Imagine enjoying a cup of coffee next to the ocean, while the salty waves crash ashore. Or perhaps on a mountain top next to a babbling brook, or maybe it’s just on your own deck with a gentle breeze.
The key to all of these scenarios is a manual, portable, coffee maker. The Aeropress and the French Press are both easy-to-pack, easy-to-use coffee makers that require no electricity.
In mere seconds you can have a strong, delicious, flavorful cup of coffee in your hands. Which coffee maker is better?
That’s a personal decision, but we’ll take a look at both to help you make the right choice for you!
Aeropress or French Press?
While both methods rely on immersion brewing there are a few things to keep in mind when trying to decide if Aeropress vs French Press is the better choice for you.
The Aeropress is an all-in-one brewer that extracts a lot of flavor from the coffee. It produces a strong, espresso-like, coffee. It is easy to use and clean and its portability means you can make a great cup of coffee anywhere.
The French Press, a two-part brewer, is a bit more complex. It also produces a strong coffee, though it is more oily, gritty, and acidic than coffee made with the Aeropress.
Fresh, medium coarse grounds are utilized with both methods.
Why was the Aeropress invented?
In 2004, structural engineer Alan Adler found himself frustrated by the available brewing methods and coffee makers.
He tried several types of coffee makers including an espresso machine, the French Press, and pour-over. Yet each method produced what he felt was a coffee that was too acidic.
In the hopes of replicating the taste of espresso, with the ease of the French Press, he developed the Aeropress. It uses pressure to extract flavor, similar to an espresso machine.
A filter, which is similar to the pour-over method, and of course a plunger which is taken from the French Press maker. While the original maker was one size, as of 2019 the Aeropress can also be purchased in a travel size.
How Are They Made?
Making coffee in an Aeropress is extremely easy. The brewer is a cylindrical chamber with a cap that has a spot for a filter. To use it, a filter is placed in the cap and the cap is then screwed onto the bottom of the chamber.
Next, a scoop of finely ground coffee is placed in the chamber and hot water is added to the fill line. The mixture is stirred together and left to brew for at least 30 seconds.
Once the coffee has reached the desired strength, a plunger is pushed down into the chamber, forcing the coffee out into the cup.
The French Press works in a similar fashion. Medium coarse grounds are added to a glass beaker and hot water is poured in. The grounds and liquid are stirred and brewed for 4 minutes. A specialty lid is placed on top.
Once the mixture is done, the plunger is pushed down, where a mesh filter forces the grounds to the bottom of the beaker, separating them from the liquid. The coffee can now be poured into a mug to enjoy.
What Are They Made of?
The Aeropress is made of two pieces, a cylindrical chamber, and a plunger. The chamber is made from BPA Free plastic and is translucent to ensure you can see the color variation in your coffee.
The plunger has an airtight seal made of silicone and a cap containing space for a filter that screws on the end. It functions the same way a syringe does.
The French Press similarly has two pieces, a glass beaker and a separate top that features a metal rod and mesh filter that plunges into the beaker.
Many French Press makers also come with a silicone or plastic handle to protect your hands from the hot glass.
Aeropress vs French Press, How Are They Similar?
Both the French Press and the Aeropress are manual coffee makers, meaning you can use them anywhere as no electricity is required.
Both utilize a plunger feature to separate grounds from the liquid during the coffee-making process.
The French Press and Aeropress both produce a bold and rich-tasting coffee and rely on the immersion brewing method, meaning the grounds and water are mixed together for the brewing process.
While the Aeropress travels better than the French Press due to its design, both can be packed away, brought on trips, or enjoyed anywhere.
Both methods produce the best coffee when using freshly ground coffee beans.
Brew Time, Coffee Type, Flavor, Cost, Caffeine Comparison
- Brew Time: 30 seconds
- Coffee: Finely ground
- Flavor: Intense, smooth, balanced, similar to espresso
- Cost: $35-$40 plus filters
- Caffeine: 70 mg per 8 oz coffee
- Brew Time: 4 minutes
- Coffee: Coarsely ground
- Flavor: Bold, gritty, oily, intense
- Cost: $20-$40
- Caffeine: 107 mg per 8 oz
While both the French Press and Aeropress use a plunger feature, there are some notable differences. The first is brew time.
