
    Posted at 18 December 2016 Reply

    Does it make a strong coffee?

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 19 December 2016 Reply

      You can make it as strong or not as you wish by varying the amouont of coffee and the amount of water. Fill the coffee pod full and don’t fill the water all the way to the “fill” line for the strongest.

    • Gil Lhotka
      Posted at 30 December 2016 Reply

      I like my coffee to be relatively strong, so I grind my beans a little bit finer than a drip coffee machine would be. I do it, so the size of the grounds are about the size of granulated sugar or just a little bigger. Then when I press the coffee pod down into the water, I let it soak there for about 30 seconds. Then, I press down (I press down slowly so it takes 60 seconds or even a little longer.
      I have found this gives me good full body taste. The beauty of this is that it is not bitter because the grounds don’t sit in it for long like with a french press.

  • Gil Lhotka
    Posted at 30 December 2016 Reply

    How funny, I just did a similar post, I must have missed this power of yours with the craziness of the holidays. I do love the coffee my American Press makes. I like to grind my beans by hand, and this has become a significant part of my day that I look toward with anticipation.

    I am curious what other great tools people use for making great coffee on board. We have used that crazy little percolator on top of the stove, a small 4 cup electric drip, the Aero Press, a French press and now the American Press. On the constant quest for great coffee 🙂

  • Mary Kenyon
    Posted at 06 April 2017 Reply

    ok, this is a pretty simple question…what do you use to boil your water? I want to avoid glass on the boat but a kettle of boiling water on our single burner stove that would be big enough to provide 3 “pots”of coffee might be a deal breaker. We are transitioning from a small Mr. Coffee where we need to make at least 2 carafes each morning to fill the thermos. Suggestions or advice? Thanks in advance.

  • Evan
    Posted at 17 April 2017 Reply

    For less than half the price, Aeropress does almost the same thing… yes, you need filters… but they are the size of a silver dollar… and they are paper. I can make 8 oz at a time, which for our needs. is perfect for lattes (we have a cool milk frother for that).

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