What's The Difference Between AeroPress And French Press - 2021

Have you ever wished for an inexpensive, easy, and fast way to make a great cup of coffee? Well, there is a cult following out there that swears the AeroPress coffee maker or a French Press is all that, and more.

coffee grounds paper filter

A French Press is one of the more popular ways of preparing coffee, as it gives you the ability to brew the exact amount you need, and fits well within social situations.

Once a little hard to find, the AeroPress is gaining popularity and can found at places like Amazon, coffee houses, and online coffee sites. With a little shopping, you should be able to find one for under thirty dollars that includes three hundred and fifty paper filters.

In this article, we will be explaining the difference between Aeropress and French press brewing methods, why they produces the flavours they do, and what trade-offs there are by making your coffee in each way.

AeroPress Basics

You may have already seen one in a product catalog or online and not even realized it.

What is An AeroPress?

aeropress brew method

AeroPress Coffee Maker

An AeroPress is a relatively small device that sits on top of a large glass or mug. The product is basically a plastic cylinder that is filled with grounds and water, and with a press on the inserted plunger, voila! You have a cup of coffee in about sixty seconds.

In essence, the AeroPress technique is somewhere between a drip coffee maker and an espresso machine. Like a conventional drip maker, water passes through a bed of grounds held in place by a paper filter. Like an espresso machine, pressure is created by the plunger that forces your coffee through the filter, into the cup. But the Aeropress uses less force than that used for pulling a true espresso shot.

According to the FAQ section of the AeroPress website, the pressure generated is somewhere between one to three bars, or about twenty to fifty pounds per square inch. In contrast, espresso machines use around seven to ten bars, or up to one hundred and forty-five pounds per square inch of pressure. So, while some say the AeroPress makes espresso, that is not technically correct.

The Pros of the AeroPress?

With all the well-known methods for making coffee, you may ask why even consider a new one like the Aeropress. Well, there are some advantage to this process, like:

  • Inexpensive
  • Simple to use, no long pour overs or complicated steps
  • Fast, no waiting compared to drip makers
  • Light and forgiving, plastic is less prone to breaking than glass
  • Small size makes the coffee maker portable, use for camping or on a RV
  • Clean cup with no sludge like a French Press, and allows the coffee bean character to show
  • Less fussy, no need for an expensive burr grinder or special techniques like espresso makers
  • Reduced bitterness and low acidity
  • Easy clean up

If you are a coffee lover, a list of pros like that above deserves a closer look. So, let’s dive in and explore how to brew coffee with an AeroPress in detail, as well as learn a little more about the device.

The Cons of the AeroPress?

As with all things in life, nothing is perfect, including the AeroPress. So, we must mention some of the things considered disadvantages for the device.

Minimal Cups

For the most part this device brews one or two cups at a time. You can use three scoops and with practice may be able to get more, but the reality is if you have a crowd to make coffee for, this is not the method to use.

Hard to Store

If you look at the device, it has a paddle, funnel, filters, cylinder, plunger and scoop. This makes keeping everything together, and handy, an issue. There are storage racks sold to keep everything organized. But that is an added expense and often the rack costs more than the AeroPress.

Paper Filters

Those looking to minimize the waste generated may not like the bleached paper filters that are thrown away at the end of each brew session. Also, you need to replenish, and pay for, bleached filters over time. Some do not like the paper filters and opt for the metal filters instead.

French Press Basics

You might also know of a French Press as a Cafetiere, a coffee press or a press plunger.

What is A French Press?

french press coffee

French Press Coffee Maker

A French press is a device used to brew coarse coffee that was invented in 1929. It is a carafe that you put your coffee granules in and add hot water, before leaving it for a number of minutes to let it brew.

Once ready you push down the plunger which is attached to a filter, and all of the coffee granules are pushed to the base- leaving you with a rich, smooth, filtered coffee that is ready to be poured.

French Presses come in a number of different sizes and come in versions that make enough for just one cup, or larger ones that make enough for 4 or 8 or even more cups of coffee.

Benefits of A French Press

Ease of Use

The main benefit of a French Press is the ease of use of the device. All you need to do is add coarsely ground coffee and hot water and then wait until it is ready.

The use of coarsely ground coffee means that you have a little longer time to allow it to brew, so there is less of a chance of error by over-extraction. If you pour the coffee and you realise it is too weak, you can simply lift the plunger and let it brew for longer to achieve the desired taste.


The equipment itself is relatively cheap to buy, especially when compared to the cost of a coffee machine. It also allows you to consistently produce great tasting coffee without having to learn too much about how to use it.

They are also more economical than other ways of preparing coffee because the filter is made from a fine wire mesh and doesn’t need replacing. The fact they don’t need to be powered also means you save on the use of electricity, with the only energy needed is to heat the water in the first place.

Easy to clean

French presses are usually made from glass, are very easy to clean, and don’t take up too much space and can be simply stored when not in use.


The device can also be used to brew other drinks, like tea, so it is handy for everyone in the home, no matter their preferred drink.

Negatives of a French Press

On the other hand, there are some trade-offs as a result of using a French Press. The most notable one is the brewing time it takes until the coffee is ready.

