The Aeropress and the French press (or coffee press) are both popular coffee makers. The French press was patented in 1929 and it continues to be widely used over 85 years later. Invented in 2005, the Aeropress is much newer but it’s quickly gaining a loyal following.
If you’re trying to decide between these two coffee makers, first know that both make good coffee and you’ll likely be happy with either. Having said that, there are differences between them that may help you make your choice. Here’s a look at those differences.
Body in the Final Cup — French Press
The brewed coffee that the French press and Aeropress produce differ most in body. (The body of coffee is the coffee’s mouthfeel, or how it settles on the tongue.)
Coffee made with a French press has much more body than brews made with the Aeropress do. This is largely because the French press uses a metal screen as a filter, while the Aeropress relies on a paper filter. The metal filter lets tiny particles through so that they end up in the cup. The paper filter catches these particles, or “fines.”
When fines are allowed into a brewed cup of coffee, they increase the cup’s body because they continue to be extracted. Conversely, brewing techniques that don’t allow fines through the filter result in a cleaner cup.
If you’re able to test out a French press and an Aeropress, you’ll see this difference. Make a cup of coffee with each brew method, and take your time to enjoy each cup. Once you’re done drinking, you’ll notice a thin layer of sediment at the bottom of the cup that held the French press coffee. These are the fines, and you won’t see them in the cup that had the Aeropress brew.
Number of Cups of Coffee Made — Tied
As far as how many cups of coffee you’re able to brew, it’s a tie between the Aeropress and French press.
French presses come in a variety of sizes, ranging from a single cup to 1.75 liters. There may even be some models that are larger, and there are plenty of choices between these two extremes.
Most Aeropress recipes only produce 1, or perhaps 2, cups of coffee. Nevertheless, there’s an easy way to make coffee for more people with the Aeropress. You can use a recipe that produces a strong espresso-like brew and make a few pressings worth of coffee. Each pressing can be put into to a carafe, and then water can be added to create a pot that has a tasty pseudo-americano.
Durability — Tied
The two coffee makers are also tied in the category of durability, although you’ll have to be careful what type of French press you purchase if you’re looking for something that won’t break.
The Aeropress is made of strong, sturdy plastic that won’t break easily when it’s dropped (or smushed into a suitcase).
Many French presses are made from glass, which is obviously much more breakable than the Aeropress’ plastic. There are plenty of plastic and stainless steel French presses on the market, though, and they’re just as durable as the Aeropress.
Ease of Use — French Press
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use coffee maker, the French press is a great choice. It’s not only less complicated than the Aeropress, but it’s easier than almost any other coffee maker. A drip brewer may be the only coffee maker that’s as easy to use, and it’s probably a tie between drip brewers and French presses.
The difference between how easy the French press and Aeropress are to use is reflected in the number of recipes that are available for them. Making coffee with a French press is straightforward and there aren’t many variances. There are lots of recipes, including many intricate ones, for the Aeropress.
Choosing Between the Aeropress and French Press
The Aeropress and French press are two very different coffee makers, but they’re also two excellent coffee makers. If you’re looking for body or easy of use, get a French press. If you want something newer, get the Aeropress. If you can’t decide between the two, get either — or both and have fun with each.
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