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French Press Vs Drip Coffee: Battle Royale

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Here we are at the eternal debate of French press vs drip coffee. Which one should you choose for your daily coffee needs? There are proponents and opponents at each camp, so I’m not going to delve deeper there. The better choice is a matter of what suits your preferences best.

Here, we’ll discuss a few factors that can guide or even define your choice. 

Making Coffee With The French Press

The process of making coffee with a French press is fairly simple and standard. It doesn’t quite vary with changes in models, though you can always tweak the recipe to your preference.

To brew with French press, start by adding coffee grounds to the carafe. Slowly add hot water to the grounds. Water should not be at boiling temperature. Ideally, 200 degrees Fahrenheit should be good enough.

Place the lid and plunger in place and let the coffee steep for 3-4 minutes, depending on how strong you want your coffee. When the time is done, slowly push the plunger down as far as it will go, and pour yourself some coffee. That’s it!

Here are a few key points to note:

  • Brewing time: 3-5 minutes
  • Coffee grind: Coarse
  • Coffee taste: Full-bodied with rich taste
  • Coffee to water ratio: Ideally, 1:15. Add three tablespoons of coffee for each cup of water

Making Coffee With A Drip Coffee Maker

Drip coffee machines are largely automatic. All you have to do is press a button and your coffee will come pouring out. Unlike the French press, it is difficult to mention a clear recipe for drip machines. Methods can vary by machine, and so can the result. 

The best drip coffee makers, however, will take all measures to ensure you get the best cup of coffee. Your cup of coffee prepared depends on the machine and the type of filters it uses. A paper filter will absorb any oils as well as block small grinds from going through. Metallic filters won’t absorb oil and are likely to let small grinds pass through.

Time taken to brew a cup is dependent on the machine as well. Generally, you can expect a maximum of 10 minutes, though several machines will deliver coffee in two minutes. Programmable options are available with several drip coffee makers. This setting will brew your favorite cup of coffee at a fixed time. If you have a fixed schedule, you can be sure your coffee will be ready exactly when you want it. Here are some key points to note:

  • Brewing time: Up to 10 minutes, can be much lower depending on the machine
  • Coffee grind: medium
  • Coffee taste: Depends on the filter used
  • Coffee to water ratio: 55 grams per liter of water, according to SCA golden cup recommendations.

Ease Of Use: Which Method Fares Better

French Press

Given the process described above, there is a clear pointer on which method is easier for brewing your coffee. All you need to do in a drip coffee machine is to add coffee grounds and press a button. Meanwhile, a French press will need slightly more effort.

None of these methods is actually difficult or time-consuming. However, on a relative basis, less effort is needed for brewing drip coffee.

With a French press, you need to keep an eye on the brew time and when to pour your coffee. Going faster or slower will affect the taste. There aren’t similar requirements for drip coffee, where the user simply has to press a button. The user need not be directly involved in other prospects of the operation of the machine and brewing.

Capacity: How Many Cups Do You Get With Each Brew

Brewing multiple cups of coffee is often necessary. Most of these machines are available to meet different size requirements. Both machines can vary from brewing one cup to going several cups at a time.

For drip coffee machines, brewing a 4-cup pot is often common, though many machines offer 12-cup carafes as well. Though less common, single-serve drip coffee machines are available. They’re increasingly popular and many users see the benefit of brewing a single cup for their requirements.

Even larger drip coffee makers have a stop method to stop extraction exactly where you want. Rather than brewing a full pot, you brew the coffee you need. You could, for example, opt for a few cups over brewing a full pot. It’s faster and more efficient.

The French press has its share of different volume options. You can measure the amount of coffee you want to brew with the French press. There are several sizing options available, so it is possible to brew several cups of coffee in one go. 

While drip machines are likely to have a higher cup capacity for each brew, it isn’t much higher than a French press.

Which Method Is More Reliable?

Reliability is an interesting metric to consider for comparison. It is, however, necessary for the coffee maker to be reliable and convenient. This is where the French press shines. It has no mechanical parts, doesn’t need electricity, and can be long-lasting.

In the same vein, a drip coffee maker obviously depends on electricity. There are several parts and components in each machine. As users, we interact with only a small percentage of components in the drip coffee maker. If any of these should go out of function, it will be near impossible to get the brew ready. 

Coffee Quality And Taste: Is French Press Coffee Better

Coffee brewed by a French press is always likely to be full-bodied and rich. Plus, you have more control over the brewing process and can steer the taste towards the direction you prefer. Since a French press has metallic filters, no oils are absorbed from the coffee. This way, you get the full flavor and taste of the coffee.

So, is French press coffee better? Well, there is another aspect to consider. It is not possible for a French press to get high extraction. Even though it is an immersion method with hot water, the larger coffee grind size doesn’t lend itself well to full extraction. 

A drip coffee maker is likely to be excellent at extraction. In fact, most SCA recommendations for drip coffee makers center around getting the best extraction. Plus, the medium grind size ensures that there is a larger surface area available for extraction.

Another factor that will affect taste and quality is the use of filters. Using paper or metallic filters makes a big difference. Paper filters absorb oils and block finer particles from entering your coffee. Metallic filters don’t absorb any oils and remain neutral towards the flavors of coffee. 

Taking Your Pick From The Two

So is there a clear winner to pick between French press vs drip coffee? Well, it is your choice to make. Both of these methods have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. But there are significant differences which could make each of them more suitable for different preferences. 

Drip coffee makers are great for convenience while French press allows you greater control over your brew.

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May 13, 2022 0 min read


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