Aeropress vs Pour Over – What’s the Difference?

The aeropress and the pour over are among the most popular coffee makers among home barista today today. They’re both easy to use and more importantly, very affordable.

But the question is,

What’s the difference between the aeropress and pour over?

What sets them apart besides both being a manual coffee maker?

Which one will suit you better?

In this article, you’ll learn the basics of both coffee makers and how they compare with each other. So, let’s jump right in!

Pour Over vs Aeropress - A Side by Side Comparison

The table below shows you a quick summary and side by side comparison between the pour over and aeropress coffee maker.

Pour OverAeropress
Ease of UseSome practice requiredVery easy
Brew MethodManualManual
Brew Time6 to 12 minutesLess than 1 minute
Brew Size4 to 12 cups8 oz
Expected ResultsThin but smooth brewStronger brew
ReliabilityVery reliableVery reliable
Price Range$10 to $100+$10 to $100+

Pour Over

Different Types of Pour Over Coffee
Various Types of Pour Overs. From L-R : Bee House, Kalita Wave, V60 and Chemex

The pour over coffee maker was first invented in Germany 1908 by entrepreneur, Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz. The initial design was actually a coffee filter which Melitta went on to patent and formed her own company called Melitta

Today, the pour over has several variants such as the Chemex, Kalita Wave, Kone, Bee House, Kalita Wave, Woodneck, Valkure and V60 just to name a few.

For now, let’s quickly take a look at the pros and cons of a pour over coffee maker before we jump into more details.

ProsCons
Produces a full-bodied flavor cup of coffeeUnpleasant outside flavors from the paper filter can taint brew
Strength and amount of brew produced can easily be adjustedRequires constant supervision during brewing
Relatively easy to use at home for most people
No mechanical parts that require maintenance

Anatomy of a Pour Over Coffee Maker

Pour Over Coffee Maker with Scale

The 3 main components of a pour over are a glass beaker, filters and a scale.

The scale is used in order to monitor how much water is being poured over the grounds which is key when it comes to optimal extraction.

When it comes to filters, there are paper filters and metal filters to choose from. Metal filters are the more environmentally friendly option as they can be used over and over, whereas with paper filters, you must throw them out after only one use.

The convenience of paper filters makes them a popular option. 

Ease of Use

Barista Making Pour Over Coffee

The pour over method is well-suited to in-home brewing as it doesn’t require that you obtain the skills of a trained barista in order to produce an excellent cup of coffee. You retain control over the strength of your brew when you use a pour over, which allows you to customize it to your liking.

As long as you observe specifics like water temperature, weight (coffee grounds and water), and timing ( which is also called the blooming period), a pour over is rather difficult to mess up. 

The only aspect of this method that will take practice is when it comes to your own personal preferences. One perk of using a pour over is that you get to choose how much coffee you want to make. 

For example, using 21 grams of coffee grounds and 320mls of water will produce cup of coffee that is approximately 10oz. 

Pro Tip : The more experienced you become with pour overs, the more familiar you’ll get with how strong you like your coffee and what coffee to water ratios suit your palate.

Expected Brew Results

When using the pour over method, you can expect to end up with a smooth, mellow cup of coffee.

The paper filter effectively keeps grounds from escaping into your cup, ensuring that the brew is grit-free. 

The one downside to paper filters is that sometimes, as a manufactured product, they’ve their own taste. During the extraction process, these flavors have the potential to leak into your coffee, tainting the purity of your brew.

Reliability of the Pour Over Coffee Maker

The fact that a pour over is comprised of non-mechanical parts makes it an extremely reliable brewing method.

The glass beaker will only break if dropped and since the filters are disposable, the actual pour over allows little room for issues. If you take good care of your pour over, it should last you a lifetime.

The scale is the only piece that might have problems and likely if your scale is acting up, all you need to do is change out the batteries.

Price Range

Pour overs can range from $10 to $100 or above. 

The pricing depends on several factors such as the quality of the materials use, and also if other accessories such as the kettle and scale are included.

If you already own a scale and kettle, a pour over costing around $30.00 will be of good quality and do the job nicely.

Aeropress

Using Aeropress Coffee Maker

Aeropress is actually a company founded by retired Standard University professor, Alan Adler. He’s well-known for inventing the Aeropress coffee maker after studying all other coffee maker design and wanting to create one that is truly innovative.

The Aeropress coffee maker made its first public appearance at a coffee industry trade show in November 2005, and never looked back s ince then.

ProsCons
Durable constructionDoesn't produce more than 8oz of coffee
Very fast brewing time
No mechanical parts that require maintenance

Anatomy of a Aeropress Coffee Maker

Evolution of the Aeopress. Photo by : Aeropress

An Aeropress coffee maker is made up of a paper or metal filter, a plunger, aeropress scoop, coffee loader and a chamber which is the container that holds the finished product. 

Today, the pieces of the Aeropress are made from polypropylene which are BPA free. But this wasn’t the case when it was first produced in 2005.

The scoop is used to measure the coffee into the chamber. As a guide, two scoops will hold approximately 56grams of coffee.

The chamber will be placed directly on top of whatever mug you wish to enjoy your coffee in. After hot water is poured into the chamber, the plunger is then inserted in order to push the grounds to the bottom of the chamber. 

And in less than a minute, your coffee is ready!

Ease of Use

The aeropress sounds easy to use, right?

In fact, it is!

The only skills required in order to operate the Aeropress are that you are able to make correct measurements and also have a steady hand for plunging.

Plunging should take between 20 and 30 seconds and taking the time to plunge slowly allows maximum quality to be extracted from the beans because the air pressure is what draws the depth of flavor out of the beans. How far down you plunge will also play a part when it comes to taste.

There is virtually no waiting time involved when using the Aeropress (compared to the French Press) since you go almost directly into the plunging stage.

Take note that the aeropress holds only about 250mls of water, around 8oz, at most. If you like your coffee strong or want to make coffee for more than one person, multiple brewing sessions will be required.

Expected Results

When you brew with the Aeropress, you can expect to end up with a nice, strong cup of coffee that is basically a hybrid between drip and espresso. You’ve the option to dilute it to your liking if it’s too strong.

The quality of coffee you choose and also your plunging technique can both affect how your finished product tastes.

Reliability of the Aeropress

An Aeropress is made with convenience in mind.

Its durability makes it quite possible that you’ll never have to deal with the aggravation of a broken part. Due to its practically indestructible nature, there is a higher chance that you might break whatever vessel you place beneath the chamber before plunging than it is to break any part of the actual Aeropress.

The Aeropress requires minimal maintenance apart from replacing the plunger seal if the pressure gets low and a simple wash is all it needs after use.

Price Range

Most Aeropress coffee makers retail for about $25 to $30.

Since they’re all about the same price, it would be important to read reviews and perhaps a bit about the company from which you are purchasing in order to determine which is the best quality.

Final Verdict

As highlighted above, both the pour over and aeropress has their own pros and cons. It also depends on the type of coffee you’re after.

If a nice, smooth cup of coffee is what you’re after, the pour over does the job well. This method allows you to customize the strength of your brew by altering the extraction time and also allows you to choose how much coffee you want to make.

If waiting is not your strong suit, the Aeropress is one of the fastest ways to get your morning cup. It is also extremely durable and is far less likely to break than brewers with glass parts instead of plastic.