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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Stainless steel vacuum-insulated Thermos (choose from three sizes)
- Thermos stainless vacuum insulated coffee mug
- OXO Good Grips bottle brush
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.