I got my AeroPress as a Christmas present three years ago, and I've been using it near-enough daily ever since. That's the short answer to why I know it's a great last-minute gift for anyone struggling to buy for a friend that's hooked on coffee.
This $40 coffee maker has very much become a part of my personal brand. It even appears in my bio for this very website. But even if you are a more casual coffee enjoyer, the AeroPress remains a practical choice.
First off, it's cheap. The basic version costs $40, while the smaller Go version costs a little more since it comes with a couple of extra accessories and has been downsized to fit in a travel cup. Either way, it's cheaper than the vast majority of the best coffee makers.
Even filter refills won't cost that much. You use a single paper disk per brew, but a pack of 350 costs $10, which is a negligible cost when you average it out. It's even more money efficient when you consider how little power you need to use the AeroPress — just enough to boil your water, and then only your physical effort to press the plunger down.
You also get a lot of versatility for that price. Even with just what you get in the box, you can make coffee at varying strengths and volumes depending on if you want an americano/long black-style drink or something more equivalent to a shot of espresso. But there's much more fun to be had with the numerous third-party accessories on offer, which can help you do things like make even more intense shots, pour into two cups at once or offer metal filtration instead of paper for a "thicker" texture more like what you'd get from a French press (cafetière or coffee plunger if you're outside the U.S.) or an espresso machine.
It’s this wide set of options that set me on my path to becoming the coffee geek-in-training that I am today. I have yet to come across another coffee brewer that’s so approachable but full of potential for experimentation.
A lot of coffee gear prefers to sit stationary on your kitchen counter, and while the AeroPress is capable of that, it also travels well. Particularly if you get a bundle that includes the tote bag that's perfectly sized for the AeroPress. I've found it's even got a bit of spare room to keep filters, small bags of coffee grounds and a small set of scales. Since the whole AeroPress is made of food-safe plastic, it's no problem to throw it in your bag or suitcase and take it with you wherever you go. Part of the reason I've got so much use out of the AeroPress (as you can tell from the worn lettering on the side of the main chamber) is that I can bring it to work or on vacation with me with very little effort.
As much as I'm raving about the AeroPress, I can think of a few types of people who may not appreciate it quite as much. It's definitely not going to be for anyone who likes the automatic convenience of a regular coffee machine, even if it doesn't take that much more effort to use. It's also only designed for making black coffee, so anyone who likes adding hot or steamed milk to their cup will need a separate device for that. Fortunately, my colleague Cynthia has a recommendation for a great milk frother.
Now I can't guarantee that at this point, you'll get one in time for the holidays if you order it online. But AeroPresses are readily available from retailers and coffee shops, as well as from AeroPress itself so I think you have a great chance of it arriving before you need it. Perhaps that will sell you on getting this as a gift more than anything else I wrote.
But all the same, there's so much to like about the AeroPress that there are many reasons beyond its availability that make it ideal to gift to someone this holiday season. In fact you may want to buy two, as you may find you end up kind of jealous of whoever's got this simple but deep coffee maker.