While we have gone on and on about the blessings of using a French press in several separate occasions, we have never had the opportunity of talking about one of the most modern and newest devices especially crafted to brew a cup of coffee that is different from everything we know (or at least that’s what the Aeropress’ adepts claim). As per usual, we want to offer full disclosure and objectivity, so we will compare these two devices without tarnishing either.
The French press is a classic. At this point, we can consider it timeless and like with everything nostalgia or vintage related, some detractors might say that the only pro about the press is that, the nostalgia that evokes. It is true that the design is very iconic and the corresponding Wikipedia article even cites a list of movies that have shown its characters using a French press, but coffee lovers can’t be fooled. If there weren’t advantages to using the cafetière, it would have been long gone by now.
The Aeropress, on the other hand, it is still fairly new and unknown. It was released on the market in 2005 by the USA based company Aerobie. This device is not automatic and needs to be operated by the user, and its mechanism bears a lot of similarities to that of a medical syringe. The process itself, though manual, is terribly -and fantastically- simple: finely ground beans are placed in the larger cylinder and hot water -190º F or 75º C- is poured over them. The mixture need to be stirred for approximately ten seconds before being forced through the filter by the plunger.
There are a few things to compare and differentiate between these two brewing processes. The Aeropress uses disposable filters, whereas the French press contains a metal mesh one that is part of the mechanism. Consequently, the grind they use is different: the press calls for a coarse grind, while the finest grind is needed when it comes to the Aeropress. The main difference between these two is the brewing time: the French press is notorious for calling for a brewing time of approximately four minutes. On the other hand, the Aeropress brews for only ten seconds, so overall timing can’t be over 30 seconds.
It has been said that the Aeropress has all the advantages of the French press without its cons, meaning we can achieve a flavorful, strong, delicious cup of coffee using both devices, but the Aeropress will not leave residue behind, is faster and easier to operate. Though this is up for discussion and is, in my opinion, subjective -some French press users relish on the residue- the Aeropress has proved that it can stand on its own and may be well on its way to be a cult product such as its French predecessor.
Here we have always encouraged you to try new things and be open-minded when it comes to coffee and its variations. The possibilities are virtually endless and the Aeropress can only be seen as a welcomed new option to the classic methods that we all know so well and love.