Among all the “press” style coffee brewers out there, the AeroPress and the French Press stand out the most, and both are popular choices for coffee lovers throughout the world.
But which one suits you better? Which “press” should you opt for?
Today, let’s discuss both these magnificent coffee machines and help you decide which one’s the right one for you, starting with their introductions.
In 2004, AeroPress quickly became the most beloved and convenient brew method, taking the coffee industry by surprise. The simple device is known for its durability and the variety of flavorful coffee it can offer.
The coffee maker is so famous that even coffee professionals use it in coffee-making tournaments to get their desired robust flavor in a shorter time.
The most classic coffee maker of the two, the French press coffee maker, started its journey back in 1929. This coffee maker is known for the fine coffee it produces while looking aesthetically pleasing.
A simple act of setting up a French press with a glass carafe in your kitchen can improve the atmosphere.
And now that we are introduced to both these coffee brewers, let’s know the difference between AeroPress and French Press to figure out your ultimate pick.
Though we’re comparing both these devices, don’t be surprised if you see a lot of similarities as well.
With simple and elegant design choices for both these coffee brewers, there’s no competition here. Instead, both of these brewers serve their purpose with their sleek designs in their own ways.
AeroPress is made out of a food-safe rubber element called Polypropylene. This element is free from polluting components like BPA and phthalates, and the build is highly durable, even under pressure. The AeroPress consists of three simple parts.
- The Brewing Chamber
- The Plunger
- The Filter Cap
Both the plunger’s airtight seal and the lid are made of silicone, and the coffee maker comes with paper filters. The AeroPress is so durable that it can even survive a road accident.
The French Press has a more detailed build than the AeroPress, consisting of:
- A Metal Frame
- Heat Proof Glass/ Metal Carafe
- Plastic/ Metal Lid
- Metal Filter
The variety of the materials depends on which version you choose to get. For example, if you’re going for visual aesthetics, the glass French press may be a better choice for you.
But if you’re as clumsy as me after waking up, the metal French Press is your best friend to avoid broken glass shards all over the kitchen.
French presses range in size from 8 oz to 48 oz, and the larger sizes can still be used to make smaller amounts of coffee.
With a simple design made of a few parts, both these coffee brewers are easy to use and clean. Once you buy either of these machines, you’re all set.
As for the usage of these coffee makers, both are forgiving to newbie coffee enthusiasts in different ways.
“Immersion brewer” is the term that can be used to describe these coffee makers. The immersion method is when the coffee grounds sit in water for a certain period before the coffee is filtered out in a mug.
The immersion is always automatic, but you have to manually filter the coffee.
The two core differences that set AeroPress and the French Press apart are:
- The difference in immersion time
- Application of pressure
In terms of pressure, AeroPress needs you to apply the pressure manually, while the French Press does the work for you. But the fact that AeroPress offers you control over how much pressure you can put in makes it a preference for the coffee connoisseurs.
What’s better is that you can use AeroPress in an “upside-down” orientation (AKA the “inverted method”) to get different results. Though the idea of flipping a coffee maker with hot coffee in it can sound terrifying, you get the hang of it quickly, and the result is worth the hassle.
Though both these coffee makers are easy to operate, the French Press wins over the AeroPress because of the consistency with its simplicity.
The French Press can cost you around 4-5 minutes in brewing but can get you a more nuanced cup of coffee. The AeroPress can get you a fresh cup of coffee in just a minute. However, this brewing time can vary depending on the type of coffee bean or the grind size.
With the AeroPress, 2.5 minute, zero need of steeping, and some elbow grease to push the plunger down to fill up your coffee cup.
With the French Press, the brew time can go up even more because you need to bloom the coffee before you start brewing. Though this can apply to the AeroPress, you can always skip blooming and let the pressure do the work.
In the case of the French Press, you need to leave the coffee grounds to bloom in water for around 30 seconds. Coffee blooming is when you soak the coffee grounds in water to get rid of carbon dioxide inside the grounds that can ruin your coffee.
When you bloom the coffee, the grounds also start releasing natural coffee oils and aromas, and that’s the best part of a French press coffee experience. So if you’re someone who is a big fan of the “hands-on approach,” the French Press is just for you.
Though the French Press is more about the brewing experience, the AeroPress is a clear winner for getting several cups of coffee with simple brewing.
Okay, enough about the intricate details, and on to the flavor of the coffee itself. But we could easily dismiss it as “all coffee is good coffee.”
Rest easy because, despite their differences, both coffee makers can offer up stellar coffee for you. The only difference is in the subtle nuances present in the flavor.
French Press produces a coffee that has a full body with a heavy mouthfeel that boosts the flavor. The flavor comes from the mix of very fine coffee grounds and the natural oils from the ground, since the metal filter (if you’re using one instead of a paper filter) doesn’t hold these elements back, and they freely mix with your coffee.
Considering you brewed your coffee for 4 minutes (or higher in case of a coarse grind), you can bet that your coffee will be rich and balanced every time.
