Everyone loves French press coffee, and so do you. But we all need a bit of variety in our life, something new. And coffee making is up there too.
But how can you choose an almost similar coffee maker that works as a fine alternative to the French press? We’re here to make that choice easier for all the coffeenomies.
Let’s look at the possible alternatives to The French press while discussing their ins and outs. Grab a fresh cup of coffee, and let’s get reading!
Here, we’ll discuss the three closest options to the French press. To help you make your final choice, we’ll be talking about the strength and weaknesses of these 3 coffee makers:
- Clever Dripper
Starting with the most recent coffee maker that took the world by surprise, AeroPress is very similar to the French press while providing extra advantages.
The AeroPress consists of three main parts:
- A brew chamber
- A lid
- A plunger
Think of a giant syringe, but upside down. That’s AeroPress for you.
Here’s the general brewing method for the AeroPress:
- Place the paper filter in the lid and screw it onto the brewing chamber
- Set the chamber over your favorite mug and add your ground coffee
- Fill with boiled water and leave the coffee bean to be steep
- When you’re done brewing, insert the plunger and push the coffee through into the mug
You can get a clean cup of brewed coffee that is sediment-free.
The versatility of the AeroPress is second to none. While French presses can only work with coarsely ground coffee, AeroPress can take any grind size and give you the coffee you want, even giving an espresso machine a run for its money.
Out of all the options in the list, AeroPress is the easiest to clean. When you’re done brewing, just push the used grounds in the trash, rinse the three main parts in tap water, and you’re done!
Learn more about aeropress by reading Aeropress Vs French Press “Battle Of Classics” article.
AeroPress comes with several accessories you need for your everyday brew:
- Bunch of paper filters
- A measuring scoop
- A stirring paddle
- A funnel
The pressure of the AeroPress plunger increases the range of your coffee making from a filter coffee to an espresso shot without you needing an espresso maker.
But if you’re a heavy-bodied French press coffee lover, the aftermarket accessories can care for your different needs, the most essential being the metal filters and the Fellow Prismo.
Fellow Prismo is the go-to choice if you want to stick to milk-based drinks like a latte or wish to recreate French press espresso in AeroPress.
Metal filters allow very fine grounds and essential coffee oils to pass through the filter, giving your cup of java a viscous, bold mouthfeel. Also, it’s reusable, so you won’t feel guilty for trashing the planet.
If you’re worried about breaking your coffee maker, you can rest easy with AeroPress since it’s virtually indestructible compared to the glass carafe of the Glass french press.
The plastic is also BPA and phthalate-free, so it’s environment friendly too! And also friendly for your health cause those are things you don’t wanna drink, trust me on that.
Another advantage of the building material is that plastic absorbs less heat from the hot water you pour in. As a result, it causes the water to stay hotter for a longer time. This improves the taste of your coffee.
AeroPress is the best coffee-making choice if you are traveling. The parts are so compact that you can fit ’em all together like Russian nesting dolls, and it consumes so little space you won’t even notice.
So, to summarize, the advantages of the AeroPress are:
- It’s versatile
- Super easy to clean
- You don’t need to buy essential accessories separately
- You can use aftermarket parts for trying different brew methods
- The brewer is really sturdy and near unbreakable
- Its environment and health-friendly
- It has a higher heat retention period
- Best choice for coffee on the go
The disadvantages of the AeroPress are more of a minor setback that you can work around pretty efficiently.
With all the advantages listed above, and the minor hiccups you can avoid, it’s easy to see why AeroPress is the top choice for a french press alternative for strong coffee.
The only noticeable disadvantage of AeroPress is that it comes in only a single size. The goal of AeroPress is to brew enough coffee for one person. But as we said earlier, there’s a workaround for it.
Pour in some extra coffee grounds, and dilute the brew with hot water after plunging to make multiple cups of coffee. If you’re worried that the quality is inferior, don’t. Even top baristas pull this trick regularly, so you should be fine.
Another completely avoidable disadvantage is the paper filter hassle. If you’re worried about price, AeroPress filters are the cheapest on the market. You can buy a pack with 350 filters in it for just $5, and it’ll last you a year, or you can just go for a reusable metal filter, which is better anyway.
Another issue is preheating. You must preheat your AeroPress to ensure it retains the heat just right. If you pour your hot water in a cold AeroPress, it sucks out the temperature, and your coffee tastes stale.
Forgetting to preheat the AeroPress can cost you the taste of your cup, so be careful.
So to summarize, here are the disadvantages of AeroPress:
- Comes in only one size, allowing to brew for a mostly single serving
- Paper filters can create more waste
- Needs preheating
The clever dripper is the most underrated brewer in this list, which is even easier to use than AeroPress. Let’s check this one out, then!
The build of the clever dripper is pretty simple yet effective:
- A Conic shaped brewing chamber
- A lid
- A draining valve
- A decanter
The clever dripper has a conical build similar to any other pour-over. The coffee chamber has a similar style to the French press. The grounds stay in the brewing chamber till the draining valve is activated. The final coffee is collected into a decanter for pouring and serving.
Here’s the general brewing method for the clever dripper:
- After rinsing the brewer and the decanter, place your coffee grounds in the brewing chamber
- Add a filter
- Place your grounds over the filter
- Pour water over the grounds and saturate them all
- After saturation, start pouring in brewing water. Let it sit for a bit once you’re done with the required amount.
