Sunday, April 15, 2007

french press vs. aeropress

french press vs. aeropress

not too long ago i read about a new coffee press called the aeropress which combines the techniques of both a paper dip and a french press. the aeropress forces the water and ground mixture through a paper filter into a mug. the company of the aeropress claims it'll create a "richer, smoother cup of coffee." i like that sound of that.

also recently, i was concerned about health issues from french pressed coffee. according to wiki and a research study linked on 'french press' wiki, french pressed coffee "increases LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels... The French press method allows certain Diterpenes, such as Cafestol and Kahweol, to remain in the coffee while other brewing methods either remove or limit these chemicals." this is very dishearting (no pun intended) for a person who enjoys using the french press. with that information, i decided to look into manual paper filtered coffee.

this past saturday, i came across the $30 aeropress at sur la table while my buddy min was shopping at west elm in corte madera. out of the box, the aeropress looks like a syringe or in my brother's words, "a penis pump." the aeropress has four parts — plunger, chamber, cap and filter. after looking over the instructions, the aeropress was easy to use... so i bought it, figuring that i'll do a comparison of results with french pressed coffee.

brewing with the french press & aeropress

the french press is the simplest manual coffee maker. scoop some grounds into the press cup, add water, stir, cover with press plunger/filter, brew for a couple of minutes, push plunger and pour.

with multiple parts of the aeropress, it's not quite as easy. you place a filter into the cap, lock cap onto the chamber, place chamber over a mug, drop scoop of grounds into the chamber over the filter, pour desired amount of water, stir, insert plunger into chamber and press. once you start pouring water into the chamber, it immediately starts to drip into the cup. the plunger forces the water and ground through the filter.

french pressed coffee & aeropress coffee

here are the results (drinking both black): the french press coffee was muddy and dark looking with grounds. the taste was smooth and slightly bitter with character. the aeropress produced an amber clear coffee, looking more like bourbon. the taste was clean, very bitter and smooth. the characteristics of the beans weren't as prominent as the french press. i assume the filter took away some of coffee bean oils.

i prefer the french press for the bean's character. i didn't like the strong bitterness from the aeropress. however my brother prefers the penis pumped coffee for it's clear and clean taste. i'll post some more tasting notes after trying them with milk and sugar.


Janel l'a dit... said...

Hmm, interesting. Never really heard of the aeropress... sounds like a real mix between drip and press... But for some reason, indeed your result yields a rather watery cup of coffee.... not to desirable.

Have you ever tried the Moka Pot? It's the easiest way to make espresso, without an espresso machine. They have electric ones, which seem to do the exact same thing as the stove-top one... I highly recommend it. Best part -- you get all of that delicious coffee bean oil! Mmmmmm!

Here's a link to it:

Janel l'a dit... said...

Nice photos, by the way!

cf said...

the aeropress came out late last year... so it's a super new coffee maker product. i read it in one of those cool new products blog.

yes, i have thought about getting a moka pot but i didn't realize there were electric version. that's cool! thanks!

Anonymous said...

Bit late to the party for this comment but here goes:

Not sure if you retested the aeropress much but I've had one for over a year and absolutely love it. You'll find that if you're getting a watery cup of coffee it's likely that the coffee beans are not ground finely enough. Getting them ground as fine as possible will result in a really smooth, tasty cup of coffee without being watery. Quicker and easier to clean than the french press too.

~*~KIMBERLY~*~ said...

I'm like carmour...

However, I wanted to share this with you.

No matter what you use still pay close attention to water temperature and the type of coffee used.

He is a coffee connoisseur.

Me & my husband are thinking very seriously going this route for coffee. We didn't care much for American coffee.

Anonymous said...

Try a turkish grind in your aeropress. Stir the slurry well and give it 10 seconds or so to sit, then press it slowly. I disagree with the "drip grind" recommendation of the inventor.

Kalle said...

Penis pumped... Genious!

Chez Watts said...

I'd say you botched the brewing on these test. Get yourself a thermometer and get the temps bang on. Areopress needs to be seriously mashed as well, unlike French. That's where you will get a good full extraction.

Plus, bitter and smooth are not usually used to describe a good extraction, if its bitter you probably let the hot water run through the grounds too slowly. You need to find out what the extraction times are for the particular coffee that use, as well what grind you need to use.

The areopress method is generally preferred by drinkers that enjoy a coffee that is prepared correctly, not just grounds mixed in water and strained.