Battle of the Brew: Drip Coffee Maker vs French Press

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Drip Coffee Maker vs French Press: The difference between the French press coffee maker and the pour-over or drip coffee is that the French press is an immersion brew method, while the drip is a filter brew method.

Brewing coffee manually has become increasingly popular in recent years. You don’t have to be a barista to make delicious, cafeteria-worthy coffee at home.

The two most commonly used brewing methods for manual coffee are the French press and the manual drip with filter.

While both methods can make surprisingly good coffee, the many differences between them may lead you to choose one over the other.

How involved do you want to be in the brewing process and what flavor do you want the resulting coffee to have?

Read on to make an informed decision and find the coffee maker that best suits your lifestyle.

French Press vs Drip coffee maker (Quick snapshot)

FeatureDrip Coffee MakerFrench Press
Brewing MethodUses paper or metal filterCan be weaker or stronger, depending on the amount of coffee used and brew time
Brew TimeTypically faster, around 5-10 minutesTypically slower, around 4 minutes
Brew StrengthCan be weaker or stronger, depending on amount of coffee used and brew timeGenerally produces stronger, bolder coffee
ConvenienceEasy to use, often programmableRequires more manual effort
CleanupEasy to clean, but filter must be replaced regularlyMore difficult to clean, with mesh filter requiring careful rinsing and disassembly
PortabilityGenerally less portable, requires electricity and water sourceMore portable, only requires hot water and ground coffee
CostCan vary in price, depending on featuresGenerally less expensive
TasteCan produce a cleaner, more consistent tasteProduces a rich, full-bodied taste with a heavier mouthfeel
Drip coffee maker vs French press
Drip coffee maker vs French press - a guide for better understanding

What is a French press coffee maker?

The French press coffee maker is famous for producing rich flavored coffee. Its strong flavors have been amassing a large fan base since its invention in 1929 and have been perfected every decade since.

A French press coffee maker is often referred to as a coffee pot or coffee press. This coffee maker has three main components: the glass or stainless steel carafe, the plunger, and the metal mesh filter attached to the plunger.

How the French Press Works

It is wrongly assumed that the French press is complicated to use, but this is far from the truth. French presses are some of the easiest manual coffee makers. The ground coffee and the hot water are placed in the carafe and left to infuse.

Once the brew time is up, the plunger is pushed down. This releases the mesh filter, which pushes all the ground coffee to the bottom of the carafe, separating it from the drinkable coffee.

The coffee can then be poured directly from the carafe with no other filtering involved. Many French presses also double as thermoses to make brewing coffee even easier.

Preparation methods and tips

French presses use what is known as the dip brew method.

Immersion brewing methods allow ground coffee to float in hot water for a more intense flavor. This is the reason why the plunger filter is needed to separate the grounds from the finished product.

Although it’s a manual brewing method, French press coffee doesn’t need much adjustment on your part to produce great flavor.

Because it is an immersion brew method, the best grind size is between medium and coarse ground coffee.

If the coffee grounds are too fine, the mesh filter will not be able to separate them from the final brew and the coffee will be coarser.

Using too coarse a grind will lead to weak-tasting coffee because there is not enough surface area to flavor the coffee.

What ratio of coffee to water should you use for a French press?

French press coffee uses a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:12. This is equivalent to 350 grams of water for every 30 grams of coffee, you will need approximately 3 tablespoons of ground coffee.

You can buy coffee makers to prepare a single cup or a one-liter coffee maker, to have coffee for the whole day or for the whole family.

Is the French press easy to use?

French press coffee is one of the easiest manual brewing methods to use because it requires no care.

Once the coffee and water have been added to the carafe, you can simply wait for the timer to go off without any further intervention.

This makes the French press great for busy days or mornings when you’re still half asleep.

French press coffee will be perfect for you. If you use the right coffee-to-water ratio, temperature, and brew time, the resulting coffee will be delicious.

Anatomy of a French press coffee maker
Anatomy of a French press coffee maker

How long should you take to prepare?

French press coffee is more relaxed in its brew time than many other brewing methods. Espresso, AeroPress, and pour overs need to be brewed within a certain amount of time or else they ruin the flavor.

While the amount of time French press coffee brews contribute to its flavor, it’s not as rigid in the method.

A good rule of thumb for French press coffee is to brew for 3 to 6 minutes, although this can be adjusted as needed.

Brewing the coffee for 2 to 4 minutes will give it a brighter, cleaner flavor, while brewing for 5 to 8 minutes will make it darker and more robust.

The longer you brew French press coffee, the more bitter it will taste, but brew time depends on personal preference. Start by brewing your French Press coffee for 4 minutes and add or subtract 30 seconds based on your flavor preferences.

What makes French press coffee good?

Good French press coffee largely depends on the types of coffee beans you use.

Because there isn’t a lot of technique involved when making French press coffee, much of its flavor comes from the coffee beans that are used.

Essentially, any high-quality coffee will taste great in your French press. Be sure to grind your coffee beans just before brewing. This will go a long way in keeping its flavor rich and strong.

If you prefer to buy ground coffee, make sure you buy good quality French press coffee.

What does French press coffee taste like?

French press coffee uses an immersion brewing method to fully filter the rich flavor of the ground coffee.

The metal mesh filter allows most of the oils from the ground coffee to reach your cup of coffee.

Due to the metal mesh filter and the way the ground coffee is filtered, French press coffee can be described as robust and very strong. It has a slightly gritty, textured mouthfeel that creates a thick, rich coffee flavor.

What we love about French Press Coffee

Although the French press coffee filter removes ground coffee from the final brew, it does not prevent the oils from contributing to a strong flavor.

Many paper filters block or absorb much of the natural flavors in coffee. Thanks to the metal mesh filter, French press coffee is full-bodied and bold.