This isn’t the best method if you want a quick drink before you leave the house because it needs to be left standing for a few minutes before being poured. Of course, the size of the press that you have will affect the total time needed for this, so with a smaller version, this effect won’t be as pronounced. Still, if you’re usually in a rush you may prefer to get a coffee machine instead.

While the longer time allows you to ensure the coffee has been extracted enough, there is a risk with a French Press of over extraction, something that causes the coffee to taste horribly bitter. You must remember that the coffee is brewing and keep an eye on it because if you leave it for too long, this will start to happen.

AeroPress vs French Press

Both French Press and AeroPress are great low-cost ways of brewing coffee that produces rich flavoured results.

Both AeroPress & French Press Are Great For Travelling

A french press is portable and ideal for your office use, and taking it along while traveling. It has a comfortable handle, which has a hard-wearing and sturdy design. With this, you can easily pour the drink into your jug or mug. It also features a detachable stainless infuser filter system, which makes cleaning quite easy.

The same goes for the Aeropress. One of the other advantages people mention for the AeroPress is you can take it camping or in an RV. To clean, unscrew the cap and press on the plunger to “pop” the compressed disk of grounds out of the cylinder. Rinse all the parts with clean water and you are ready to brew again.

Coffee Grind Size Difference

One of the biggest challenges to anyone who is either new to the realm of French presses, or cultured connoisseur, is providing a consistent coarse grind. if you are looking for a grinder for French press coffee, you will want a nice coarse consistent blend.

For the AeroPress, however, your beans should be ground somewhere between a drip and espresso grind. A finer grind will take longer to press and takes a little practice and patience when brewing larger batches with multiple scoops (the measuring scoop is included with the AeroPress). But the use of an espresso grind also makes a stronger coffee concentrate, which some users desire.

Brewing Styles

Coffee is just water and coffee beans. That’s it. So, yes, the quality of the water and coffee beans are important. But so is the brewing process.

The best way to make the purest cup of coffee or tea is by using a French coffee press. Its definitive method efficiently extracts any coffee oils from the coffee bean, and deliver a bold and unique flavor right to your cup.

The french press gives the coffee plenty of time to steep in the water without trying to rush, and you can filter the beans out once the strength and flavour you want has been produced.

With the french press, you can simply set it and forget it. Some come with a three-layer stainless steel filter structure, which helps trap the slightest grounds and also produces an extraordinary powerful & robust flavor. A filter screen will also help filter out any sediment. You can easily disassemble the filter screen anytime you want to clean it.

The Aeropress is easy to use, but when making a drink with just two ingredients, the small details matter.

There are some who feel the best way to brew great coffee with the Aeropress is to turn everything on its head. Well, at least turn the cylinder upside down.

There are metal filters for sale specifically designed for the AeroPress. There are even sets for under ten dollars that provide varying screens sizes. The metal filters eliminate the need to repeatedly use and throw out bleached paper filters, so they are considered more ecofriendly.

Many feel you need to stop short of compacting the grounds into a disk at the bottom of the cylinder. A hiss begins to sound as you get near the end of the press, just before you compact the grounds. Some users like to stop before making the hissing sound and leave some liquid in the cylinder. They believe it makes a smoother, less bitter, and less acidic coffee.

Water Temperature

While this might seem obvious, you do need to heat water and the means additional equipment and time. Many like the control of heating the water separately, which allows for getting to that perfect brew temperature. But that is separate and extra work.

When brewing coffee with the AeroPress, it is not surprising to find that most users find the water temperature is important to get right. Some even say to use water as low as one hundred and seventy-five degrees, including the inventor of the device, Alan Adler. That is quite a bit cooler than boiling (i.e. two hundred and twelve degrees). Some even get as detailed as:

  • 175˚F for dark roast beans
  • 185˚F for medium or light roasts.

You may need to experiment to find the temperature that works for you and your beans. But it will be below two hundred and twelve degrees.

Brewing coffee using a french press is a lot more beginner friendly than with an aeropress.

FAQs about the difference between aeropress and french press

Coffee drinkers who use a French Press generally do so because they believe the flavours achieved are far better than any other method. This is because the brewing process isn’t forced or rushed, and the ground bean has time to float in the water and release all the oils that it contains.

Personally, I much prefer the taste of my coffee when it has been brewed this way, it’s just a matter of whether you have enough time to make it.

Yes, both are used to filter out unwanted particles from brewed beverages and deliver a bold and unique flavor right to your cup.

The difference lies in how they operate. A French press uses steam pressure to force the grinds down into the cup. On the contrary, an aeropress forces air through the grinds.

Final thoughts

When looking at the Pros and Cons of French Press, it’s clear that it’s a method that is worth trying, and as long as you’re not in a rush, you’ll soon find it your favourite way to make your coffee.

If all the above information has made you eager to know even more about the AeroPress, you may be interested to know there is an annual competition to see who can make the best cup of joe. This event is called The World AeroPress Championship (W.A.C.) and is a serious event. On the AeroPress website, they noted that the 2016 event included over sixty thousand spectators and over three thousand contestants from sixty countries. This truly a worldwide event with regional, national, and “world” rounds.

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