Some say the Aeropress coffee brewing device is nothing more than a glorified French Press (aka Cafetiere). An assumption that makes sense on the surface, given how they both use the same basic mechanism.
Depending on who you ask, you’ll encounter very different opinions on which of the two is best. Some say you cannot improve on Cafetiere coffee, while others insist Aeropress is the best thing to hit the gourmet coffee market in decades.
But looking at things from a purely neutral perspective, which is better…if any?
The biggest advantage of the French Press is the fact that it is incredibly economical and affordable. It’s a device that costs next to nothing, requires no added extras to keep it going and has the potential to last a long time. You can also make a whole bunch of different coffee drinks with a French Press, which never fails to look the part in a classic or contemporary kitchen.
With a French Press, all you have to do is throw in the coffee grounds, pour in (appropriately) heated water and give it a good 3 minutes to do its thing. Plunge carefully and you’re good to go - excellent coffee with absolutely no drama.
In comparison with the Aeropress method, Cafetiere coffee is more aromatic with a stronger punch and a fuller body. And, of course, you also get to take complete control over the result, experimenting with different quantities of coffee, different levels of coarseness for the grounds and so on.
On the flipside of the coin, you have the equally superb Aeropress. Consisting of several corresponding components, Aeropress is designed to propel the finished product directly into the cup. Highly convenient, but capable of brewing just 1 cup of coffee each time.
Not that this is an issue, given how the brewing time with Aeropress is no more than around 90 seconds. It’s a method that uses finer grinds to get the job done faster, with an extraction process not dissimilar to that of an espresso machine. Aeropress utilizes pressure to accelerate the extraction process, whereas a French Press simply immerses the grounds in the water.
Compact and lightweight, Aeropress is portable enough to be taken just about anywhere. The coffee has a lighter and more mellow taste, often making for a more refreshing cup. An Aeropress device is also easier to clean than a typical French Press, with the added bonus of no grit in the resulting brew thanks to the far finer filter.
As with most things, which of the two is best is entirely a judgment call. Both are capable of producing a fantastic cup of coffee, both are highly economical, and both are equally easy to use.
The only real difference between the two is the boldness of the final result and the number of cups of coffee that can be brewed at once. Other than this, it really is too close to call - so why not treat yourself to both?
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