French Press vs AeroPress: The Monster Guide

posted in: Coffee Makers, Coffee Presses | 0
The French press and the AeroPress are two similar press methods that yield two completely different kinds of coffee. So the question of French press versus AeroPress is really as simple as it might seem. One is a stronger, bolder flavor of coffee. The other is milder and much less acidic. Which do you prefer?
French Press vs AeroPress. Two popular press methods but two different coffee results.

Crazy, isn’t it? Coffee is so popular and it’s everywhere. But, you don’t always want to go out for coffee.

For one thing, it’s time consuming to wait in line. For another, it’s costly over the long run. You can easily run your budget into the ground after shelling out $2-$4 or more for coffee every day.

Figure $750 – $1400. And that’s just for one cup.

A year!

So, what do you do?

Look for a good coffee maker, of course.

Man, it can make your head spin…

Bewildered by the array of coffee machines on the market? It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the shear diversity and quantity.

Super automatic, drip, cone, automatic drip, pour over…

Like you, I just want a nice, hot, good cup of coffee. And maybe you feel the same in that sometimes, I don’t care how it’s made.

Now, while I prefer a top quality coffee maker, there are two really convenient coffee methods. They’re easy and they make great coffee. Some folks use them on a daily basis.

You might too.

Those two are the French press and the Aerobie AeroPress.

Let’s check ‘em out:

This is a long article. If you’d like to skip ahead, click one of the links in the menu below.

French press vs the AeroPress, Which is Best?

Let’s talk about what they are first.

What’s The French Press?

The French press coffee method include soaking the coffee grounds for four minutes before pressing a plunger through the water to capture the floating grounds.

The coffee oil extraction occurs while the coffee is sitting and brewing in the press. This brewing process allows the coffee to “bloom” or release CO2 gas.

This is meant to help in the extraction of the coffee oils which is where the flavor of the coffee is.

What’s The AeroPress?

The AeroPress method of coffee making presses the water through the coffee grounds. The extraction occurs as the water is forced through the coffee.

Similar in technique to how an espresso maker works, it’s not really meant to make espresso.
Because an espresso maker blasts high-pressure steam through the coffee, you’re not going to get that intense extraction and crema.

You’re going to get a mild, less acidic cup of coffee. In fact, the AeroPress has one fifth the acidity of a drip brewed coffee and one ninth the acidity of the French press cup of coffee.

Differences Between The French Press And The AeroPress

  • The AeroPress uses pressure to push water through the coffee grounds and uses a finer grind of coffee – fine drip or espresso grind.
  • The French press pushes the grounds through the water and uses a coarser ground of coffee.
  • The coffee from the AeroPress is hotter because it’s coming directly from the coffee maker.
  • The French press has to sit for up to five minutes to brew. This causes some cooling.

You’ve decided and don’t need to read anymore? Get a quality French press here or get the Aerobie AeroPress here. Both available on Amazon!

How Long Do I Have To Wait For My Coffee?

The coffee time for the AeroPress is about a minute and a half. This includes a 10 second soak and then the pressing of the water through the grounds.

Add whatever time it takes to boil the water to the right temperature.

The coffee prep time for the French press is four minutes. Now this may change depending on how strong you like your coffee, but for comparison purposes let’s say four minutes.

This includes the time to soak the coffee grounds and then press the plunger. Again, add whatever time the boiling water takes.

How Long is the Brewing Time?

The French Press is a 4 minute brew time. You may decide to include a 30 second soak, making the brew time 3 and a half minutes. The plunger press is about 15 seconds.

The AeroPress is about 1 and half minutes. This includes the soak/mix time and the plunger action.

Which Gives A More Robust, Stronger Tasting Cup Of Coffee?

The French press gives a more robust, stronger tasting cup of coffee because it allows more of the oils and soluble solids of the bean pass through the bigger mesh filter.

But this also means that you might get more grounds and silt in your coffee cup. This is different from the AeroPress which uses a paper micro filter. The micro filter keeps these solids from getting into the coffee so you get a much smoother and milder cup.

Which then reverses the problem of the French press – no grit or grounds.

How Many Cups Of Coffee Can You Brew From Each?

With the AeroPress, generally you can only do one cup at a time.

However, we’ve got a workaround for the AeroPress because that’s what we’re all about here:

  1. Using an 8 or 12 cup vacuum pot, do two or three pressings into the pot to get a concentrate.
  2. Then top off the pot with hot water.
  3. Each press should be three scoops of coffee and this will give you plenty of coffee in less time than if you were to brew a pot.

