Manual coffee brewing at home and the office has become more popular in recent years. One explanation of the newfound popularity is simply because of the amount of control that can be exercised over the final cup o’ java. Variables like temperature, amount of pressure, quality and quantity of ground coffee, and water volume can each be altered with the sort of manual brewing options that people are using today.
Brewing with manual methods results in coffee result that resembles expresso a bit, with more flavors and body when compared with the limited range of results from drip coffee. The two most popular manual brewing devices are the newer AeroPress and the older French press, both of which use steeping as their brewing method, and take some practice to get the intended technique down. The AeroPress and French Press have a different brewing nuances that in the end will appeal to different coffee taste preferences.
Difference in Design
The AeroPress, if you’ve never seen one, is a bit unimpressive at first sight, and resembles a big plastic syringe. It’s comprised of two cylinders – a filtered brewing chamber where fresh ground coffee is placed, typically with a paper filter, and a plunger cylinder that adds pressure to push through hot water, and extracts the coffee into your cup.
Many people know what the French press looks like and we’ll get to how it works a bit below, but suffice it to say the French press is less manageable than the AeroPress and doesn’t keep the grounds separated from the coffee nearly as well as the AeroPress. The French press also and also has challenging clean up issues.
The AeroPress, unlike the French Press, allows the user to vary a few of the factors that can effects= a cup. For example with an Aeropress, The Pressure you use can be altered depending on how quickly you want to extract the coffee, do you press for 15 seconds or 30? This as well other factors such as brew time, coffee to water ratio etc, affect the type of coffee in the cup you get.
French press, on the other hand provides no pressure on the coffee. You just pour the coarsely ground coffee into the Press, add water and wait. This removes a lot of variables, either good or bad, that could effect the coffee taste as all you have to do wait 4 minutes and press the plunger in order to keep the grounds at the bottom.
Which is Easier to Clean?
Bottom line is basically there are both really easy to clean and they have few parts and are taken apart and put back together very easily.
The AeroPress used coffee grounds are simply pressed with a rubber seal through the brewing chamber and into the trash can or for compost. Then you just rinse out the Aeropress and you’re good to go for your next cup of coffee. This is why, in addition to being light and made out of plastic, that it makes it great for camping or travel.
While a French press made of glass may seem more hygienic and “classier” than plastic it doesn’t mean its any more difficult to clean. Once done, you simply take the top, remove the plunger and discard the ground coffee ( you can use as compost or other uses). Then just rinse with water and let dry.
Time To Make
The AeroPress brewing time is shorter than the French Press. If you are someone on a serious time crunch and you need to have a cup as quick as possible the go with the AeroPress as it takes about 1:30 to brew (Check out these Aeropress Recipes)
Compared with Aeropress, it may seem like forever to brew with a French Press as the brew time should be about 4 minutes. If you have a relaxing day with Friends and have some time go with the French Press.
Aroma and Taste
The AeroPress coffee, since it can be used to make an espresso, for some, needs to be diluted because of how concentrated the coffee is after it is brewed. The AeroPress uses a fine grind which allows more soluble solids to be extracted and therefore a fuller more rich taste.
In addition to the more coarse grind, the metal mesh of the French press allows the suspended solids and aromatic oils to come through which makes for a more mild, lighter tasting flavor, similar to a drip coffee than comes from the AeroPress method. If you are interested in the comparison between a French Press and Drip Coffee, check out my post)
Amount of Coffee Made
Are you brewing for more than one cup of coffee at a sitting? As of the time of this writing, the AeroPress makes one cup of coffee. Depending on the size you get, the average French press makes about four cups of coffee. And there are larger French presses on the market that brew even larger batches of coffee. (see my article on how to brew with a French Press)
When it comes down to it, the AeroPress when compared to the French press is bit funky looking, makes one serving at a time instead of possibly-desired many, often has less grit and fine silt in the coffee result, is quicker to brew, provides a mild and rounded taste as opposed to a more rich and robust flavor, and is super easy to clean.
If you haven’t yet tried manual brewing with either the newer AeroPress or trademark French Press, go ahead and give one or both a try!. It’s well-worth experiencing the difference you’ll enjoy compared with drip brewing.
Although both manual brewers and techniques take some getting used to, the learning curve is very quick and well worth the time and effort to learn! IF you try the Aeropress check out my article on the best Aeropress Recipes or read my article with more detailed information on how to brew coffee with a French Press..