Coffee brewing mechanisms have existed for centuries. Since the discovery of the coffee fruit, humans have been infatuated with its brewing and preparation process. If you dig around a little on ye olde Google, you’ll find a number of antiquated brewing devices. People like coffee. We are drawn to it. We want to discover it.
Just look at the current coffee scene.
The craft brewing methods used today are an admixture of 1800s steampunk kitchenware and minimalist design. While baristas may be proficient in most brew method techniques, it’s not plausible to regularly use every brew method on the market…as there are many of them.
To list a few:
V60, Kalita Wave, Siphon/Vac Pot, Moka Pot, Clever, Chemex, Bee House, Kone, Walkure, Woodneck, Mizudashi… and of course, we can’t forget to mention the Dragon Brewer.
Above is just a small portion of the many popular brewers found in cafes around the globe. And yes, many of these brewing methods kind of do the same thing – they aren’t all incredibly unique. It’s important to understand that brewing methods are tools. These tools help us approach coffee brewing from a different angle, and in doing so, they allow us to hone in on extraction parameters and particular flavor profiles.
The sheer number of brewing options can give us pause. It can be intimidating for the beginner and frustrating even for the experienced barista.
Which is why we wanted to put together an Aeropress vs. pour over article. Instead of discussing every brew method known to man, we felt that it would be helpful to narrow things down. We’ve already covered pour overs vs. french presses and some other info concerning the pour over realm, so it’s about time we throw the Aeropress into the mix.
Things to Consider
If you’re reading this, you’re probably on an online quest, searching for the coffee maker of your dreams. If so, you’ve come to the right place. You’ll probably glean some good info here.
If you’re just browsing around, that’s cool too. We hope you’ll learn something new.
The Aeropress vs. pour over topic is pretty expansive. It wouldn’t be difficult to write multiple blogs on this particular subject. For this post, we’ll just keep things brief. The purpose here is to analyze and compare. Happy reading!
What’s an Aeropress?
If you’re not familiar, the Aeropress is a magical plastic tube that grants wishes and sings songs.
It also brews coffee. Really, really, REALLY delicious coffee. There are a great deal of people who agree.
If you look here, you’ll notice something interesting – Aerobie… that frisbee company? Yeah, they invented the Aeropress.
Aerobie brought this brewer into the world in 2005. It’s been an industry favorite ever since.
Why you need it:
The Aeropress is a full immersion brew method
As we mentioned before, brew methods are tools. They are your companions and allies. The major difference between the pour over and Aeropress is the brewing process. Brewing processes are typically defined as being either pour over or immersion.
Scott Rao defines immersion as “any brewing process that consists of submerging the grounds and brewing liquid for a length of time before separating the two.” The immersion process extracts coffee in a different way than the pour over process. Typically, immersion brew methods yield more brew colloids. These colloids are the insoluble material that exhibits mouthfeel and body. More colloids mean that the perception of acidity decreases.
So you may see how useful an immersion brew method can be. Every homebrewer or barista should have an immersion brew method on hand. It lets you experience coffee in a different way than standard drip coffee.
The Aeropress could survive a meteor strike, a pack of rabid wolves, and an economic recession – all happening at the same time.
Many folks are introduced to the Aeropress when scouting out camping gear. There are a variety of interesting brewing devices for camping, but the Aeropress outshines just about all of them. The ergonomic integrity of the Aeropress makes it an outstanding travel tool. The heavy-duty plastic chamber and plunger, along with the detachable filter lid, are compact and replaceable.
It’s incredibly easy to manipulate extraction parameters with the Aeropress.
Since the Aeropress is an immersion method, temperature is easy to maintain and manipulate. Agitation and turbulence can be managed by stirring, inverting the press, twisting the chamber, etc.. Draw-down time isn’t an issue since the user plunges the coffee at will. The lack of draw-down constraints let the user use whatever grind they want…
Basically, the world is your playground.
Blue Penguin Verdict
Blue Penguin is pro-Aeropress. We believe it’s one of the best methods to get started on.
Although many pour over devices are formidable, the Aeropress is always a wise brewing choice. We decided to write an Aeropress vs pour over post for this reason. There are many pour overs out there (some good, some bad), but there is only one Aeropress. If you’re seeking a reliable brewing tool, the Aeropress is a safe bet.
What’s a Pour Over?
The pour over process is a beautiful display of craftsmanship and intentionality.
A vast number of specialty cafes use the pour over as their primary, non-espresso brewing tool. The aesthetic draw of the pour over is almost reason enough to forgo the plastic tubular Aeropress.
The artisan glassware, the meticulous process, the efficiency… almost everyone is romanced and mystified when coming across a pour over for the first time.
Scott Rao defines the pour over method as “any percolation brewing method that requires the person making the coffee to pour the hot water directly onto the bed of grounds.” On paper, the pour over process is simple: you pour water over coffee grounds – that water travels through the grounds and becomes coffee.
Why you Need it:
Since the water isn’t in contact with coffee grounds for an extended period of time, fewer brew colloids make it into the final brew. Granted, this also has much to do with the filter choice, but most pour overs end up cleaner than their immersion counter parts.
A clean cup of coffee isn’t necessarily a good cup.
As we mentioned earlier, colloids can add a wonderful mouthfeel and body. Clean coffee exhibits more acidity perception, and it promotes flavor.
Instead of masking flavor and acidity attributes, pour over coffee embraces them. If you’re planning on entering the coffee game, consider adding a good pour over to the coffee arsenal.
A lot of shops use pour overs for efficiency purposes. An Aeropress is a stellar brewing device, but it’s not as viable in a busy shop atmosphere. Even if your brew time is short, setting up and tearing down an Aeropress steals precious time.
Bustling shops rely on the quick turnover pour overs provide. Once a brew is complete, the filter and spent grounds can be promptly disposed of. The barista rinses the device by wetting the next filter, and the process begins again.
If you’re really on your game, you can even brew two pour overs at once. Yes, this can be done with an Aeropress, but there are extra steps involved that can hinder workflow.
Some pour over devices offer filter variance (using different filters with the same brewer). However, many pour overs sport a unique filter/process. This is why someone would purchase both a Kalita Wave AND a Chemex. The filter types are different, and they allow different ways of approaching extraction.
For example, if you desire the profile and taste of a woodneck brewer, just use a coffee sock with your Chemex. For a different approach, use a Chemex filter in a V60 to achieve a cleaner cup. You could also switch brewers entirely for different results (something like the Gino).
Pour overs offer filter variability. The Aeropress has a few options but not near as many.
Blue Penguin Verdict
The world of pour overs is exciting. There’s always something to learn, and many of the brewers are magnificent.
The drawback to the pour over is lack of consistency. Manual drip coffee is simply prone to human error. It’s far less difficult to mess up an Aeropress than it is to botch a V60. This is why we see the trend of many craft cafes switching over to automatic drip brewers.
If you really want to start off on your coffee journey with a pour over brewer, try going with the Chemex. It’s a forgiving brewer that looks good, feels good, and makes tasty coffee.
Aeropress vs. Pour Over Conclusion
These two forms of brewing shouldn’t necessarily be in contention. It’s almost not fair to title this article “Aeropress vs. Pour Over.” The methods are too different.
The Aeropress offers a different brewing perspective than what’s offered with the pour over. Besides the fact that the immersion process is different – not better – than the pour over process, both forms of brewing bring something to the table. Pour overs make good coffee…so does the Aeropress.
Better for the beginner
Intentional, pleasant aesthetic
Many forms and options
More efficient for batch brewing
Honestly, we recommend you try both! The world of coffee is too big for just one brew method. Good luck!
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