The Difference Between Aeropress & French Press

Short Historical Fact

The French press dates all the way back to 1921. The AeroPress first came out on the market in 2005.

Passionate coffee drinkers often get into heated debates in regards to what coffee beans are better, what brewing method is the best or even what equipment is the best. In today’s article we are not going to settle the debate of whether the French press is better than the AeroPress. Instead I simply want to talk to you about the differences between the French press and AeroPress.

The Difference:


In some way, shape or form, the French press has been around for centuries. The French press contains a beaker (mostly made of glass but some metal) in which ground coffee beans is placed and along with a mesh plunger (mostly made of metal but some use synthetic material) that presses the grounds to the bottom of the beaker, leaving all the essential oils in the brew. Brewing time for the French press is about 4 minutes and uses coarse coffee grounds. The French press is not limited to one product, though. It also can be used to make iced coffee or even brew loose tea leaves!

The AeroPress is the newer invention. It actually acts a lot like an espresso machine, but it doesn’t reach the required pressure that you would need to make real espresso. It does a decent job at giving you a great substitute, though.

The AeroPress uses a fine coffee bean grind. It uses a combination of heat from the hot water and air pressure to extract the flavor of the coffee beans. The AeroPress uses 30 to 90 seconds of your day to make you a cup of coffee, with a remarkable 10 second brewing time! But, this piece of equipment uses a paper filter. Do you know what that means? It means that you now lose a lot of the essential oils that coffee beans have that you would get without that filter.

The AeroPress user may get more drink variety because of its espresso-like coffee capabilities. You can make a latte, cappuccino or even an americano! Both the AeroPress and the French press make tea, though, so they’re both pretty versatile and both devices have fairly simple designs that make them easy to clean.


The first comment I have in regards to taste is that yes, a good, quality machine is needed for a good cup of coffee, but something that is overlooked is that you get out of it only what you put into it. This means it is essential to also begin with high-quality coffee beans. Ultimately, though, it comes down to preparation. If I gave the same French press to two different people and the same amount of the same quality, size, shape and coarseness of coffee grounds, I would end up with different outcomes, depending on the preparation.

The French press is well known to “pack a punch.” Many love the taste of the coffee of the French press but many don’t due to the strong, bitter taste. A lot of the bitterness can actually be controlled by using the correct temperature of water to brew the coffee beans, yet there are still some out there who like their cup a bit more bitter than most. People say that the texture of the coffee gets weird at the bottom due to the “mud” or “sludge” but a lot of that can be controlled by using the correct coarseness of coffee beans which, in turn, require a phenomenal coffee bean grinder. One of the biggest reasons why people have a “bad” experience with their French press is because it requires a lot more experimenting and education than any other coffee maker.

The AeroPress gives you a less intense, more smooth and pleasant cup of coffee. With this smooth cup, the user will notice that it tastes more like a cup of espresso than any brewed coffee, even though it really isn’t espresso. You can have this high-concentrated cup of coffee as-is or you can have it with more hot water, milk or even cream. As I mentioned earlier, the AeroPress usually has paper filters and so deprives you of essential oils that you get from the French press due to the metal mesh filter that the French press has. However, one of the things people like about the AeroPress in comparison to the French press is that the paper filter traps the loose coffee grounds and so gives a clean cup of coffee. You may be thinking, “Why can’t I have both?” I have good news! Here are metal mesh filters for your AeroPress: Metal Mesh Aeropress Filters!

Related – Check out the following posts to see my favorite insulated French presses and the largest French presses I’ve experimented with.


The cost of a French Press and a AeroPress seem to be pretty close in price. The down side is that the French press usually comes with a glass beaker. If people are not careful, this glass beaker may break on them. Manufacturers may claim them to be fairly indestructible, but they in the end, they are still glass. Now, they do make a great and durable stainless steel French press, but it is slightly more expensive.

Now the AeroPress isn’t quite indestructible (for a clumsy enough user, anything can break), but it should last long time with normal use. Durability aside, one of the great advantages that a larger French press has over the AeroPress is that it is much better suited to brewing multiple cups at once, which may suit your needs better.

Related Reading – The Differences Between French Press Coffee & Stovetop Espresso

Summary Of Differences

  • How long will it take to get my cup of coffee?: AeroPress may take one minute and a half. French Press may take 5 minutes.
  • The AeroPress is aided by pressure to improve extraction while the French press is not.
  • French press uses a coarse grind while the AeroPress uses a fine grind.
  • The standard AeroPress comes with paper filters to clean up the beverage some, but deprive you of more aromatics and of course the essential oils of coffee, though they do have metal mesh filters for the AeroPress.
  • Coffee heats up in an AeroPress. In the French press, the coffee gets colder during the 5 minutes of brewing, but they do make double walled French press beakers that tend to do a way better job of retaining heat.
  • The French press can brew multiple cups of coffee at once. It can easily brew 4-6 cups at a time and some even can make 12 cups at a time. The AeroPress can only make one at a time.
  • The filters in the AeroPress make it easier to clean.
  • AeroPress coffee is cleaner.

