AeroPress vs French Press: The Ultimate Battle

By Evelina •  Updated: 04/18/22 •  15 min read

If you’re new to brewing coffee, you are probably thinking to start slow and gradually upgrade your equipment as you get better. But what if I told you that you could have amazing coffee from day one, and it wouldn’t cost you more than 30 bucks?!

Yes, I know it sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. The AeroPress and the French Press are two of the most popular brewing methods for beginners, and they both produce great coffee. So, which one should you choose?

Keep reading to learn about these two brewing devices, and find out which one is the best for your coffee needs!

What is The AeroPress?

AeroPress coffee

The AeroPress is a manual coffee maker that uses force to brew coffee. It was invented in 2005 by Alan Adler, and it has become a popular choice for coffee enthusiasts all over the world.

The history of AeroPress is fascinating. Alan Adler is also the inventor of aerodynamic flying rings, discs, and footballs with fins. He applied his knowledge of aerodynamics to coffee brewing, and the result was the AeroPress.

Since it is so easy to make coffee with it, AeroPress has become a popular choice for making coffee while traveling. All you need is hot water and ground coffee, and you can make a great cup of coffee anywhere you go!

How an AeroPress works

A classic AeroPress comes with 4 main parts that help the brewing process. These are:

These parts work together to create a seal that forces water through the coffee grounds and into your cup. The hot water and the coffee grounds are added to the chamber, and then the plunger is pushed down.

The mix will go through the filter and come out as flavorful coffee! The AeroPress uses very thin paper filters that help to remove most of the coffee oils, giving you a cleaner cup overall. All this will take around 1-2 minutes to complete so it’s super fast to make coffee with an AeroPress.

Important: There are several ways to make coffee with AeroPress. One very famous way is the Inverted Method, which is simply a way to extract more of the flavors of the coffee beans by inverting the AeroPress.

All you have to do is to invert the AeroPress so that the plunger is at the bottom. Then, add the coffee grounds and hot water to the chamber and stir. After stirring, wait for 1 minute and turn the AeroPress back over. Push the plunger down slowly, and your coffee will be ready!

Read Also: How to Make AeroPress Crema: 5 Proven Methods

What is The French Press?

The French Press, also known as cafetière is the most common manual coffee brewer out there. It dates back to 1929 when it was designed by Attilio Calimani.

The original idea was from a guy named Ugo Paolini, who actually wanted to create a tomato separator. But, after some experimenting, he realized that this design could be used for coffee as well. And so, the French Press was born!

It is simply a coffee pot that once again uses a plunger, but in this case, pressing the coffee grounds to the bottom of the pot, separating them from the water.

Unlike the AeroPress, you need to press the plunger several times to fully separate the coffee from the water. The filter is also made out of metal and has a mesh that is much coarser than the one on AeroPress.

This means that more coffee oils will end up in your cup, giving you a richer and more robust flavor than other brewing methods.

How to Make French Press Coffee?

The French Press comes in 3 main parts that have to be assembled before brewing:

These three main parts make up the French Press. The carafe is where you will add the water and coffee grounds, the plunger goes on top, and the filter sits between the two.

Once everything is in place, you press the plunger several times slowly. The spiral plate will remove the bigger grounds, while the cross plate and the metal filter will handle the smaller ones.

And there you have it! A cup of delicious French Press coffee. As you can, it’s an easy process to make coffee with it, and it only takes 3-4 minutes.

Important: The French Press can also be used to make cold brew coffee, a type of coffee that is made with cold water instead of hot water. This brewing method results in a coffee that is less acidic and has a smoother flavor.

Differences Between AeroPress and French Press

DifferencesAeroPressFrench Press
TasteMore Mellow FlavorMore Intense Flavor
Grind SizeFine GrindCoarse Grind
Brewing Time2 Minutes4 Minutes
Cleaning Super EasyEasy
Cost$30$25
Serving Size1 Cup at a timeFrom 1 Cup to over 12 Cups of coffee
Ease of UseSuper EasyEasy
Materials and DurabilityBPA-free PlasticGlass or Stainless Steel

Although these two brewing devices have many similarities, there are also some key differences that you should know about. For our coffee drinkers and coffee lovers out there, these differences can make or break your decision on which brewing device to use.

So take a sip of your coffee and let’s get to know the AeroPress and French Press a little better, shall we?

