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French Press vs AeroPress: What’s the Difference?

French Press vs AeroPress: What’s the Difference?

At first glance, these two coffee makers might seem similar. The AeroPress and French press both consist of a brewing chamber and a plunging mechanism. But when you get into the details of how they work, there’s a lot of difference here.

To know which one to choose, take a look at our guide below.

AeroPress

This humble plastic gadget has been a hit with lovers of manual brewing since its invention in 2005. One of the reasons for its popularity is that it’s so versatile, and coffee nerds love something they can experiment with.

There is an AeroPress recipe for nearly every style of coffee drink you can imagine.

Handground

Depending on how you use it, the AeroPress can be considered immersion or pressure extraction or a hybrid of both. For more information, take a look at our AeroPress coffee maker review.

French Press

French presses have been adorning countertops in some form or another since the 1920s. The most common designs have a glass carafe and a metal mesh filter, but you might also see stainless steel or ceramic versions.

A classic for a reason, the French press could hardly be easier to use.

Drink Trade

Making a cup of coffee is just a matter of adding hot water and waiting, so it’s easy to see why it’s remained so popular despite coffee maker innovations in the last hundred years.

AeroPress vs French Press: The Features Compared

French Press vs AeroPress

To help you choose the best brewing device for you, we’ve put the French press and the AeroPress head-to-head. Let’s compare some of their most important features.

Ease of use

The French press has far fewer steps from start to finish, and there are only two parts to the brewer: the beaker and the plunger. But it does take a bit of trial and error to come up with a great coffee. (If you want a few tips, check out our guide on how to use a French press).

Once you’re acquainted with AeroPress, it’s simple to get good coffee time after time. It also has to be the easiest clean-up of any coffee brewer. But if you’re using an AeroPress for the first time, you’re going to need to read the instructions.

Winner: French press. While it might take a bit of practice to get the perfect brew, the process is much more intuitive than using an AeroPress.

Brew time

Making coffee with the French press will take you around 5 minutes in total. This involves blooming the coffee grounds for about 30 seconds, followed by a 4-minute steep (1). The benefit here is that you can make large amounts of coffee at once and that the brewing method doesn’t require any work from you.

Depending on how you use it, the total brewing time for an AeroPress is between around 1 and 4 minutes (2). Sure, it might seem only to make one cup at a time, but make it strong, and you can dilute it to serve multiple people (3).

Winner: AeroPress. Even when using the slowest coffee brewing methods, the AeroPress is quicker.

The Coffee

Fans of the coffee press love the rich and full-bodied brew that this method creates. It can tend towards bitterness, but this is more a result of leaving it to sit after brewing rather than the brewing process itself. 

The coffee made with the AeroPress can’t be called an authentic espresso, but it’s a similarly bold and concentrated brew. The use of paper filter removes oil and sediment for a cleaner cup of coffee.

Winner: AeroPress. The cleaner brew will allow you to taste the true nature of your coffee beans.

The Verdict

In the French press vs AeroPress battle, we think the newer brewer wins hands down. But there is still plenty to love about the classic cafetiere.

Use an AeroPress if:

  • You like a clean, bold brew
  • You want something you can travel with
  • You want to experiment with your brewing

Use a French press if:

  • You want a coffee with a rich mouthfeel
  • You’re brewing for a crowd
  • You want a hands-off brewing process

FAQs

French press coffee is not exactly bad for you. But research has shown that too much unfiltered coffee can raise your levels of bad cholesterol.

AeroPress coffee does not have more caffeine than the French press. Per 8oz brew, AeroPress coffee contains approximately 130mg, while coffee made with the French press contains around 200mg.

The best French press for your home will depend on your budget, tastes, and the size you need. But if you need some ideas, here are our picks for the best French press coffee makers.

References
  1. How to make the best french press coffee: Trade coffee. (2018, June 05). Retrieved from https://www.drinktrade.com/how-tos/best-french-press-coffee
  2. The art of aeropress: Make 10 kinds of coffee like pro baristas. (2018, August 08). Retrieved from https://handground.com/grind/66-recipes-for-amazing-aeropress-coffee
  3. Oden, G. (n.d.). 2 ways to Brew AeropressCoffee for two people at once. Retrieved February 13, 2021 https://www.javapresse.com/blogs/aeropress/2-ways-brew-aeropress-coffee-for-two

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