French Press vs Aeropress – Which One Wins Your Heart?

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If you have fallen in love with coffee and want to try an alternative brewing method at home, French press and Aeropress are worth trying. These two methods include filtering the coffee grounds steeped in hot water with a manual pump mechanism. 

You might not realize their differences in case you have just diving into the coffee world, but we will help you out! We have made this comparison French press vs Aeropress to have you gain knowledge about them and pick up your favorite option. Before scrolling down, do not hesitate to take a quick look at our comparison table!

French press Aeropress
Brewing method Immersion Pressure
Brewing time  From 3 to 5 minutes From 1 to 3 minutes 
Result of brew  Full body and Sediments  Light-bodied and sediments free
Design Glass, ceramic, metal BPA-free plastic
Size  8 oz to 48 oz 1 size: 8 oz
Filter Coarse stainless steel mesh filters Fine paper filter or stainless steel filter (available as accessory)
Portability No Yes
Versatility No Yes

French Press Vs Aeropress: A Complete Comparison

Overview

French press is the “child” of Attilo Calimani, an Italian man, in 1929. It has taken up the coffee industry for more than 90 years with high popularity worldwide. 

The mechanism of this manual brewing device is relatively simple with a tall carafe, which looks like a container made of glass, and a metal mesh filter coming with a long stem called a plunger. 

Normally, this method takes a long brew time as there are a few steps to be done. The coffee grounds first need several minutes to steep in hot water. Then, you have to compress the plunger to shove all the grinds to the bottom of the carafe through the filter. Its flavor is unique, robust, and a mouthfeel will hit your taste on the first try!

Aeropress, on the other hand, is a manual coffee the brewing machine following the piston style invented in 2005 by Alan Adler. Despite its late development, this machine is an excellent newcomer that attracts numerous fanatical followers with its features.  

It uses air to press coffee directly through a thin paper filter into a mug. What makes Aeropress different from the other tools lies in its speed. Specifically, its brewing-coffee process is super fast, about less than one minute!

Although this tool only brews a cup of coffee at a time, many people, especially travelers and campers, highly praise its portability, durability, and clean taste without any oil and sediment.

Design

Both French Press and Aeropress all have a simple design with only a few parts included. Hence, that’s why you will find them effortless to use, clean, and maintain. It is not an exaggeration to say that these items are buy-it-for-life choices. 

The French Press comes with a metal frame, a plastic or metal lid, a heatproof glass carafe, and a metal filter at the end of a rod. If you have accidentally broken the glass carafe, feel free to replace it. 

The sizes of a French Press are from 8 to 48 oz, but you can utilize even larger sizes to make fewer amounts of coffee.  

When it comes to the Aeropress, you will see a durable food-safe rubber design that can stand under pressure quite well. It often packs with a plunger, a filter cap, and a brewing chamber. Fewer parts make the brewing process convenient and quick to do.

Yet, the Aeropress is smaller than its opponent, with only one size of 8 oz.

Winner: It is up to your hobby. For example, let’s opt for the Aeropress if you find the French press complicated to use every day. On the contrary, the French one will suit those who like large brewers more.

Ease Of Use

It must be mentioned that you can use both with ease but in different ways. We often call these two immersion brewers. They often require a period of time to allow the combination of coffee grounds and water to sit before coming into the filtering step.

What makes these machines different is the specific processes and techniques. 

Regarding using a French Press, you need to make an effort to practice and adjust before getting the perfect cup of coffee. After that, nothing can raise difficulties for you at all!

The process often goes like this: you pour hot water into a glass carafe of coarse grounds and wait for four minutes. Plunge the filter, and then you have a perfect cup of joe!

On the other hand, the Aeropress requires more steps to use it like an expert. You will get a pre-measured scoop, as well as the markings on the brewing chamber, to know the suitable amount of water needed. Once you get the hang of the instruction, you can make a lot of variations of a coffee cup that you enjoy most. 

In the brewing process of the Aeropress, pressure is the key element giving this method uniqueness and flexibility for the connoisseur. 

