AeroPress vs French Press: Full Guide

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AeroPress vs French Press
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Having a great cup of coffee is something that many people enjoy. Although enjoying coffee is simple, choosing the best brewing method is sometimes difficult. That is why we have put together this guide that compares the AeroPress vs French Press.

We will take a look at a variety of features, benefits and drawbacks of each coffee brewing method to help you decide which one is right for you.

Overview

Most likely, if you’ve done any research on alternate homebrewing methods, you’ve come across AeroPress and French press mentions as two of the top single cup coffee makers. The two press brewing procedures appear to be nearly identical at first glance. A manual pump mechanism is used to brew hot water with coffee grinds, and then filter the coffee.

Although the principal behind brewing is similar there are some nuances that differentiate the two.

Before we jump into the comparison, let’s first take a quick look at each coffee brewing method for the AeroPress and French Press.

AeroPress – New Kid on the Block

The AeroPress is a small, portable coffee maker that was invented in 2005 by Alan Adler. We often refer it to the new kid on the block in the coffee scene. It brews coffee by using air pressure to force hot water through coffee grounds. The AeroPress is popular because it is easy to use and clean, and it makes a great cup of coffee.

AeroPress vs French Press - Aero Overview

The speed of the AeroPress is what sets it apart from other hand brewing methods. Brewing a cup of coffee in one of these devices usually takes less than a minute. Burr or electric grinders are necessary for use, although the grind size can be adjusted to suit your needs.

AEROPRESS Coffee and Espresso Maker

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To use the Aeroporess, simply add coffee grounds and hot water to the chamber, stir, then press the plunger down to brew the coffee. The whole process takes a few minutes. For getting your water to optimal temperature, consider using an Electric Kettle with temperature control.

French Press – Old School Cool

The French Press is a larger coffee brewer that was invented in 1929 by Italians Attilio Calimani and Giulio Moneta. It brews coffee by steeping the grounds in hot water, then pressing them to filter the coffee. The French Press is popular because it is simple to use and makes a rich, full-flavored cup of coffee.

French Press Overview

If you are not familiar with the French Press, read our How to Use A French Press post for complete details and brewing instructions.

Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Make

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Now that we have an overview of each coffee brewing method, let’s compare them side-by-side.

AeroPress vs French Press – Factors Considered

When it comes to brewing coffee, there are a few key factors to consider. For our comparison of the AeroPress vs French Press, we tackle the features below.

  • Grind
  • Brew Style
  • Filtering Method
  • Durability
  • Size & Portability
  • Ease of Use
  • Brew Time
  • Taste
  • Cleanup
  • Cost

AeroPress vs French Press – Ultimate Showdown

Below I have put together a comparison of how the AeroPress vs French Press stacks up on a variety of factors.

Coffee Grounds – Grind Size

One of the main differences between the two devices is the grind. For the Aeropress, you will need a burr or electric grinder. The french press can get away with a less expensive blade grinder, however for best results, we recommend using a burr grinder.

When grinding coffee beans for the AeroPress you want to use a fine grind. This is because the brewing time is short and the coffee will be in contact with the water for a shorter period of time.

For the French Press, you want to use a coarse grind. This is because the brewing time is longer and the coffee will be in contact with the water for a longer period of time.

Brew Style

It is important to note that with the AeroPress there are two different brew styles, traditional and inverted.

How to Brew With the AeroPress

Traditional AeroPress brewing uses a flat bottomed press with a cup resting on it. Your preferred freshly ground coffee and hot (NOT boiling) water go into the larger cylinder after the paper filter has been rinsed. Your cup of coffee is ready to be filled with your favorite beverage after a few seconds of waiting.

AeroPress Inverted Brewing Method

The AeroPress inverted brewing approach is a little difficult, but I normally prefer it since it provides you the extended steeping of a French press with the shortened brew-time of an AeroPress.

To do the AeroPress Inverted brewing method, remove the filter from the device’s top and insert the plunger into the larger cylinder. The coffee grounds and water are then added, and the typical stirring procedure is followed before the filter is rinsed and the cup is placed upside-down on top. Finally, let it steep for a few minutes before flipping the entire setup over and applying pressure.

The inverted method process produces a darker and fuller flavor than the traditional approach, making it a lot like a French press.

French Press Brewing Method

The French press is probably the simplest coffee maker to use. All you need is coarsely ground coffee, hot water, and a French press. The French Press is also extremely versatile with the ability to adjust the steeping time.