In the case of AeroPress, the brewer comes in with a batch of paper filters. Paper filters soak up the oils released from the grounds while holding back extra fine grinds. As a result, the resulting coffee is cleaner than a French press coffee cup.
But if you want the same kind of richness from the freshness, there’s a way for that too. Just replace the paper filters with mesh metal filters, and you’ll get your desired results.
AeroPress gives you the option to experiment with your brews, so you can guarantee that two of your brews will never be the same unless you write down the exact method.
Considering the flavor profile, none really produce inferior coffee compared to one another, and both the coffee makers offer a unique taste that can suit anyone.
The AeroPress comes in only one size (8 ounces), so it’s best in case you’re brewing just for yourself or a friend with you at best. However, if you’re planning to regularly brew larger quantities, that’s where the French Press comes into play.
The French Press comes in different sizes, ranging from 8 oz to 48 oz. To make things simple, you can just buy a large-size French press and use it to brew smaller amounts of coffee as well.
The single serving, smaller volume can be a bit off-putting in the case of the AeroPress, but you can always work around it by making a more concentrated brew and diluting the brew to make multiple cups.
There’s not much competition in this sector since both these brewers can make a wide variety of coffee drinks.
Both brewers have their advantages when it comes to versatility. Espresso, cold brew, pour-over, you name it, and you can make it. And this isn’t limited to the French Press, either.
None of these coffee makers depend on electricity, so you could argue that both of these manual brewing devices are travel friendly. However, AeroPress wins over the French Press in case of travel-friendliness.
French Press often comes with a glass carafe, and needless to say, it can be pretty vulnerable when you’re traveling. No matter the amount of precaution you take to travel with your French Press, there’s a very high chance you’ll end up with a small suitcase full of glass shards.
But when it comes to AeroPress, you can just pack it up and take it anywhere. The main elements of the build ensure that it stays unbroken, no matter if you’re going on an international flight or a hike in the rural mountains.
Factor #8: Cleaning
Ease of cleaning is possibly the most significant selling point of AeroPress, right after the ease of use.
All you have to do is take the filter cap out, throw the used-up puck of coffee grounds in the trash, rinse the parts in tap water, and you’re done. The whole process takes you less than a minute to complete.
The easiest part of the cleaning process is the convenience that the coffee grounds used in the AeroPress come out in the form of a compressed puck. You can either throw the puck in the trash, get rid of it in the sink by running the water, or just break it up to use it as fertilizer in your garden.
The French Press can get someone highly nervous in terms of cleaning since you pretty much have to take the hardware apart to clean out the stuck coffee grounds and the sludge it creates.
You can give it a simple rinse and wipe after every day to make it easier. Then, disassemble and clean it once or twice a month on the weekend, and you’ll get to brew fresh coffee.
Factor# 9: Pricing
It’s another easy win for AeroPress since it’s really cheap to get your hands on. Plus, the starter package contains a lot of accessories along with the coffee maker within an affordable price range, so you don’t need to spend extra on additional supplies.
A starter version of the AeroPress can cost you at least $40, or even less if you manage to land a good discount or a deal. You can also buy the metal mesh filter separately, which you can find for less than $10.
French Press, however, can set you back quite a bit. There are various cheap knockoffs that you can get at a cheaper rate, which is obviously not recommended. A standard stainless steel french press can cost you around $40, which is the same as AeroPress.
But when you start considering different, high-class brands, along with a glass carafe, the price can start going up pretty quickly. The cost of a fancy French press machine can even go up as far as $1000.
To Wrap It All Up
The differences between AeroPress and the French Press may not be a lot, but they both have their unique characteristics to set themselves apart. While the AeroPress makes up for the lack of quantity with an easy coffee-making experience, the French Press makes up for its vulnerability with refined taste in your morning cup.
If you’re already a proud owner of either of these coffee makers, enjoy your coffee experience, and don’t forget to share the love and joy of your fine coffee brewing with other coffee aficionados.
Senpai! Did you love this article? I bet you’ll love this one as well where we break down chemex vs aeropress.
The French Press is a classic pour-over coffee brewing process that can also be considered an immersion brewing method. It can be used to make a wide range of coffee drinks, including cold brew coffee.
I prefer the AeroPress for brewing coffee because it can get me a fine cup of coffee in less than a minute if done right.
If the water temperature is too high, it can burn the coffee grounds to an extent, leading to bitter coffee. On the other hand, if you keep the coffee grounds in contact with hot water for a long time, it extracts more caffeine from the grounds, and the final cup contains a very strong coffee.
The AeroPress is way faster than the French Press. The French Press takes around 4-5 minutes for an average brew when the AeroPress can do it in one.
It can! You need to make a more concentrated brew and distribute the brew in multiple cups. Dilute with water accordingly, and you’re good to go.
Both Aeropress and the French Press produce high-quality coffee, so there’s no way to claim that coffee made by one of these coffee makers is better than the other. However, the final taste of the delicious coffee coming from these two brewers can be seen as good or bad based on personal taste preference.