The AeroPress is one of my favorite coffer maker because of its portability, versatility and forgiveness when brewing. Wife uses it to make Hong Kong style milk tea and I use it for coffee. The metal mesh filter we have been using is beginning to crack and while I was looking at replacement filter, I came across a few AeroPress look-alike device for around USD$17.
Wife was thinking we should give it a try. The photos looked like a real AeroPress (packaging and accessories) and had many 5 stars review, and we could use another one for our busy household. It came in about 2 weeks from China.
Unsurprisingly, the packaging of the “Press Pressure” looks identical to the genuine Aeropress with the hexagon box, just without any branding. It even comes with all the accessories of the genuine one!! 😱 I am calling the “Press Pressure” version “knock-off” from here on.
Further inspection of the material, they are dusty and scratchy out of the box; all the pieces have lots of fine dusts on them and they have minor scratches. These don’t affect the functionality and give an impression that these are “factory seconds”. The constructions are mostly identical to the real thing with some slight differences; the plastic are harder on the knock-off and the plunger feels stiffer for example. Also, the pieces are not interchangeable between the real one and the knock off – the lid on the real one will free-spin on the knock-off.
Test fitting the metal filters yields more surprises, while the shower disc fits on both knock-off and real ones. When fitted with the soft-mesh filter, the lid cannot be tightened on the knock-off. The thickness of the soft-mesh filter doesn’t give enough clearance for the thread to be tightened. I can only deduce the soft-mesh filter is designed with the real AeroPress…. 🤦♂️
The solution to this problem: using a miniature file, I am filing down the plastic on the lid so that it can be twisted into the threads!! This takes a little more than 5 minutes on the 4 ends and I can twist 1/4 of the ends into the threads!!
Next, I fill up the knock-off with hot water in the reverse position checking for leaks. The plunger is rigid because it feels like plastic more than rubber, 10 minutes has gone and there isn’t any leaking. Turning it over and pressing down, although it requires a bit of effort to press down, there isn’t any drama and it works like the real one.
For more than 50% off the genuine AeroPress, I am impress with the “Press Pressure” coffee maker because it works as advertised. It may have some imperfection cosmetically and compatibility with thicker filter; it makes me feel these are likely factory rejects. Due to the simple plastic design, the issues can be overlooked or fixed effortlessly. I highly recommend it if you need a spare and please support the genius Alan Adler by buying the original one.
PS. I made a cup of coffee with the shower filter this morning, I could not detect any issues with the coffee or usability.