Mueller French Press Double Insulated 304 Stainless Steel Coffee Maker

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To brew with a French press, simply add the ground coffee and hot water to the carafe, stir, then let it steep for a few minutes before pressing the plunger down to filter the coffee.

Filtering Method

French presses often use stainless steel mesh filters that allow the oils and maybe a little grit/sediment to enter your final brew. For many coffee drinkers, this results in a particularly flavorful and full-bodied cup of joe. The hefty mouthfeel and dirty cup, on the other hand, annoy some coffee enthusiasts. In addition, oils might potentially obscure the exact flavors of some beans while adding body.

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With an AeroPress, on the other hand, you are generally going to get a paper filter. And while you can obtain a metal filter from a third party, manufacturers don’t normally encourage doing so. Paper filters produce a low-acid, clean-tasting coffee that is easy to drink. However, the paper does mean that some of the coffee oils that give French press coffee its trademark body will be lost from your cup of coffee. The result is a lighter flavor of the AeroPress, more in line with a pour over coffee.

The MESH: Reusable Metal Filter for AeroPress Coffee Maker

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Durability & Design

With just a few components, the Aeropress and the French press have a simple design. Both are simple to clean, use and maintain due to this simple design. They’re generally a purchase that last a lifetime.

A French Press is typically made of metal and has a connected metal filter at the other end of a long metal rod. It’s also commonly made of heat-resistant glass and has a plastic or metal lid. The glass carafe may need to be replaced in the future due to accidents, but the rest of the brewer is built to last.

Larger French presses can still be used to make smaller batches of coffee because their capacity can be increased from 8 ounces to 48 ounces. This makes them one of the most versatile coffee makers available.

This Aeropress has only three parts: a brewing chamber, plunger, and filter cap, all of which are constructed of food-safe rubber. When it comes to durability, the AeroPress is near indestructible. Trust me, I have dropped and abused mine for some time now.

The switch from plastic to metal construction in more recent models has also increased durability. However, the plunger is still made of soft rubber that can degrade over time with heavy use.

For home use both are great options but for travels, especially camping, the AeroPress has become my go to because of its small size and durability.

Size & Portability

As mentioned earlier, the French press is a large coffee maker that takes up a lot of counter space. It’s not the most convenient for small kitchens or those who like to travel light. The AeroPress, on the other hand, is much smaller and can easily be packed up for travel.

AEROPRESS Coffee and Espresso Maker

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The French press carafe is generally glass with a metal or plastic frame. This makes it fragile and not ideal for taking on the road. The AeroPress, however, is made of durable plastic that can withstand being dropped or thrown in a bag.

The small size of the AeroPress also means that it takes up less counter space, making it a better choice for small kitchens.

When it comes to portability, the AeroPress is the clear winner. It’s smaller, more durable, and doesn’t require a separate filter.

Ease of Use

It’s easy to operate and forgiving to use both the Aeropress and the french press, but they do it in different ways.

Let’s begin by looking at how they’re alike. Both are what we refer to as “immersion brewers.” Before they are filtered, the water and coffee grounds are allowed to sit together for a length of time. You, the coffee enthusiast, are responsible for the process of filtration.

Typically, the French press brewing method involves a few steps. You have to heat the water to the right temperature, grind the beans to the right coarseness, add the grounds and hot water to the carafe, stir, wait the appropriate amount of time, and then press the plunger down. The longer the coffee beans steep, the stronger and in some cases the more bitter your coffee will be.

The Aeropress adds pressure to the brewing process, making it a more efficient method. The brewing chamber is filled with hot water and finely ground coffee. The plunger is pressed down after 1-3 minutes, depending on your grind size. A lot of pressure is generated as the coffee is forced through the filter.

You can brew with the Aeropress in one of two ways. Attach the filter cap to the brewing chamber and place it on top of your mug for the “normal” orientation.

Attach the plunger to the brewing chamber and leave the filter cap off, so that the aperture is face-up, for the “inverted” configuration. You’ll have to flip the Aeropress over onto your mug to keep the coffee from dripping out of the filter, but it’s worth it. It’s a little frightening at first, but it becomes second nature after a while.

Brew Time

French press coffee brews in around five minutes, though it can take longer. Coffee oils and fragrances can only be released if the grounds are permitted to bloom for around 30 seconds with just enough hot water to cover them. The last four minutes of steeping with more water follows, and then the filter cover goes on.

AeroPress Brewing

This method may appeal to you if you appreciate the actual brewing process and like to get your hands dirty. With an eight-cup capacity, a single French press coffee maker four cups of coffee (serve up to four people).

The Aeropress brew time is only takes approximately a minute and a half for a cup of coffee. As long as the grounds are well-mixed, there is no need to steep them before using the Aeropress.

Adler’s revolutionary approach reduced the customary wet time of other sculptors from 4-5 minutes to only a few seconds.

AeroPress may be used to produce more than one cup of coffee if you double or triple the amount of coffee and add eight to twelve cups of hot water to the brewing process.

Taste

This is what we have all been waiting for, how does the taste differ between the French Press vs AeroPress.

Starting off with the French Press, the taste is full bodied with higher acidity. The immersion brewing process allows for a more robust flavor since the grounds are in contact with the water for an extended period of time.

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The AeroPress coffee taste is clean and has a lower acidity than French press coffee. This is due to the fact that the brewing process is much shorter with the AeroPress.

Find the Best Coffee Beans in the World

If you enjoy a bold, flavorful cup of coffee, take advantage of the French Press with your dark roasts. If you tend to enjoy lighter roasts, the clean, bright taste produced by the AeroPress is more likely to please your palate.

Cleanup

The French Press is easy to disassemble and clean. The plunger, filter screen, and carafe can all be washed with soap and water.

The AeroPress is just as simple to clean. All you have to do is unscrew the filter cap, push the plunger all the way down, and rinse everything off with water.

AeroPress Cleaning

If you’re looking for a coffee maker that is easy to clean, either the French Press or the AeroPress will do the trick.

If I had to choose just one as easiest to clean, I would say the AeroPress cleans up a bit quicker and with less effort.

Cost

Both brewers can be had at a reasonable price. The French Press will cost you around $30 on average, while the AeroPress will set you back about $40.

Which Makes Better Coffee, French Press vs AeroPress

So, which one is better? It all comes down to personal preference. If you like a strong, full-bodied cup of coffee, then the French press is probably the way to go. If you prefer a cleaner taste with less acidity, then the AeroPress is the better option.

Bottom Line for AeroPress and French Press

The French Press and the AeroPress are both great coffee makers. They each have their own unique brewing methods that produce delicious coffee. It really comes down to personal preference when choosing between the two.

Do you want a full-bodied cup of coffee with higher acidity? Go with the French Press. Do you prefer a clean, bright cup of coffee with lower acidity? The AeroPress is your best bet.

Both brewers are easy to use and clean, so you really can’t go wrong either way.

FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions about the French Press vs AeroPress.

Which one is more expensive?

The French Press and the AeroPress both cost around $30-$40.

Can the AeroPress Make Expresso?

Yes, the AeroPress can make espresso. However, it will not produce as much crema as a traditional espresso machine.

Even while the AeroPress uses pressure to brew, the pressure is nothing compared to what an espresso machine generates.

By definition, espresso can only be made at a pressure of about nine bars. An AeroPress can only exert a single bar of pressure.

What Is An AeroPress?

An AeroPress is a coffee brewing device that uses a plunger to brew coffee. It was invented by Alan Adler in 2005.

The AeroPress is a small, portable coffee maker that is easy to use and clean. It makes delicious coffee with a lower acidity than French press coffee.

What Is the Best Manual Coffee Brewing Method?

There are many manual coffee brewing methods, and it really comes down to personal preference. Some popular manual brewing methods include the French Press, Chemex, AeroPress, Turkish Coffee, Pour Over, and Moka Pot.

For A Quick Cup of Coffee, AeroPress vs French Press?

This one is not a contest, the AeroPress is much faster. From start to finish, you can brew a cup of coffee in a little over one minute with the AeroPress. It will take at least four minutes to brew a cup of coffee with a French Press.

How Do I Make French Press Coffee?

Making French press coffee is simple. Just add ground coffee and hot water to the carafe, stir, let steep for four minutes, then press the plunger down to filter the coffee.

I Love Dark Roast Coffee, French Press vs AeroPress?

If you love dark roast coffee, the French press is probably the way to go. The French press will give you a full-bodied cup of coffee with higher acidity. The AeroPress will produce a clean, bright cup of coffee with lower acidity.