AeroPress Clear review: an eco-friendly, portable coffee maker

The AeroPress Clear is a cult favorite, but is it the best choice for you and your lifestyle?

(Image: © Louise Bond)

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

The AeroPress Clear is a winner if you want premium-tasting coffee without the price tag. Thanks to its lightweight, portable design, it's perfect for people who are always on the go or want to take it traveling. It's a must-have for coffee nerds who love experimenting with flavors.


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    Tasting clarity

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    Small servings

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Since its release in 2005, the AeroPress has established quite the fan club. Coffee enthusiasts rave about it. There's even an annual competition where thousands of baristas worldwide battle it out to create the best-tasting AeroPress coffee. The appeal is obvious, with a winning combination of speedy yet flavorful results and a versatile, portable design - all for under $50.00

When Alan Adler invented AeroPress, he didn't just bring a new model to the market; he invented a unique coffee-making method. It's been a game-changer. Its introduction has disrupted the coffee industry, with the AeroPress rivaling the depth of flavor of the French press and the speed of a capsule coffee maker. It's no surprise it appeals to innovators and coffee nerds. While it may look daunting, it's also simple enough for coffee newbies to quickly grasp the basics. 

The AeroPress Clear is one of the more recent additions to the family. It is available in Clear (transparent) or limited-edition Clear Pink. As its name suggests, the main difference from the original is the clear cylinder, which allows you to observe every stage of the coffee-making process and is made of a more durable material. 

So why has the AeroPress attracted such a cult following? And does this latest model deserve the hype? I put the AeroPress Clear through its paces to find out. I tested it multiple times a day for two weeks to see how it performed in terms of ease of use and, most importantly, the quality of the brew. While I was impressed by the great-tasting coffee and rapid results, I feel you should be aware of a couple of design features since they may not suit everyone. 

My review considers the design, features, performance, maintenance, and more to help you decide whether it's the best coffee maker for you. I'll also consider how this new kid on the block measures up against the AeroPress Original and challenge it to a duel in French Press vs. AeroPress to determine which brewing method is best.

Louise Bond
Louise Bond

Louise is a freelance writer and founder of The Cove Copy. She's experienced in lifestyle and consumer journalism and loves delving into what differentiates products. Coffee inspires her writing creatively and is a constant companion on her desk. Her brew is an espresso-style black coffee, a reminder of her travels in Italy.

AeroPress Clear: Key specs

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Row 0 - Cell 1
Capacity10 ounces
Brew Size10 oz single serve
Settings3-in-1 brewing - immersion, aeration and pressure
DimensionsH11.8 x W4.8 x D4.8 inches

AeroPress Clear: Price & availability

The AeroPress Clear retails for $49.99, positioning it as an affordable coffee maker. It's similar in price to a mid-range French press. Its price is a huge part of the appeal - it makes espresso-style coffees more accessible to people who don't want to pay through the nose for a high-end machine.

It's worth noting that the AeroPress Clear is $10 more expensive than the AeroPress Original. It may be worth paying the extra if you love experimenting with different recipes, as the clear cylinder makes it easier to observe the intricacies of the process. The Original should do just fine if you're on a tight budget, though, or you may find deals where you can get it for less. 

Do you already have an AeroPress Original? It's probably only worth adding the Clear to your collection if you're a super fan. 

The AeroPress Clear has the basics, including a coffee scoop, a stirrer, and paper filters. Additional AeroPress accessories are available to buy separately, though they are relatively pricey. They may be worth the investment if you crave a certain style of coffee - for example, the AeroPress Flow Control Filter Cap helps you craft an espresso.

You can buy the AeroPress Clear directly from the AeroPress website, but it’s also available from major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Target

Score: 4.5 out of 5 

AeroPress Clear: Setup

While unboxing the AeroPress Clear, I discovered it was mostly packaged in recyclable materials, like cardboard. Plastic packaging was minimal, with a small bag enclosing the filters to keep moisture out. Overall, it was great that the AeroPress arrived without the guilt of lots of packaging going to landfill. 

