Coffee is an art. Brewing the perfect cup of coffee is entirely up the artist: You.
Don’t be. With the right brewing method, even the least artistic among us can craft an excellent cup of morning joe.
The trick is finding the best way to make coffee for you. You need coffee that fits your style, your schedule and your taste.
There are a few hundred options to choose from. This is a worldwide multibillion-dollar industry, after all.
To begin, you will need to narrow down all the different kinds of coffeemakers.
Let the battle of the French press versus the Aeropress begin.
French Press v/s Aeropress - Battle of the Coffee Makers
If you want coffee that is better than the black stuff your parent’s old drip coffee machines sputters out, you need a great grind and an at-home coffee maker that gives you full control over every step of the process.
Choosing the coffee beans is up to you, but it never hurts to go local before settling for mega-sized coffee roasters.
As for the coffeemaker, between the Aeropress and the French press, the latter is the more tried-and-true method.
The coffee-making contraption was first patented in the early 1900s. There is some debate over whether we should thank the French or the Italians for its original conception.
If you have never heard of the Aeropress before now, don’t feel bad. Do you know how old this coffee maker is?
Alan Adler, the same visionary who invented the popular Frisbee upgrade, Aerobie, invented the Aeropress in 2005.
Before you shrug off the Aeropress as a limited-time trend, consider this:
Coffee is believed to have originated in Sufi monasteries in Yemen as early as the 15th century.
Relatively speaking, even the French press is a newbie.
How to Make French Press Coffee
The French press has two basic pieces: A cylinder carafe and a plunger.
The top of the plunger is attached to the lid.
The bottom of the plunger is attached to a three-piece filter and structural disc. These bottom three parts can be detached from the plunger for easy cleaning.
Ready to start brewing?
Here are five steps to make a perfect cup of French press coffee:
1. Rinse the glass carafe with hot water, and assemble the plunger.
2. Coarsely grind two-to-three tablespoons of your favorite local coffee beans. Pour into the bottom of the carafe.
3. Bring eight ounces of hot water to 200-degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Fill the carafe with the hot (not boiling) water and let steep. Stir after one minute.
Like in any coffee-making process, the water temperature is important. If the water is boiling, you risk burning your beans, which will damage the taste.
PRO TIP: Bring the water to a boil and let sit one minute. Now your water is right around the ideal temperature.
A word to the wise: Don’t forget about your steeping coffee!
The longer you let your French press coffee steep, the more intense and, eventually, bitter the beverage becomes.
After 20 minutes of steeping, the coffee is considered ruined.
Why the French Press is So Timeless
So why is this coffee maker so popular?
- You’ll love the classic glass look of the carafe on your counter. No need to hide this coffee maker from company
- Larger eight-cup carafes make sharing easy
- The same method for French press coffee can be used to prepare loose-leaf tea
Clearly there are many reasons to try French press coffee.
What about its competitor?
How to Make Aeropress Coffee
The Aeropress looks like something out of the future, especially compared to the classic glass French press.
This BPA-free plastic coffee maker has only a few very modern-looking pieces:
- Filter Cap
Most Aeropress kits that you order online or find in the store come equipped with fun but non-essential accessories, like a funnel, stirrer and scoop.
The basic Aeropress recipe is very simple. It is comparable to preparing a shot of espresso.
Five steps to make a standard Aeropress recipe:
1. Finely grind your favorite coffee beans.
2. Bring water to a boil and cool for one minute.
3. Place a paper filter in the filter cap. Screw onto the bottom of the chamber. Set on top of your coffee mug.
4. Add coffee grinds to the chamber. Next, fill the chamber with hot water. Stir for 10 seconds.
Unlike the French press, you want to plunge quickly and with considerable force. The pressure you apply makes for a better extraction process.
Why is extraction important?
During extraction, the best coffee oils are transferred from the beans into your cup.
Keep in mind: Aeropress makes a coffee concentrate. Dilute as needed with hot water until you find the perfect intensity for your palate.
Why We Love the Aeropress
Okay, it may not be the most attractive coffee maker on the market, but it is light and portable, making hiding easy.
Here are a few more reasons to fall in love with this new-age maker:
- Remember that quick plunge? It will leave the coffee grounds in a perfect puck, easy to toss into the garbage or compost.
- Don’t let the one-time use of the paper filters deter you. They are cheap and come in packs of hundreds. Plus, they’ll keep gritty grinds out of your beverage better than the French press.
- Done in 30 seconds? Yes, please!
If you are looking for a tie-breaker here, you are out of luck.
Both the French press and the Aeropress run for about the same price on most online retailers, coming in at just over 25 dollars.
Cast Your Vote for the Best Coffee Maker
The time has arrived:
It’s time to pick the best coffee maker of these top two options.
Both methods are relatively easy, and both will get you a great-tasting cup of coffee that costs less than the coffee shop near you.
So either way, you can enjoy the simple pleasure of high-quality coffee in your pajamas.
However, to really master a craft, you need ultimate control, and of these two options, the Aeropress has the slight upper hand.
There are five big components of making a sensational cup of coffee:
- Water volume
- Amount of grounds, and its ratio with the water (#4)
In both French press recipes and Aeropress recipes, most of these five components can be relatively controlled.
The Aeropress allows you to play with pressure to a degree that the French press simply can’t. Professional baristas have international competitions to see who does it best. There are tons of different Aeropress recipes, including the popular inverted Aeropress method.
No Need to Settle - French Press & Aeropress Compared
In summary, here’s are the major pros and cons of the two coffee makers:
Up to 8 servings, depending on size of carafe
Three-piece unit that attaches to plunger. Hand clean.
Can be adjusted through steep time, temperature and water ratio.
A concentrate for up to 2 servings
Paper filter inserted into chamber. Toss after brewing.
Can be adjusted through steep time, temperature, pressure and water ratio.
Step aside, old drip coffee machine.
There is simply no need to settle. A coffee renaissance is underway. Brewing exceptional coffee at home has never been easier—or tasted better.
Become a coffee artist, with just a little practice and the right brewing method for your taste and style.
The question is, which will you pick—the French Press or the Aeropress?