french press vs drip coffee

French Press vs Drip Coffee- Which Brewing Method Is Best for You?

August 18, 2021

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To accurately answer this question, you need to do a bit of soul searching to appreciate what you like about coffee, your ideal taste, and the lengths to which you are willing to go for this cup of coffee. Both types of coffee have their merits and demerits, and the best brewing method boils down to personal preference and the prevailing circumstances.

French Press brewing is manual and typically produces stronger flavors but in smaller quantities meant to be consumed immediately. Drip brewing, on the other hand, is usually automated and can easily be scaled up to produce more coffee in one go and keeps it warm for a longer period.

Today we shall take a closer look at both brewing methods in a bid to determine which one appeals more to your needs and lifestyle, so the choice of brewer becomes easier to make.

The French Press

A French press is also referred to as a cafetière, caffettiera a stantuffo, cafetière à piston, coffee press, or coffee plunger. You use a mesh plunger to push and strain the coffee grounds leaving a clear (or almost clear) coffee for drinking. It employs an immersion brewing process which entails adding hot water to coffee grounds and allowing them to soak for a few minutes, after which you strain out the grounds.

The longer you allow the coffee grinds to soak, the more flavor will be extracted from the coffee grounds. You can’t, however, soak them indefinitely because the coffee get over-extracted and turn bitter.

Strengths of French Press Brewing

  • French press coffeemakers are compact, meaning they don’t take up much of your counter space, and they are also easy to transport.
  • They allow you to customize your coffee extractions; you can tweak the ground sizes, vary the time you let them soak to manipulate the level of extraction, and plunge it to your satisfaction. This control over the variables enables you to gratify your palate with a personalized flavor.
  • French presses retain all the oils and flavors in the French press coffee grounds because they don’t use paper filters, making the resultant coffee strong and full-bodied. The silky rich coffee taste will enthrall a true coffee enthusiast.
  • There is less waste of flavor and material than a drip coffee machine as you don’t need paper filters
  • French press coffee makers are relatively affordable

Shortcomings

  • Using the French press requires your involvement as the process is manual. You need to heat the water and pour it on the coffee grounds yourself.
  • Some French Press coffee makers are insulated but most are not. Hence you need to take your coffee soon after you make it. Your second cup also won’t be as hot as the first one.
  • The coffee can get bitter, oily, and muddy due to continued exposure to the grounds. This means you have to transfer the coffee to a different container.
  • French presses require you to have a level of accuracy in terms of water temperature (so that you don’t over-extract or burn the coffee grounds), uniformity of grinding, and water to coffee ratio. These need a combination of experience and composure that does not come automatically.
  • It has a limitation on the amount of coffee that can be brewed in one go and usually serves no more than 4 cups.

The Best French Press Coffee Makers

If you are looking for a French Press then these are the absolute top of pops

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Drip Coffee Makers

These are automated coffee-making machines that come with many perks to make your work easy. You just place your grounds in a designated filter, fill a reservoir with water, turn it on and watch as the water is heated and poured over the ground coffee beans. It then funnels down to your carafe, which is capable of keeping it warm.

You don’t even have to be there for the process as it does not involve lifting and pressing. An automatic drip brewer operates according to your preset instructions and has timers that can be set to start brewing automatically at a certain time.

This feature makes them very attractive to anyone who is not a morning person but still wants a perfect cup of coffee. You just need to remember to leave it powered as you go to sleep

The simplicity of this brew method, however, introduces a limitation to how much you can customize your brew. The quality of coffee is modular as per the settings because the machine works as programmed.

Benefits of Drip Brewing

  • Drip coffeemakers are less tasking because they are automated. You are free to attend to other matters as your coffee is brewed. You don’t need to monitor time and measurements, which frees your mental space as well.
  • Their mode of operation enables you to set timers that can trigger the brewing process in your absence. This saves a lot of time, whether you have to prepare for the day in the morning or you need to grab the ready cup of coffee on the go.
  • Some of the more advanced drip brewers allow you to program preinfusion and bloom. The bloom is an important step and allows excess CO2 to be removed from the coffee grounds.
  • The coffee is free from sediment as drip brewing involves paper filters that ensure the coffee is clear and light-bodied.
  • A majority of drip coffee makers feature a hot plate on which the carafe sits. This keeps your coffee warm for as long as you need it to be. In addition, they come with a timer that allows you to determine how long the hot plate will warm the carafe.
  • Drip brewers have a larger capacity which is aided by the automation of the process. As a result, they can produce upwards of 10 standard cups in one go, making them ideal for sharing and serving large groups.