I was surprised by how compact the AeroPress Clear was. Compared to bulky coffee machines, it takes up very little space in your kitchen and is small enough to tuck away in a drawer. The diminutive size is also a draw if you plan to take your AeroPress out and about. 

Unlike convoluted coffee machines, the AeroPress is super simple to use. It has just three main parts: the cylinder, the plunger, and the filter cap. All I had to do was attach these together and insert a paper filter. It pretty much arrives ready to start brewing—a dreamy cup of coffee is just minutes away. 

Top tip: rinse the paper filter in water to avoid a papery taste to your coffee.

aeropress on top of a mug

The AeroPress Clear on top of a mug (Image credit: Louise Bond)

AeroPress Clear: Design

At first glance, the AeroPress can look a little scientific and offputting. But it's much simpler to use than it looks. As its name suggests, the main twist on this model is the transparent cylinder. It sports measurements in white text, which stand out well against your coffee, enabling you to observe each process stage. Plus, it makes life easier when you're a little bleary-eyed in the morning. I find the AeroPress Clear more visually appealing than the Original, contrasting the dark coffee and the light text. 

Like all AeroPress models, the Clear is made of plastic rather than glass, which may not be to everyone's taste. But that does mean it's incredibly lightweight and highly portable. Thanks to its ingenious design, the AeroPress has become a favorite among campers and outdoorsy people. I decided to put it to the test by taking it with me on long hikes. I was pleased it fared well even on crisp wintery days, providing a welcome pick-me-up. Depending on how far you venture out into the wilderness, using it can be a little fiddly. Ideally, you need a flat surface to balance your cup and the AeroPress to avoid spillages, but that shouldn't be a problem on a campsite.

The AeroPress Clear is so sturdy and easy to carry that it's also a good choice if you want to stash it in your bag and take it to work. It's much cheaper than treating yourself to a coffee on your way. The only downside is that your colleagues will inevitably ask to try it, and the AeroPress Clear is unsuitable for entertaining a crowd.

That brings me to my main gripe. The AeroPress is a single-serve coffee maker if you like a taller drink - it makes the equivalent of 3 espresso-sized cups. If you only plan to make coffee for yourself or only drink espresso, that's no big deal. But it was pretty tedious when I had to repeat the same steps to simultaneously make drinks for my partner and friends. The AeroPress XL may be a better buy if you have a larger household or anticipate making drinks for a crowd. 

When buying a coffee maker, it's easy to get carried away thinking about the taste, but it's essential to consider how it will fit into your life. An important but often overlooked aspect is cleaning and maintenance. I loved that the AeroPress Clear produced very little mess, saving me time. You can pop the used coffee puck straight into the trash - no faffing around scraping the grounds. The good news is that the AeroPress is dishwasher safe, making it super simple to clean. 

From a sustainability perspective, I would have preferred it if you didn't have to use and throw away paper filters, but that's the price you pay for a smooth brew and less clean-up if that's a concern, you can purchase a separate metal filter for your AeroPress from Amazon.

Score: 4 out of 5

AeroPress Clear: Performance

The AeroPress has established a reputation as a manual coffee maker for connoisseurs. It did not disappoint. 

Compared to my usual French press, the AeroPress delivers a smoother, cleaner brew with greater clarity of tasting notes. Even with the same coffee beans, I could pick out subtleties I had never noticed. I identified tasting notes like chocolate and nuts and enjoyed comparing different varieties. The unexpected flipside of the small servings was that I took the time to savor my coffee more. When you only have a limited amount, it encourages you to be more mindful. 

Thanks to the paper filter, your coffee is grit-free, making for a clean taste that avoids being too heavy on the mouth. Of course, the best bit is to enjoy your cup of coffee right down to the bottom without worrying about residue.

So, what's the secret behind AeroPress's taste? AeroPress describes its process as 3 in 1 brewing. This coffee maker cleverly combines immersion, aeration, and pressure. This unique method gives the coffee its distinctive taste, which is somewhere between the robust flavor of the French press and the smoothness of pour-over.

