AeroPress vs French Press: Which Manual Coffee Maker Is Better?

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Manual coffee makers are a budget-friendly, flexible, and exciting way to brew a superior cup of coffee compared to regular drip machines. Perfect for solo coffee fans or travelers, the French press has long been the top choice. But now, there’s a new competitor shaking things up in the world of manual brewing! 

It’s a showdown between AeroPress and French press! We’re diving into which brewing method is the easiest, most affordable, quickest, and delivers the tastiest coffee. Find out which one deserves a place on your kitchen counter.

Quick Take: AeroPress vs French Press

French Press
Brewing type
Pressure Immersion
One size (1–3 cups) Various sizes (1–12 cups)
Brew time (minutes)
1–3 3–5
  • Clean coffee highlights complex flavors.
  • Excellent for single-serve brewing.
  • Easy to use and clean.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Makes full-bodied, rich coffee.
  • Large capacity.
  • Hands-off brewing process.
  • Consistent results.
  • Can't make large batches.
  • Some recipes require practice to master.
  • Muddles unique flavors of the beans.
  • More cholesterol.
  • Harder cleanup.

What Is the AeroPress?

Making AeroPress coffee with one of the best gooseneck kettles

The AeroPress, created by coffee lover Alan Adler in 2004, is a new must-have for home baristas. It’s a budget-friendly, easy-to-use hand-press coffee maker that promises great taste. 

The AeroPress is a cool tool made up of two parts: a chamber and a plunger. Think of it like a superhero version of a pour-over coffee maker. But here’s the twist: instead of just letting gravity do the work, you use the plunger to push the water through the coffee grounds with pressure.

A simple tweak and using finely-ground coffee can make your brewing super quick, taking just about 90 seconds! This method lets you enjoy a rich coffee concentrate rather than the usual brew. Most AeroPress fans prefer grinding their own beans with a coffee grinder, but grabbing pre-ground espresso coffee works too.

The AeroPress is a big hit among coffee lovers, especially those who love to travel or go camping. It’s strong, doesn’t take up much space, and now there’s an even cooler version for on-the-go sipping – the AeroPress Go. It comes with its own travel mug!

The AeroPress stands out as a budget-friendly coffee maker that doesn’t skimp on quality. Brewing delicious coffee in less than three minutes, it’s a breeze to use and clean. This makes it a top pick among coffee lovers who don’t require a large coffee pot. It’s no wonder the AeroPress is a favorite among coffee enthusiasts! 

What Is a French Press?

Making coffee with some of the best coffees for French press lovers.

The French press, a beloved coffee maker, originated with a patent by Italians Attilio Calimani and Giulio Moneta in 1929. Over the years, many brands have created their versions, offering a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials to explore.

Imagine a French press like a pitcher with a handy handle. On top, there’s a lid that has a special plunger, ending in a filter that dips into the coffee. Now, this plunger isn’t for brewing – that’s not its job. Instead, after the coffee’s brewed, you press it down to separate the grounds from your delicious brew.

For the perfect French press coffee, you’ll want your beans coarsely ground. If they’re too fine, they won’t filter out properly, leaving you with a less than ideal cup. The French press method takes a bit longer, around 4-5 minutes, because it doesn’t use pressure like the AeroPress does. Since most coffee comes ground for drip machines, many French press lovers get a special grinder to ensure their brew is just right.

Discover the perfect French press for you! With options in various sizes and materials, there’s one to match your lifestyle. Choose a compact, sturdy press for on-the-go brews or a larger one to serve the whole family their morning coffee. 

What Kind of Coffee do AeroPress and French Press Make?

Pouring a french press, hopefully made with the right coffee to water ratio.

French press coffee stands out for its rich, bold taste and thick texture. Its strong flavors and the extra oils and bits that sometimes end up in your cup can spark debate among coffee enthusiasts. While some think this method can overpower the subtle, intricate flavors of the beans, fans of the French press often find other brewing methods too dull or flavorless in comparison.

AeroPress coffee is smooth, subtle, and pure. It tastes better than drip coffee and clearer than French press coffee. With AeroPress, you make a concentrated brew, giving you more ways to enjoy your cup.

