French Press vs AeroPress vs Pour-over?
Coffee Methods Compared
In this article, I will cover the different ways of brewing coffee, and the positive & negatives of each of them.
– There is too much, too much coffee here. There are so many ways to brew coffee out there and as a certified coffee nerd snob. I’ve tried nearly all of them, but it can be really confusing for people who aren’t coffee obsessives.
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I’m gonna walk you through some of the most common coffee brewing methods, the pros and cons, and who I think each one is best suited for.
The first method is The pour-over method
A pour-over requires a brewing cone with a paper filter that you pour water over and it funnels through into a decanter or a corral.
There are several different pour-over brewers out there.
The one I am using is the Hario V60. Some other popular ones are the Kalita Wave and the Beehouse brewer.
Another kind of pour-over is Chemex
A similar method of making the coffee is with a cone and a paper filter.
With the Chemex, you’re doing a very similar technique to other kinds of pour-overs, but you have one piece of equipment, making it a little bit more difficult to clean and get inside and wash out the glass.
Some people absolutely love the Chemex, and to some people, it’s just a little bit too much of a pain. The pros of a pour-over are that you can really extract some very high-quality coffee out of your beans if you know what you’re doing.
That’s why coffee nerds love it so much. You have a lot of control over all the variables. So if you like to fiddle around and find exactly what works for you, the pour-over is great.
And another pro is just that it’s a very gratifying ritual.
Doing a pour-over every morning kind of lets you focus. It’s very meditative and people of love that. The cons of a pour-over are that it really takes a lot of practice. It’s not super easy.
It’s just hard to get a consistent, perfect cup every single time.
Another con is that doing a pour-over might involve a little investment in extra gear, such as a digital scale.
This is so you can get the dose and the ratio of coffee to water exactly right.
Also, a gooseneck pouring kettle lets you pour a really even consistent water flow over your coffee bed.
Some people don’t think a gooseneck kettle is necessary, but it does make things easier and more consistent.
So who is the pour-over for?
Well, it’s for coffee nerds first and foremost, you’re obsessed with the quality of your coffee.
If you want to learn and experiment, pour-over is a great method.
You can order your own Pour-over on Amazon right here, as a low price. Link
And if you are on the market for a Chemex, you can get that on this Amazon Link.
Next way to brew coffee is, the classic French press
With a French press, you put your coffee into a glass carafe, which is called a full immersion style of brewing coffee.
And then you press down on the metal filter, which strains out the grounds and gives you your coffee, that you can pour it into a mug. Pros of a French press are that it’s straightforward to do.
It doesn’t require a whole lot of special knowledge—just a bit of timing.
There’s also no paper waste. It does not involve any paper filters.
If being environmentally friendly is important to you, the French press is a great way to go.
The other pro about a French press is that it’s fairly cheap. French press brewers cost between maybe 20 to $40.
They’re really not expensive. And that’s really all you need to get going, and you don’t have to buy any other extra gear.
Cons of a French press are the type of coffee that it really is suited to brew, which are more rich, heavy body coffees.
It’s not great for brewing lighter tea, or light coffees. And that’s because you’re using this metal mesh filter instead of paper.
And the mesh filter does tend to leave a little bit of sand or sediment at the bottom of your coffee cup.
Some people really hate that.
Some people don’t mind it. The last con is that it is a little bit of a pain to clean.
You can’t just dump a paper filter with your grounds. You have to dump the grounds out of your French press, clean it out each time.
It’s not a huge deal, but it is a definite con.
So who is the French press for?
Well, it’s for people who want convenience without a plugin machine on their kitchen counter.
It’s also for people who really like those rich, heavy body coffees.
If a french press is something you might be interested in, I have added a link to Amazon HERE where you can order my absolute favourite French press, coffee maker.
Below I have added some different options you can buy if you should be interested.
Let's talk about espresso
Espresso is its own beast. It requires a lot of equipment. It’s very different than brewed coffee.
Pros of the espresso are that it’s very versatile. You can make many different drinks with an espresso base—especially milk drinks like lattes or cappuccino. Espresso also has that unique espresso flavour.
Super concentrated super-rich. It really feels like something totally different than regular brewed coffee.
The cons of espresso are that it’s costly. Great espresso machines can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars, and you need a good grinder.
It would help if you have a lot of accessories. So it’s not a cheap thing to get into. It’s also pretty difficult to get really great, consistent results with an espresso machine. People devote hours and hours and years of their life to mastering the art of brewing espresso.
So if you really want to go down that rabbit hole, just be forewarned. It’s not easy. And the last con of espresso is that you only really get a single serving at a time. You can’t brew a whole pot of espresso to serve at a party.
Each serving requires its own process. And it just takes a bit of time.
Who is espresso for?
It’s for coffee fanatics who love the purity of espresso, who love experimenting and getting down to the highest quality espresso you can get.
It’s also for people who love milk drinks.
If lattes and cappuccinos and macchiatos are your thing, espresso might be the way to go.
My day-to-day coffee maker is an espresso, from Sage. I absolutely love it, and I have never regretted investing in it. It’s a semi-manual version called Sage Barista Express, and you can buy it on Amazon HERE.
If you are interested in something more automatic and fool-proof, I would highly recommend a De`longhi such as this model right HERE.
Then you have the classic drip machine
Drip machines (or coffee filter machines as you know from most homes) are one of the easiest methods because it’s all automated.
You just set it and forget it and let it do its thing.
Believe it or not, if you invest in a good drip brewing machine, you can get really high-quality results.
Companies like Bonavita and OXO and many others are making really high-quality drip machines.
So you can get great quality coffee without having to resort to a manual method.
Cons of a drip machine are that you kind of give up the control.