Throughout a few weeks, I experimented with various recipes and methods. Even so, I barely scratched the surface. The possibilities are almost endless with this versatile coffee maker. It's possible to go down a rabbit hole researching the many weird and wonderful variations online. 

 Small tweaks to the process can dramatically improve the resulting coffee. One drawback is that consistency can be difficult to achieve. One time, I attempted to recreate a particularly flavorful brew for my partner, but it proved elusive.  

With the AeroPress, it pays to be precise. On a couple of occasions, I cut corners and guessed the amount of coffee, which affected the taste. I'd recommend sticking to the instructions until you get the hang of it and experimenting with different variations. It is a little more involved than a French press but much less convoluted than an espresso machine. 

While the variations are almost infinite, there are two main methods for brewing with the AeroPress: the original and the inverted. 

aeropress on a mug

The AeroPress Clear: The original method (Image credit: Louise Bond)

The original method

The original method has a lot going for it. It's possible to serve great-tasting coffee in just over a minute—perfect if you want to squeeze in a quick but flavorful coffee before you leave the house.

The original method involves you placing the AeroPress on top of your cup. You will need to choose one wisely to match the size of the opening to avoid spillages. This method does require a little pressure, but you'll be rewarded with a satisfying hiss as the coffee enters your cup. I found that you encounter more resistance if you grind the beans too fine. After trial and error, I discovered that medium-fine was the way to go. The resulting taste is clean and smooth. 

The coffee drips through a little before you fully push down the plunger, so you don't have much control over the brewing time. It all happens quickly, so it's best to fully engage in the process rather than get drawn into another task; otherwise, half your coffee might escape before you've had the chance to plunge!

aeropress inverted method

The AeroPress Clear: The inverted method (Image credit: Louise Bond)

The inverted method

As its name suggests, the inverted method is not for the faint-hearted. It is essentially the opposite of the original method.

First, place the cylinder on your work surface and add your coffee grounds and water to encourage the grounds to bloom. After a few seconds, add the remaining water. Leave about thirty seconds before placing your cup on top and flipping the whole stack in one deft movement. With any luck, your cup should land upright with your coffee. I learned it's best to do it confidently and commit to it.

The inverted method takes a little practice to master and is not something I'd be inclined to risk on a rushed morning. Instead, I found myself gravitating to the original method on busy days, while I opted for the inverted style on lazy weekends when I had more time for experimentation. 

The main benefit of the inverted method is the added control and prevention of drip-through, allowing you to fine-tune the coffee to your tastes. It's popular with AeroPress lovers as there are many ways to change the flavor. Compared to the original method, I found the resulting brew was more robust and velvety, more closely resembling an espresso-style coffee.

espresso and coffee beans on table

An espresso-style coffee made using the AeroPress Clear (Image credit: Louise Bond)

Specialty coffees - American, latte, espresso, and cold brew

The AeroPress Clear comes with recipes for four types of coffee - American, latte, espresso, and cold brew.

The espresso was the stand-out drink. The force of the AeroPress helps you get tantalizingly close to a true espresso flavor. If you crave that full-bodied texture, you may want to take it to the next level with the AeroPress Flow Control Filter Cap. This accessory is available to purchase separately and gives you more control of the brewing process, allowing you to create stronger drinks. 

If you prefer a taller drink, you can't go wrong with an American. However, I found that the espresso, with its more intense flavors, better showcased the AeroPress's strengths. It did meet friends' approval, though, when they visited.  

I was excited to try out the cold brew. Normally, the process takes 24 - 48 hours, so you must be incredibly organized or treat yourself in a cafe. I was seriously impressed that you could recreate it so quickly. The cold brew brings out different flavors and is more mellow, which is great if you find it hard to tolerate bitterness.

The claim of making a latte with an AeroPress is a bit of a stretch. You need to froth or steam the milk yourself for a true latte. I used my milk frother to create passable lattes. Without the aid of a milk frother, though, the latte is a little less lackluster than what you would expect in a coffee shop.

