French Press vs Aeropress: Which is Better for You?

In this vast universe of coffee making, two methods stand out for their simplicity, affordability, and the delicious coffee they produce: the French Press and the Aeropress.

Both have their legions of fans and have sparked lively debates among coffee enthusiasts.

The French Press, with its rich history and full-bodied brew, offers a traditional approach to coffee making.

On the other hand, the Aeropress, a newer invention, promises a quick, versatile, and clean cup of coffee.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the heart of this debate, comparing these two popular brewing methods to help you decide which might be the best fit for your morning routine.

History and Design

Origins of the French Press

The French Press, also known as a press pot or plunger pot, has a story that’s as rich as the coffee it brews.

Its origins are somewhat disputed, with the French and the Italians both laying claim to its invention.

The first patent for a French Press was filed by an Italian designer, Attilio Calimani, in 1929, but the concept of steeping coffee grounds in hot water and then separating them by pressing down a filter dates back even earlier.

Over the years, the French Press has undergone various design improvements, but its core principle remains unchanged.

It’s this simplicity and elegance that have made the French Press a beloved method for coffee aficionados around the globe.

Origins of the Aeropress

In contrast, the Aeropress is a much newer invention, created by Alan Adler, an engineer and the inventor of the Aerobie flying ring.

Introduced in 2005, the Aeropress was born out of Adler’s desire to brew a single cup of coffee directly into his mug, with a process that allowed for quick brewing and easy cleanup.

The Aeropress is a testament to modern design and innovation in coffee brewing, combining air pressure and a fine filter to produce coffee that is rich in flavor but low in acidity and bitterness.

Design Differences and Their Impact on Brewing

The French Press consists of a cylindrical glass or stainless steel beaker, a lid, and a plunger with a metal or nylon mesh filter.

The design is simple yet functional.

Coffee grounds are steeped in hot water for several minutes, allowing the flavors to fully extract.

The plunger is then pressed down, separating the grounds from the liquid.

This method allows the coffee’s natural oils and fine particles to remain in the brew, contributing to its rich and full-bodied taste.

The Aeropress, on the other hand, uses a completely different approach.

It consists of two cylindrical chambers that fit together: one chamber holds the coffee and water, and the other is used to press down, forcing the coffee through a fine paper or metal filter and into a cup.

The use of air pressure helps to extract flavors more efficiently, resulting in a brew that is smooth, rich, and less bitter.

The Aeropress’s design also allows for a great deal of experimentation with brewing times, temperatures, and techniques, making it a favorite among those who like to tweak and fine-tune their coffee to perfection.

The French Press offers a straightforward, immersive brewing experience that highlights the coffee’s natural body and depth.

In contrast, the Aeropress provides a faster, more hands-on brewing method that can yield a wide range of flavors and strengths, depending on the user’s preferences.

Brewing Process

Let’s break down the steps for each method and compare their ease of use and brewing time.

Step-by-step guide to brewing with a French Press

  1. Preheat the French Press: Start by pouring hot water into your French Press to warm it up. This helps maintain a consistent temperature throughout the brewing process.
  2. Measure and Grind Your Coffee: For a standard 8-cup French Press, measure out around 56 grams (about 8 tablespoons) of coffee beans. Grind the beans to a coarse consistency, similar to breadcrumbs. The coarse grind is crucial to prevent the coffee grounds from slipping through the press filter and into your cup.
  3. Add Coffee and Hot Water: Empty the preheating water from your French Press, add the ground coffee and then pour hot water (around 200°F) over the grounds. Start your timer.
  4. Stir and Steep: Give the coffee and water mixture a gentle stir with a wooden or plastic spoon. Place the lid on the press with the plunger pulled all the way up. Let the coffee steep for about 4 minutes.
  5. Press and Pour: After 4 minutes, slowly press the plunger down. Serve the coffee immediately to prevent over-extraction, which can lead to bitterness.

