Hario v60 vs AeroPress: A showdown between pour over and immersion coffee

The Hario v60 and the AeroPress make great cups of coffee. The Hario v60 is the best of the pour-over coffee makers. The AeroPress is the best immersion coffee maker, largely because it offers a pour-over finish. A comparison of these two makers requires an understanding of these two methods of making coffee, pour over and immersion.

Types of Coffee Makers

We can sort coffee makers into several rough groups. One is immersion, where beans are soaked in water. Another is percolation, where water passes through beans.

Pour Over Coffee Makers

Pour over coffee has become a trend over the last 20 years, but its history is longer. It ties into the old percolation method as water passes slowly through the coffee grounds. The modern pour-over began when Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz designed a cone brewer and began selling it widely in the 1930’s. Melittas are still available today.

Pour over fans love this method because it pulls flavor from different parts of the bean in different ways. The water slows as it hits the coffee and filters through the grounds. The goal is to slow the coffee just enough to extract peak flavor.

Immersion Coffee Makers

Immersion brewing is the oldest method of coffee making. Put the beans in a container and pour water onto them. After they steep for a couple of minutes, strain the grounds out of the flavored water and presto – immersion coffee.

What you get is a subtle coffee that exhibits a wide range of flavors and low acidity. You also get a very forgiving brew that is full-bodied and full-flavored. Details (like wetting the filter or exact water temperature) matter less.

Overview of the Coffee Makers

Both the Hario v60 and the AeroPress are top-of-the-line coffee makers. They were designed by engineers and coffee fans.

Hario v60

The Hario v60 is as basic and straightforward as it gets. It is a small cone-shaped device you fit with a filter and set atop your cup or carafe to brew coffee. Place your beans in the cone and then slowly pour your hot water over the grounds. The angle of the cone (60 degrees) and the curved ridges direct the flow of water to the right places. The opening at the bottom releases coffee into your cup at the right speed. This maker is simple and hands-on.

A Japanese group founded the Hario company in 1921 as a heatproof glass manufacturer. It created its first coffee syphon in 1964. Hario’s designers thought if the water continued to flow through the grounds without stopping, it would make a cleaner-tasting cup of coffee. They were correct. After some experimentation, they found the right design in 2004. This triggered a revolution in the way people made coffee. Pour over coffee became a trend.

Where to Purchase the Hario v60 Pour Over

AeroPress

The AeroPress is a recent invention from the early 21st century. Alan Adler, the inventor of the Aerobie flying disk, set himself to the problem of how to make a decent single cup of coffee. He did this by combining the speed and simplicity of the pour over with the compression and immersion of French press. It’s a tube inside another tube with a filter at one end.

The result is a coffee maker that, following a small learning curve, is easy to use and makes a great single cup of coffee every time. It’s a clean and clear brew that keeps the maximum amount of flavor from the beans.

The AeroPress is not a pure immersion machine, at the end of its brew-time it uses pressure to pass the remaining water through the grounds. This adds a little bit of a pour-over feel to the cup of coffee.

Where to Purchase the AeroPress Coffee Maker

Feature Comparison of the Coffee Makers

Some characteristics you may want to look for are below. This helps tease out the major differences between the two coffee makers.

Price

The AeroPress is a mid-range affordable maker. As I write, it sells for $35-$40. The Hario v60’s price varies by the material of which it is made. This can range from $10 for a plastic model to $50-$100 for sets with stands and accessories.

Physical and Aesthetic Differences

Face it, the AeroPress is not pretty. Every part does its job perfectly, but you want to put it away in your cupboard after cleaning it.

In comparison, the Hario v60 ranges from simple plastic cup to glass, colored ceramic, and even copper models that could be placed in your living room as a decoration.

Materials

The AeroPress and the Hario both sell basic plastic models that are light and sturdy, ready to travel with you. However, the Hario comes in other materials (above).

Grind

The AeroPress is more forgiving on the grind you use. It is made to work with a fine grind, but still can draw out the best taste from coarser grinds.

The Hario works best at a medium-find grind, a hair bigger than its rival. If the grind gets too fine, it can draw out sour acid flavors. The speed of the draw-down limits extraction from coarser grinds.

Flavor profile

The AeroPress makes a clean, clear brew every time. It draws out flavor from many different types of beans to create a broad, flavorful coffee every time.

The Hario can make a superior cup of coffee, but it is very sensitive to changes and small differences can change the taste greatly. Once you find your perfect brewing method, you can make the best cup every time you brew, but it will take a bit of tinkering and practice to get there.

Cleaning

The Hario wins on clean-up by far. All you have to do is throw out the filter and rinse the coffee maker. The AeroPress comes apart in several pieces, all of which will need the coffee grounds cleaned out of them.

Brewing larger amounts of coffee

The AeroPress was designed to make a small, single cup of coffee. The Hario, while still small, can brew for a mug or two cups. It’s also available in larger sizes

Which Coffee Maker Should You Choose?

You Should Choose the Hario v60 If:

  • You are a coffee connoisseur. You like tinkering around to find the best of each type of bean, the Hario v60 gives you maximum control.
  • You like the simple aesthetics and easy clean-up of the cone.
  • You like the ritual that comes with making the first cup of coffee in the morning.
  • You are brewing for a large mug or two people.

You should choose the AeroPress if

  • You may be using different roasts or grinds and just want everything to taste great.
  • You have digestive problems with acid. Immersion brewing extracts less acid.
  • You don’t want to sweat the small stuff, and just want great coffee.

Brewing recipe for the AeroPress

AeroPress is famous for creating a small, fast cup of coffee that tastes good every time. But that doesn’t mean a small amount of tinkering can’t improve the brew. If you let the coffee sit in the immersion stage for a little longer than the standard 1 ½ minutes, you can pull even more flavor out of the coffee grounds.

Ingredients:

  • 17 g coffee, finely ground
  • 270 g water

Directions:

  • Heat the water to 80C or 176F. (The inventor recommends this low temperature.)
  • Insert the filter and place the 17 g of coffee in the maker.
  • Pour in 40 g of water to bloom the coffee and give it a small swish.
  • Pour in the remaining 230g water, stir, and cap the AeroPress.
  • Wait three minutes, allowing deep levels of flavor to be pulled from the beans.
  • Slowly press the plunger, over about 30 seconds, to create the pressure that draws out the flavor.
  • Stop plunging when you hear a hiss.

Brewing recipe for the Hario v60

Here is a recipe for a starting point for making coffee with the Hario v60. It pulls the full flavor from the beans quickly and easily. Once you have this technique mastered, you can play around with methods, times, and temperatures to find your perfect cup.

For more v60 brewing methods, see our guide

Ingredients:

  • 30 g coffee – medium-fine ground
  • 500 g water

Directions:

  • Heat the water to just shy of boiling (98C or 208F).
  • Insert the filter into the Hario v60 coffee maker.
  • Pour hot water to totally wet the filter and warm the carafe. (Drain the carafe).
  • Pour in 100 g water to let the coffee bloom and release gas.
  • Add 300 g water in a steady pour.
  • Swish the coffee maker around (or stir with a spoon).
  • Add final 100 g of water and swish again.
  • At 2 minutes and 45 seconds the coffee should finish flowing.