Percolator Coffee Maker vs French Press: Unveiling the Winner!

Share with friends

If you’re a coffee enthusiast, you may have heard of two of the most popular brewing methods: the French press and the percolator.

Both coffee makers have unique features that set them apart from the rest. However, if you are not familiar with these preparation methods, it may be difficult for you to decide which one to choose.

In this article, we’ll compare Percolator coffee maker vs French press to help you choose the best one for you.

French press coffee maker

The French press coffee maker, also known as a press coffee maker or a plunger coffee maker, is a classic and simple coffee maker. It consists of a glass or stainless steel beaker, a plunger with a metal or nylon mesh filter, and a lid.

The process involves steeping coarsely ground coffee in hot water for a few minutes, then pressing down on the plunger to separate the coffee grounds from the liquid.

How to use a French press coffee maker

  • Heat the water to about 200°F.
  • Add coarse ground coffee to the French press (one tablespoon per 4 ounces of water).
  • Pour the hot water over the ground coffee and stir to get an even extraction.
  • Cover the coffee pot and let the coffee brew for 3-4 minutes.
  • Slowly depress the plunger to separate the coffee grounds from the liquid.
  • Pour the coffee into your cup and enjoy it.

Advantages of the French press

  • French press coffee is rich and full-bodied, with a robust flavor.
  • French press coffee is more consistent, as the immersion method extracts the coffee evenly.
  • Unlike the Percolator, the French Press does not over-extract the coffee.
  • The French press can be used to brew iced coffee, cold brew, and tea as well.
  • It is relatively easier to clean a French press than a percolator.
  • French press coffee is easy to prepare and requires minimal preparation.
French press coffee maker vs percolator
French press coffee maker

Disadvantages of the French press

  • French press coffee has a higher amount of sediment, which can give the coffee a slightly gritty texture.
  • French press coffee is not as hot as other brewing methods, and it cools down quickly.
  • It requires a separate kettle or stove to heat up.
  • Compared to percolators, French press coffee makers are fragile, making them unsuitable for travel.

Percolator Coffee Maker

The percolation coffee maker is an older brewing method that has been around since the mid-19th century.

It consists of a coffee maker with a small chamber at the bottom, where the coffee grounds go. When boiling, the water rises through a tube, drips over the grounds and falls back into the coffee pot. The process is repeated until the desired intensity is reached.

How to use a Percolator

  • Fill the Percolator with water to the fill line.
  • Add the coffee grounds to the basket (one tablespoon per 4 ounces of water).
  • Place the basket on top of the Percolator and put the lid on.
  • Put the Percolator on the heat and turn it on.
  • Keep an eye on the Percolator, and when the coffee begins to bubble in the glass knob, turn the heat down to a simmer.
  • Let the coffee brew for 6-10 minutes or until it reaches your desired strength.
  • Remove the Percoladora from the heat and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

Advantages of the Percolator over the French Press

  • Percolator coffee is hotter than French Press coffee and stays hot longer.
  • Percolator coffee has a smoother flavor and less sediment than French Press coffee.
  • The percolators are made of strong stainless steel, so they do not break easily.
  • The percolator is more suitable for traveling or camping. There are also battery-powered models that make things easier.
  • Large amounts of coffee can be easily prepared in a Percolator. Therefore, it is a perfect coffee maker for meetings.
Percolator working principle
How a percolator coffee maker work

Disadvantages of the Percolator

  • Coffee brewed with the Percolator does not have a uniform flavor as it is not a controlled brewing process.
  • It requires proper control, otherwise, the coffee can easily burn or turn bitter due to over-extraction.
  • The brewing process is time-consuming compared to the French press.
  • It’s a bit trickier to clean up after a Percolator.

Percolator Coffee Maker vs French Press: Differences

1. What coffee tastes better?

French press coffee has a richer, fuller flavor, while percolator coffee is smoother. French press coffee also tends to have more sediment, while percolator coffee has less.

It’s important to note that both methods require different grind sizes and brew times, so the flavor may vary depending on how the coffee is brewed.

2. Which one is easy to use Percolator or French press?

Both French press and percolator coffee makers are relatively easy to use. However, French press coffee makers are easier to install and require less maintenance.

With a French press coffee maker, all you have to do is add hot water and coffee grounds, let it brew, and press the plunger.

On the other hand, Percolator coffee makers require more attention and control, as you need to keep an eye on the boiling of the water and adjust the heat accordingly.

Percolator coffee maker vs French press

3. French press vs Pecolator: Infusion time and capacity

The French press works by steeping the ground coffee in hot water for a set infusion time, typically around 4-8 minutes depending on taste preferences. This allows the flavors to fully extract and infuse into the water. French presses come in various sizes, with larger models holding up to 12 cups of coffee.

The long steeping ensures the water fully absorbs the oils and flavors from the grounds before pressing and pouring the brewed coffee. This produces a fuller, richer flavor profile. However, the long exposure to the grounds means the brewed coffee contains more sediment.

Unlike the French press, percolators work by cycling boiling water through the grounds continuously. This percolation process typically takes 8-12 minutes. The constant cycling of hot water overextracts the grounds, producing a brew that is often bitter or overpowering.

Percolators are measured by how many cups they can brew per cycle. Smaller models make around 4-8 cups per cycle, while larger commercial units can brew up to 12 or more cups at once. The continuous boiling brews a bold, intense coffee, but sacrifices some nuance of flavor.