Step-by-step guide to brewing with an Aeropress

  1. Prep and Preheat: Insert a paper filter into the Aeropress’s detachable plastic cap and rinse it with hot water. This removes any paper taste and helps the cap stick to the Aeropress.
  2. Measure and Grind Your Coffee: Use about 17 grams (about 2.5 tablespoons) of coffee beans and grind them to a texture slightly finer than sea salt. The finer grind complements the Aeropress’s quick extraction process.
  3. Assemble and Add Coffee: Place your Aeropress in the stand position (filter on the bottom) on top of a sturdy mug or cup. Add your ground coffee.
  4. Pour and Stir: Pour hot water (175°F) into the Aeropress, filling it to the top. Stir the mixture for about 10 seconds to ensure all the coffee grounds are fully saturated.
  5. Insert Plunger and Brew: Insert the plunger and pull up slightly to create a vacuum seal. Let the coffee brew for about 1 minute and 15 seconds.
  6. Press: After the brewing time, press down on the plunger steadily. The coffee will be forced through the filter and into your cup. The entire process should take about 1 minute and 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

Comparison of ease of use and brewing time

Ease of Use

Both the French Press and the Aeropress have their own learning curves, but they are relatively simple to master with a little practice.

The French Press is straightforward, making it accessible for beginners.

The Aeropress, with its multiple components and brewing options, might seem more complex at first but offers more control over the final brew.

Brewing Time

The Aeropress shines when it comes to brewing time, taking only about 1.5 to 2 minutes to produce a cup of coffee.

The French Press, with its longer steeping time, takes about 4 minutes, not including the time needed for boiling water and preheating the press.

Taste and Quality

When it comes to coffee, taste is king.

The brewing method you choose can significantly influence the flavor profile of your final cup.

Let’s explore how the French Press and Aeropress affect taste, the role of different filters, and how personal preferences play into the equation.

How the Brewing Method Affects Taste

French Press

The French Press method is known for producing coffee that is rich and full-bodied.

This is because the coffee grounds are fully immersed in hot water, allowing for a thorough extraction of flavors.

The lack of a paper filter means that natural oils and fine particles from the coffee grounds make their way into your cup, contributing to a more robust and complex flavor profile.

This method tends to highlight the coffee’s deeper, earthier notes, making it ideal for those who enjoy a hearty and substantial brew.


In contrast, the Aeropress can produce a cleaner, more nuanced cup of coffee.

The air pressure used in this method forces water through the coffee grounds quickly, resulting in a shorter extraction time.

This, combined with the use of a paper filter, means that fewer oils and fine particles end up in the final brew.

The result is a coffee that is smooth and flavorful, with a clarity that allows the more delicate notes of the coffee to shine through.

It’s perfect for those who appreciate the subtle flavors and aromas that different coffee beans can offer.

The Impact of Filter Type on Coffee Flavor

The type of filter used can also have a significant impact on your coffee’s flavor.

The French Press’s metal filter allows more oils and fine particles to pass through, contributing to the coffee’s rich texture and taste.

On the other hand, the Aeropress’s paper filter traps most of these oils and particles, resulting in a cleaner, lighter brew.

It’s worth noting that the Aeropress offers the flexibility to use a metal filter as well, giving users the option to experiment with a brew that’s somewhere in between the two extremes.

Personal Preferences in Coffee Taste

When it comes down to it, choosing between a French Press and an Aeropress often hinges on personal taste preferences.

Do you revel in a coffee that’s bold and full-bodied, with a velvety texture that lingers on your palate? Then the French Press might be your brewing soulmate.

Or do you prefer your coffee to be clean and crisp, with a bright acidity and a smooth finish that leaves you refreshed and ready to tackle the day? In that case, the Aeropress could be your ideal match.

Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong choice—it’s all about what speaks to your taste buds.

Versatility and Flexibility

Versatility and flexibility in your brewing method can be your best allies.

Both the French Press and Aeropress offer unique ways to experiment with different coffee styles, but they also allow for adjustments in grind size, water temperature, and brewing time.

Let’s dive into how each method caters to the adventurous coffee brewer.

Brewing Different Coffee Styles with Each Method

French Press

Traditionally associated with stronger, bolder coffee, the French Press is surprisingly versatile.

While it excels at making rich, full-bodied brews, slight adjustments can yield a variety of styles.

For example, using a lighter roast and a shorter brewing time can produce a milder, less intense coffee.

The French Press is also fantastic for making cold brew coffee.

Simply use cold water, steep the grounds overnight, and you’ll wake up to a smooth, refreshing cold brew.


The Aeropress is a playground for coffee experimentation.

Its design allows for a wide range of brewing styles, from espresso-like concentrates to lighter, tea-like infusions.

By adjusting the ratio of coffee to water, you can easily control the strength of your brew.

The Aeropress is also capable of making cold brew coffee in a fraction of the time it takes with traditional methods.

Its fast filtering process means you can enjoy a cold cup in just a couple of minutes, making it perfect for hot summer days.