- Lift your brewer and place it on the decanter, which automatically activates the draining valve. Your coffee will take a couple of minutes to extract completely.
Similar to the AeroPress, you can get a cup of coffee free of ground coffee sediment with a richer taste.
Aside from ease of usage, cleaning the clever dripper is just as easy as AeroPress. Toss the paper filters and leftover grounds in the trash, rinse the brewer under tap water and then let it drip dry. And it all takes only 20 seconds off of your busy schedule.
The advantages of the clever dripper are highly similar to AeroPress, as they’re both made out of BPA-free, high-durability plastic. A clever dripper may not be as sturdy as the AeroPress, but you’d still have to go out of your way to put a scratch on it.
The rising popularity of the clever dripper has ensured that you can find aftermarket parts for it. The reusable filters of clever drippers are so good you can fool almost anyone saying your coffee was made in a French press.
Being made of the same element as the AeroPress, it has the heat retention properties of AeroPress too. Plus, the lid ensures you can trap more heat in your brewer for a longer time.
Though not as compact as the AeroPress, the build of the clever dripper also allows you to take it along for travel if you don’t mind the extra baggage.
The only way a clever dripper beats an Aeropress is that it can be used for a larger brewing batch that you can serve to more than one person.
Here are all the clever dripper benefits, shortlisted:
- Easy To Clean
- Highly Durable
- Environment and health-friendly
- Ensures quality coffee taste
- Has high heat retention properties
- It can be used while traveling
- Can brew and serve multiple persons
The list of disadvantages of the clever dripper is concise, just like the AeroPress:
- Not a good choice for having coffee while traveling since it’s not compact
- Paper filters are a must, which needs to be changed frequently and create waste
- Needs to be preheated to develop the best coffee flavor
The Chemex is a timeless classic in the world of coffee brewing. This brewer with a classic design is preferred by hardcore, old-school coffee enthusiasts who have mastered the art of coffee making.
Chemex is the most simply built coffee maker. It’s only a large, hourglass-shaped glass jug. The brewer itself captures the coffee that is extracted, and you can hold it by the glass handle to pour the coffee in a mug after you’re done.
Here’s the general brewing method for the Chemex:
- Take a filter and place it on top of the Chemex
- Place the filters so that the funnel-shaped filter sits on top of the Chemex with 3 layers on the groove side.
- Add acceptable coffee grounds on top of the filter
- Use higher coffee to water ratio since Chemex is for lighter coffee brews. Use a coffee scale to maintain the balance.
- After measuring the coffee and water in the coffee scale, add water with a temperature of 194-204 degrees with a slow pour-over
- After pouring, agitate the brew a little. You can do this either with a spoon or lightly shake the Chemex.
- Once done brewing, toss the filter along with the leftover grounds, stir the coffee, and serve.
The best way to describe Chemex coffee is “clean coffee.” Coffee brewed in a Chemex is a rich coffee that tastes less bitter. In addition, Chemex brews produce less acidic coffee, making it the go-to choice for light roast coffee lovers.
Clean-up for Chemex is similar to the clever dripper. All you gotta do is toss the filters with the ground in the trash and rinse the brewer in tap water.
You don’t need to worry about running out of coffee when serving for a small party since Chemex has the highest coffee capacity out of all the 3 options.
Here’s a summarized list of the advantages of Chemex:
- It provides a cleaner brew with zero sediments
- Chemex coffee is less bitter and acidic
- A suitable brewer for light roast coffee
- Clean-up is really easy
- Can brew a large batch of coffee
Though Chemex sounds like a good deal for brewing fantastic coffee, there are times when the Chemex falls short.
If you have fat fingers (which is nothing to be uncomfortable about, even I have them), you’ll struggle with the cleaning process. Since the gap between the top and bottom chamber is really narrow, it’s tough to thoroughly clean the bottom room.
Another common issue for Chemex is the pricing. Again, they can be more expensive than a traditional French press, depending on the model.
Also, Chemex is not for everyone. It’s going to take a lot of effort for a newbie to nail the perfect coffee-to-water ratio and the pouring technique.
So, to go through it all again, here are the disadvantages of the Chemex:
- It can be a bit tough to clean at times
- You need a specialized coffee filter to brew
- Cannot brew without a coffee filter
- It can be more expensive than the French press, depending on the model
- The learning curve is too high for new users.
Another “Battle Of Classics” article you may like to read Chemex Vs Aeropress.
And now that you have acquired enough knowledge to compare appropriately, we leave the final choice in your hands.
Grind sizes depend on the brewing method. Some methods work better with a finer grind; some ways work better with a coarser grind.
Immersion brewing is the purest method of making coffee. It doesn’t require additional devices such as pumps, pressure valves, etc. However, the immersion method requires you to let the coffee ground steep in hot water for a specific time.
Always keep a kitchen thermometer at hand to figure out the water temperature. To make things easier, you can use an electric kettle. It will always boil the water to the ideal brewing temperature.
My all-time favorite is AeroPress because of its limitless possibilities and countless advantages.
It depends on personal taste and tweaking the brewing method. You can create the right brew for yourself when experimenting with different methods. So there’s no single type of brewing process I would rely on as a “one-for-all” solution.