1. Taste

Taste is probably going to be the most important factor for anyone who wants to invest money and time in a coffee brewing machine. After all, we want our coffee to taste good!

When it comes to taste, the French Press definitely has a more intense flavor profile. This is because the French Press doesn’t have a paper filter to absorb any of the coffee’s oils, and also because it uses a coarser grind which I will talk about in the next section.

The AeroPress, on the other hand, has a more mellow taste profile. Finely ground coffee beans and a paper filter work together to remove most of the coffee’s oils, resulting in a “weaker” cup of coffee.

This is not bad though, actually many people prefer the taste of coffee from an AeroPress. It really just comes down to personal preference.

2. Grind Size

Well, I already hinted at this a little bit in the last section. The grind size you use will definitely affect the taste of your coffee, so it’s important to know which grind size is best for each brewing method.

For the AeroPress, you need a fine grind while the French Press requires a coarse grind. This happens because the French Press takes more time to brew coffee and a coarse grind will result in a slower extraction.

The exact opposite is true for AeroPress. The short brewing time means that a finer grind is necessary to prevent your coffee from tasting weak or watery.

For example, when you brew coffee with an espresso machine you also need a very fine grind, since the brewing time is just a few seconds (around 20-30).

3. Brewing Time

I also briefly touched on this in the last two sections, but brewing time is an important factor to consider when choosing a coffee brewing device.

If you are in a rush, for example, you work in the mornings and need to get your coffee fix quickly, then the AeroPress is definitely the way to go. The entire brewing process takes just 2 minutes from start to finish.

The French Press, on the other hand, has a brewing time of around 4 minutes, making it a slower option. If you don’t mind the extra time though, it’s definitely worth it!

4. Cleaning And Maintenance

Let’s be straight about this, none of these two brewers takes time to clean. The French Press has more parts (the plunger, the spiral plate, etc.) but it is still very easy to clean.

You only need to disassemble the French Press and rinse all the parts with water. It is recommended that you do this after each use, to prevent any coffee residue from building up and affecting the taste of your coffee.

The AeroPress is even easier to clean, you only need to remove the leftover coffee grounds and filter, then rinse the brewing chamber and the plunger with warm water and soap. That’s it!

5. Price

Next on our list is price, and this is also an important factor to consider when choosing a coffee brewing device.

Both coffee makers are super cheap to buy, with the AeroPress costing around $30 and the French Press around $25. However, the real difference comes in when you need to replace a part.

For example, if you need to replace the bottom chamber of your AeroPress it only costs around 10 dollars, while if you want to replace the carafe of your cafetière it will cost you around 20 dollars, especially if you had a glass French Press.

6. Serving Size

This is where it gets tricky because the French Press comes in multiple sizes while the AeroPress only comes in one size.

The most common French Press sizes are 3 cup, 4 cup, and 8 cup, but there are also larger sizes available. This means that you can make anywhere from 1 to 4 cups of coffee at a time with the French Press.

The AeroPress can only brew one cup at a time which makes it great for one person but not so great if you want to make coffee for multiple people.

So depending on the size of the French Press you choose, you could end up saving time by making multiple cups of coffee at once.

7. Ease of Use

If you are a complete beginner when it comes to making coffee, I recommend going for the AeroPress. It is very easy to use and the brewing process is pretty much fool-proof.

The French Press is also easy to use, but there are a few more steps involved in the brewing process which might be confusing for beginners. Especially when it comes to the plunging part that came make or break your coffee.

8. Materials and Durability

Last but not least, we have materials and durability. These two coffee makers are both very durable and will last you for years with proper care.

The AeroPress is made of high-quality BPA-free plastic, while the French Press is made of glass or stainless steel.

The French Press is a bit more fragile because of the glass but has a superior look and feel. If you want to feel like a king or queen while making your coffee, then go for the French Press.

If you don’t mind the plastic construction and want something easier to use and more affordable in the long run, then go for the AeroPress.

Which One Makes Better Coffee?

AeroPress coffee vs French Press coffee

We covered everything from taste, and grind size to cleaning and materials, but the question still remains… which one of these two coffee makers makes better coffee?

The answer, quite simply, is that it depends. Yes, I understand that you were probably hoping for a more definitive answer, but it really does depend on your personal preferences.

The key here is to find what you truly want to achieve with your coffee brewing method, and find the machine that will help you accomplish those goals.