The French press relies on infusion time to fully extract coffee flavors and oils, while the percolator uses constant hot water cycling. French presses allow more control over brew time for optimal extraction.

Percolators emphasize capacity and constant brewing. While both can make multiple cups of coffee, the French press better highlights the intricate flavors of the beans, rather than over-extracting them through percolation. Ultimately, the preference comes down to balanced flavor versus higher volume and strength.

4. French press vs. camping percolator

If you like camping and want to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee outdoors, both French press and percolator coffee makers can be a good choice.

However, French press coffee makers are more portable and require fewer tools. All you need is hot water, coffee grounds, and a French press coffee maker. Percolation coffee makers, by contrast, require a heat source and can be more difficult to transport.

What is the most versatile coffee maker between French press and Percolator?

Although both French press and percolator coffee makers have their unique features, French press coffee makers tend to be more versatile. You can use them to prepare different types of coffee, such as cold brews, espresso, and flavored coffee. Percolators, on the other hand, are mainly used to make drip coffee.

French Press vs Percolator: What is best for you?

When it comes to French press vs percolator, the best option for me is the French press. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Ease of Use: The French press has a simple operation that I appreciate. Just add coarse ground coffee, pour over hot water, let steep, and press down the plunger. With a percolator, there are more parts to deal with and you have to keep an eye on it during the percolation cycle.
  • Flavor: I find the French press brings out a richer, fuller flavor from the coffee beans. The long steeping extracts oils and essences without overextracting bitter compounds like the percolator can. My morning cup from a French press is smooth and flavorful.
  • Clean Up: A French press has fewer parts and is generally easier to clean up after brewing than a percolator in my experience. The plunger and beaker can just be rinsed out and cleaned. With a percolator, I have to dismantle and wash the tube, filter basket and other pieces.
  • Brew Control: The French press lets me control the steeping time, water temperature and coffee ratio completely. This allows me to tweak each cup to my optimal flavor. The automated percolating cycle leaves less room to experiment.

If you love a bold, intense brew, a percolator may be ideal. But for me, the French press offers a simpler brewing method, better flavor, and easier clean-up. Those factors make it the better personal choice for my daily coffee routine.

Percolator vs French press vs Coffee maker
Percolator vs French press vs Coffee maker

Percolator vs French Press vs Coffee Maker

FeaturePercolatorFrench PressPod Coffee Maker
Brewing MethodCycling boiling water through ground coffee continuouslySteeping ground coffee in hot waterForcing hot water through coffee pods
Brew Time8-12 minutes4-8 minutes1-2 minutes
Robust, often over-extractedMore parts to cleanSimple with few partsVery simple, pods handle measuring
Flavor ProfileRobust, often overextractedRich, intenseBalanced, consistent
Ideal ForStrong traditional coffeeFull-bodied coffeeFast and consistent coffee

Find out list of best pour-over coffee makers.

FAQs: Percolator vs French Press

What is a Percolator?

A percolator is a type of coffee maker that forces boiling water through coffee grounds to produce a strong and flavorful brew.

What is a French Press?

A French press, also known as a press pot or plunger pot, is a manual coffee brewing device that uses a plunger to steep coffee grounds in hot water, resulting in a full-bodied coffee.

How does a Percolator work?

In a percolator, water is continuously heated and circulated through the coffee grounds using pressure, creating a brewed coffee that is typically stronger and hotter than other brewing methods.

How does a French Press work?

A French press allows coffee grounds to steep in hot water for a set amount of time. Afterward, a metal mesh plunger is pushed down to separate the brewed coffee from the grounds, creating a rich and aromatic coffee.

Between French press and Percolator which one produces a stronger coffee?

Percolators generally produce stronger coffee due to the extended brewing process that allows for more extraction of flavors from the coffee grounds.

Which one is easier to use, percolator or the french press?

French presses are generally considered easier to use because they involve a simpler brewing process. All you need to do is add hot water, let it steep, and then press the plunger to separate the grounds.

Which brewing method is more portable?

French presses are often more portable because they are usually made of glass or stainless steel, making them easier to carry and pack for travel.

Can both methods be used for different types of coffee?

Yes, both percolators and French presses can brew a variety of coffee types. The choice of coffee depends on personal preference and the grind size suitable for each brewing method.

Which one has a faster brewing time french press or percolator?

Percolators generally have a faster brewing time (5-7 minutes) because the water is continuously heated and circulated through the coffee grounds, allowing for a quicker extraction process.

Which brewing method is better for large quantities of coffee?

Percolators are better suited for brewing larger quantities of coffee since they typically have a higher capacity than French presses. They are commonly used in commercial settings or when brewing coffee for a group of people.

Who invented the percolator coffee maker?

Joseph-Henry-Marie Laurens, a Parisian tinsmith first invented Percolator in 1819. The modern percolator that is used now in the US, was invented by a farmer from Illinois named Hanson Goodrich and patented in 1889.

Summary: Differences between Percolator and French Press

Both French press and percolator coffee makers have their unique features that make them stand out.

The French press coffeemaker is ideal for those who want rich, full-bodied coffee with minimal preparation, while the percolator coffeemaker is perfect for those who want a smoother flavor and larger batches of coffee.

Ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference, so give both methods a try and see which works best for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *