The AeroPress Coffee Maker came with everything above. The main unit is composed of a cylinder and a plunger. There is a stand for the plunger, a coffee funnel for filling the cylinder with coffee, a measuring spoon, a stirrer, and a stack of filters.
On first look, we thought it worked the same way as a French Press. Closer examination revealed a crucial difference. The French Press has the filter on top. The grounds are pressed to the bottom and the coffee ends up on top.
The AeroPress works in the other direction. With the AeroPress, the filter is at the bottom of the cylinder, and water is pushed through the coffee and the filter. Unlike the French Press, no coffee grounds get pass the filter.
The filter disc sits on the cap which screws onto the main cylinder. The main cylinder can hold from 1 to 4 cups of espresso.
The plunger doubles as a water measurer. It has markings on the side showing the proper amount of liquid for 1 to 4 cups of espresso.
The plastic is microwave safe. The plunger with water can be placed in the stand and brought to the desired temperature in the microwave. It took about 50 seconds to bring the amount of water for one espresso to 180º.
We scooped out the proper amount of coffee using the supplied spoon, added it to the tube, poured in a little water to get everything wet, added the rest, and waited for about 10 seconds. We noticed some coffee started to drip through. That was when we started the plunging process.
It was not difficult to push all the water through. Pushing the water through took about 20 seconds. It probably could have taken less since that last half of the plunging didn't really extract any liquid.
None of the coffee grounds made it past the filter. According to the AeroPress site, the filter is reusable for a few times. Just be sure reattach it to the chamber so the filter will dry flat. We'll try it and let you know how many.
We love the simplicity of the AeroPress. It is easy to use, there are no parts to wear out, and it makes great tasting coffee! We did ask the Aerobie folks why our unit was bluish in color while all of their photos shows a clear unit. Apparently they had changed to an improved grade of plastics for its better temperature-handling qualities. Specifically according to AeroPress...
"We then learned about a new grade of polycarbonate that is specifically designed to withstand extended exposures to high temperature water. We put AeroPress coffee makers made with this new grade of polycarbonate through our tests and they too withstood the tests as well as hundreds of uses with no detectable degradation, just like AeroPresses made of the regular grade of polycarbonate. The new grade of polycarbonate is over twice as expensive as the conventional grade. We could have used conventional grade polycarbonate but as is our way, we decided to err on the side of extra durability and quality and made our production AeroPresses of the new high temperature water resistant polycarbonate that is slightly blue-ish milky in appearance."
If they find another clear formulation with the same improved spec, they may switch again.