You’re at the mercy of the machine. You can’t change up any of the variables.
You can’t fine-tune the coffee if that’s your thing.
And while drip machines are great for making large brews, they’re not super great at making single-serving coffees.
So if you live by yourself, if you’re making coffee for you every morning, the drip machine might not be the best choice.
So who is a drip machine really for?
It’s for people who want automation, who don’t wanna have to dote over their coffee in the morning, they want an easy, quick cup.
Drip machines are also great for regularly making large batches of coffee for large groups of people.
Next, we have the AeroPress
AeroPress is a really unique, interesting kind of coffee maker.
And it has a cult following.
What you do is you put your coffee in here. There’s a paper filter at the bottom.
And after your coffee brews, you press down and squeeze the coffee into a mug sitting below.
Pros of an AeroPress are that it’s really customizable.
There are hundreds of recipes you can try each with their own variables and variations, and it can be enjoyable to experiment and get exactly the kind of brew that you want.
It’s also really portable. AeroPress it’s collapsed down to a tiny size.
So if you’re travelling and you want to bring a coffee brewer with you, you really can’t beat the AeroPress for portability.
AeroPress is also a pretty fast way of making a single serving of coffee.
It takes around two, two and a half minutes to brew your cup.
There are some cons to the AeroPress. Number one, the difficulty level I would say, is medium.
It’s not super easy. You have to do a little bit of fiddling, depending on the recipe you use.
It’s not super hard, but it’s definitely not the easiest way to brew coffee.
And the last con is that it only brews one fairly small cup at around 200 to 250 millilitres, which is a little more than an eight-ounce cup.
So you can’t use it for brewing coffee for multiple people.
So the AeroPress is great for travellers who wanna bring some coffee here with them.
It’s for people who really only need to make a single serving of coffee at a time.
And it’s for people who love experimenting with different recipes and variables.
You can get the Aeropress HERE on Amazon at a very favourable price.
Next up is the Moka pot
Many people think the Moka pot creates espresso and that’s not technically true, but the coffee you get from a Moka pot is very espresso-like.
It’s a small quantity.
It’s vibrant and powerful.
A Moka pot’s pros are that it’s the best method for creating an espresso-like coffee without actually going down the road of buying a giant espresso machine.
It’s also really great for milk drinks because you have that richness that marries well with milk.
And it’s a unique method. There’s a romance to it of putting it over an open flame and seeing the coffee kind of sputter out the top.
It’s a fun process.
The cons of a Moka pot only make a small quantity.
So it’s not great for large groups of people.
Another con is that it’s really only capable of making that concentrated, rich type of brew.
So if you don’t like that, you’re out of luck with the Moka pot.
And lastly, it does require a stove or an open flame.
You can’t just use boiling water; you have to have a heat source underneath it.
So that might limit you in terms of where you want to use a Moka pot.
Who is the Moka pot for?
Well, it’s great for campers.
People who wanna make coffee over an open flame are for people who really love that richest espresso-like flavour and texture in their coffee.
You can buy yours HERE.
Moving on to the clever dripper
The clever dripper is a really unique device.
You place it over a cup of coffee and it sort of combines the French press and a pour-over.
Put the coffee into a paper filter that sits in this cone.
You let it steep in a full immersion style of brewing.
And then once you place the clever dripper over a mug automatically drains out.
The pros of the clever dripper are that is pretty cheap.
Also an easier version of a pour-over.
It gets you almost the same quality, but you don’t have to worry about technique as much.
The cons it doesn’t create quite as crisp and clean a flavour as a pour-over.
So you’re almost getting to pour over territory, but not quite.
It also only brews a single serving or the amount of coffee that can fit in this cone.
And the last con is that for a single serving brewer, it is on the slow side.
You can buy the Clever Dripper on Amazon right HERE if it`s something for you.
In this day and age, we can't talk about coffee without talking about a Keurig or Nespresso
These single-serving pod-based coffees have their pros and cons for sure.
Pros of both of these are that it’s the quickest, easiest, fastest, most convenient way to get coffee into your mouth.
And really that’s the reason you would buy a curator and espresso.
It’s not great for good quality. It’s not great for freshness, and it’s not great for being environmentally friendly.
Nespresso makes some great Pod coffee makers, and I have written an article HERE on the 6 best options.
But if speed is your primary concern, and you want a quick fixe as fast as possible, a Keurig or an espresso maybe for you.
Then we have a siphon brewer or a vacuum pot
These are really crazy contraptions that not many people brew with, but it’s worth mentioning because it is out there. And a lot of people wonder about it.
Siphon brewing is known for creating the absolute clearest cleanest, most clarified kind of coffee you can make.
Cons are that it is a very involved process. It’s not easy to do right off the bat.
You really have to learn about science.
And the equipment is fairly expensive. Ranging from 80 to $100 and up.
Who’s a siphon really for? Well, it’s for science nerds.
People who love to make a show of their coffee brewing, people who are obsessed with that really clean, crisp flavour.
I can`t stop feeling like Walt in Breaking Bad when making coffee on this beast, lol.
You can get it Amazon HERE. Worth the investment, if you like to tinger and be a little science geekìsh.
Of course, there are many other ways of brewing coffee
There’s cold brew, iced coffee; Turkish coffee makers, Vietnamese coffee makers, and percolators.
But hopefully, this gives you an overview of what’s popular, what’s accessible.
So you can make your own decision and find the best cup of coffee for you.
There are so many ways to brew coffee out there, and as a certified coffee nerd, I’ve tried nearly all of them, but for people who aren’t coffee obsessives, it can be not very clear.
I hope you enjoyed this article and will share it with a friend 🙂