If you’re looking for an easy-to-use, non-electrical coffee maker that produces coffee just as good as a French press, then you’ve definitely come to the right place.
The two best alternatives to use instead of a French press are the AeroPress and Clever Dripper. These two coffee makers produce coffee that’s equally as good as French press. Both the AeroPress and the Clever Dripper are simple to use, easy to clean, unbreakable, highly portable, and versatile.
Many would even argue that the coffee that these two produce is even better than the French press. Let’s take an in-depth look at all the advantages of owning each of these brewers.
The first alternative to the French press is the AeroPress coffee maker (Amazon link). The AeroPress has become increasingly popular in recent years and has many advantages over the French press.
Easy to use
The AeroPress is simple to use and works in a similar way to the French press. It consists of three parts, which are a brew chamber, lid and plunger. It’s basically a giant syringe.
In order to use the AeroPress, you place a paper filter inside the lid and screw onto the brewing chamber. Set the chamber over your favourite mug and add your ground coffee.
Next, fill with water that’s just off the boil and leave to steep. When the coffee has finished brewing, insert the plunger and push the coffee through into the mug.
The result is a very clean and smooth cup of coffee that’s free of ground coffee sediment. The AeroPress has become more and more popular in recent years amongst coffee fanatics for its simplicity and versatility.
The AeroPress is so much easier to clean up than a French press. Given the way it works, it’s pretty much self-cleaning. After you’re done brewing, push out the grounds into the bin and rinse the three parts under the tap. Done.
When you purchase an AeroPress, it comes with all the accessories you need such as paper filters, measuring scoop, stir paddle and funnel.
I recommend that you watch the following video to see just how easy the AeroPress is to use.
Filtering your coffee with a paper filter is a great way to improve the clarity of flavour. However, the downside with paper filters is that they’re an added expense.
The good news is that the small, circular AeroPress paper filters are the cheapest on the market. Each pack includes a whopping 350 filters, which is enough to last many coffee-drinkers an entire year.
If you enjoy French press coffee for its heavy body that’s the result of paperless filtering, the good news is that there are several different aftermarket accessories that you can use to replicate the French press filter experience.
Metal filters, similar to those used in a French press, can be purchased for as little as $5 on Amazon. However, I recommend this stainless steel filter made by Able for its improved build quality and durability.
Metal filters allow very fine ground coffee sediment and oils present in the coffee beans to pass through the filter, which imparts a bold and viscous mouthfeel.
The other benefit is that a metal filter is reusable, so it’ll eventually pay for itself and result in less wastage for the planet.
If you want the crème de la crème of reusable AeroPress metal filters, I recommend the pressure-actuated Prismo filter made by Fellow. Not only is the build quality absolutely superb, but it also has the added benefit of creating greater pressure that enables you to produce coffee similar to that of espresso.
For those that enjoy very strong coffee or enjoy milk-based drinks, the Fellow Prismo is a perfect choice. It’s a bit pricier than other filters on the market, but you get what you pay for.
Just think, it could end up paying for itself through not having to get your caffeine fix at the local coffee shop as it can produce such delicious milk-based coffee drinks.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve got through your fair share of broken glass French presses over the years, which is probably why you’re looking for an alternative.
The AeroPress is made from unbreakable plastic that is free of both BPA and phthalate. This means that you never need to worry about accidental knocks. Treat this thing right, and it will last you for a very long time indeed.
Being made of plastic also means that the coffee stays hotter for longer. Plastic absorbs less heat from your boiled water when compared to other materials such as glass, metal and ceramic.
Keeping the water hotter not only gives you a delicious, piping hot cup of coffee, but it also means that the coffee brews more efficiently, as the hotter water extracts more of the delicious flavours from the ground coffee.
As the AeroPress is made from very sturdy plastic, it makes it the perfect coffee maker to take away on trips.
The fact that everything can be fitted in together like Russian dolls means that it takes up very little space, too.
Aerobie, the company that makes the AeroPress, recently introduced a new, smaller and compact version called the AeroPress Go. However, I really don’t think that the Go is worth buying as the regular AeroPress is small and compact enough.
