Interested in manual coffee brewing but can’t decide on the style? Well, I’m here to help you out! French press and pour over coffee makers have started creeping into our homes, cafes, offices, workplaces. While both make a delicious cup of joe differently from what you’re used to (drip machines, anyone?), you can either love them or hate them.
Let’s have a look at the differences and which of these brewers is best suited for your needs and lifestyle: the ultimate French Press vs Pour Over showdown!
French Press Overview
If you want to feel like a boss while using your brewer, the French press might be for you! there’s something really therapeutic about pressing it down and the results are definitely satisfying. It’s something many coffee lovers of the world simply can’t resist. I love a French-pressed coffee on lazy weekends when you can take time and relax.
How it works?
A French press consists of three parts: a carafe, a plunger, and a filter, which is usually stainless steel. You fill the carafe with ground coffee, add hot water, and let the coffee steep. Once the steeping process is complete (depends on the brew strength), you press down the plunger. That way you can enjoy your coffee since the plunger helps to separate the grounds from your cup. That’s what makes it super practical to use for cold brew coffee brewing! Keep in mind though that coffee oil is more present in French press brew than in other methods, but these oils add a unique aroma and flavor to the cup!
- Rich, bold coffee, very flavorful
- You control the strength and richness of coffee
- Foolproof once you get the ratios right
- Coffee has a slightly gritty texture
- A bit annoying to clean
Top French Press Picks
Secura Stainless Steel French Press
With a 3-level filtration system and timeless stainless steel design, Secura brewer will look after you and your needs for as long as you want it to. Seriously, it’s made to last!
You can choose between the silver color which definitely looks minimalistic and clean, or the black color, full of style and elegance. It also promises to keep your coffee hot up to 30 minutes as it comes with double insulated walls. But don’t worry about the heat, there are a safety touch and knob which makes it easy to handle and safe for pouring.
Kona French Press
A combo of stainless steel and borosilicate glass, KONA brewer isn’t only stylish but famous for its filtration system. It’s one of the most popular French press coffeemakers, build to last.
There’s no plastic in the filtration system (what a nice change!) and the brewer is easy to clean. While it won’t keep your coffee hot for more than 30 minutes, it will give you no grittiness in your coffee and it’ll easily last a long time if you look after it as well as it deserves.
Kona is travel-friendly and you can also use it outdoors.
Does French press taste better?
That depends on your preferences. A French press makes a bolder and stronger cup of coffee. If you’re looking for a rich cup of joe, this option is probably your best choice.
Does French press have more caffeine?
Ye, it does. French press actually contains more caffeine than a single shot of espresso. According to the Spruce Eats,
The longer you brew the coffee, the higher the level of caffeine it will have. The brewing time will vary by the method. For example, French press coffee is left sitting for several minutes before the plunger is depressed and the coffee served, resulting in a higher caffeine level. Drip-brewed coffee from a coffee machine (which is often left to brew for around five minutes) also has a higher caffeine level. The larger, slower extractions of espresso called lungos will have a higher caffeine level than ristrettos (smaller, faster extractions of espresso).
Similarly, if you brew your coffee with more ground beans per cup of water, there will be more caffeine in the brew. Most coffee recipes call for about 30 grams coffee per 12 to 16 ounces water. Using more coffee than that will also increase the caffeine level in your coffee.
Can I use regular ground coffee in a French press?
To get the best results, you’ll need a coarse grind for the French press. Using medium or fine will result in bitter coffee. Test and try until you get it right.
Pour Over Overview
Want to be flexible about the number of cups you make? Pour over is a bit faster and more precise method than the French press. You’ll be able to taste different notes in coffee that you haven’t tasted before. It’s subtle, flavorful, and it can please a crowd or just yourself. It’s the ultimate brewing method for fussy coffee drinkers. Want to know what’s so great about pour over coffee? Let’s find out!
How it works?
Pour over consist of pouring hot water over coffee grounds in a cone-shaped filter. The filter can be either replaceable or permanent, as long as it’s cone-shaped. You wet the grounds with water and let them sit for a bit before you add more water. You can find more on brewing pour-over coffee here.
In any case, you have to boil the water, let it set to the correct temperature, and pour the water over the grounds. The coffee in the filter never touches the brew, which is why it’s not as strong as French press coffee.
What’s more, pour-over also doesn’t come with any grit; it somewhat resembles drip coffee in that aspect. It’s also quite smooth and light, but fine and subtle. Apart from that, you can choose from manual brewers or automatic pour-over brewers.
- Flexible amount of brewing coffee
- Smoother texture
- No grittiness
- Easy cleanup
- Some are portable (travel-friendly)
- Less intense flavor (which isn’t necessarily a con for some)
- Learning curve involved
Top Pour-Over Picks
Let’s have a look at what’s the best pour-over.
Hario V60 Ceramic Dripper
One of the most popular, well-known, and iconic pour-over coffee makers on the market, Hario makes a great gift and it’s both functional and practical, even though it may not be the best for beginners.
To use this pour-over, you’ll need paper filters, coffee, and hot water. This model comes available in various materials, but the best two to choose from are ceramic and glass models.
Hario comes with a unique design that will easily fit on any type of coffee cup, and it’s extremely efficient.
Chemex Classic Series 8-Cup
Another classic on the list, Chemex is stylish, minimalistic, and classy. