Aeropress VS French Press: Which Is Right For You?
Imagine the world where people eat chocolate only. Without eggs for breakfast and chicken with vegetables for dinner. BOOOORING!
Imagine the world where coffee lovers are committed to drinking only ONE style of coffee brewing. That’s INSANE!
Luckily, coffee addicts could treat themselves to a cup of joe brewed in around 10 coffee brewing methods. While you are making calculations in your mind of how many brewing styles you’ve tried, let us explain the difference between two popular coffee brewing methods: French press vs AeroPress.
These are the brewing styles you’ll frequently come across when looking for delicious at-home coffee brewing. And at first sight, these methods look identical. You’ve got to steep coffee grounds in hot water and then filter them using a manual pump mechanism.
But once you get a closer look at the coffee brewing process, you’ll see that some nuances affect the flavor, taste, and, of course, the level of pleasure you get after your cup of freshly brewed coffee.
So, we are here to lay out the difference between the French press and AeroPress as well as show the pros and cons of both styles.
What Is the French Press?
Once you hear French press, you assume that it has something to do with someone from France who was clever enough to invent this brewing method. Well, you are right and wrong at the same time. And here’s why.
According to the legend, it was a Frenchman who brewed a pot of coffee on an open fire on his way back home from a walk using a pot and metal screen. The man added some coffee grounds to the boiling pot of water, which then rose to the pot surface. Since that was the very last portion of coffee grounds, he wanted to enjoy his drink, no matter what. So, the man purchased a metal screen from the merchant and fit it over the boiling pot. He then used a stick to push the screen down together with grounds. That’s how a new way of coffee brewing was accidentally invented.
However, this French press brewing method was patented by an Italian Attilio Calimani in 1929.
How to Make French Press Coffee
The French press is a proven brewing method that remains popular among many coffee lovers. It’s very simple to brew, and once you do it right, you end up having a rich and textured carafe of coffee.
To brew coffee using the French press method, you’ve got to have a tall carafe with a metal mesh filter. Coffee grounds are first steeped in hot water for at least five minutes (but the brewing time might vary). Then, they are pressed down by the metal mesh filter. In this way, the grounds do not pass through the filter, and you can enjoy a cup of clean and robust coffee, both hot and cold.
What Is the AeroPress?
When comparing French press coffee vs AeroPress, you’ve got to know that AeroPress is relatively a newbie in the realm of coffee brewing, but it has already established a solid reputation among java aficionados.
It was patented in 2005 by Alan Adler, the retired Stanford engineering lecturer, with an aim to simplify and improve the coffee-making routine. He started the AeroPress project because he wanted to get rid of bitterness and reduce brew time.
So, Alan created a two-tubed device that allows pressing the brewed coffee through the paper aeropress filter directly into the cup (you can make one serving at a time, by the way). This technology allows brewing highly concentrated coffee that resembles espresso and even some lighter drinks.
How an AeroPress Works
There are two basic ways of brewing AeroPress coffee: traditional and inverted.
The traditional AeroPress method involves:
- Placing the cylinder on your mug.
- Adding your favorite coffee ground beans with the best grind for AeroPress to the cylinder.
- Pouring hot, not boiled water into the cylinder with coffee.
- Putting the plunger into the cylinder and pushing it downwards so that the drink pours into the cup through the filter.
This is the easiest way to get your coffee done. It is claimed to have nearly the same concentration as espresso with approximately 30 seconds of the brewing time.
Let’s take a look at the inverted brewing technique, which is commonly adopted by baristas and most sophisticated coffee drinkers.
- Insert the plunger into the cylinder and put the AeroPress upside down (so that it stands on the plunger on any even surface).
- Remove the filter and fill the cylinder with ground coffee beans and hot water.
- Let it steep for a few seconds and then flip to be poured into the cup.
In this case, you’ll get the flavor that is similar to the French press, so it would be a little bit darker and richer.
However, coffee lovers have customized the AeroPress brewing technique, so you can always change the variables like the brew time and coffee grind size to get the taste that would excite your sense buds.
AeroPress vs. French press: What are the differences?
You already know pretty much stuff about these brew types, so there is no need to make French press vs AeroPress Reddit requests to clear up the truth. As of now, the brewing techniques might seem evident and straightforward. But what about other important things that make the biggest difference? Because, as we all know, the devil is in the details.
So, in the next sections, we’ll compare the most peculiar features of French press and AeroPress coffee.
AeroPress vs French Press Taste
No matter what brewing technique you choose, you’re guaranteed to make fantastic java that has a rich and satisfying taste. However, some subtleties in the brewing process make a difference in how your coffee might taste.
