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AeroPress vs French Press: Which Should You Choose?

AeroPress vs French Press

If you’re a coffee lover, you probably have more than one coffee brewing gadget. But have you thought about which produce the best coffee for you and your family? If you’re ready to expand beyond your drip coffee maker, you may want to consider brewing devices like the French press and the AeroPress, which can make brewing coffee at home easier and more flavorful. We’re taking an in-depth look the benefits of each and the differences between the two. Then you can decide which brewer will work best for you.

French Press Facts

A French press is a 48-oz container with a metal lid attached to a filter. After putting in measured amounts of ground coffee and hot water, you let it steep for 4-5 minutes, giving time for flavor to develop. After the steeping process, you push down the top with the metal filter. The amount of coffee made can be altered by changing the proportion of grounds and water. French presses can create a batch of hot coffee for one, or for many people, to enjoy. The French press is known for creating a deeply flavored coffee due to having all the oils and acids from the beans present.

The French press has been around for about 170 years. The concept of the French press coffee brewing method appeared in the 1850s. According to legend, a Frenchman making coffee over an open fire improvised a filter using a metal screen and a stick. Though he thought the results would be mediocre, he was surprised to find that it was the most flavorful cup of coffee he’d ever tasted.

The first patent for the device came from the Italians in 1928. French presses have been reliable and popular ever since. Throughout the decades there have been small changes made to different models of the French press and new patents. However, the process and the basic design of the device have stayed the same.

french press pluses
Image credit: Joseph Robertson, Flickr

All About the AeroPress

Invented in 2005, the AeroPress is similar to the concept of a French press. Like a French press, it pushes water through the coffee grounds. However, the AeroPress is smaller and somewhat more convenient. It’s a cylindrical tube with a plunger that pushes the water through the coffee grounds. The AeroPress brews one cup of coffee at a time and the device is typically mounted directly over the cup. The AeroPress brews a single 7-8-oz cup of coffee in a little under a minute. It also includes a microfilter, so no grounds will get in your cup.

The total immersion technology creates a full-bodied cup of coffee. AeroPress advertises that their system makes coffee that has low acidity. It can brew a full cup of American coffee, or it can brew espresso with some adjustments to the amount of grounds and water. The AeroPress company and their users have provided many recipes that are available on their website. There are many AeroPress brewing methods, though we’ve outlined two to get you started.

The Standard Method:

This is essentially the same process as a French press. Coffee grounds are measured and put into the tube. Hot water is then manually added to the tube. The user guide on AeroPress’s website suggests stirring the coffee grounds and water before letting it steep. After 10-15 seconds of steeping, the plunger is pushed down and coffee goes straight into your cup.

inverted method aeropress
Image credit: Abi Porter, Flickr

The Inverted Method:

This method requires you to put the coffee grounds and water in the tube, then push the plunger halfway into the tube. Leave the AeroPress to steep on a table or other solid surface. As usual, the longer you steep the coffee, the fuller the body and the deeper the flavors. When your coffee is ready to drink, put the filter and filter cap on the top and flip the AeroPress over onto your cup. Press the plunger, releasing the coffee.

aeropress
Image credit: Nico Kaiser, Flickr

Benefits of Both

The French press and the AeroPress have a lot in common. Cleaning both products is easy—they just need to be rinsed with hot water. Making coffee while traveling or outdoors is convenient with either product, but the AeroPress is smaller and easier to pack in a suitcase or purse. Both products allow the coffee to steep to develop flavor.

AeroPress Advantages

One of the major benefits of the AeroPress is that it lowers the acidity and makes a richer cup of coffee. Plus, it’s a fast brewing method: a single cup of coffee can be finished in less than a minute. If you want to brew more than one cup of coffee, it would still take only 3-4 minutes to make at least 3 cups of coffee.

AeroPress brewing is easy to customize. Take a look at the website and you’ll find a variety of coffee recipes, including how to make iced coffee, espresso drinks, and even regular cups of coffee with different intensities and flavors.

Another benefit is that the microfilter prevents you from getting any grit or grounds in your cup like you could with a French press. This results in a cleaner cup with a smoother mouthfeel.

French Press Pluses

The main advantage the French press has is that it can create multiple cups of coffee in one brew cycle. Unlike the AeroPress, if you want a bulk batch of coffee, you can make up to 6 cups of coffee at once. The French press is also a simpler product with a tried and true design. If you want an easy, consistent cup of coffee, look no further.

The French press allows more steeping time and does not have a paper filter. Paper filters can soak up some natural oils steeping produces, and can have less depth of flavor. Therefore, the natural oils would appear more in coffee made from a French press than an AeroPress. This can give you a truer taste of the blend you are drinking.

Conclusion

One product is not better than the other, but one might be better for you. If your goal is to make a rich, less acidic cup of coffee in a short amount of time, the AeroPress is for you. If you need to make a bulk amount of coffee or you prefer all the natural oils and a truer taste, then a French press is better suited for your needs. No matter which product you chose, you will have a flavorful cup of coffee every time.

Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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