4 French Press Alternatives For Making Coffee. #4 Is Perfect

French press coffee maker alternatives

Looking for an upgraded alternative to French press coffee? Several excellent options are available, from immersion brewers to pour-over and drip devices.

There are 4 alternative coffee brewing methods to the French press. The Chemex, Hario V60, Clever Dripper, and AeroPress. Coffee made using these methods can equal or beath flavors derived from a French press. 

Whatever method you choose, these brewing options will take you into the world of manual coffee-making alternatives with serious style.

Top 4 French Press Alternatives


What is a Chemex?

Chemex Coffee Maker - French Press Alternative
Chemex Coffee Maker

A Chemex offers a unique, pour-over brewing system popular among many home baristas. Made from a pure glass vessel with a distinctive wooden collar tied with leather lace. The Chemex coffee maker is a high-end alternative to a French press that produces a smooth, less bitter cup with a lighter body.  

Chemex Brew Method

Chemex uses a pour-over method where water seeps through a coffee bed and passes through a laboratory-grade paper filter.

The filter catches and removes the natural oils from the coffee beans that create strong, bitter flavors. It also filters out potentially harmful compounds such as cafestol and kahweol.

This produces a clean, smooth cup of coffee that isn’t too bold and strong.

How is the Chemex Like a French Press?

Like a French press, a Chemex device infuses hot water through the coffee grind to extract flavors and aromas.

The Chemex and the French press are constructed out of glass and entail a manual coffee-making process.

How is the Chemex Different Than a French Press?

The different brewing methods are essential differences between a Chemex and a French press. Suppose you’re looking for a good, manual coffee-making alternative to a French press. In that case, a Chemex is essentially a pour-over brewing process.

Because the hot water pours over the coffee grind in the filter before dripping into the glass carafe below, it is a different method from a French press which uses immersion to steep and extract flavor and caffeine from the grind.

Hario v60

Hairo v60 Coffee Maker

What is a Hario v60?

Made from heat-proof glass, the Hario v60 is a pour-over coffee device that’s a good alternative for those looking to branch out from a basic French press. With a classic V-shape set at 60-degree angles (hence the name), the Hario v-60 is designed to provide airflow during brewing. 

Hario v60 Brew Method

Coffee filter paper pushed into the V-shaped device contains the coffee grounds. When hot water is poured over the grounds in the filter, the bloom expands into extraction as the coffee drips into the waiting cup. 

How is the Hario v60 Like a French Press? 

Like the French press, the Hario v-60 is a manual coffee-making device.

How is the Hario v60 Different Than a French Press?

These two coffee-making devices are very different since the French press uses an immersion method and no filter. 

While the Hario employs a pour-over method before filtering out oils and sediment.

Both result in delicious cups of coffee, but the Hario produces a more balanced cup than the robust flavor from an unfiltered French press brew.

Clever Dripper

Clever Dripper coffee maker

What is a Clever Dripper?

A Clever Dripper is a marriage of designs between a French press and a pour-over coffee device. Although it looks somewhat like a pour-over coffee maker, it uses an immersion method and a filter cone to extract the coffee and sift the grounds to make a rich, balanced cup of joe.

Clever Dripper Brew Method 

The Clever Dripper offers a unique brew process that mixes immersion with filtration.

Like pour-over coffee, it’s a manual device developed in Japan that works by pouring hot water over coffee grounds in a cone-shaped brewer controlled by a valve at the bottom of the medical-grade BPA-free plastic carafe.

How is the Clever Dripper Like a French Press?

Just like a French press, the Clever Dripper is an immersion method. It’s also a pour-over combination that uses paper to filter out oils and sediment.

How is the Clever Dripper Different Than a French Press?

While AeroPress coffee is balanced and full-bodied, it has a less intense, bold flavor than French press brew because the paper filter absorbs much of the aromatic oils from the beans.

The Clever Dripper also offers more control over the immersion time than a French press while eliminating unwanted sediment to create a clearer brew.


AeroPress Coffee Maker - French Press Alternative
AeroPress coffee maker

What is an AeroPress?

An AeroPress is a perfect alternative to a French press because it’s the closest thing to a French press that you’ll ever get. In fact, many home baristas consider the French press 2.0.

AeroPress Brew Method

With AeroPress, there are two ways to brew your coffee. The traditional method can follow the usual brewing instructions to immerse the grounds.

If you choose the “inverted” brewing option, you will turn the press upside down and assemble it in reverse. This lets the coffee grind soak in hot water for a longer period, resulting in better and richer extraction.

How is the AeroPress Like a French Press?

There’s one big reason that makes AeroPress and French press similar. Both coffee devices use immersion, rather than pour-over, drip, or percolation, to steep the coffee grounds in hot water before separating the brew to drink.

In addition, both use pressure during the brewing process.

While neither method takes a long time to brew, the AeroPress beats the French press hands down for a time. At just one minute and thirty seconds of brew time, the AeroPress is much faster than the French press, which takes about 4 minutes to brew. 

Like the French press, AeroPress produces a strong cup of coffee that will wake you up.

How is an AeroPress Different Than a French Press?

The critical difference between an AeroPress and a French press is that a French press saturates the coffee in an immersion method before plunging with the fine mesh strainer and pouring.

In contrast, the AeroPress forces ground coffee through the brewing chamber and a paper filter straight into your cup. As a result, you don’t need a carafe to hold or catch the coffee. 

The different process also results in a smoother, cleaner, brighter cup of coffee with a more mellow taste than a French press beverage. 

Another important difference is that AeroPress uses a different grind size for coffee beans. Coffee experts recommend grinding fresh coffee beans into a consistency that looks and feels like table salt.

For a French press, you’ll want to grind on a coarser setting that grinds the particles into a texture like a sea salt (normal store-bought grinds are often used).

Since an AeroPress uses a fine paper filter to separate the grounds from the brew, it also doesn’t contain grit from the grind particles or sediment sludge like the French press which uses a mesh strainer at the bottom of the plunger to separate the brew from the grounds.

French Press Coffee Maker Alternatives – Which Is Best?

There are many options for brewing a good cup of coffee that’s like a bold, robust, and flavorful French press brew. 

A Chemex brings cool, minimalist sophistication to the coffee-making process. At the same time, a Hario v60 produces an unmistakable flavor that brings out the subtlest notes from the coffee beans.

Meanwhile, a Clever Dripper offers the best of both worlds with an immersion brew and a paper filter that leaves the brew sediment-free.

Finally, like the French press, an Aeropress produces a concentrated brew in a short amount of time.

With a bit of practice, you can use one of these four manual coffee-making alternatives to add a bright, bold, and delicious cup of coffee to your day.

You might also be interested to know how strong French Press coffee is. My article about “is French Press stronger than espresso” goes into the details.

Christopher Mize

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