Short Historical Fact
The French press dates all the way back to 1921. The AeroPress first came out on the market in 2005.
Passionate coffee drinkers often get into heated debates in regards to what coffee beans are better, what brewing method is the best or even what equipment is the best. In today’s article we are not going to settle the debate of whether the French press is better than the AeroPress. Instead I simply want to talk to you about the differences between the French press and AeroPress.
In some way, shape or form, the French press has been around for centuries. The French press contains a beaker (mostly made of glass but some metal) in which ground coffee beans is placed and along with a mesh plunger (mostly made of metal but some use synthetic material) that presses the grounds to the bottom of the beaker, leaving all the essential oils in the brew. Brewing time for the French press is about 4 minutes and uses coarse coffee grounds. The French press is not limited to one product, though. It also can be used to make iced coffee or even brew loose tea leaves!
The AeroPress is the newer invention. It actually acts a lot like an espresso machine, but it doesn’t reach the required pressure that you would need to make real espresso. It does a decent job at giving you a great substitute, though.
The AeroPress uses a fine coffee bean grind. It uses a combination of heat from the hot water and air pressure to extract the flavor of the coffee beans. The AeroPress uses 30 to 90 seconds of your day to make you a cup of coffee, with a remarkable 10 second brewing time! But, this piece of equipment uses a paper filter. Do you know what that means? It means that you now lose a lot of the essential oils that coffee beans have that you would get without that filter.
The AeroPress user may get more drink variety because of its espresso-like coffee capabilities. You can make a latte, cappuccino or even an americano! Both the AeroPress and the French press make tea, though, so they’re both pretty versatile and both devices have fairly simple designs that make them easy to clean.
The first comment I have in regards to taste is that yes, a good, quality machine is needed for a good cup of coffee, but something that is overlooked is that you get out of it only what you put into it. This means it is essential to also begin with high-quality coffee beans. Ultimately, though, it comes down to preparation. If I gave the same French press to two different people and the same amount of the same quality, size, shape and coarseness of coffee grounds, I would end up with different outcomes, depending on the preparation.
The French press is well known to “pack a punch.” Many love the taste of the coffee of the French press but many don’t due to the strong, bitter taste. A lot of the bitterness can actually be controlled by using the correct temperature of water to brew the coffee beans, yet there are still some out there who like their cup a bit more bitter than most. People say that the texture of the coffee gets weird at the bottom due to the “mud” or “sludge” but a lot of that can be controlled by using the correct coarseness of coffee beans which, in turn, require a phenomenal coffee bean grinder. One of the biggest reasons why people have a “bad” experience with their French press is because it requires a lot more experimenting and education than any other coffee maker.
The AeroPress gives you a less intense, more smooth and pleasant cup of coffee. With this smooth cup, the user will notice that it tastes more like a cup of espresso than any brewed coffee, even though it really isn’t espresso. You can have this high-concentrated cup of coffee as-is or you can have it with more hot water, milk or even cream. As I mentioned earlier, the AeroPress usually has paper filters and so deprives you of essential oils that you get from the French press due to the metal mesh filter that the French press has. However, one of the things people like about the AeroPress in comparison to the French press is that the paper filter traps the loose coffee grounds and so gives a clean cup of coffee. You may be thinking, “Why can’t I have both?” I have good news! Here are metal mesh filters for your AeroPress: Metal Mesh Aeropress Filters!
The cost of a French Press and a AeroPress seem to be pretty close in price. The down side is that the French press usually comes with a glass beaker. If people are not careful, this glass beaker may break on them. Manufacturers may claim them to be fairly indestructible, but they in the end, they are still glass. Now, they do make a great and durable stainless steel French press, but it is slightly more expensive.
Now the AeroPress isn’t quite indestructible (for a clumsy enough user, anything can break), but it should last long time with normal use. Durability aside, one of the great advantages that a larger French press has over the AeroPress is that it is much better suited to brewing multiple cups at once, which may suit your needs better.
Related Reading – The Differences Between French Press Coffee & Stovetop Espresso
Summary Of Differences
- How long will it take to get my cup of coffee?: AeroPress may take one minute and a half. French Press may take 5 minutes.
- The AeroPress is aided by pressure to improve extraction while the French press is not.
- French press uses a coarse grind while the AeroPress uses a fine grind.
- The standard AeroPress comes with paper filters to clean up the beverage some, but deprive you of more aromatics and of course the essential oils of coffee, though they do have metal mesh filters for the AeroPress.
- Coffee heats up in an AeroPress. In the French press, the coffee gets colder during the 5 minutes of brewing, but they do make double walled French press beakers that tend to do a way better job of retaining heat.
- The French press can brew multiple cups of coffee at once. It can easily brew 4-6 cups at a time and some even can make 12 cups at a time. The AeroPress can only make one at a time.
- The filters in the AeroPress make it easier to clean.
- AeroPress coffee is cleaner.