The Aeropress uses pressure to extract flavor, similar to an espresso maker. This means that the brew time is roughly 30 seconds, much shorter than the 4 minute brew time of the French Press. The Aeropress produces a bold yet smooth coffee, whereas the French Press produces a bold but gritty coffee.
The costs for each maker are similar, with the French Press ranging from $20 to $40 and the Aeropress averaging $35.
One thing to note, however, is that you will need to purchase special filters for the Aeropress, as opposed to the French Press which has a built-in mesh filter.
Finally, the caffeine levels are different. Despite the fact that it tastes similar to espresso, Aeropress coffee has less caffeine, only 70 mg per cup, when compared with French Press coffee which has about 107 mg per cup.
How To Drink Aeropress vs. French Press
The Aeropress produces a coffee similar in flavor to espresso. This means that while you can enjoy it with milk and sugar, it is also well suited for your favorite coffee house drinks.
A caramel macchiato is easy to replicate at home using this coffee maker.
Aeropress Caramel Macchiato
Caramel macchiatos are surprisingly made with vanilla simple syrup. You can purchase vanilla simple syrup in most grocery stores or order online.
- 2 oz Aeropress coffee
- 3/4 cup of milk or milk alternative
- 1 tbsp Vanilla Simple Syrup
- Caramel Syrup to drizzle
In the bottom of your mug add 1 tbsp of your vanilla coffee and then 3/4 cup of milk, steamed. If you don’t have a milk frother you can use a saucepan and whisk to simulate it on the stove.
The coffee is then added to the steamed milk (this is the opposite of how a latte is crafted). Drizzle caramel syrup on top to taste.
French Press coffee can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, from black, to adding milk and sugar. Since it produces a bold-tasting coffee, it can be fun to experiment with different lattes.
While normally associated with tea, Chai actually makes for a fun coffee latte. Here’s how to use your French Press to make it:
French Press Chai Latte
- 1 scoop ground espresso
- 5 oz milk
- 1 oz Chai Tea concentrate
Add your espresso coffee and concentrate to your French Press. Warm your milk to just off boil and pour over the coffee and concentrate.
Let steep for 5 minutes before plunging. Enjoy as is or add honey for additional sweetness.
While the Aeropress is convenient and quick, there are alternatives to consider as well. The Kalita Wave is similar in its compactness and price point. It uses a drip-style brewing method and produces a clean and bright-tasting cup of coffee.
Another Aeropress alternative to consider is the Melitta Pour-Over brewer. This coffee maker can be used over a coffee pot or coffee mug making it versatile and better to produce coffee for a crowd.
The coffee is similar to the Aeropress in the smoothness and consistency of the brew, but the flavor intensity of the Aeropress.
The French Press also has alternatives. Cold brew bags are great for those that like the immersion brewing style, but prefer a less acidic beverage.
Plastic French Press makers are also starting to be produced making it easier to bring with you on travels or camping.
Aeropress vs French Press – FAQs
Which came first?
The French Press has a long history in the coffee world beginning in the mid-1800s before being patented in the early 1900s.
The Aeropress is a relatively new invention, coming about in 2004. The Aeropress was actually developed in response to its inventor’s dissatisfaction with the time it took to brew French Press coffee.
Which is stronger?
While both methods produce a rich and bold cup of coffee, the taste of coffee made in an Aeropress is closer to espresso and more intense in flavor.
However coffee from a French Press has a higher caffeine concentration, 107 mg for every 8 oz as opposed to the 70 mg per 8 oz produced by the Aeropress.
Which is the most popular?
Due to its longevity, the French Press is more popular and well known around the globe.
However, despite being less than 20 years old, the Aeropress has begun to grow a following that includes coffee aficionados and casual drinkers alike.