Over the years, the AeroPress has made a notable – and surprising – impact in the coffee industry. Initially designed as a small and handy device for making a quick cup of coffee, the product soon gained a devoted following among prominent members of the nascent third-wave coffee scene.
The World Aeropress Championship began as a lighthearted event in Tim Wendelboe’s coffee shop in Oslo back in 2008, with only three competitors, but quickly grew into a global sensation.
The AeroPress became a cult phenomenon. But it was sort of a mainstream cult. A bit like mindfulness and microdosing.
In just a decade the product conquered the world, but of course, users demanded more.
So, what was the company’s response? Well, nothing for years.
Aerobie Adler was conservative
As detailed in the AeroPress Movie (well worth watching), Alan Adler, the brain behind the original AeroPress, as well as the Aerobie Flying Ring, had created several XL prototypes. Yet, he never brought them to light. Some say it was his perfectionist streak; Adler was content with the OG AeroPress and its travel-friendly cousin, the Go. A few argue that perhaps Adler foresaw challenges in the XL model that we’re yet to uncover.
However, Adler is not making the decisions anymore. Since 2021, the new owners of AeroPress have introduced or announced more new products than the inventor ever made, which indicates a less cautious approach to innovation.
The AeroPress XL marks a bold leap in coffee innovation, delivering what many avid enthusiasts have been clamoring for — greater volume.
Yet, as Henry Ford astutely observed when reflecting on giving people what they thought they wanted, they might have just requested faster horses. Did Adler perhaps have a valid reason for ignoring the calls for a bigger version?
The AeroPress XL comes in new packaging that features a fresh visual identity for the brand. The logo font appears more modern than the previous italicized version.
The size of the XL is undeniable and a little bit shocking. It’s like greeting an old friend who’s just had a growth spurt.
A disclaimer here: I might not be the best reviewer for this product since I was perfectly happy with the size of the original AeroPress. I rarely brew really big batches. In fact, I’m actually happy with the size of the travel-sized AeroPress Go, and when I need to serve an extra cup I have my efficient Supersized recipe handy.
But for the purpose of this review, I will attempt to think as someone with an insatiable craving for coffee.
The AeroPress XL of course comes with upscaled components. From the plunger to the new filters, every bit feels… grand. And, there’s even a Tritan plastic carafe. This addition is smart. Most people don’t have a cup that’s big enough to accommodate 600 ml’s of coffee, and it would be unwise to attempt use a carafe made of glass.
However, the carafe feels like a bit like an afterthought. It doesn’t have a handle, and if you brew to max capacity, it will be uncomfortably full. I have a feeling Adler would have designed something a bit more elegant – similar to what he did with the AeroPress Go carry cup that works like a charm.
There’s also a scoop and 100 paper filters included.
The original AeroPress used to come with 300 paper filters, so it can be frustrating to see that the number has been reduced.
This is especially concerning because it might take some time before the AeroPress XL filters become available worldwide. The new XL filters are larger than the original ones and won’t fit. But in an emergency, you can, of course, cut out additional filters from other coffee filters you have at home.
Now, let’s delve into the daily practicality of this brewer.
I think everyone who brews with the AeroPress has a few favorite recipes they always come back to. I’m no different. I quickly tried James Hoffmann’s high-extraction recipe he released a couple of years ago. At first, it felt wrong to double the volume, but the XL managed it seamlessly. In fact, I reckon I could scale it up to nearly 3x the original size given the XL’s 600 ml capacity.
Next, I attempted the classic Tim Wendelboe recipe in double size. Once more, no issues. However, I did observe that the plunging step took noticeably longer. Recipes that previously had brew times of 2 to 3 minutes were now extended by 30-60 seconds. This might be something future AeroPress XL recipes need to consider.
Feeling adventurous, I measured 62 grams of coffee, set my electric kettle to boil at its max 800 ml capacity, and had a separate pot on the stove with extra water. My aim? To brew 1 liter in the AeroPress XL and really test its limits.
The experiment was a success! You can check out the results on my YouTube channel.
However, while it did succeed 62 grams of coffee will take up a lot of space in the brew cylinder. If you’re going to brew these giant batches often it might be worth experimenting with some bypass as well. Perhaps 30-40% of the water can be added to dilute the brew to make the whole thing less cumbersome/outright dangerous.
Overall, however, the XL is pretty gigantic, and with a bit of ingenuity, I think brewing 40-50 grams is relatively doable.
Brewing a double-up portion, so around 25-30 grams, is very straightforward and won’t require any changes to your normal technique.
However, while using my unique plunger-removal technique, which is part of the Supersized recipe, I found it a tad challenging to fit the plunger into the brewer. Initially, I wondered if it was due to the larger diameter, but a side-by-side look with my trusty AeroPress Go and the XL settled it. The XL’s angle and finish aren’t as sculpted and polished, making plunger insertion slightly trickier.
