The argument between the French press and Aeropress could very well be settled between those who like new stuff and those who love the retro trends.
However, when it comes to coffee, we all know there’s much more to it.
Whether you value brewing time, the method making coffee, or hell maybe even the aesthetics of each, you may wind up opting for one or the other.
Nonetheless, if you’re new to coffee or you’ve seen your beloved french press threatened by this new tech, surely you’ll want to know what the whole debate is about.
Keep reading to learn all about it.
Aeropress vs French Press: A Primer
The French press and AeroPress are easy-to-use tools to make delicious coffee without electricity.
To compare the French press vs AeroPress we will look at each coffee maker, comparing:
- Brewing methods
- Flavor profiles
- And more.
Grab yourself a great coffee while you read, and let’s dive in.
What is the AeroPress?
The AeroPress is a modern non-electric coffee maker.
An AeroPress produces around 200 to 250 milliliters of coffee with each use.
Alan Adler is an inventor that uses aerodynamics in his many creations.
Adler invented the AeroPress in 2005 to show how aerodynamics can even brew an amazing cup of coffee.
The AeroPress coffee maker has three main parts and requires Aeropress filters.
Pop a filter into the filter cap, then attach the filter cap to the brewing chamber.
The brewing chamber is where you place your coffee grinds.
The plunger is the final component needed to press the coffee from the brewing chamber into your coffee cup.
The brewing chamber of the AeroPress sits directly on top of your cup or carafe.
An AeroPress alone does not have a vessel to insert coffee.
How to Use the AeroPress
The AeroPress is simple to use once you have done it once.
It uses compression to push out the flavors in the coffee.
With physical pressure from you, the plunger goes down the brewing chamber.
A rubber gasket slides along the plastic edges pushing water, that is now coffee, through the filter cap directly into your cup.
Coffee flavors from the AeroPress are customizable with recipes for variations on your morning cup like an Aeropress iced latte.
How Do You Make Coffee with the AeroPress?
Making coffee with an AeroPress for the first time seems confusing and daunting.
Once you get the hang of it, though, it is just as simple as a French press.
Follow the steps below to make your ideal cup.
Step One: Insert Your Filter
Place a new filter into your AeroPress filter cap.
Choose between using a metal mesh filter or paper filters based on your preference.
Step Two: Choose Your Recipe
Choose a recipe for the flavor you desire.
Then, place the brewing chamber onto a mug or carafe and insert the required coffee grounds.
Step Three: Add Water
Add water to the AeroPress brewing chamber and stir.
Then place the cap or plunger over the hot water and wait between 30 seconds to a couple of minutes based on the recipe and brew type.
Step Four: Press Down
Press the plunger down once the coffee has steeped in the hot water.
This motion pushes the coffee out of the brewing chamber into your cup.
Remove the AeroPress once the bottom of the plunger is flush with the brewing chamber.
Now, you have a perfectly brewed cup of coffee made by an AeroPress.
What is a French Press?
The French press is a non-electric coffee maker.
French presses vary in size and produce between one to five servings of coffee per user.
The Chambord was popular in France, which is why we call it a French press.
The French press is widely used today to brew flavorful coffee at home.
A French press is composed of a glass carafe with a special top.
The top piece is the most important part of the French press as this is where the mesh filter is that separates the coffee grinds from the water.
As you push the top down, the mesh filter squeezes the coffee grounds to the bottom of the carafe.
Coffee goes up through the filter while the sediment stays at the bottom of the French press.
How Does the French Press Work?
A French press uses a full-immersion style brewing technique.
The coffee grinds steep in the hot water, expelling the various oils and flavor notes out of the beans into the water.
As you push the mesh filter through the water, it separates the coffee grounds leaving behind a delicious cup of coffee.
The metal filter holds the grounds at the bottom of the carafe.
As you pour, the coffee grounds will not fall into your mug.
The mesh filter has small holes, so some sediment from finely ground coffee make their way through the filter and into your coffee cup.
Coffee oils also go through the holes in the metal mesh filter.
Coffee enthusiasts appreciate the distinct flavor a French press gives to coffee because of its brewing method.
How Do You Make Coffee with the French Press?
The French press coffee maker is very user-friendly.
Follow the steps below to brew the perfect cup of coffee with a French press.
Step One: Boil Water and Measure Your Coffee
Heat your water and grind some fresh coffee beans as you wait.
Coffee experts recommend not boiling the water.
Instead, heat it to around 195 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid burning the flavor out of the coffee bean.
Use a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:12 as you add coffee grounds to the bottom of the carafe.
Step Two: Pour Water into Carafe
Once your water is at your desired temperature, pour a small amount over the grinds.
Start with enough water to submerge all the grounds and use a spoon to stir and release the flavor, or let the coffee bloom, for thirty seconds.
Top off the carafe with more hot water based on how many cups you want.
Step Three: Wait
A French press needs four or five minutes to steep.
Place the top of the French press onto the carafe to lock in the heat, keeping the plunger up.
Step Four: Enjoy
After the coffee grounds have steeped long enough for your desired strength, gently push down on the plunger of the French press lid.
This moves the metal mesh filter down and pushes the coffee grounds to the bottom.
Now you can enjoy delicious and freshly brewed coffee.
The Ultimate Brew Down: AeroPress vs. French Press
The French press and the AeroPress make the coffee brewing process simple, portable, and flavorful.
Below we will highlight qualities of the French press vs AeroPress to help you determine which coffee maker is best for you.
Design and Versatility
Both the AeroPress and the French press are small in design and easy to store compared to a coffee or espresso machine that sits on the counter.
