by Neptune Coffee  | 

French Press vs Aeropress - Which Press Is Best?

“The most underrated method of brewing coffee” and “a space-age contraption with gravity-defying aspirations” walk into a bar. Your home coffee bar that is. 

They have nothing in common except a plunger. And superior coffee. And the ability to skyrocket your coffee brewing skills outta here. 

If you’re trying to figure out which plunger method is better, the French press or the Aeropress, we’re here to help. 

This article matches the two methods side-by-side to help you decide between a well-loved classic and an engineering marvel.

Comparison: French Press vs. Aeropress?

Ease of Use

French Press

The French press is nothing if not dependable. Once you come up with your favorite measurements for grounds and brewing time, you’ll be able to use the press in your sleep. 

Here are the basics: heat your water to about 205F, pour it over your grounds, let it bloom, stir, leave it to brew for 3-4 minutes, press the plunger down gently, enjoy.

Aeropress

The Aeropress presents a little more of a challenge, but it’s easy once you know what you’re doing. No one agrees on the best way to use the Aeropress either, but following these steps will get you started:

Winner

Even though the brewing time is shorter for the Aeropress, the French press takes the lead for ease of use.

Brew Time

French Press

Give yourself about 4 minutes of brew time for the French press. You’ll also need a couple minutes to heat up your water and grind the beans. Thankfully though, you can do other things while you wait for the coffee to brew.

Aeropress

minutes. That’s all you’ll need for a sweet Aeropress brew. You’ll also need some time to heat up your water, but 2 minutes of brewing time is impossible to beat for manual brewing methods.

Winner

Aeropress, hands down. After all, the Aeropress was invented by the same master of speed Alan Alder who created the Aerobie superdisc. Speed’s kind of his thing, and it’ll be yours too if you use the Aeropress.

Ease of Cleanup

French Press

Cleanup is pretty straightforward for the French press. Rinse the base with hot, soapy water. Carefully remove all the grounds from the plunger and base as you wash it. 

Left behind grounds can make for bitter coffee the next time you brew, so while cleanup isn’t hard, it’s important to be thorough.

Aeropress

A literal hero of cleanup, you simply push out the brewed grounds and rinse the base with hot water. Done.

Winner

The Aeropress is a cleaning-hater’s dream with no mess and no fuss. It’s the real cleanup MVP.

Capacity

French Press

French presses come in various sizes, good for single use (3 cups) or for a group (up to 12 cups). Before you think three cups sounds like a lot for single use, remember that cups are usually measured at 4-5 oz. Either way, a French press can do it all.

Aeropress

Perfect for single use, but that’s about it. The Aeropress limits you to roughly 8oz (250ml) of coffee per brew. And while there are creative ways to get more than one cup, you’re best off using it for one person.

Winner

Because it can make enough for you and all your friends, the French press takes the prize for versatility. But if you just want coffee for you, they’re both great.

Additional Equipment

French Press

The French press keeps things simple. A dual filter system is nice for the cleanest brew, but it’s not necessary. And most coffee buffs recommend a scale and timer, but once you nail down your amounts they aren’t needed either. 

Aeropress

The Aeropress requires its own filters, paddle, and scoop. Thankfully you’ll get all of these things when you buy it initially, so you’ll only need to purchase additional filters when you run out.

A  gooseneck kettle also comes recommended because the pouring area is small on the Aeropress. No one wants burned hands! But if you’re comfortable with a regular kettle, that’s fine too.

And for the most precise brew, invest in a scale and timer. But again, not necessary. 

Winner

Even if you don’t have to buy a lot after that first Aeropress purchase, there’s still a lot of additional equipment to keep up with. So the French press wins here for simplicity. 

Cost

French Press

French presses run the gamut in price, and even the inexpensive, purely functional ones produce quality coffee. Plus, you don’t need to purchase anything other than your coffee and your press to get started.

Aeropress

You’re paying for the name with Aeropress. Since it’s really the only brand on the market, you’re looking at an initial investment of at least $30. You’ll also need to purchase replacement filters when you run out and any other equipment you don’t already have.

Winner

French press. A one-time investment gets you barista-level coffee every time.

Taste

French Press

Because the grounds stay in contact with the water the whole time, you get a bold, thick coffee. Just watch out for remaining grit!

Aeropress

Sweet, bright, and reminiscent of espresso. A reliable, classic taste every time.

Winner

If you can nail down the Aeropress method, you’ll have a hard time messing up the taste. So we give it the win for consistency (and no grit).

Who Comes out on Top?

You, because you’re choosing between two top-rate brewing methods. 

Personally, I pick the French press for daily use. It’s like a faithful friend: consistent, not surprising, but earning appreciation each time you’re with it.

It gives you strong yet subtle flavors you’ll come to rely on - even if it is underrated. 

But the Aeropress is a work of art. You can use it on the road or at home. To wow your friends or just impress yourself at how cool it is to brew coffee with gravity. 

So try it out for a challenge. And then go back to old faithful, the French press. 

Either way, you can’t lose.