The AeroPress and French press are both versatile in how you can brew your coffee. Did you know? You can use a French press for cold brew too. For AeroPress fans, mastering the inverted method unlocks a world of advanced recipes. It might take a few tries, but it’s worth it. Once you’ve got it down, you can even whip up AeroPress espresso – a fantastic stand-in for the real thing, especially when compared to French press espresso.

French press coffee is more than just a treat for your taste buds. It also packs a punch with higher levels of kahweol and cafestol, two compounds linked to increased LDL cholesterol. While this might not deter the average coffee lover, it’s something to consider if you’re watching your cholesterol.

Is AeroPress or French Press Easier to Use?

Brewing with an AeroPress is easy and fun! Start by placing a tiny paper filter at the brew chamber’s base, then add your fine or medium-fine coffee grounds. Position the chamber over your favorite mug or a mason jar. Next, pour hot water into it, give the mix a quick stir, and then press down firmly. This action forces the water through the coffee, creating a delicious brew that drips right into your cup. Enjoy!

A person demonstrating the use of an AeroPress by pressing down the plunger

Brewing coffee with a French press is simple yet delightful. First, add coarsely ground coffee and hot water into the press. Let them mingle for a few minutes, letting the magic happen as the coffee grounds steep in the water, releasing their flavors. Then, gently push down the plunger, separating the grounds from your delicious brew. There’s no fancy pressure needed here—just patience and time.

French press coffee making is super easy and chill. It takes a bit more time than using an AeroPress, but you can just start it and then relax. Plus, pressing down the French press is even easier than the AeroPress. So, for simplicity, French press is the way to go.

Cleaning the AeroPress vs French Press

The AeroPress makes cleanup a breeze! After brewing, simply remove the filter cap, and the coffee grounds pop out in a neat puck. Toss it in the trash or compost with the paper filter. A quick rinse of the AeroPress, and you’re done in 30 seconds. Perfect for coffee lovers on the go!

Using a French press? You’ll notice it squishes the coffee grounds, but getting them out isn’t straightforward. You’ll need to scoop them out by hand from the carafe’s bottom. The grounds also gather in the filter and plunger, meaning you’ll have to take it apart for a thorough clean every few weeks. Don’t forget to give the pitcher a quick rinse after each use. 

The AeroPress wins hands down for the simplest cleanup among coffee makers!

Capacities of AeroPress and French Press

The AeroPress is great for making up to three cups of coffee, but most recipes are for just one cup. If you need a lot of coffee at once, like from a big coffee pot, the AeroPress might not be for you. It’s fast, though! You can brew 2-3 batches in the time it takes to make one batch with a French press, but it’ll take a bit more work.

French presses are available in various sizes, typically from 3 to 12 cups. Whether you’re replacing a single-cup brewer or a large carafe, there’s a French press perfect for you. Clearly, the French Press stands out as the top choice.

Price of AeroPress and French Press

The AeroPress and AeroPress Go cost around $30–35, making them some of the most affordable coffee makers available.

French Presses are available at various prices. You can grab a budget-friendly one for around $20 or splurge on a top-notch version for $80–150. While the AeroPress beats most inexpensive French Presses in quality, spending a bit more on mid-to-high-end models gets you cool features like multi-layer filters and double-wall insulation, which really make a difference. Whether you’re saving or splurging, there’s a French Press for every coffee lover.

Final Verdict: AeroPress vs French Press

The AeroPress is a dream come true for coffee enthusiasts looking for a budget-friendly way to enjoy a single cup of smooth, rich, and pure coffee. Perfect for travelers or anyone craving an espresso-like shot, it’s compact and incredibly versatile.

The French press is perfect for travelers because it’s small and easy to carry. However, cleaning it can be a bit of a hassle. If you’re looking to make coffee for a few people, a large French press can do the job, unlike the AeroPress. The main difference? The French press makes a rich, bold cup of coffee. If that’s your style, it’s the way to go.

If you’re still searching for the perfect coffee maker, don’t worry! For a smooth and refined cup, consider an automatic pour-over coffee maker. If you love a deep, flavorful brew, an espresso machine might be your best bet, especially the super-automatic ones for ease of use. And for those on the go, explore compact coffee makers and coffee grinders perfect for travel.

aeropress vs french press

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