The first step is similar to the French Press. You have to immerse hot water and medium to coarse coffee grounds in the chamber. Then, let it sit for about three minutes or more, depending on the grind size. Let’s create pressure to force the coffee through the filter by pressing down the plunger afterward. How simple it is!

You can apply one among two common orientations to the brewing process. If you pick the regular one, you must stick the filter cap to the brewing chamber and put it on top of the mug. 

Otherwise, you can use the inverted orientation by attaching the plunger, instead of the filter like the above way, to the chamber and keeping the opening of the filter cap face-up. This second method works well in avoiding coffee drains through the filter rashly. It will be best if you flip the tool over onto your cup. 

Winner: Two presses are trouble-free to use in different ways, that’s why you need to consider carefully what suits you most. If simplicity is what you aim at, just choose the French one. Otherwise, the Aeropress is a worthy option when you love to figure out coffee production. 

Time: From Bean To Brew

As we have mentioned above, making a cup of coffee from the French press lasts at least five minutes. In detail, the coffee grounds need about 30 seconds to bloom in hot water before covering them to release aromas and oils. 

You must spend another four minutes to steep them on the filter cap with more water. This manual coffee brewing process is quite interesting, so you can try to serve your friends delicious homemade coffee. Additionally, an 8 oz French press can make about four mugs at once.

If the French press cannot satisfy you regarding the time, we bet that the Aeropress is more appealing for you! Its brewing time is only a minute and a half. Do you believe it? It is all thanks to the pressure, which cuts down on the steeping step. Just stir the grounds in ten seconds, push the mixture down slowly on the chamber, and now you have a single cup of coffee. 

The brewing time of the French press and Aeropress is quite dissimilar, resulting in the unequal number of cups. That’s why you should consider how many cups you intend to make and decide the winner. 

Filter and Taste

Both French press and Aeropress or any coffee-press tools else, bring you a rich, satisfying cup of coffee. The matter is that you will experience a slightly unique and different taste through each mechanism. 

The quality of coffee made with the French machine will be rich, bold, full-bodied, and slightly oily due to the darker roasts. Plus, the fine grounds visible at the bottom of the cup will let you enjoy the full mouthfeel taste! 

Its stainless steel mesh filters are able to admit the natural oils, as well as a little microscopic coffee grounds in the final brewing step. That’s why you can feel its robust, rounded flavor instead of specific flavor clarity. 

A lot of coffee lovers adore this for sure, despite the fact that the heavy mouthfeel cup is not as expected for some connoisseurs. The oils might muddy the precise taste of beans as well.

On the contrary, the Aeropress, along with its paper filter, can produce a sediment-free, lighter-bodied cup of coffee due to its ability to block oils and sediment. As such, you can enjoy the bright, fruity flavor no matter what kind of coffee bean you use. 

This tool does a great job of highlighting the bean flavor and bringing a smoother and more floral cup than its opponent. Try on, and you will be charmed by this single-origin coffee.

If you crave the oily, silky coffee like the French press one, choose the stainless steel filters of Aeropress. Oils can seep into your cup while still keeping the sediment out.

Winner: Despite the similarity in delicious coffee production of both devices, the Aeropress is still on another level. Its brewing recipes are quite versatile and adjustable, no matter which flavor you want. 

You can enjoy a bright, crisp cup of coffee by using a fine-grind setting within a short amount of time. Additionally, it is possible to make coffee like a French machine with its stainless steel filter version. 

Durability

Do not forget to consider durability when comparing these tools. 

In short, a French press suits those who want a home coffee maker. Its stainless steel tools, even the borosilicate glass carafe, can only endure some minor scrapes and bumps. That’s why you should not keep it inside of a backpack and bring on some camping adventures. 

In this case, an Aeropress is what you desire instead. You can rest assured of its durability thanks to the BPA-free plastic design. However, do not utilize it in refrigerators or on countertops for a long time.

Portability

As we have mentioned above, the French press and Aeropress are both manual and non-electric on-the-go machines. Yet, the latter stands out more when it comes to portability. 

