Aeropress vs Pour Over Coffee: Which is Best?

Following our brewing method comparison series, I am going to compare and contrast the Pour Over and the Aeropress.
aeropress vs pour over coffeeThese two guys have been in the limelight of the coffee world lately.

Highly valued for their versatility, people all over the world are posting different recipes on social medias. Though there are standards for dosing and techniques for both the pour over and the aeropress, baristas are exercising their creativity in by tweaking grind size, brew time and additives!

Unlike the espresso machine, which has long held the place of honor in the coffee community, the pour over and the aeropress do not depend on electricity! Both of these brewing methods are compact and pretty durable, making them the go-to for business people and the outdoorsman.

Their last similarity that I’d like to point out is their single-serve convenience. It seems like the coffee lovers are steering away from the Mr. Coffee Pot types, even though it does produce more cups of coffee in a brewing cycle.

We are choosing quality over quantity!

Rather than the smokey espresso or the oily french press, the aeropress and the pour over produce bright tasty cups of coffees that have little body (which means you taste more of the flavor notes of the coffee itself, instead of the roast.)

Let’s discuss their differences now that we know how they are similar.

The Pour Over Method: tedious but delicious.

Making a cup of coffee using a pour over is an art form.

Like all art, there are many different perspectives and techniques.

But for the sake of the comparison, we’re going to focus on the most simple pour over sets.

A perfect example of a quick and easy pour over is the flow restricter!

There are two really great models I’d like to present to you as the pinnacle of pour over options.

The Hario V60 and the Kalita Wave are pour overs that don’t take too much practice.

Super easy to use, and very affordable, either of theses would be perfect for people on the go!

No fancy machines here, these babies can be placed on top of your favorite mug for personalized precision pours.

Unlike the iconic Chemex and it’s wide neck, these two models have a set of holes at the bottom that control the drip rate

The extended coffee to water contact allows means longer extraction and more flavor.

That’s not to say that the holes in the bottom will stop sentiment from getting into the yield, all on its own. They both need a handy dandy filter to catch all the oils and broken down coffee particles.

Companies tailor their filters to match the design of the cone itself.

For instance, the Kalita Wave stays true to its name in its entire design.

The ridges in the cone itself helps the water distribute evenly throughout the grounds bed as you pour. But it is helped even more by the wavey cupcake holder-like filter!

The filter does not sit flush with the rest edges of the cone, so that you don’t miss the grounds bed during the bloom of the perimeter of the circle.

The Hario V60’s filter sits right against the edge, so the manufacturers make them thicker and with a tighter knit.

To avoid the under-extraction of peripheral grounds, most people rinse their filters within the rig.

This washes out the paper dust and seals up any space that could cause trouble.

Now that you know the differences between these two similar set-ups, let’s get to brewing.

Regardless of which pour over cone you choose, these simple steps will brew the perfect cup of pour over coffee.

Get your grinder, scale and kettle ready because this is a process, friends.

step 1: Give your cone, filter and mug a good rinse.

It should go without saying that coffee appliances need some tender loving care. So be sure to scrub down your pour over after every use to avoid build up of particulate and oil.

But this rinse with warm water will keep the temperature of the coffee stable throughout the entire brewing cycle.

There’s nothing like wanting a juicy cup of coffee from a warm cup, and tasting the weird acidity that comes to the forefront of the flavor notes when the mug is still cold. Coffee shock is real, folks.

Step 2: start boiling your water

The best kettle you can have for this method is the gooseneck. (Click the image to get yours today)

The narrow spout gives you more control over how much you pour and how quickly you do.

Step 3: grind

While your water is boiling, you can get to the most pivotal part of the brewing process: grinding

Grind size makes or breaks a cup of coffee. Too fine of a grind will over extract and fall through the filter. And too coarse will under extract because pour over isn’t an immersion method; it won’t have enough time to break down properly.

Level of grind is dependent on the thickness of your filter, but a good rule of thumb for pour over is to grind medium-fine (about the consistency of table salt.)

Step 4: dose

Your dose is the coffee to water ratio. This varies depending on your preferences and how many ounces you plan on having as an end result.

But the standard recipe is 1 part coffee : 16 parts water.