And for those that like to grind their own coffee, the Rhinoware hand-grinder fits snugly inside the regular AeroPress, making for the ultimate on-the-road coffee setup.
One of the biggest reasons for the popularity of the AeroPress is its versatility.
French presses are only suitable with coarsely ground coffee, otherwise you run the risk of not being able to plunge the filter because of the buildup in pressure. The finer grinds would also cause more sediment in the cup as they bypass the filter.
One of the ways that the AeroPress is so versatile is that it can accept such a wide array of grind sizes. In fact, you can pretty much tailor your brewing method around the grind size rather than the other way around.
The pressure that you exert onto the plunger means that it’s just as easy to prepare a filter coffee as it is to produce coffee with espresso-like strength.
If you enjoy cold brew coffee, one aftermarket attachment called the Puck Puck makes making cold brew very easy indeed.
The biggest downside to owning an AeroPress has to be that it only comes in one size. The AeroPress is really intended to produce a mug of coffee for one person.
Saying that, there are workarounds to produce coffee for two or three people. What you’ll need to do is add extra ground coffee and then dilute the batch with extra water after plunging.
This is a bit of a faff, but the coffee still tastes just as great. In fact, many top baristas use this method when they compete in the annual AeroPress Championships.
Check out the current price of the AeroPress on Amazon right now, you won’t regret it.
The Clever Dripper (Amazon link) is a less well-known coffee maker, but it’s just as good an alternative to the French press and is even easier to use than the AeroPress. Let’s take a detailed look at this underrated coffee maker.
Easy to use
In my opinion, the Clever Dripper is the best entry-level coffee maker on the market. It’s incredibly simple to use and produces filter coffee that’s sediment-free by way of its paper filtration.
After you’ve added your paper filter and coffee into the brewer, add your freshly boiled water and allow to steep for several minutes, just as you would with a French press.
Now the magic happens. At the bottom of the Clever is a valve that only opens once it’s placed on top of your mug. Once the coffee has had enough time to brew, you simply place the Clever on top of your mug and allow the coffee to drain through.
What you’re left with is a very clean cup of coffee that has real clarity of flavour and free of any ground coffee sediment.
Seeing as how much I hate washing up, my favourite part about using the Clever Dripper is how easy the clean up is.
Just grab hold of the paper filter and toss into the bin. Rinse the Clever under the tap and allow to drip dry. There are no parts to take apart, so cleaning is ultra-quick and easy, taking less than 20 seconds.
I recommend that you watch the following video to see just how simple the Clever Dripper is to use.
Just like the AeroPress, the Clever Dripper is made of a durable plastic that’s BPA-free. Whilst it’s probably not quite as robust as the AeroPress, you’d have to go some to break it.
Again, being made of plastic has its benefits in terms of heat retention. The Clever comes with its own lid too, so you can trap even more heat inside the brewer.
Its plastic construction means that the Clever can certainly be used when travelling. However, the size and shape means that it’s not quite so compact as the AeroPress.
Add to this that the paper filters are on the larger side, and you would probably favour the AeroPress for coffee-making away from home.
But if space isn’t an issue, this is an excellent choice, especially if you’re travelling with a fellow coffee lover. Its larger size means that it can easily make coffee for two people.
Because of its popularity, the Clever also has several aftermarket products available. One such product is a reusable filter. The reusable filter produces coffee that would make you think it was made in a French press.
Paper filters trap all of the coffee grounds and most of the oils. The oils that occur naturally in coffee beans are what contribute towards the viscous mouthfeel you enjoy from French press coffee.
If you want to replicate the coffee you enjoy in a French press, then this filter made by Think Crucial is the perfect option as it’s just the right fit.
The iconic French press is a timeless coffee maker, but the fact that they’re prone to breaking and finicky to clean really makes way for other coffee makers.
The AeroPress and Clever Dripper are two of my most-used brewers, so which one will you choose?
Check out the current price of the Clever Dripper on Amazon right now.