Shortcomings

  • The automation of the process limits your ability to customize the coffee to your preferred taste. Because everything is preprogrammed, you can’t extend the time the coffee beans get to soak to extract more flavor, for instance.
  • They are not very compact because they combine a water reservoir, a filter, and a carafe stand. As a result, they will demand larger real estate on your countertops.
  • Many natural flavors will be lost to the paper filters because they are carried in the oils that are filtered out. As a result, the coffee loses its silkiness and is generally lighter than what you get from a French press.
  • A quality drip coffeemaker will lean toward the pricey side due to the bells and whistles that have nowadays become standard features.

The Best Drip Coffee Makers

We have previously reviewed an excellent drip coffee maker called Ratio Six. The Ratio 6 coffee maker is a stunning automated coffee brewing machine. Ratio Coffee that makes the Ratio Six is a small company in Portland, Oregon with high standards, attention to detail, and quality products.

Other good drip coffee makers are shown in the following list

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A Comparison of the French Press vs Drip Coffee

We shall now delve into some variables which influence the type of coffee we have to see how the two fare against each other.

The Brewing Capacity

It is important to invest in a coffee maker that will brew sufficient coffee for the intended users. For example, French presses come with standard 32-ounce carafes, typically filling a maximum of 4 cups. The others are smaller and will serve 1 or 2 cups at best. On the other hand, Drip coffee makers have large capacity models capable of making up to 12 cups in one go.

Because the coffee-making process already demands some amount of patience, having the capacity to cater to many people at once is a bonus. This means the drip coffeemaker is superior from this perspective. It will come in handy if you are making coffee for the family or colleagues at work.

Not every situation needs 10 cups of coffee, however. You might be a solo bird who only wants 1 or 2 cups of coffee in the morning to jumpstart the day. French presses are made with an emphasis on the quality of the coffee rather than the quantity. It may be exactly what you need, especially if you prefer your coffee thick.

Time Consumption

French presses take a predictable amount of time to brew coffee, estimated at 4 to 5 minutes. How this compares to drip brewers varies depending on the capacity of the drip brewer in question. Their brewing duration varies from as little as 3 minutes up to 12 minutes.

If you factor in the number of cups of coffee you can brew, the drip brewers may be quicker than French brewers. However, this is without bloom time.

Drip brewers can also help you save on time because they free you to attend to other things you need to do.

Taste

If you get the right grind and an optimum ratio of coffee bean to water, both brewing techniques can make an excellent cup of coffee.

Coffee beans harbor oils that carry flavors that are released when they are soaked in hot water. Besides providing unique flavors, the oils contribute to a silky texture in your mouth which complements the thickness of the coffee, giving it a wholesome taste. In addition, the coffee beans mingle with water for long periods in French presses, providing ample opportunity for extraction. A French press will therefore produce stronger and more flavored coffee than a drip coffee maker.

The Coarseness of the Grind

A French press coffee maker works with coarser beans than drip coffeemakers. Consequently, coffee made using a French press will be thicker and will have more sediment than that made using a drip coffee maker. A typical drip coffee maker will use medium ground coffee beans. This goes with paper filters with small pores that guarantee the coffee is clear and free from sediment.

If your grind is too coarse for your coffeemaker, the hot water won’t be able to extract the coffee flavor and will only dissolve acids from the coffee beans, resulting in watery and sour tasting coffee. If you make it too fine, on the other hand, the coffee will be bitter due to over-extraction..

Summary

There is no universally superior coffee brewing technique between the French press and the drip coffeemaker. The brewing method that will better serve you as a coffee drinker is hinged on your priorities and palate preference.

If you need to taste all the flavors from your coffee beans and don’t mind the thickness of a coarse grind, the French press should serve you well. You must also be ready to put in the work, which ideally is not a lot but seems substantial compared to someone using a drip coffeemaker.

Related Posts

Here are some related posts you may like.

What is Drip Coffee?

Pour over vs French Press. Which Brewing Method is Better?

The Best Electric Drip Coffee Makers

Best Automatic Pour Over Coffee Makers

Best Coffees For French Press

The Perfect Cup. 7 pro tips for making French Press Coffee

Ratio 6 is a World-Class Drip Coffee Maker

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