What’s The Difference Between Aeropress and French Press Coffee?

aeropressI live a hectic life, and there are quite a few times I find myself needing a single cup of coffee to keep me going through the whole day.

In the 1980s, a man name Adler became frustrated with the standard coffee makers of his time as they yielded 8 cup pots when he only wanted one fresh cup at a time.

This spurred him to explore the world of coffee presses where he discovered the pour-over method. Devices such as the French Press gained popularity in the 1920s. Adler found the coarse grind used for a French Press left grounds in his cup which inspired him to create an entirely new device to meet his needs perfectly: the Aeropress.

You can see the specs of the Aeropress here.

The Pour-Over Method

When Adler first embarked on his journey to create the Aeropress, he started by looking at the history of the pour-over method. The pour-over method began when a woman named Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz found that her current percolator was causing her coffee to have a burned, pungent taste. Bentz took blotting paper from her children’s school books and used it as a filter.

The device Bentz created used a small pot and filter. She filled the filter with coffee grounds and poured boiling water over it. The result was a filtered, clean cup of strong coffee.

This method was known as the Melitta Cone. The Melitta Cone was only the beginning and ended up being used internally within our conventional electronic coffee makers. With this invention the pour-over method gained rapid attention, and in the 1920s, the French Press was invented as a more reliable alternative.

The Aeropress Offers You More Control

Although the concept behind the AeroPress’ brewing method is similar to other pour-over devices, the AeroPress allows baristas more control over how the coffee turns out.

The AeroPress uses two cylinders, one fitting into the other, and a plunger to create pressure. This construction allows the AeroPress to gain more pressure than the French Press. The pressure allows for a more complete extraction of the oils, acids, caffeine, and other solids. The end result is a rich, full bodied cup of coffee similar to espresso.

In addition to pressure, the AeroPress allows the barista to control time, temperature, and how much coffee is used in relation to water. This allows for each person to create the perfect cup of coffee for themselves.

Click here to read up on the differences between coffee and espresso.

The Aeropress is Faster Than the French Press

The brewing time for the AeroPress is much shorter than other brewing methods. It takes 30 to 50 seconds to brew, and the average barista designs their perfect cup within a minute and a half.

This is less than half the time of a French Press, which usually needs to steep for four minutes at least.

Normally, when brewing coffee, the longer you steep the grounds for, the more solids you extract. The reason an espresso machine produces espresso in such a short time comes down to two factors: pressure and the grind of the beans. The AeroPress mimics this design by using a finer grind and a lot more pressure than the French Press.

Diversity, Please

In a world filled with one-use kitchen items, it is refreshing to find an espresso replacement that is good for making more than a single type of coffee.

The AeroPress is designed to give a different experience based on how you adjust the variables I mentioned above. With the ability to choose your grind, the amount of pressure, the temperature of the water, and the time you are willing to spend, you can choose how you want your coffee to turn out.

Playing with these variables can change your cup of coffee from light and fruity to a rich chocolate, nutty drink with low acidity. The choice is yours.

With its espresso-like qualities, the AeroPress can be used to make all of your cafe favorites. With a little warm milk, the real deal can be created right at home, unlike the French Press which only makes coffee.

Is French Press Coffee Stronger than Aeropress?

Coffee from the French Press is strong and bold. Despite its bold strength, the French Press can easily turn out a bitter coffee, especially if the water is not cooled to the correct temperature before being poured over the grounds.

A lot like a coffee percolator, a French Press can make poor coffee if the grind is not right. The coffee used for the French Press is coarse and contains a lot of sediment. The filter used is a metal grating, and there is plenty of room for the grains of coffee to slip through into your cup.

The Aeropress makes a pleasant, smooth cup, and while it is not strictly espresso, the coffee it makes is a decent substitute, especially when you consider the price difference between the Aeropress and the average espresso machine. The Aeropress uses great filters that manage to keep the fine grinds out of the cup but let in a lot of the flavor. The outcome is a complex, strong brew.

One of the most popular French Press pots sold today is the Kona French Press.

Whether you’ll prefer the French Press and its workmanlike reliable strength or appreciate the Aeropress and its versatility depends entirely on how you like your coffee.  At Gathering Grounds we see no reason to discriminate. To us, coffee is coffee. The cost of a French Press pot and an Aeropress is a quarter of the price of a decent auto-drip machine, so why not put one or both on your Christmas list this year?

You can see our french presses for sale here, but we’d invite you to read our full AeroPress review here before making any decisions.

The French Press Isn’t the Only Alternatives to the Aeropress

Don’t forget to explore. The AeroPress is not the only unit that makes “near” espresso. Moka pots deliver another type of pressured coffee in small portions, and they are worth trying to. You can see our selection of high end Moka pots here.

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Brian Mounts

I have been working in the coffee industry since 2013 and have been a professional online publisher since 2009. I am the current owner of GGCCoffee.com and I love all forms of coffee. I roast my own green coffee beans, grind them, and usually make my own coffee daily in either a french press, moka pot, or a pour over coffee dripper. I am a nut for equipment so many of my articles are reviews and comparisons of best selling coffee brewing accessories.

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