French Press Vs. Pour Over: Which Coffee Maker Is Better

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

These days there are seemingly endless ways to brew a cup of coffee in the morning. From perfectly calibrated espresso shots to a typical coffee maker, and everything in between, there are many ways to get your morning dose of caffeine. But some coffee brewing methods tend to yield a better brew, bringing out the best in the beans.

French press and pour over coffee systems are two popular methods used by many coffee connoisseurs to ensure a well-brewed cup of Joe. But between French press coffee makers and pour over coffee maker systems, which type makes a better cup of coffee?

The French press and pour over coffee brewing methods both yield delicious coffee, but the two methods produce different styles of coffee. The French press is a better coffee maker for those who enjoy a rich, bold cup of coffee with more of the beans’ natural oils present. For those who enjoy a clean, pure, and lighter roast, the pour over system is the better option.

Whether you opt for a French Press or a pour over system, the odds are you are going to enjoy a superior cup of coffee. This is especially true if you are used to a capsule machine or an old-school drip machine.

Both of these systems have their own unique way of bringing out the best flavors in coffee beans. But each type has its own pros and cons, as well as its own specific flavor profile. So, keep reading to see which system is best for your lifestyle and taste buds.

French Press Or Pour Over: What’s The Difference?

Before you can understand whether a French press or pour over system is better, you first need to understand the difference between the two. These two systems both involve pouring hot water over ground coffee beans. Neither method uses electricity or fancy technology.

The difference comes from how the coffee is extracted from the ground beans. The French press method uses an immersion method. An immersion process is when ground coffee is immersed in hot water throughout the brewing process. After about 4 minutes, you push down the filter, and press the grounds down to the bottom. This allows for a strong flavor, full of mouthfeel and oils from the beans.

The pour over method is quite different. It is similar to a drip coffee system, in that hot water is poured on top of the ground coffee, which sits in a filter, and then coffee slowly drips out beneath into a cup. This method is called an infusion method, because the water does not sit fully immersed but instead, passes through the coffee and a filter. The result is coffee that tends to be much cleaner and more nuanced. Therefore, there are fewer oils and less mouthfeel in a pour over, but this results in a cleaner and more elegant cup of coffee.

Pros And Cons Of French Press Coffee Makers

The best way to know if a French press coffee maker is right for you is to know its benefits and its drawbacks. Below is a list of the major pros and cons of a French press in order to help you decide if this is the better option for you.

Reasons To Buy A French Press Coffee Maker

Brings Out Natural Oils In Coffee

One of the best qualities of a French press coffee maker is that it helps bring out the natural oils in coffee. These oils provide flavor, aroma, and a nice mouthfeel, found ni abundance in espresso beverages. This method is a great way to have those flavors in a regular coffee format.

It Only Takes About 5 Minutes

Another great aspect of a French press is you can pour the hot water, walk away and enjoy it in just 5 minutes. Unlike pour over systems where for best results you need to bloom the grounds, then pour in a specific method, a French press is simple. You can just pour the hot water, take a shower and enjoy once you dry off.

Easy To Pour And Replenish Your Coffee

A benefit of French press systems is their ease of use. The beakers that the coffee brews in also lend themselves as pitchers. So, once the coffee is pressed down, you can transport the full pitcher to a breakfast nook, or even your home office. This makes it an easy-to-transport method.

You Can Get A Big French Press To Accommodate Larger Gatherings

French press systems also come in many shapes and sizes. You can get hand-blown glass coffee makers for a stunning conversation starter piece. There are 8- and 10-ounce makers for those who just want one cup. But most importantly, you can buy a large French press that yields 6 to 8 cups of coffee, which is great for when you have company.

Reasons To Reconsider Buying A French Press Coffee Maker

Might Find Grounds In Your Coffee

One of the biggest drawbacks to a French press is that while the mesh filter keeps large grounds out, it doesn’t keep everything out. In fact, you are likely to find a few coffee grounds in most of your French press coffee, especially if you use finer ground beans. This is perfectly safe to consume but can be off-putting to some.

Cleanup Is A Bit Messy

Another downside to French press coffee makers is they are a bit messy to clean. There is no filter, so instead you need to use your hands or a spoon to scoop out the grounds. Usually, it is not a good idea to pour coffee grounds down the drain or a garbage disposal.

The Last Pour Is A Bit Muddy

There is also the infamous final pour of a French press to consider. Even if you have a top-quality French press, the last pour is bound to look a bit muddy. This can be disappointing for those looking to enjoy one last top-off on their coffee, only to find it looks like sludge.

Pros And Cons Of Pour Over Coffee Maker

Pour over coffee makers have only recently become popular, but now they are everywhere. From fancy restaurants and specialty coffee shops to many a chic apartment kitchen. If you want to know if this newly popular brewing method is better for you than a French press, read the pros and cons below.

Reasons To Buy A Pour Over Coffee Maker

Makes A Clean And Nuanced Cup Of Coffee

With its controlled water and temperature pouring and the coffee filter, a pour over coffee is known for a precise and clean cup of coffee. This is great for those who like lighter yet complex coffee.

Great For Coffee Lovers Who Travel

You can find small and durable pour over systems that can easily brew a few cups of great coffee. This is great for travelers and campers who don’t want to sacrifice coffee quality.

Effective At Filtering Out Grounds

With the controlled pour and paper filter, there is no need to worry about imperfections in the coffee. Pour over coffee is known for a clean cup of Joe, without coffee grounds.

Offers Complete Brewing Control Throughout The Process

You have complete control over a pour over system, from the water temperature to the “blooming” of the coffee, and everything in between. This allows you to extract the exact qualities of the coffee you aim for.

Reasons To Reconsider A Pour Over Coffee Maker

You Need To Buy Paper Filters

Unlike a French press, you need to always make sure you have paper coffee filters in stock. The expense is minimal, but it does add an extra item to your grocery list.

There Are More Steps Involved

While a pour over system can give you a perfect cup, there are more steps involved to do so. You can’t simply dump hot water and walk away like you can with a French press. This system is a more involved and slow pour.

Limits The Number Of Oils And Aromas In The Cup

If you like oils, aromas, and mouthfeel in your coffee, then stick with a French press. A pour over system is known for removing impurities but also oils and that mouthfeel.

Takes Skill And Practice To Master

Just like with any advanced cup of coffee, a pour over system takes time to master. Sure you can use this method as a novice, but in order to get the most out of this system, you have to practice and perfect the art.

Pour Over Or French Press: Which Method Is Best?

If you want to know if a pour over or French press coffee maker is better, then you should first determine how you want your coffee to taste. Both methods involve boiling and pouring water and have a bit of cleanup. Therefore, the main difference is taste.

If you like a bold coffee with fragrant oils and a nice mouthfeel, then French press is by far the better option. It is also a bit easier and more user-friendly.

If you like a lighter roast and more elegant and nuanced flavors, then a pour over system is best. A pour over maker is great for those who want excellent coffee while traveling (as they come in easily transportable designs), and also great for those who like to taste all the subtleties of coffee.

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Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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