Aeropress vs French Press (Comparison & Guide)

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Aeropress vs. French Press

If the conflicting testimonials regarding the two most popular press coffee makers overwhelm you, you are in desperate need of a closer look. 

Presenting you the ultimate tug of war between the French Press and Aeropress, this article will lay down the ups and downs of these iconic brewers and help you make a choice that will satisfy your unique Java needs and preferences.

Aeropress Basics

If you are an outdoorsy person (and a coffee enthusiast, of course), then having an Aeropress in your traveling gear is a definite must. Easy as 1, 2, 3, this steep-force-drink brewer is simple to use and quite functional.

Using nothing but hand and air pressure to brew, the coffee-making process in an Aeropress is quite ingenious. You let your coffee steep for 10-50 seconds, and then just press the plunger to force your Java through the filter and into your cup. And that’s it!

But you don’t have to do it the dull way. With an Aeropress, you can take your coffee making to another level. This amazing brewer can make your cup of Joe the standard way – by placing it over your mug and pressing the coffee through, but it also works by putting it upside down on your plunger, then flipping onto a cup and pressing that way. Pretty cool, huh?

French Press Basics

Every keen coffee drinker must be familiar with French Press brewing. A French Press is a tall carafe with a metal filter that allows flavorful fragments and aromatic oils from the coffee to pass through and into your mug.

As the name suggests, this brewing method also involves hand pressing. You just add your grounds and water, let steep for a couple of minutes, press down with your hand, pour and enjoy a cup.

The only difference here is that you might find some wandering particles that have slipped through the metal mesh and ended at the bottom of your cup.

Advantages of Aeropress

There are a lot of good things about brewing your Java in an Aeropress. It is portable, quick, and convenient, but most importantly – versatile. It allows you to adjust your grounds and customize the strength of your coffee as you see fit. 

It only brews one cup at a time, but if there are picky drinkers in your home, this can be a massive advantage – everyone can make their unique cup of Joe in a jiffy.

It is super clean and richly flavored, thanks to the fact that it depends on hand pressure to extract the goodies from the grounds. Meaning, if you are looking for a convenient espresso-resembling Java, this brewing method may be just what you need.

Aeropress brews are not overly strong – they have a mellow flavor without bitter aftertaste or sharp kicks that most find unpleasant.

Advantages of French Press

Brewing in a French Press also has its perks. Simple usage and convenience aside, there are a lot of reasons why your kitchen needs this elegant brewer on the counter.

With minimal prep work and a set-and-forget brewing (feel free to do your 4-minute morning yoga while your grounds steep), you can enjoy a rich, thick, and aromatic cup of Joe every single morning. And the best part? Your brew will always be consistent.

And if you are making coffee for a crowd,  the French Press would be a perfect choice because it can brew multiple cups at once in a reliable way.

There are also no paper filters involved (you’re welcome, Earth!), which allows you to enjoy a full and pure coffee flavor.

Comparing the Aeropress and French Press

Although at first glance, the two brewers look very similar, keen coffee drinkers will confirm that the experience is quite different. Here are the top differences between the French Press and Aeropress:

  • The Aeropress brews one cup at a time, while you can make 28-35 ounces of coffee in the French Press.
  • The coffee made in the Aeropress is closer to Espresso because the brewer uses more pressure to brew than the French Press.
  • The Aeropress uses coffee filters; the French Press does not.
  • Because of the lack of coffee filters, the coffee taste with the French Press is fuller – you will also find some leftover grit sitting at the bottom. The Aeropress makes a clean and mellow cup.
  • The brewing time in the Aeropress is shorter (less than a minute), while it takes several minutes for the French Press to make your morning Java.
  • For the best cup, the Aeropress uses finely ground coffee, while the French Press brews are best made with a coarser grind.

Which Press Impresses and Makes Better Coffee?

For us to give the verdict on which press impresses better, we’ll need to know more about what your palate finds satisfying. Because after all, it all boils down to personal taste.

If you like richer, intensely aromatic, and hearty and full-bodied brew (assuming that you don’t mind the muddiness and coffee fragments at the bottom of your cup), then there is no doubt that the French Press is the right choice for you.

But, if you prefer a cleaner cup with a milder taste and not so intense flavor, then the Aeropress is perhaps a better option.

Time to Make a Cup of Coffee

Aeropress

Place a paper filter into the cap of the Aeropress, and add some water, enough to make it wet. Assemble it. Add the finely ground coffee to it (about 15 grams per cup), and pour twice the amount of boiling water over. For 15 grams of grounds, add about 7 ounces of hot water. 

For the most precise results, use a kitchen scale. Let the coffee sit for 30-50 minutes, stir, fasten the cap, place atop your cup, press with your hand, and enjoy!

French Press

Add your coarsely ground coffee to the French Press, and pour boiling water over the grounds. For best results, stick to a 1:12, coffee to water, ratio. Give the mixture a gentle stir, place the lid on, and let the coffee steep for four minutes. Have a timer nearby, because, for the ultimate taste, you don’t want to pass the 4-minute mark.

Press the plunger down and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Which Coffee Maker is Easier to Clean?

Whether you choose an Aeropress or a French Press, the bottom line is you will not have trouble cleaning the brewer.  Although they require slightly different maintenance, they are both super easy to clean, without any overwhelming scrubbing or deep cleaning.

How to Clean an Aeropress?

Aeropress is probably the most low-maintenance brewer you will ever find, which is what makes it the perfect outdoor and travel companion. You just run the seal under warm water (or simply wipe it clean) after each use, and you can use it for many years to come.

There is one trickier part, though – the plunger can get sticky after a while, which happens as a result of the oils and other by-products that stick to it after brewing. You may need to soak it in a detergent bath once in a while, but that is about all the cleaning you’ll have to do.

How to Clean a French Press?

You can clean your French Press the same way you maintain your kettle or other pots in your kitchen. Simply unscrew the filter, rub a drop of dishwasher over the plunger, and rinse well under warm water. For the outside of the Press and the carafe, you can use a soft soapy sponge, and then simply rinse.

If you clean your French Press this way regularly, you can allow yourself to skip a few steps when you’re crunched for time. For busy mornings, just fill the pot halfway with warm water, add a couple of drops of soap, press the plunger, and rinse thoroughly, without unscrewing or taking the parts apart.

Conclusion

So, which brewer is designed to fit into your coffee routine? If you’re curious by nature and prone to experimenting, we suggest the Aeropress. It will provide a cleaner brew that is easy to customize and adjust the strength and taste as you see fit. 

But, if you belong in the bolder bunch and are looking for a fuller mouthfeel, then there is no doubt that you will benefit from the French Press more. We think they’re both fantastic, it all depends on what you find satisfying!

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