Upping Your Game: Pour Over vs. AeroPress
You probably gave up on drip coffee a long time ago.
Or if drip is still your go-to brew, you at least know the quality boost you get with brewed-by-hand methods. Not to mention the joy it brings you to craft that slow, strong, velvety brew yourself.
You're no novice when it comes to coffee making.
But you may still be wondering: what exactly is the difference between the manual methods? Why should I choose one over the other?
You’ve got some good questions. And we’ve got the answers for you today in our complete guide to pour over coffee vs. the AeroPress.
Comparison: Pour Over or AeroPress?
Ease of Use
It’s easy to look at the following steps on brewing a pour over and give up before you even start. But don’t worry! It’s not complicated, and after a few tries, you’ll master it.
- Grind your beans to a medium/coarse texture
- Rinse the filter with heated water (around 205F) and then discard the water
- Wet the grounds evenly
- Allow the coffee to bloom (roughly 45 seconds)
- Begin pouring the rest of your water evenly in a spiral pattern (for about 2 minutes 45 seconds)
- Remove the filter, swirl the coffee, and enjoy
Experts disagree on the best way to use the AeroPress (inverted or not). But here are some basic steps to get you started. And if you’re feeling fancy, try them both out.
- Heat the water (205F) and grind your beans to about the consistency of table salt
- Place and rinse your filter then discard the water
- Assemble the AeroPress and affix it to your mug
- Add coffee
- Add half the water (stir after 45 seconds)
- Add the rest of your water and place the plunger
- At 2 minutes, press down on the plunger until you hear a hissing sound
As far as manual coffee brewing goes, these are your more skilled methods. We’ll give pour overs the win here since they’re a little less involved. And since pretty much everyone agrees on how to do it.
Give yourself roughly 3 minutes and 30 seconds of actual brewing time for a pour over, and a couple more minutes to heat the water and grind the beans.
But as the name says, you’ll actually be pouring water over the grounds for most of this time. So make sure you’ve got time to dedicate to this process.
While there are a few different methods for AeroPress, they all take about 2 minutes total (after heating the water and grinding the beans). Pretty quick for a press.
Hands down, the AeroPress wins for one of the quickest brewing times in the coffee world.
Ease of Cleanup
Discard the grounds and filter. Clean the carafe with hot, soapy water. Enjoy the rest of your day because you’re done with cleaning up. Pour overs make up for the extra work you put into the brewing process by being a breeze in the cleanup department.
Push out the brewed grounds. Rinse the base with hot water. That’s it. You may have thought pour over cleanup was the simplest until you tried this.
AeroPress comes in slightly ahead of pour over here because you save yourself the one small step of discarding the filter. And we’ve found that cleaning the AeroPress tube is a little easier than cleaning most pour over bases.
With a pour over device, you can make anything from 1 cup to 13 (depending on which you choose). But most give you an average of 8 cups (40 oz).
The AeroPress’ main limitation is its capacity, about 8oz (250ml) of coffee per brew. Some people make it extra strong and then add hot water to get around this capacity issue, but it’s really just built for one.
The pour over’s versatility puts it on top here because you can use it to brew a single cup or enough to share.
To truly master the pour over method, it’s best to invest in a gooseneck kettle so that you can maintain a precise pour. You’ll also need filters to go with your specific device. And a scale and timer make the whole process more exact.
The AeroPress comes with its own filters, paddle, and scoop. A gooseneck kettle is also recommended for AeroPress, although for a different reason than pour over. Since the device is so small, a gooseneck kettle helps prevent burned fingers!
These two methods require similar equipment, but since the AeroPress has a few more items to keep up with, pour over takes the lead here.
Pour over devices range anywhere from $12-40, but you can get a good one for about $20. You may also have to purchase the other equipment listed above if you don’t already have it. And to save yourself a little money in the long run, consider a filterless design.
The AeroPress comes with less of a range since it’s really the only one of its kind right now. So plan to spend about $30 initially, and then add to that other supplies like a kettle or replacement filters.
Pour over. You can find a range of prices to fit your budget, and pretty much all of them will give you quality coffee in return.
A delicate, yet complex flavor profile. You’re involved in the process each step of the way, and this skill pays off in a smooth-tasting coffee you’re sure to enjoy.
You’ll get hints of an espresso in AeroPress coffee, slightly sweet and bright. A truly vivid flavor coming from such a small device.
You really need to be able to experience both of these methods to tell which one should take the taste prize.
While they approach coffee brewing from opposite angles (pour overs use gravity to brew while AeroPresses exert pressure to extract the coffee), the final cup deserves a taste test.
Got a New Go-To?
After looking at the pour over and AeroPress method side-by-side, you can see that they’re two worthy competitors. But if you’re looking for a good place to start, try the pour over first.
It’ offers a little bit of a challenge but won’t make you want to give up on manual methods completely. We think you’ll enjoy the flavor and even the slower process.
But if you’re really wanting to up your game, go crazy with the AeroPress. After all, it’s not every day you get to brew coffee with a gadget made by the same guy who invented the Aerobie superdisc. So go for it!