If the slope extended further toward the opening, insertion would be smoother. That said, you probably won’t notice this if you brew with the AeroPress in the traditional manner. But if you employ my Supersized method, where the plunger moves in and out multiple times, it can be a tad annoying.
One potential drawback of the new AeroPress XL is its size, which may be cumbersome for some users.
I can see how it’d be inconvenient for some to plunge the XL if it requires reaching up. At a glance, the XL appears only slightly taller than the regular AeroPress, but that’s because the plunger is fully inserted.
Once you fold out the device to its full length and place it on a tall carafe, the extra height compounds. It does look a bit like a massive coffee tower. However, as someone who is 6’2″, this has not caused problems for me in daily use, but some people might find it unwieldy to handle.
While the original AeroPress was fundamentally an ergonomic design that was easy to use, the XL is a bit more awkward.
The AeroPress XL as a travel brewer?
The AeroPress has long been regarded as a travel-friendly brewer. If you’re journeying with friends and family, the XL might just be the perfect companion, retaining many of the original’s advantages:
- It’s durable and nearly indestructible.
- Still quite lightweight.
- User-friendly – you don’t need all the elaborate accessories or techniques that pour-over demands.
However, the XL does pose a question: what should you brew into unless you have brought the plastic carafe?
The carafe doesn’t double as a carry case, unlike the AeroPress Go. Its octagonal design is stylish, but a round carafe would have been more travel-friendly. Having both the bulky XL and the bulky carafe in your suitcase is going to take up space.
One strategy would be too leave the carafe at home and just use the cups in your hotel room/Airbnb. But not all cups are going to the extralarge diameter of the XL cap. In fact, most probably won’t.
There’s also the whole question about brewing in that manner: There might be strength variations between the first and last cup.
However, with a fine grind and maximized extraction, it shouldn’t be too concerning.
With the older AeroPress, many wished for a manual grinder that could fit inside. The Porlex Mini and 1Zpresso Q2 were probably the go-to choices.
With the XL, your options expand significantly, accommodating even larger manual grinders such as the 1Zpress K Ultra or J Max. The new Orca grinder from Café Sing was a bit too wide, however.
There are pros and cons to the AeroPress XL as a travel brewer, and I think I have to go a little trip with it before I can fully evaluate it. But in theory I’d feel pretty confident leaving the travel case at home, and using the XL to accomodate my 1Zpresso K Ultra.
We have already been talking about most of the drawbacks, but it’s also worth pointing out that accessories already on the market most likely won’t fit with the AeroPress XL. So metal mesh filters and stuff like the Prismo. I’m sure there’ll be a lot accessories available eventually, but it will probably also depend on the popularity of the AeroPress XL.
Personally, I love to use the special extra-thick Aesir filters for brewing with the original AeroPress. Will they be available in an XL-size? I’m not sure about that.
- Bigger batches!
- A convenient way to brew specialty coffee for 3-4 people at once
- Comes with a sturdy Tritan plastic carafe
- Thrilling to finally brew with
- Can fit big manual grinders inside the plunger
- Very tall when all the parts are extended. Some people might find it awkward to use.
- The lip inside the brew chamber could be smoother. This causes some friction when inserting the plunger.
- The plastic carafe cannot be used as a travel case due to its design limitations. Its maximum capacity is 600 ml.
- Most accessories won’t fit, including, Aesir filters.
- You won’t be able to brew into most regular coffee cups since the diameter is wider.
- Plunging takes a lot longer. Some recipes might have to be revisited.
The AeroPress has always been about more than just coffee. It’s been a symbol of innovation, simplicity, and the joy of brewing. The XL is the next chapter in this story, pushing boundaries while paying homage to its roots.
So, is bigger also better? It truly depends on the barista you ask. If you’ve felt confined by the capacity of the original AeroPress, the XL could be your solution.
Crafting specialty coffee for a small group just got a tad easier. It’s a convenience many coffee enthusiasts might welcome. I’m noticing a trend in devices aiming at this demographic, like the newly introduced Etkin dripper.
Personally, I don’t think an XL is a definitive must-buy. However, if you already see yourself as an AeroPress fanboy, then it’s 100% a fun and useful gadget to add to your collection.
Yes, the old AeroPress was cheaper, but it almost felt too cheap. The XL, in my opinion, is reasonably priced, comparable to designer French presses, and many modern espresso accessories.
When you’re looking to quickly brew specialty coffee for 3-5 people, this will be a convenient brewer, probably better and faster than something like a Clever dripper or 03-sized V60.
➡️ Check the current price here