Adjusting Variables for Each Method

Grind Size

The ideal grind size for a French Press is coarse, resembling sea salt.

This larger grind size prevents the coffee grounds from slipping through the press filter and into your cup.

However, experimenting with slightly finer grinds can lead to a more extracted brew, offering a different flavor profile.

The Aeropress is more forgiving when it comes to grind size.

While a medium-fine grind is generally recommended, you can play around with finer or coarser grinds to see how it affects the taste and body of your coffee.

The key is to adjust the brewing time accordingly to avoid over or under-extraction.

Water Temperature

Both brewing methods benefit from water that’s just off the boil, typically around 200°F.

However, the Aeropress allows for more experimentation with temperature.

Lower temperatures can be used for lighter roasts to highlight their delicate flavors, while hotter water can help extract more from darker roasts.

The French Press is less flexible in this regard, as too low a temperature can result in under-extracted coffee.

Brewing Time

As mentioned earlier, the standard brewing time for a French Press is about 4 minutes, but this can be adjusted based on personal preference.

A longer brew time will extract more flavors but can also lead to bitterness if left too long.

Shortening the brew time can produce a lighter cup if that’s what you’re after.

Brewing time with the Aeropress can range from 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the desired strength and extraction.

The quick and efficient extraction process makes it easy to experiment with different brewing times without risking a bitter cup.

Durability and Portability

When it comes to coffee brewing, the durability of your equipment and its suitability for travel can greatly influence your daily coffee ritual, especially if you’re often on the move.

Let’s compare the French Press and Aeropress in terms of their materials, durability, and how travel-friendly they are.

Comparison of Materials and Durability

French Press

Traditionally, French Presses are made with a glass carafe, which, while elegant and allowing you to see the brewing process, can be its Achilles’ heel.

Glass is prone to breaking, especially if you’re clumsy in the mornings or if the press takes a tumble off the counter.

However, there are more durable versions available, made from stainless steel or even sturdy plastic, which significantly increases their lifespan and resilience against accidental drops.


The Aeropress is crafted from a tough, BPA-free plastic that’s designed to withstand the rigors of daily use and the occasional mishap.

Its durability is one of its standout features, making it a reliable choice for both home brewers and travelers alike.

The material is resistant to breaking and cracking, ensuring that your Aeropress will be a long-term companion on your coffee journey.

Which is More Suitable for Travel?

When it comes to packing your bags and taking your coffee brewing on the road, the Aeropress clearly takes the lead for several reasons:

  • Compactness: The Aeropress’s design is inherently more compact and lightweight, making it easy to slip into a suitcase or backpack without taking up much space or adding unnecessary weight.
  • Durability: As mentioned, the Aeropress’s plastic construction is much more suited to the bumps and jostles of travel. Unlike a glass French Press, you won’t have to worry about it breaking in transit.
  • Ease of Use: The Aeropress can be used to brew a fantastic cup of coffee just about anywhere, requiring only coffee, hot water, and a mug. Its quick brewing time and easy cleanup make it ideal for hotel rooms, airports, and outdoor adventures where time and facilities might be limited.
  • Versatility: Not only is the Aeropress great for making hot coffee, but it can also be used to whip up a cold brew, giving you options depending on your destination’s climate or your personal preference at the moment.

In summary, if you’re looking for a coffee brewing method that combines durability with the flexibility to enjoy a quality cup no matter where you are in the world, the Aeropress is hard to beat.

However, for those leisurely mornings in a cozy cabin or when you’re not limited by luggage space, the French Press offers a sense of ritual and satisfaction that’s worth considering.

Cleaning and Maintenance

A crucial aspect often overlooked in the pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee is the ease of cleaning and maintaining your brewing equipment.

Proper care not only ensures your coffee tastes its best but also prolongs the life of your coffee maker.

Let’s delve into the cleaning and maintenance of the French Press and Aeropress, offering tips to keep them in tip-top shape.

Ease of Cleaning Each Device

French Press

Cleaning a French Press can be a bit more involved compared to other brewing methods.

The process of disassembling the plunger from the lid and separating the filter screens is necessary to remove all the coffee grounds and oils.

Rinsing each part under hot water usually does the trick, but every once in a while, a more thorough cleaning with soap and a brush is needed to get into the nooks and crannies.

One common challenge is disposing of the used coffee grounds, which shouldn’t be washed down the sink as they can cause blockages.