For example, if you want a cup of coffee that is as close to espresso as possible, then the AeroPress is going to be your best bet since it has a similar brewing process and produces a more concentrated coffee.

If you’re looking for a more traditionally brewed cup of coffee, that is strong and bold then the French press is probably going to be a better fit.

Which AeroPress Should You Choose?

If you sided with AeroPress your next question is probably going to be “which AeroPress should I choose?” Well, luckily for you there are only two options. The classic AeroPress and the AeroPress Go.

You May Also Like: AeroPress vs AeroPress Go: Which Is Better?

Which French Press Should You Choose?

There are many French Presses out there and every one of them has a different size, design, and style. The best French Press for you is the one that you feel most comfortable using.

Comfortable Using = Size

Yes, that’s right. The size of the French Press is the only factor you need to worry about when choosing which one to buy.

The size you choose will determine how much coffee you can make at one time, and how strong or weak you want your coffee to be.

The coffee to water ratio that you are going to use will also change based on the size of your French Press and the amount of coffee you want to make.

For example, if you regularly make coffee for your family every morning you might want to purchase a larger French Press so that you can make multiple cups at one time.

However, if you only drink coffee by yourself on occasion, then a 3-cup size French Press is perfect for you.

The French Press also comes in different materials such as glass, and metal. The type of material you choose is completely up to you and your personal preferences. Most people get the glass one but if you are a fan of history and how it all started, then maybe you want the original metal design.

What About The Grinder?

grinder for AeroPress vs French Press

If you want to avoid using pre-ground coffee beans (which is the right thing to do) you’re going to need a coffee grinder.

There are two main types of grinders, blade, and burr. For the French Press, your best bet is to go with a manual burr grinder. A manual burr grinder might sound old-fashioned but it will make a world of difference in your cup of coffee.

Manual vs Automatic: Understand The Difference in Your French Press Coffee

When going manual you take the time to grind your beans to your desired size. This gives you more control over the final product and since we want a coarser grind size for the French Press this is the way to go.

For the AeroPress though, you will need an automatic grinder because the grind size needs to be much finer. If you really want to go for that perfect espresso-like shot out of your AeroPress, then you might want to invest in an automatic grinder.

What About The Coffee Beans?

Something that many people don’t think about is the type of coffee beans they are using. Just like with wine, there are different types of coffee beans that will affect the end result.

For this comparison, we’re going to use two different types of coffee beans. The first one is a light roast and the second one is a dark roast.

Light roast coffee beans have been roasted for a longer time which makes them more strong and acidic. On the other hand, dark roast coffee beans have been roasted for a shorter time which gives them a sweeter taste.

For the French Press, you want to use dark roast coffee beans because you want to have the oils and flavors from the bean to come through.

The AeroPress can handle everything from light to dark roast coffee beans. If you want to achieve an espresso-like coffee go with a darker roast. If you just want a classic cup of coffee with more water then go with a light roast.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an AeroPress Really Better Than a French Press?

An Aeropress is only better than a French Press if you want to make espresso. If you’re just looking to make regular coffee, then a French press is probably a better choice. The reason AeroPress is better for espresso is that it uses a finer grind and has a more even distribution of pressure, which results in a more consistent shot of espresso.

Can you use cafetière coffee in AeroPress?

You can’t use a cafetière/ French Press coffee in an AeroPress because the grind size is too coarse. The AeroPress uses fine grinds, so it won’t produce a good cup of coffee using a cafetière’s coarser grinds.

The Verdict

So, which one makes better coffee? The answer to that question is going to be subjective. However, AeroPress does have a few advantages over the French Press.

It’s faster, it’s easier to clean, and you can control the level of extraction more easily with an AeroPress than you can with a French Press. If those factors are important to you, then AeroPress is probably the better choice for you.

But if you prefer a richer, fuller-bodied cup of coffee, the French Press might be a better option for you.

Happy Brewing!

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Evelina

Evelina’s passion for coffee could never been hidden. Having worked as a barista, she learned the true value of the coffee bean and its secrets. As she continued to evolve as a barista, so did her knowledge, techniques on making different coffee blends and most importantly how to operate every kind of gear when it comes to coffee. Having a degree in biomedicine and being a barista, allows her to provide our community with in-depth knowledge surrounding the topics of coffee.