The French press has size variations making it more versatile than the AeroPress.
French press sizes range from single-serving sizes to large carafes with a 12 cup capacity.
AeroPress is a single-serving coffee maker.
Ease of Use
In the battle between the French press vs AeroPress, the French press wins for ease of use.
The AeroPress is easy to use.
However, it takes slightly more effort to push down than the French press.
The AeroPress requires a finer coffee grind size than the French press.
Use coffee grinds 0.5 millimeters in size for the AeroPress and 0.75 to 1 millimeter for the French press.
In terms of clean-up, however, the AeroPress takes the cake.
The grinds sit at the bottom of a French press and take more effort to clean out than the AeroPress.
Brewing Capacity and Serving Size
The Aeropress brews smaller quantities than a French press.
You get one great cup of coffee out of an AeroPress with each use.
For coffee lovers who prefer quality over quantity, then this is a pro for AeroPress.
For those who want quality and quantity without boiling water for multiple cups, the French press offers a higher serving capacity than the AeroPress.
The French press uses a built-in metal mesh filter.
The AeroPress uses specially designed paper filters as standard.
Reusable metal mesh filters are cheap to buy and reduce the lifetime costs of owning an AeroPress. However, the filter affects the flavor, so this is a matter of taste.
Paper filters filter out more coffee oils and sediment than mesh filters which alter the flavor of the coffee.
If using paper filters, then in the battle between the French press vs. AeroPress, the French Press wins.
The French press uses more environmentally friendly and cost-effective filtering techniques than AeroPress.
That said, we love the versatility of filtering techniques AeroPress has.
Unlike a French press, adjust the filter to your coffee type with an AeroPress.
Time from Bean to Brew
The AeroPress has a faster brew time than a French press.
While the French press offers bigger serving sizes, an AeroPress can make several servings of coffee in the same amount of time it takes for a one French press carafe to steep.
A French press needs around 30 to 40 seconds to bloom and then three to five minutes to steep.
The original method of brewing with an AeroPress is letting it bloom for five to ten seconds.
Then, push the plunger down for 20 seconds to produce a strong cup of coffee in about thirty seconds.
Quality, Flavor, and Taste
The type of coffee bean adjusts the quality, flavor, and taste of your hot coffee.
The French press produces a rich, bold, and heavy flavor.
Coffee from a French press is thicker and has a heavier mouthfeel than an AeroPress.
Because small amounts of coffee oil and grounds pass through the metal mesh filter of a French press.
The AeroPress uses finely ground coffee and a paper mesh filter so that fewer oils and sediment pass to your coffee cup than with a French press.
The flavor from an AeroPress is light and flavorful.
The carafe of a French press is usually made of glass and therefore not durable.
There are exceptions like metal or durable plastic French presses.
The AeroPress is made from strong food-grade plastic and polyurethane rubber.
In the battle between the French press vs AeroPress, the Aeropress wins for durability.
The initial cost for a French press vs AeroPress is similar depending on the model you choose.
French presses range in cost from around USD 15 to 200.
The AeroPress is around USD 30 and the AeroPress Go is around USD 40.
The AeroPress uses paper filters which is an additional cost of around USD 5 to 15 for a box of 350.
A reusable metal filter for the AeroPress is a one-time cost of around USD 15.
French press glass carafes are hard to replace without buying a new French press.
Unless you frequent thrift stores, if you break the carafe you need to replace the French press entirely.
The AeroPress is plastic and more durable than a glass carafe.
It is unlikely you will need to replace your AeroPress due to damage.
The Aeropress takes the gold medal for travel-friendliness.
It is compact, durable, and made from plastic so will not trigger airport security in your carry-on.
The metal mesh filter and glass carafe of a French press makes it something we would not recommend traveling with.
There are exceptions with travel-friendly carafes and to-go French press mugs but in general, the AeroPress is the better option for travelers making coffee on the go.
AeroPress vs French Press: Which Method is Better?
Who wins the brewing battle between the French press vs AeroPress?
There are good things to be said about both, but busy coffee lovers who drink coffee frequently throughout the day will likely prefer a French press over an AeroPress because of the carafe size.
If you want a lighter and faster brew, then the brew from an AeroPress will be better suited to your taste.
To determine which method is better for you, head to a local cafe and ask your barista to sample both options.
Alternative Method: American Press?
There are many alternative methods to making coffee like using:
- The Moka pot
- Pour-over coffee pots
- The Clever Dripper
- The American press
- And more
Below we will discuss the one most similar to the AeroPress and French press: the American press.
The American press is made from insulated and shatterproof Tritan plastic.
An American press combines the plunger-style of the French press with the aerodynamics of the AeroPress.
It maximizes the pressure produced when you push down on the plunger.
Like an AeroPress, there is a place to insert the coffee grinds sometimes called a pod.
The pod connects to the mesh plunger similar to a French press.
As you push the coffee grinds through the hot water in an American press, the pressure and immersion release flavor from the beans.
Remove the coffee grinds easily by twisting off the pod and dumping them into the garbage when you finish.
The American press is much easier to clean than a French press, more user-friendly than an AeroPress, and has a capacity of 12 ounces.
The French press and AeroPress are easy ways for a coffee lover to consistently make an amazing cup of coffee.
Comparing the French press vs. AeroPress, both options are portable, compact, low-cost, and take under five minutes to make a cup.
The French press offers more cups per serving and a richer, bolder flavor.
The AeroPress has a more durable design and versatility in filter options.
In the end, why not have both of these compact coffee makers in your kitchen?
Depending on your mood and beans available, choose which brewing method suits the moment so that you savor the best coffee posible