It seems in the coffee world there is the ever-present question: “Which brew method is better?”. Professionals and avid home users alike will all champion one as their favorite, swearing that it produces THE BEST cup of coffee, every time. But with so many brew methods out there, they can’t all be right, can they? Well… yes. They can.
The Aerobie Aeropress and the ever-popular French Press are two heavy-hitters in manual brewing and often get compared to one another (unfairly, if you ask me). While they have a lot of similarities (easy to use, minimal cleanup, both are full-immersion brewing methods, etc.), comparing the two is really an “apples-to-oranges” conversation. But since this question gets asked time-and-time again… let’s have that conversation.
First let’s look at the Aeropress:
Made from BPA-free plastic, this brewer is my personal choice whenever I’m traveling - especially if I’m going camping. It’s small, compact, and most importantly, it doesn’t break easily. The price-point is inexpensive, and it requires very little water or coffee to make a good cup. You can buy filters in packs of 300 for a few dollars, or even upgrade to metal filters to kick up the sustainability an extra notch.
The Aeropress gives you a clean, concentrated cup of coffee in under two minutes from start-to-cleanup. You just can’t beat that for speed, and the flavor is wonderful. The Aeropress also lets you control ALL of your brewing variables: water temperature, grind size, contact time, agitation, and pressure. When you “plunge” the Aeropress you can vary your pressure and speed to impact the flavor of your cup of coffee. The paper filters remove most of the oils and all of the sediments from the brew - giving it a super clean, light body. Overall, I love this method when I’m in a hurry, not quite awake, or only have a tiny bit of a delicious coffee left.
Now for the French Press:
This is one of the older manual brew methods that still has a presence today. It’s been around for about 80 years and was developed in Italy. Most people recognize this, and most people have had a cup of coffee brewed this way. I call this the “set it and forget it” manual brew method. At the end of the day you add coarse ground coffee, hot water, and then wait for four minutes before plunging to enjoy your coffee.
French presses come in a ton of sizes and materials, so it’s easy to find one you love. They also have built-in mesh filters, which means no waking up in the morning only to realize you don’t have a crucial part of your brew method. However, those built-in metal screens let through some of the finer grind parts and all of those coffee oils, so be prepared for your coffee to have a little extra texture to it. Some people rave about the mouthfeel, while others like a cleaner cup.
So….. how do you choose? That all really depends on the situation. Below I laid out some scenarios and the right brew method for that particular time.
SUPER Short on time? Aeropress
Making coffee for more than 1? French Press
Hate sediment in your cup? Aeropress
Want to taste the oils in your coffee? French Press
Hate even the most minimal of cleanup? Aeropress
Short on space? Aeropress
Little patience for getting involved in your brew? French Press
Want to Brew One at Home?
Instructions for Brewing Aeropress