Instead, scoop them into the trash or compost them.


The Aeropress shines in the cleaning department.

Its design allows for a quick and hassle-free cleanup.

After brewing, you simply remove the filter cap and press the plunger to eject the coffee puck and filter directly into the trash or compost.

A quick rinse under the tap is often all that’s needed to clean the remaining parts.

The simplicity and speed of cleaning make the Aeropress an attractive option for those who value convenience.

Maintenance Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Coffee Maker

French Press

  • Regular Cleaning: Ensure you disassemble and clean all parts of the French Press after each use to prevent oil buildup, which can affect the taste of your coffee.
  • Gentle Handling: Given the glass carafe’s fragility, handle it with care, especially when cleaning. Consider investing in a brush with soft bristles to avoid scratches.
  • Replacement Parts: Be aware that over time, the mesh filter may become worn or bent. Replacing it when necessary will ensure your French Press continues to make sediment-free coffee.


  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: The durable plastic of the Aeropress is easy to clean, but it’s best to avoid harsh chemicals that could leave a residue or affect the material. Stick to mild soap and water.
  • Check the Seal: The rubber seal on the plunger is key to the Aeropress’s functionality. Keep an eye on its condition and clean it gently to maintain its effectiveness. If it starts to wear out, replacements are readily available.
  • Dry Completely: After washing, allow all parts of the Aeropress to air dry completely before reassembling to prevent any mold or mildew buildup.

Cost Analysis

When choosing between a French Press and an Aeropress, the cost is an important factor to consider.

Not only should you think about the initial investment, but also the long-term value, including the cost of replacements and any additional accessories.

Let’s break down the costs associated with each brewing method to help you make an informed decision.

Initial Cost Comparison

French Press

The price of a French Press can vary widely depending on the materials (glass, stainless steel, or plastic) and the brand.

A basic glass French Press might set you back anywhere from $15 to $30, while higher-end models, particularly those made of stainless steel, can cost up to $50 or more.

The initial cost is relatively modest, making it an accessible option for those looking to enjoy quality brewed coffee without a significant upfront investment.


The Aeropress has a fairly consistent price point, typically ranging from $30 to $35 for the complete kit, which includes the brewer, a pack of paper filters, a scoop, a stirrer, and a funnel.

Given its durability and the inclusion of initial accessories, the Aeropress offers great value right out of the box.

Its price is slightly higher than the lower end of French Presses but comparable to mid-range models.

Long-term Value and Cost of Replacements

French Press

One of the main long-term costs associated with a French Press is the potential need to replace the carafe, especially if it’s made of glass.

Stainless steel models offer greater durability but at a higher initial cost.

The mesh filters may also need replacing over time due to wear and tear, though this cost is minimal.

Overall, the French Press requires very few replacements, contributing to its long-term value.


The Aeropress boasts impressive durability, which minimizes the need for replacements.

The primary recurring cost comes from the paper filters, though they are relatively inexpensive.

A pack of 350 Aeropress filters typically costs around $5 and can last for months, depending on your coffee consumption.

Additionally, the option to use a reusable metal filter (purchased separately) can further reduce long-term costs and environmental impact.

The rubber seal on the plunger may eventually need replacing, but this is generally after years of regular use, and replacement seals are affordable.

Both the French Press and Aeropress are cost-effective options for brewing coffee at home.

The Aeropress may offer slightly better long-term value due to its durability and low cost of maintenance, making it an excellent investment for those who prioritize ease of use and longevity.

However, the French Press remains a beloved choice for its simplicity and the rich, full-bodied coffee it produces, proving that it too can be a worthwhile addition to your coffee brewing repertoire.

Environmental Impact

One of the inherent benefits of the French Press is its use of a metal filter.

This reusable filter eliminates the need for disposable paper filters, reducing waste with each brew.

The metal filter allows oils and fine coffee particles to pass through, contributing to the rich flavor of the coffee.

From an environmental standpoint, the French Press shines by minimizing waste and avoiding the ongoing purchase and disposal of paper filters.

The Aeropress typically uses paper filters, which are small and designed for single use.

While these paper filters contribute to the Aeropress’s ability to produce a clean, crisp cup of coffee, they also generate waste.

However, the impact is somewhat mitigated by the filters’ biodegradability and the relatively low amount of waste produced per filter.

Additionally, the Aeropress offers the flexibility to use a reusable metal filter, an appealing option for those looking to further reduce their environmental footprint.