I also experimented with more adventurous recipes like a Japanese-style flash-brew and a Cuban coffee. I was impressed by the versatility of the AeroPress Clear and can see how people become obsessed with discovering new variations. 

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Should you buy the AeroPress Clear coffee maker?

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Score card
Price & availabilityGreat coffee made accessible★★★★½
DesignLightweight, though small servings★★★★
PerformanceFast and flavorful results★★★★½

 Buy it if… 

You want to brew delicious-tasting coffee for one

The AeroPress is ideal for treating yourself to flavorful coffee. You can savor a smooth cup of joe without messing about with making a whole pot. 

You're a coffee connoisseur and love experimenting

The AeroPress Clear really shines if you fancy yourself a coffee aficionado. There's plenty of room for tinkering with new recipes, plus the clear design makes it easy to observe the process and fine-tune your technique.

You don't have a lot of time in the mornings

The AeroPress Clear has been designed for people with busy lifestyles; it's lightweight, and the minimal clean-up is a winner if you don't have time to faff.

 Don’t buy it if…  

You're catering to a crowd

While the AeroPress Clear is perfect for a solo pick-me-up, its small serving size means it's not the best choice for large households. While it's quick to make, following the same steps multiple times quickly gets annoying.

You like tradition and simplicity

The AeroPress Clear requires a level of precision that requires you to follow the instructions in most instances, which may not be to everyone's taste. 

How does the AeroPress Clear compare?

The AeroPress is both a brand and a unique brewing style, so there's nothing exactly like it. If I compare it to a French press, it delivers a cleaner, smoother cup of coffee, though it can't quite match that full-bodied flavor. If you prefer a more robust cup of coffee, you can purchase a metal filter for your AeroPress that lets through more rich, flavorful oils than a paper one. 

The Moka pot is another option if you're in the market for a manual coffee maker. This alternative serves up a rich espresso-like coffee, though you must exercise patience as it can take about 6 minutes to brew. By comparison, the whole AeroPress process takes about 2 minutes from start to finish. 

Curious about how the AeroPress Clear stacks up against the other offerings from the brand? The Original and the Clear are identical in size, so the accessories work for both. As the name suggests, the main difference is the clear cylinder rather than the original grey. That helps you observe every stage of the process, from the coffee grounds blooming to the freshly brewed coffee filtering through into your mug. It will appeal to coffee geeks who enjoy toying with the process and making small changes to fine-tune their coffee. Plus, the Clear is more durable, so it may withstand traveling better than the Original. 

If travel is your main reason for buying, the AeroPress Go is specifically designed for camping—perfect if you're looking for a coffee maker to accompany you on adventures. It folds up neatly in one cup, meaning you don't have to rummage through your bag to find all the parts. 

The AeroPress Clear is relatively pricey, given it doesn't include many additional features compared to the Original. The AeroPress Original will save you $10 if you're on a budget. 

The AeroPress XL is the most expensive offering but may be a better investment if you plan to make coffee for more than one person. It sports a larger capacity—20 oz, compared to 10 oz with the Clear and the Original. That's the equivalent of 6 espresso-sized drinks.

How I tested the AeroPress Clear Coffee Maker

  • Tested for two weeks, making multiple drinks per day
  • Tested a variety of drinks, including espresso, latte, american, cold brew, and more

I tested the AeroPress Clear over two highly caffeinated weeks, using it as the only coffee maker in my kitchen. My partner and I used AeroPress to make hot and iced drinks, and I tried out the original and inverted method and different types of coffee, like latte, americano, espresso, and cold brew. I also experimented with more adventurous recipes, including Japanese flash-brewed and Cuban coffee. I also tried out the AeroPress flow control cap, which can be purchased directly from the AeroPress site or resellers like Amazon. 

Read more about how we test.

  • First reviewed: December 2023
Louise Bond

Louise Bond is a UK-based writer and the founder of The Cove Copy. She has been published in The Guardian, Breathe, Fit & Well, Top Ten Reviews, and more. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her out in nature, whether hiking in the woods or pottering in the garden.