What’s The Difference Between Aeropress and French Press Coffee?

aeropressI live a hectic life, and there are quite a few times I find myself needing a single cup of coffee to keep me going through the whole day.

In the 1980s, a man name Adler became frustrated with the standard coffee makers of his time as they yielded 8 cup pots when he only wanted one fresh cup at a time.

This spurred him to explore the world of coffee presses where he discovered the pour-over method. Devices such as the French Press gained popularity in the 1920s. Adler found the coarse grind used for a French Press left grounds in his cup which inspired him to create an entirely new device to meet his needs perfectly: the Aeropress.

You can see the specs of the Aeropress here.

The Pour-Over Method

When Adler first embarked on his journey to create the Aeropress, he started by looking at the history of the pour-over method. The pour-over method began when a woman named Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz found that her current percolator was causing her coffee to have a burned, pungent taste. Bentz took blotting paper from her children’s school books and used it as a filter.

The device Bentz created used a small pot and filter. She filled the filter with coffee grounds and poured boiling water over it. The result was a filtered, clean cup of strong coffee.

This method was known as the Melitta Cone. The Melitta Cone was only the beginning and ended up being used internally within our conventional electronic coffee makers. With this invention the pour-over method gained rapid attention, and in the 1920s, the French Press was invented as a more reliable alternative.

The Aeropress Offers You More Control

Although the concept behind the AeroPress’ brewing method is similar to other pour-over devices, the AeroPress allows baristas more control over how the coffee turns out.

The AeroPress uses two cylinders, one fitting into the other, and a plunger to create pressure. This construction allows the AeroPress to gain more pressure than the French Press. The pressure allows for a more complete extraction of the oils, acids, caffeine, and other solids. The end result is a rich, full bodied cup of coffee similar to espresso.

In addition to pressure, the AeroPress allows the barista to control time, temperature, and how much coffee is used in relation to water. This allows for each person to create the perfect cup of coffee for themselves.

Click here to read up on the differences between coffee and espresso.

The Aeropress is Faster Than the French Press

The brewing time for the AeroPress is much shorter than other brewing methods. It takes 30 to 50 seconds to brew, and the average barista designs their perfect cup within a minute and a half.

This is less than half the time of a French Press, which usually needs to steep for four minutes at least.

Normally, when brewing coffee, the longer you steep the grounds for, the more solids you extract. The reason an espresso machine produces espresso in such a short time comes down to two factors: pressure and the grind of the beans. The AeroPress mimics this design by using a finer grind and a lot more pressure than the French Press.

Diversity, Please

In a world filled with one-use kitchen items, it is refreshing to find an espresso replacement that is good for making more than a single type of coffee.

The AeroPress is designed to give a different experience based on how you adjust the variables I mentioned above. With the ability to choose your grind, the amount of pressure, the temperature of the water, and the time you are willing to spend, you can choose how you want your coffee to turn out.

Playing with these variables can change your cup of coffee from light and fruity to a rich chocolate, nutty drink with low acidity. The choice is yours.

With its espresso-like qualities, the AeroPress can be used to make all of your cafe favorites. With a little warm milk, the real deal can be created right at home, unlike the French Press which only makes coffee.

Is French Press Coffee Stronger than Aeropress?

Coffee from the French Press is strong and bold. Despite its bold strength, the French Press can easily turn out a bitter coffee, especially if the water is not cooled to the correct temperature before being poured over the grounds.

A lot like a coffee percolator, a French Press can make poor coffee if the grind is not right. The coffee used for the French Press is coarse and contains a lot of sediment. The filter used is a metal grating, and there is plenty of room for the grains of coffee to slip through into your cup.

The Aeropress makes a pleasant, smooth cup, and while it is not strictly espresso, the coffee it makes is a decent substitute, especially when you consider the price difference between the Aeropress and the average espresso machine. The Aeropress uses great filters that manage to keep the fine grinds out of the cup but let in a lot of the flavor. The outcome is a complex, strong brew.

One of the most popular French Press pots sold today is the Kona French Press.

Whether you’ll prefer the French Press and its workmanlike reliable strength or appreciate the Aeropress and its versatility depends entirely on how you like your coffee.  At Gathering Grounds we see no reason to discriminate. To us, coffee is coffee. The cost of a French Press pot and an Aeropress is a quarter of the price of a decent auto-drip machine, so why not put one or both on your Christmas list this year?

You can see our french presses for sale here, but we’d invite you to read our full AeroPress review here before making any decisions.

The French Press Isn’t the Only Alternatives to the Aeropress

Don’t forget to explore. The AeroPress is not the only unit that makes “near” espresso. Moka pots deliver another type of pressured coffee in small portions, and they are worth trying to. You can see our selection of high end Moka pots here.

Brian Mounts

Head blogger, editor, and owner of "Top Off My Coffee", a website that has been educating readers about coffee brewing techniques and equipment since 2012.

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