The French brewer is quite large, which comes with a breakable glass carafe that is not suitable for traveling. 

On the other hand, the Aeropress is the optimal travel coffee maker due to its small, light, durable, and plastic design. There is no need to worry about heavyweight in your pack and scrapes to your devices.

As such, feel free to bring it on mountain hikes or international flights. Remember that its batch size of 8 oz is truly a shortcoming here.

Versatility

You already know that the Aeropress produces numerous variations in two distinct brewing methods, making it easily beat the French press.

Regarding the grind size, the French machine requires a coarser grind, whereas the other allows for a much finer one. Especially, each time you adjust the water ratio, grind size, and brew time, you will get a different flavor of coffee from the Aeropress.  

The versatility has made a new world for Aeropress devotees who love to share some delicious recipes. No matter what you do, steep or not, stir at the beginning of the end, the final coffee taste is flawless. 

The Aeropress makes hot coffee of light and crisp or heavy and bold taste. If you want to brew a cold coffee, let’s opt for the French one!

Capacity

The French brewer can make a lot of cups of coffee one time, as its capacity is around 28 to 35 ounces. You can purchase the two, four, or even eight-cup carafe depending on the brewing purpose. 

On the contrary, the Aeropress with the capacity of 6 to 8 ounces is better for single-serve coffee. It is impossible to make two cups simultaneously, although you can dilute a concentrated brew to make a slightly larger cup. 

Thus, the crown belongs to the French press regarding capacity.

Cleaning

The brewing method will decide how easily you clean the machine. 

For example, the French press gives you the compressed coffee ground at the glass carafe’s bottom. You only clean the vessel after digging them out. The easiest way to do this is to run an extremely strong stream of clear water into the cylinder to loosen all the grounds, then send them down the garbage bag. 

What is more, try to disassemble some parts in which the grounds are stuck to clean, like the mesh filter or the hardware in the plunger. Due to this fact, some people feel it is annoying to keep the French device clean after brewing. 

However, rest assured of the ease of cleaning the Aeropress. The coffee grounds are compressed in the cap as a compact puck once the process ends. Simply unscrew this cap, remove the grounds, and rinse the rest of the device. How simple it is!

Quick Rundowns Of French Press

Pros:

  • Brew rich, heavy cups of coffee
  • Makes multiple cups at once
Cons:

  • Have a muddled taste and a heavy mouthfeel because of oil and sediment
  • Harder and more complicated to clean up 

Quick Rundowns Of Aeropress

Pros:

  • Extremely versatile with plenty of variations 
  • Durable for camping adventures and international flights
  • Portable
  • Effortless to clean 
Cons:

  • Limited size for only a single-serve brewer

French Press Vs Aeropress – Verdict

It is worth mentioning that both the French press and Aeropress are simple, affordable machines that make tasty cups of coffee. Some distinct minor details make them different and suitable for certain numbers of coffee lovers. 

Each person prefers each flavor of coffee that corresponds with each method. For instance, a French press allows you to experience the rich and bold taste as well as to make lots of cups of coffee at once. 

By taking a few more minutes to brew, this tool is ideal for applying on the weekends or starting a late workday. What is better than sitting on the couch and enjoying a Sunday morning with an aromatic coffee cup?

However, the Aeropress can edge the above machine with several convenient features. More specifically, it brings a similar light flavor to the classic espresso that is rich in crema. 

Besides, the machine is quite compact, durable, and portable so that you can take it on every trip without any difficulty.   

We all know that you find it challenging to choose one among two excellent choices of coffee makers. The optimal decision will belong to your personal preference. Of course, it is not a big deal to own both to utilize for each appropriate event!

To Sum Up

Having a tasty cup of coffee is no doubt the best thing ever. That’s why you must end up owning a coffee maker at home. Have our comparison of French press vs Aeropress helped you make an optimal decision? We do hope the answer is yes. It’s time to consider your preference. Good luck!

Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California, Berkeley. And then, I finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). ugvermont.com is a website that I dedicate my whole heart to sharing all knowledge related to coffee. Read more