The French press is different in that you can buy various capacities up to around 32 ounces. So that means you can make up to 6 cups of coffee at a time.

What am I Getting That Makes Such Great Coffee?

The thing that makes both of these coffee makers special and why they make such a good cup of coffee is that the coffee grounds are getting evenly extracted.

The importance of this can’t really be overstated.

Even extraction gets all of the coffee oils that create the aroma and taste of the coffee. Uneven extraction ends up getting a hodgepodge of weak flavors. This is why the soaking step in each method is important.

Any Tips or Tricks to Getting My Best Cup?

Use freshly ground coffee and fresh water. In any coffee making method, this will always get you in the running for the best coffee for that method.

With the AeroPress, dampen the filter and make sure you give the coffee grounds a good 10 second soak. Once the coffee is made, make sure you add hot water to the resulting concentrate. Otherwise, it’s going to be a rude awakening!

With the French press, make sure the grounds are completely covered and brewed for four minutes. You’re going to get a fairly strong cup of coffee. You may want to water it down just a little bit with hot water.

But the biggest trick to remember is that both of these methods are fairly customizable in terms of the variables involved. That means you can change:

  • The temperature.
  • How much coffee you use.
  • How much water you use.
  • How long you want it to brew.

You can also control the amount of pressure you apply to the coffee grounds or the water.

What’s The Secret to Good Coffee?

The secret, I always say, is using freshly ground coffee and fresh water. And for the French press and AeroPress, those are equally important.

Let’s talk a minute about the water and temperature. The optimum brewing temperature for coffee is usually 195° to 205°. If you aren’t using a thermometer (and why aren’t you?), you can guesstimate.

Let the boiling water come to the point where it just stops boiling before you pour it on the coffee grounds. This way, it will be at roughly the right temperature.

Check the note about temperature when using an AeroPress.

Here’s How to Make Great Coffee with Both Processes:

To Make Coffee With The AeroPress:

  1. Pop one of the filters into the filter holder and then screw that on to the main chamber.
  2. Dampen the filter with water – it doesn’t need to be boiling water, tap water is fine.
  3. Grind some fresh beans – make it a medium to fine grind.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of the coffee grounds to the main chamber.
  5. Add your water to the plunger. You want the water to be between 195° to 205°. So, let the water just come off of boiling before pouring it onto the coffee. By adding it to the plunger, this helps cool it down to just about the right temperature.
  6. Pour some of the water over the coffee grounds in the main chamber to wet them a little bit.
  7. Stir gently a bit to make sure they’re all covered.
  8. Then pour the rest of the water in and stir gently for 10 seconds.
  9. Put the plunger in the main chamber and press down evenly. Do this for about 15 seconds.
  10. Now you’ve got a very strong coffee concentrate. Top it off with hot water and stir.

Aerobie suggests using water at 175° to 180°. The usual recommended brewing temperature is 195° to 205°. So make sure that you experiment to zero in on your favorite cup.

Making Coffee with a French Press:

  1. Grind some fresh beans – use a coarse grind.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds per cup of coffee.
  3. Pour the water over the grounds let them steep for 4 minutes without stirring.*
  4. Put the plunger/strainer into the mouth of the pot at the 4 minute mark.
  5. Evenly press the plunger down into the pot to the bottom. This should take about 15 seconds.
  6. Stop when it reaches the bottom and don’t crush the coffee grounds.
  7. You’re done! Pour out a nice cup of coffee.
*Here’s a note: When it comes to soaking the grounds, some people like to pour the entire amount of water into the French press. Others like to just pour in enough water to cover the grounds. If you’re one of those who just want to cover the grounds, let that mixture sit for 30 seconds before pouring in the rest of the water.
Then slowly pour the remainder of the water into the press. Let it brew for three and a half minutes.

 

There’s a rumor that you need use dark roasted coffee for your French press. That’s actually not true. You can use any kind of coffee that you want.

So feel free to experiment and really take advantage of the ability of the French press to fully extract the aromas and flavors of a coffee bean.

How Easy Is It to Clean?

Both the French press and AeroPress are easy to clean. It’s just a matter of rinsing out the filter/strainer, the plunger and the pot.

With the AeroPress, you can press the grounds out into a garbage can and clean off the bottom of the plunger.

