Do you want to change up your morning coffee routine and stop using that mediocre Keurig machine? Then there are two coffee-making methods you should definitely consider: the French press and the AeroPress.
Both of these brewing methods are manual techniques that result in a delicious cup of Joe, but they have some major differences. In this guide to AeroPress vs. French press, we'll go over each method in detail and explore the main differences so that you can choose the best brewing method for you.
French Press Vs Aeropress: Differences Compared
These brewing methods have some similarities, like the fact that they both fully immerse the beans in hot water, allow the grounds to steep, then use a plunging device to filter the grounds out. But there are also some big differences between French press and AeroPress coffee, like:
Comparing design features of Aeropress vs French press is like comparing apples to oranges. They're both "fruit" (or rather, coffee makers), but they're totally different. The biggest design difference is that the AeroPress uses an airtight seal to create pressure in the brewing chamber.
Another difference is the use of a thick paper filter in an AeroPress rather than a mesh metal filter with the French press. The paper filter allows for more pressure.
Because of the added pressure, the brew time is much faster with an AeroPress - your coffee can be brewed in as little as 1 minute. With a French press, the ideal time is between 3-5 minutes, depending on flavor preferences.
AeroPress coffee definitely has a cleaner flavor, and this is all thanks to the faster brewing time. French press coffee can sometimes feel gritty or muddled, especially if the beans have not been properly ground.
Most people love the "set it and forget it" mentality of the French press. Just fill the chamber with grounds and water, forget about it for a few minutes, then push the plunger down, and your coffee is ready to drink. However, the AeroPress is notorious for its portability and travel-friendliness, and it’s the go-to choice for outdoor adventures.
5. Coffee Flavor
French press coffee is, without a doubt, bolder and more robust. However, this boldness can feel thick in your mouth, which isn't the case for AeroPress coffee.
AeroPress Coffee Brewing (Overview + Method)
The AeroPress is a unique manual coffee maker that consists of a cylinder chamber, a plunger, and an airtight silicone seal. Inside the chamber is where ground coffee beans and water go through the steeping process. After a certain amount of steeping time, the grounds are filtered from the liquid through a thick paper filter by pressing the plunger down through the chamber.
The device was founded in 2005 by a man named Alan Adler, so it hasn’t been around nearly as long when you compare it to other methods, like pour over vs French press vs AeroPress. However, it has received a lot of attention even in a short amount of time for a few reasons.
The main concept behind AeroPressed coffee is pressure. By adding pressure - that’s where the Press in AeroPress comes from - in a closed steeping chamber, the coffee brews faster, which means there’s less bitterness in AeroPress coffee. So if you don’t generally enjoy coffee’s natural bitterness and you consider yourself an impatient person, this is a great choice for you.
Now, there are a few different models of AeroPress coffee makers, including the AeroPress Go that is specifically designed for travelers and people with an on-the-go lifestyle.
Pros & Cons of AeroPressed Coffees
While there’s a lot that people like about AeroPress coffee makers, there are also a few cons:
What We Like
Things We Don’t
French Press Coffee Brewing (Overview + Method)
The French press brewing method has been around for quite some time. It originated somewhere in France, but the Italians often claim that it started with them. We’ll never know the exact origins, but we do know that it was officially patented by two Italian men in 1928.
The process for using a French press is very similar to the AeroPress. It involves a beaker (rather than a pressurized chamber), a metal mesh filter, and a plunger. The coffee grounds and hot water are combined in the beaker, and then there's a steeping period of between 3-5 minutes. After steeping is complete, simply push the plunger down to filter the grounds from the liquid.
Because the ground coffee is directly immersed in the water, the result of using a French press is rich, bold, and heavily-bodied. It's an excellent choice for anyone who likes a strong, flavorful, robust cup of coffee with a muted natural acidity.
Pros & Cons Of French Pressed Coffees
Just like the AeroPress, French pressed coffee comes with some good, as well as some bad:
What We Like
Things We Don’t
Common Brewing Mistakes: Tips From A Barista
Any coffee brewing method has the potential for making mistakes, and though you don’t have to be a professional barista, trained baristas know their stuff when it comes to avoiding brewing mistakes. Here are some of the most common mistakes made for both brewing methods:
Common AeroPress Mistakes
Common French Press Mistakes
Common Aero & French Press Brewing Questions
How many times can you reuse AeroPress filters?
There are some very useful Reddit posts on this Reddit comments on this topic, and one AeroPress user states:
“After I press, I let the coffee cool a bit, I peel off the filter, give it a rinse and let it air dry on the filter cap. I usually reuse it 10-20 times before I throw it away. I don’t have a set number of reuses, I just keep going until it looks a little worn…”
Can you get crema from AeroPress?
Yes, it’s possible to make crema (flavorful froth on top of an espresso shot) using your AeroPress without any additional coffee accessories. As long as you use the correct techniques for temperature, pressure, and grinding the beans, making crema is relatively easy with this device.
Is French Press coffee stronger? Which has more caffeine?
The French press makes coffee that is stronger in taste but not necessarily in caffeine content. Actually, AeroPressed coffee is thought to have more caffeine since it uses muscle power to add pressure to the coffee-making process. Depending on the pressure exerted, this can result in a more caffeinated cup of coffee.
What is the difference between a Moka pot and these two brewing methods?
When comparing Moka pot vs French press vs AeroPress coffee machines, you’ll quickly see that a Moka pot is unlike these two manual brewing methods. A Moka pot is a stovetop or electric coffee maker that brews coffee by passing boiling water pressurized by steam through ground coffee.
Although it uses pressure, just like the AeroPress, a Moka pot brews coffee directly on the stovetop.
What is the difference between a Chemex and these two brewing methods?
Another common comparison is between AeroPress vs Chemex vs French press. A Chemex coffeemaker is a manual pour-over style glass coffeemaker. Instead of fully immersing the beans and water together, it uses the classic pour-over method.
How long does an Aeropress last?
As long as you take care of it properly, your AeroPress should last for 2-3 years of regular use.
If you’re looking for a clear-cut winner to the AeroPress vs French press battle, unfortunately, there isn’t one. It all comes down to the coffee drinker and his/her personal taste and brewing preferences.
The AeroPress is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a portable brewing method to take on the go, doesn't mind only making a single cup at a time, and enjoys experimenting with different brewing recipes.
Then there’s the French press, which is best for anyone who prefers rich, bold coffee and wants to have the ability to make more than one cup at a time. Another reason to use the French press is the set it and forget it design - there’s very little work involved until it comes time to clean up.