Who Should Use Which?

Choosing between a French Press and an Aeropress isn’t just about taste preference—it’s also about matching your coffee brewing method to your lifestyle and coffee drinking habits.

Whether you’re a busy professional, a frequent traveler, a dedicated home brewer, or somewhere in between a coffee aficionado and a casual coffee drinker, there’s a method that fits your needs.

Recommendations Based on Lifestyle

Busy Professionals

For those always on the go, with little time to spare in the morning, the Aeropress is a standout choice.

Its quick brewing time, ease of use, and minimal cleanup make it perfect for brewing a quality cup of coffee in just a couple of minutes.

Plus, its durability means it can handle the hustle and bustle of a busy lifestyle.


If you find yourself frequently on the road or in the air, the Aeropress’s compact, lightweight design and durability make it an ideal travel companion.

It’s easy to pack and can be used to brew a great cup of coffee just about anywhere—all you need is hot water and your favorite coffee grounds.

Home Brewers

For those who enjoy the ritual of brewing coffee and have the time to savor the process, the French Press is an excellent choice.

It allows for a more hands-on brewing experience and produces a rich, full-bodied cup of coffee that’s perfect for leisurely mornings or when hosting guests.

The larger capacity of a French Press also makes it suitable for brewing multiple cups at once.

Considerations for Coffee Aficionados vs. Casual Coffee Drinkers

Coffee Aficionados

If you’re passionate about exploring the nuances of different coffee beans and roasts, the Aeropress offers the flexibility and control needed to experiment with various brewing variables.

Its ability to produce a clean, nuanced cup of coffee makes it easier to distinguish the subtle flavors and aromas of high-quality beans.

Additionally, the option to use either paper or metal filters can cater to your preference for either a cleaner cup or a fuller-bodied brew.

Casual Coffee Drinkers

If your primary goal is to enjoy a straightforward, satisfying cup of coffee with minimal fuss, the French Press is a solid choice.

Its simple brewing process doesn’t require much in the way of technique or adjustment, making it accessible for those who may not be as invested in the finer points of coffee brewing.

The French Press’s forgiving nature and the rich, robust coffee it produces can please both casual drinkers and those who appreciate the depth of flavor in their coffee.


Is AeroPress better than a French press?

The AeroPress offers a quicker brew time and a cleaner cup of coffee, while the French Press provides a richer, full-bodied flavor.

Your choice should be based on your taste preferences and lifestyle needs.

Why do people use AeroPress?

People use the AeroPress for its versatility, ease of use, and the ability to produce a smooth, flavorful cup of coffee quickly.

Its compact design and durability also make it a favorite among travelers and those with limited kitchen space.

Why does AeroPress taste better?

Many find that coffee from an AeroPress tastes better because it brews under pressure, similar to espresso, which can extract more flavor.

The use of a paper filter also results in a cleaner cup, reducing bitterness and allowing the coffee’s subtle notes to shine.

Is a French press really better?

A French Press can be considered better for those who prefer a more traditional brewing method and enjoy coffee with a rich, robust flavor.

It allows the coffee oils and fine particles to remain in the brew, contributing to its distinctive taste and texture.

What type of coffee works best in AeroPress?

The AeroPress works well with a wide range of coffee types, but medium to dark roasts ground slightly finer than sea salt is often recommended.

It’s particularly good for highlighting the nuanced flavors of single-origin coffees.

Is AeroPress as strong as espresso?

While the AeroPress can produce a coffee concentrate similar to espresso, especially when using less water, it doesn’t brew under the same high pressure as an espresso machine.

Therefore, while strong, AeroPress coffee isn’t quite as concentrated as traditional espresso.

Is AeroPress worth the money?

Given its durability, versatility, and the quality of coffee it produces, many coffee enthusiasts find the AeroPress to be well worth the investment.

It’s also relatively inexpensive compared to other coffee makers, adding to its value.

Is AeroPress considered a French press?

No, the AeroPress is not considered a French Press.

While both are manual coffee brewing methods, they operate differently.

The AeroPress uses air pressure to push water through coffee grounds and a filter, while the French Press uses a plunger to separate the grounds from the water.

Each method has its unique brewing process and produces coffee with different taste profiles.

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Jacob Harris

Jacob is a coffee enthusiast who turned his passion into a career. As the owner and editor of Karma Coffee Cafe, he shares his extensive knowledge and recommendations, captivating fellow coffee lovers.

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