Your brewing method plays a huge role in determining how tasty the final cup of coffee will be, and your coffee maker influences the brewing method.
This post compares the more common cafetiere to the new Aeropress, both great coffee makers with differences in versatility, brewing time, ease of use and other factors that shape the quality of the coffee.
What’s a cafetiere?
Referred to by names like the press pot or coffee plunger, a cafetiere is a manual coffee brewing device invented by Paolini Ugo and patented in 1929.
The modern cafetiere (or french press) can be identified by its cylindrical beaker, a plunger on top and a tray for coffee grounds underneath.
Material variations of this basic design exist, so you could find the beaker in glass, plastic or stainless steel variants with or without insulation.
The plunger could be long and extended from the top lid or short and fixed to it.
What’s the Aeropress
The Aeropress is a manual coffee maker invented in 2005 by Aerobie president Alan Adler.
Methods of brewing include the traditional and inverted method.
In the traditional method, the coffee grounds are placed in the bottom of the larger cylinder while the smaller one serves as a plunger to force the coffee through the filter.
The inverted method is very common with experienced baristas and coffee makers, here the position of the cylinders are changed and once brewing time is complete, they’re returned to their original positions and plunged normally or horizontally.
The inverted method makes it possible to brew using coarse grounds and not fine grounds like in the traditional method.
Cafetiere vs Aeropress: What’s The Difference?
They’re two separate coffee makers so let’s compare them using these features:
Aeropress allows you choose between a paper or a metal filter so you can influence the strength of your coffee flavor.
It also the better option for making lattes and cappuccinos along with coffee.
You can brew without the filter on an Aeropress but it won’t produce the delicious result on the cafetiere which doesn’t need a filter.
The cafetiere produces good coffee but only if you use coarse grounds. With the Aeropress, you can work with fine grounds using the traditional method and coarse grounds with the inverted brew.
2. Brewing Time
The Aeropress takes less time as compared to the cafetiere, generally, the rule is that the coarser the grind, the more time spent during brewing and the coffee press traditionally works with coarse grinds.
Apart from that, the long minutes spent with a coffee press is also due to the time spent figuring out how to pour the water and how much pressure to apply on the plunger.
Both devices are manual coffee makers so there’s a bit of a learning curve initially and you should expect to spend less time as you develop experience with these machines.
3. Ease of Use
The Aeropress is more convenient for the average coffee maker as it’s faster to brew with it.
Also, clean-up time is shorter with it except you spill coffee on the cylinders and table while plunging (this should reduce with experience).
The Aeropress is more portable than a standard cafetiere except you get the mug type variant.
Both machines enable you tinker with your inner barista as you’ll be able to vary the degree of your grounds, water temperature and plunge rate.
4. Capacity and Durability
While the Aeropress can only manage one cup per brew, the cafetiere will provide up to ten cup servings (4-5 oz per cup) so the latter will be a good fit for five people while the former will get you exhausted.
The hard plastic makeup of the Aeropress makes it more durable than a cafetiere especially when it’s made of glass.
The plastic is BPA-free too so your drink is not likely to be contaminated by chemicals.
Aeropress retails for between $29-$40 depending on how many accessories are included in the bag while you can get a good cafetiere for $30.
The initial investment doesn’t tell the entire story as you’ll need to buy replacement filters if you use an Aeropress.
Also, the Aeropress has a lot of accessories so you’ll need to spend some money on replacements if any gets missing.
The only drawback for your cafetiere is if the glass beaker gets broken as you’ll need to buy the entire set again.
Both coffee makers feature a simple design that makes them easy to use and maintain.
cafetiere range in size from 8 oz to 48 oz so the larger the beaker size the more the amount of coffee it can make while the Aeropress comes in only one 8-ounce size.
A coffee’s body and flavor influence the richness of its taste.
The body is more pronounced in the cafetiere ‘cause an Aeropress’s filter will absorb the oils and other particles that make up the body.
Conversely, the flavor is more pronounced in the Aeropress due to the same principle. The Aeropress traps the oils and foreign matter that can mask the clarity of a coffee’s flavor.
This can be a good thing though if a coffee originally has a bad flavor so the masking effect will prevent it from influencing the taste.
8. Brewing Method
Here’s how it works for the cafetieres:
#1. Put the fresh coffee grounds into the beaker
#2. Add water at 205°F to the coffee, just enough to saturate it.
#3. Leave it to sit for 30 seconds.
#4. Then add more water till it gets to the top of the cylinder
#5. Mix a bit and leave for 3-4 minutes.
#6. Place the lid over the beaker and push the plunger down
#7. Pour out your coffee and enjoy.
Here’s how it works for the Aeropress:
#1. Pour your grinds through the funnel into the bottom tube
#2. Using water at 175°F, fill the cylinder to about the “2” mark and stir for ten seconds.
#3. Add the top cylinder and plunge.
#4. Add more water to the already brewed coffee and you’re done.
With the inverted method, you can use coarse grinds but make sure you invert the device to its original position before plunging.
Cafetiere vs Aeropress:Winner?
Look at the features that appeal to you and go for the coffee maker that wins those areas. Happy brewing!