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.
Under Pressure and Heating Up
The AeroPress, unlike the French Press, allows the user to vary each of the factors that effect a resulting coffee. Pressure can be modified, depending on coffee preference, where changing the pressure provides a way to extract more completely from the coffee grounds For example, while an espresso machine uses 9 bar pressure and a French press provides no pressure, the AeroPress pressure variances allow more coffee oils and soluble solids influence the coffee result. Sometimes this may mean the coffee result needs to be diluted due to concentration. The AeroPress coffee is heated through the brewing process, compared with the French press where the coffee becomes colder during the brew.
Which is easier to Clean?
It almost seems too good to be true, but if you try the AeroPress and are used to cleaning a French press, you’ll find it remarkable how efficient the clean-up process is to manage. Compared with the French press frequent coffee grounds in cup and coffee grounds that remain after a cleaning attempt is made, the AeroPress used coffee grounds are simply pressed with a rubber seal through the brewing chamber and into the trash can. Then you just rinse out the unit and you’re good to go for your next cup of coffee. This makes it great for camping or travel.
While a French press made of glass may seem more hygienic and classier than plastic, the AeroPress plastic components are generally BPA free, sturdy and dishwasher safe. To avoid coffee grounds in your cup and for much easier cleaning, the AeroPress far outperforms the French press.
Aeropress: Coffee Made Quickly but Without Compromise
In addition to offering pressure options, the AeroPress’s brewing time is shorter than the French Press. Because when a person is wanting coffee, he or she is usually wanting it now, and so it’s understandable that many people seem to appreciate the AeroPress minute and a half or so compared with the French Press 5-minute prep and brew time. Another factor some people don’t know about extraction time is that with less extraction time it is less probably that your coffee is over extracted, which can cause an off flavor. One tip is that if you do prefer to steep for a longer time, just be sure to decrease the temperature of the hot water you use.
French Press Aroma and Taste
The metal mesh of the French press allows the suspended solids and aromatic oils to come through which makes for a stronger, more robust and rich taste, compared with the mild, balanced flavor that results from the AeroPress method. The AeroPress coffee also sometimes needs to be diluted because of how concentrated the coffee is after pressed. The grind is coarser with the French press, in order to avoid grounds in the brewed liquid, AeroPress uses a fine grind which allows more soluble solids to be extracted.
French Press and Quantity
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.
Drip or Manual?
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..