What is a Pour Over or Drip coffee maker?

Pour-Over coffee isn’t just for coffee snobs and professional baristas. This manual preparation method has gained popularity over the years due to the freedom of expression and customization it gives its users.

While many other brewing methods can only produce a certain flavor, regardless of the type of coffee beans used, in drip coffee makers they can be used to brew a wide variety of flavors to enjoy.

How Pour Over Works

The Pour Over or manual drip coffee maker consists of a funnel-shaped cone that is placed on top of a jug or cup.

Inside is placed a paper coffee filter that is filled with evenly dispersed ground coffee. The hot water is slowly and evenly poured over the coffee grounds.

Due to the cone shape and the paper filter, the water begins to drain into the pitcher in a circular motion. The hot water starts at the top of the coffee grounds and works its way to the bottom of the cone, soaking the grounds as it gently falls.

As the water moves to the bottom of the cone, it becomes saturated with the oils and flavors of the ground coffee. Finally, the saturated water is found dripping into the carafe or cup placed under the cone-like freshly brewed coffee.

The Pour Over or drip coffee maker requires a finer grind than the French press coffee maker. With a medium-fine or medium-grind size, it should be fine to start with.

drip coffee maker
Popular drip coffee maker

Preparation methods and tips

Drip coffee does not use the immersion or infusion method. Instead, the water is slowly saturated with the flavor of the ground coffee. Saturation methods require more attention to detail than immersion methods.

Using a gooseneck kettle can make it easier to direct the flow of water. The long, thin spout of the gooseneck teapot allows for slower, more even pouring of water. This creates a well-balanced cup of coffee.

Pouring the water in a circular motion helps the coffee drain more efficiently instead of pooling inside the cone. If the coffee accumulates like this, the result is usually bitter.

What ratio of coffee to water should you use for a pour-over?

Drip coffee (pour-over) uses a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:16 or 1:15 for a stronger flavor. This equates to around 237 grams or 8 ounces of water for every 18 grams or 2.5 tablespoons of ground coffee.

Many users of manual drip coffee makers love to experiment with different ratios depending on the type of coffee bean they use.

Is the drip coffee maker easy to use?

Although drip coffee is easy to prepare, it requires more skill and attention to detail than a French press. This is because spills require constant monitoring.

It is necessary to keep an eye on the coffee poured to ensure an even distribution of water in the ground coffee. If some coffee grounds are steeped longer than others, this can lead to an unbalanced taste.

Timing is another necessity of pour over coffee that requires much more attention than French press coffee.

How long does it take?

Drip coffee preparation (Pour Over) should not take more than 10 minutes, but the water should be poured into the grounds for 5 to 7 minutes. The last 3-5 minutes of brewing are to allow any remaining water droplets to reach the pitcher.

This method of preparation requires time and patience. A 10-minute preparation time is considerably longer than other preparation methods, but the resulting flavor is well worth the wait.

How to prepare a good drip coffee

The trick to brewing delicious drip coffee is to pour in the hot water slowly and evenly in a circular motion throughout the entire 5-minute brew time.

This will allow the flavors of the ground coffee to distribute evenly in a well-balanced cup of coffee.

If the water is not poured in slowly and evenly, the coffee will easily end up tasting bitter, sour, or weak depending on which ground coffee receives more water.

Another important technique for brewing drip coffee is to allow the coffee to bloom.

Blooming or “breathing” is when coffee grounds release carbon dioxide gas during their exposure to heat. Blooming coffee grounds appear to be rising to the surface in a large bubble of air.

When this happens, momentarily stop pouring the water to allow the gas to release.

Once the gas is released, the coffee grounds will fall down and lie flat in the cone. This will happen every 30 seconds or so depending on the roast level of the coffee.

What does drip coffee taste like?

Drip coffee has many tastes and flavor profiles that are determined by the person making the coffee and the coffee beans themselves.

In general, pour over coffee can be described as having a light mouthfeel and a mild flavor.

This coffee is defined by a balance between the natural bitterness of the bean and its sweet flavor.

One of the best attributes of drip coffee is its ability to exhibit subtle flavors like floral and fruity notes.

Because of this, drip coffee is often used when brewing lighter roasts, but it brings out the flavors of each type of coffee.

What we love about drip coffee

Drip coffee has a silky smooth flavor that doesn’t overpower your taste buds.

This well-balanced flavor is combined with maximum pour-over customization to create a great way to make any coffee.

Regardless of your flavor preference, pour-overs can make the perfect cup of coffee.

Which coffee maker is better?

French press is the better between drip coffee maker and French Press.

French press coffee is perfect for people who don’t have the time to take care of their coffee as it brews.

It has a rich, strong flavor with a texture that no other preparation method can replicate. Most French presses are inexpensive and easy to use.

Final Words: Drip coffee maker vs French press

Both the French press and drip coffee maker have their unique features, and it ultimately comes down to personal preference when choosing which one to use. If you enjoy a full-bodied and rich flavor, the French press may be the best option for you.

However, if you prefer a cleaner and smoother taste, then the drip coffee maker may be the better choice. Whichever you choose, with a little practice and experimentation, you can make delicious coffee right at home without the need for a barista.

French Press coffee maker vs Drip FAQs

Is French press or drip coffee easier?

French press is easier. Perhaps the pouring is more complicated and requires more attention because you have to master the time, temperature and how to pour the hot water to develop the best aromas.

Is French press coffee stronger than drip?

Typically, the pour-over is lighter than French press coffee. When we make pour over coffee, the ground coffee is in a filter and does not come into contact with the brewed coffee.

Can I use French press grounds for drip?

You can, but the French press calls for a coarser ground coffee than drip because the French press is an immersion or infusion method.

Related: Nespresso Breville vs Delonghi

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