Pour out the water that was warming your mug and place it in the center of your scale.

Weighing out your coffee, water and yield is the best way to memorize the coffee you love and tweak batches you hate. For a list of our favorite scales, check out my article here.

Don’t forget to zero out your scale by pushing the tare button, or you will have back math to do throughout the process.

Add your measured grounds to the cone.

Step 5: brew

The standard brew time for pour over is 2.5-3.5 minutes.

There are 2 pour techniques.

1) single pour

Pour all the water into the reservoir at once and let the water slowly trickle through the grounds.

This option yields bright coffee, but may still have a lot of body and roast taste. Since there is longer coffee to water contact, the extraction is more thorough.

2) Pulse pouring

This method take a little more time, but it widely renown as the “right way” to brew a pour over.

Here’s how it works:

Bloom your coffee with 10% of the total water starting from the center circling out to the circumference. Then wait 30 seconds.

Continue to pulse pour the rest, 10% at a time every 30 seconds.

This option is highlights the actual flavor notes, like fruity or floral, of the individual batches of coffee since the  oils and particulate that carry all the roast taste get caught in the filter every time you pour.

Does that sound a little too complicated for you?

Never fear! The super simple and flavorful Aeropress is here!

This brewing method is the baby of the coffee community.

Invented by engineer Alan Adler 2005, this brewer promises delicious coffee in half the time.

Portable and lightweight, you can bring your Aeropress on airplanes, to hotel rooms, camping and on road trips and have reliably sweet and full-bodied coffee anywhere you go!

Just like the pour over method, the Aeropress fits right on top of your coffee cup!

For those of you who have not yet been acquainted with this brewing method, let’s the different parts that make up an Aeropress.

There are 4 pieces of the Aeropress’ anatomy! (and 3 helpful friends)

  1. plunger
  2. brewing chamber
  3. filter
  4. filter basket
  5. cone (which is helpful but not absolutely necessary)
  6. scoop
  7. stirring tool

Each of these pieces (excluding the filter) are made of super durable plastic that can be dishwashed and brought along and used anywhere from the office to a campsite.

Now that we’re are well acquainted with our coffee maker, let’s jump right in and learn traditional way to brew an Aeropress.

Step 1: rinse and pre-warm the brewer and mug.

Maintaining the internal temperature not only helps the taste of that first sip, but helps the coffee extract evenly.

Don’t forget to rinse the filter before you put it into the basket.

Step 2: Attach warmed filter and basket to the bottom-brewing chamber

Step 3: Attach maker to mug

Step 4: grind medium to medium-fine depending on your preference.

Step 5: dose

Though there are people all over the world coming up with their own recipes, the standard dose for an Aeropress is 17-18g for every 220g h20 to make a 8 oz cup of coffee.

The scoop that comes with your purchase measures out approximately 17g-18g of whole bean, so if you’re out and about and don’t have your scale, you can trust that!

Step 6: Add coffee to maker with the funnel and give it a good shake

An even bed of grounds is a great platform for evenly extracted coffee.

Step 7: start timer and add water 30 seconds off the boil (about 200 degrees

Fahrenheit)

Pour all 220g of water, making sure to moisten all of the grounds (it’s sometimes helpful to spin the chamber as you pour) and stir

Step 8: add plunger and pull up to create vacuum so that the coffee will not pour through the filter just yet.

allow to brew 1 minute to 1 minute 15 seconds

Step 9: remove plunger and stir one last time

Step 10: Put the plunger back on and gently press down with steady pressure

Stop as soon as you hear a hissing sound (anything poured after will be over extracted,) remove and enjoy!

Coffee made in an Aeropress can range from bright and light to medium bodied depending on a few factors.

Filter:

The teeny filter that sits at the bottom of the brewing chamber comes in paper or metal.

Paper filters make cleaner, crisper cups of coffee because it soaks up oils and sentiment.

Metal filters, though better for the environment, make richer coffee, because those oils make their way through.

Pressure level:

The faster and stronger you press, the more full bodied your coffee will be due to the coffee concentrating as it flows through the filter.

The slower and steadier you press, the brighter your coffee will taste. The filter has more time to soak up the body as it brews.

I hope you now understand the similarities and differences between the pour over and Aeropress!

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