Aeropress Vs French Press: Which Is The Best Brewing Method?

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.  

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.  

AeroPress coffee

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. 

AeroPress on coffee table

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 
  • Very versatile device that can steep more than just coffee 
  • Delivers a clean and flavorful brew with less bitterness 
  • Durable and portable 
  • Great if you want a single cup 
  • Brewing time is a speedy 1-3 minutes 
Things We Don’t 
  • Can be messy 
  • There is a physical challenge involved when it’s time to push the plunger (lots of pressure in the chamber) 
  • It’s a less-forgiving method - there’s more room for mistakes! 

French Press Coffee Brewing (Overview + Method) 

black french press

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 
  • Easy to use 
  • Delivers a rich, bold flavor 
  • Very little work involved (except for cleanup) 
  • Can produce multiple cups at a time 
  • You have control over how strong your coffee is 
Things We Don’t 
  • Can have a muddled taste that feels heavy in the mouth 
  • Clean up is a pain 

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:  

1. Design

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.  

2. Speed

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.  

3. Cleanliness

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. 

4. Convenience

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.


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 

  • Using coffee beans that aren’t fresh
    Whenever possible, try to use fresh beans. Or at the very least, make sure to store your beans properly to promote freshness. 
  • Low water quality
    The quality of the water you use does make a difference in the overall taste, so try to avoid using hard water or water that contains contaminants (filtered water is best). 
  • Pressing the plunger too fast or too slow
    Improper plunging can impact the flavor and consistency of the final brew. A plunging time between 30 and 45 seconds is ideal. 
  • Grinding the beans too coarse or too fine
    The way you grind your coffee comes down to personal preference, so you’ll have to experiment with this one! Just do your best to get an even grind throughout. 

Common French Press Mistakes 

  • Not grinding the beans properly
    Just like with an AeroPress, the grind quality for French pressing depends on your personal taste. However, it’s best for the beans to be ground coarser since this reduces the chance of residual grounds in the brewed coffee.
  • Poor coffee to water ratio
    The general rule of thumb for coffee: water is 1:10, so do your best to meet this ratio. However, this can vary depending on whether you prefer a bolder or weaker brew.
  • Leaving the coffee in the French press after plunging
    If you don’t pour your coffee into a mug directly after plunging, the brew will likely taste bitter. Even though the beans have been filtered out, French pressed coffee will continue to brew slightly after the plunger has been pressed. 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

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. 

Moka Pot on stove

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.  

black liquid chemex coffee
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.  


Conclusion

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.