What’s the Cleaning Routine For the Two Methods?

The cleaning routine for the French press is pretty easy. You just rinse out the pot and the plunger and strainer.

The cleaning routine for the AeroPress is a little bit more involved just because you have more parts. But other than that, just a matter of cleaning out the filter holder, the main tube and the plunger.

Where Is the AeroPress Made?

The AeroPress is made in the US. Made of polypropylene for strength, it’s also BPA free. Make sure that you get the current model that uses polypropylene construction.

This model was introduced in 2014 and has a more opaque body. If it’s easy to see the grounds and water in the main chamber, you’ve got an old model.

Return it and get the new one.

Can the AeroPress be Used Outdoors?

Yes it can. In fact, it makes a great backpack companion. You can leave the filter holder, scoop, funnel, and the stirrer behind. This makes the AeroPress even more portable and lightweight, coming in at just 7 ounces. You just need to make sure that you brought enough micro filters along.

Oh, and about that weird shaped stirrer. It’s made that way so that when you’re stirring the coffee grounds, you’re not able to reach so far down that you tear open the filter.

If you do take the AeroPress on the road, bear that in mind when you’re stirring and avoid that filter.

Where Can I Buy A French Press Or An AeroPress?

The AeroPress can be purchased on Amazon and comes in a couple of configurations. This is a nice choice offered on Amazon as it comes as a ready to go kit. It has a bag to hold all of the parts and filters.

The French press on the other hand comes in a lot of different varieties and several different manufacturers. They also come in a variety of materials – glass, metal and plastic.

It can also be found on Amazon. Here’s a classic 8 cup model by Bodum. We recommend this model from Kitchen Supreme because it comes as a nice kit with everything you need. Except for coffee and water of course.

What’s the Warranty Period?

The warranty on a French press depends on the seller. Make sure to buy through Amazon to get the best customer service and support.

The AeroPress has a one year warranty if it is sold by an Aerobie authorized dealer. Hang on to your receipt in case you need warranty support.

You can be sure of a resolution if you buy either unit through Amazon. In addition, you can take advantage of their great customer support and free shipping if your purchase qualifies.

Are There Any Concerns to Be Aware of?

The only real concerns to be aware of in the case of the French press are that it does tend to leave a few coffee grounds and silt in the bottom of your coffee cup.

The other concern is that it does take just a little bit longer to get your cup of coffee. But this is offset by the fact that you can get more than one cup at a time. Easily.

The AeroPress doesn’t have either of these problems. But its main drawback is that you can only make one cup of coffee at a time. Unless you use this workaround.

If the coffee is just for you, no biggie.

But if you’ve got a crowd…

It really doesn’t take long to make, so make it a group effort!

What’s the Final “Pressing” Word?

So, then we get to the end. And really it depends on what kind of coffee you like and how fast you want to make it.

If you like your coffee a little milder and less acidic, the AeroPress maker will work for you. It’s great for the person who wants to get their cup of coffee quickly but they still want the good flavor of a press type coffee brewer.

The French press coffee maker will be for you if you like a stronger, bolder cup of coffee. Especially if you’re really seeking to enjoy the aromatic nature of the coffee beans you’re using.

So long as you’re not in hurry to get your coffee and you don’t mind a few grounds, the French press would work for you.

Ok, So Really. Who Are They For?

The interesting thing?

A lot of coffee aficionados have both…

You may not always have the same desire for a particular coffee taste or aroma all day. Sometimes you want something milder, especially if you drink coffee all day.

Sometimes a little stronger will do the trick. To obviously get going in the morning, but a stronger coffee goes well with desserts and sweets.

No one reading this eats sweets, right?

Yeah, right.

Pick one that suits you now. But be open to experimenting with your coffee making choices. There’s a world of different tastes and aromas. Don’t let them get away.

And either of these methods will serve you well as a backup if you intend to buy another type of coffee maker later on.

So whether you eventually decide on a super automatic or an automatic drip, your French press or AeroPress will support you all away.

What Do I Do Next?

Get a Quality French press here or get the Compact AeroPress here. Both available on Amazon!


In this post, we’ll go into the differences between
the French press and the AeroPress and why you choose
one over the other. The funny thing is that most
coffee aficionados will use both. Just depends on
what your tastes are that day.

Follow Our {Wired For Coffee Blog} Board on Pinterest

Did this help you decide? Please share with your friends by clicking the buttons below. Thanks!

Leave a Reply