Since French press involves using a metal mesh that doesn’t hold back oils and some fine sediment in your final brew, you’ll get a cup of joe with heavy and full flavor. Many coffee connoisseurs enjoy the mouthfeel and robust flavor, while others complain that the taste is too heavy and the muddy cups are too annoying.
As you go with AeroPress, you’ll be using paper filters. If you like clean and light coffee without messy cups, that’s your pick. Since paper filters do not let oils and some tiny ground parts appear in the cup, you’ll be able to produce crisper, smoother, clean-tasting beverages.
AeroPress vs French press flavor
The smell of coffee you brew depends on a lot of factors, including the type of coffee beans, grind size, water amount and quality, stirring or not stirring coffee before pressing it into the cup, devices you use, and how well you maintain them.
The French press vs AeroPress flavor difference is more in these variables than the brewing method. If you make your drink right, you’re guaranteed to smell the rich aroma of your freshly brewed coffee.
Versatility & Brew Time
Both brew methods give you some room for diversity and experiments.
For example, the French press works great for making hot coffee. You can change variables like brew time and customize your final brew until you are completely satisfied with your cup of joe. It also allows making cold brew coffee, so it would be a great choice both for cold winter mornings and hot summer days. But mind that this brewing technique implies steeping, so you’ll have to wait for at least 5 minutes until you can pour your fresh beverage into your cup.
As we have explained to you earlier, you can use AeroPress for brewing coffee in multiple ways. The brew method will affect the flavor of the final drink that would be pressed in a mug. You can always adjust how strong or light you would like your coffee to be. If you are a devotee of strong and rich coffee drinks, you can even make a bevy that would be very close to espresso. As these drinks are brewed by the pressure you apply with the plunger, it will take around 3 minutes to get your coffee done.
Capacity & Cleaning
Will you do with one coffee cup in the morning, or is your partner as passionate about this beverage as you are, so a one-cup-sized device is not what you are looking for?
If you are OK with brewing one cup of coffee at a time, you should go with AeroPress. Each tool can hold around 6 to 8 oz. of liquid, which means that you make a single serving of java in a shot. So, if you are single or don’t have coffee fans in your household, this is your perfect choice.
If you are planning to fuel more than one person at a time with the bracing brew, you’d better consider French press. The pot capacity might vary from 8 to 36 oz., so this is a wiser choice for large households or big companies.
In terms of the ease of cleaning, both French press and AeroPress won’t bother you at all. Just rinse them off with water to get rid of coffee grinds. You can use soda or vinegar to remove the built-in dirt or smell.
Durability and Portability
Let us stress the idea that both devices for coffee brewing are portable as they are completely manual and non-electric. So, if you are planning a vacation, you can take both tools with you. However, from the space-saving and durability standpoints, AeroPress is a smarter choice for travelers.
First of all, AeroPress is lighter and more compact, so it won’t take much space in your bag. Whether you go hiking or plan an international flight, AeroPress will be with you.
Even though the French press is smaller than the coffee machine and will occupy little space in your kitchen counter, it might be inconvenient to take it with you. Besides, many French presses are made of glass, which won’t survive even the minor bumps. AeroPresses are made of BPA-free plastic, which is less prone to breakage.
Before you make up your mind about the most suitable brew method for you, you’ve got to consider one more thing.
And this thing is the caffeine comparison French press AeroPress. Since this feature mostly depends on the bean type and the water-to-coffee ratio, you still have to know that an average AeroPress cup will have about 110 mg of caffeine, while French press coffee will contain 80-135 mg caffeine per 8-ounce cup.
Some people will say that coffee is coffee, no matter how you brew it. But we, coffee addicts, know that there’s a huge difference in the aroma or taste of the drink when you change at least one variable. And when the brew method is to be chosen, that’s a huge decision that would affect the final brew mouthfeel and your satisfaction level.
Of course, we have no clue whether the French press or AeroPress will work for you. This is a very individual matter, and you’d better try it by yourself. But here is the hint.
If you don’t mind messy cups and the intense oily flavor of your coffee, go with the French press. In case you are more of a person who would take a cup of crisp and clean beverage, AeroPress is for you. It will also work better if you travel frequently and can’t imagine your life without a quality coffee drink with rich flavor.
Founder and owner of Lion Coffee and 3ChampsRoastery, 1st place winner of Ukrainian Barista Championship 2017. Interested in travelling, football and Formula-1 (besides coffee, of course).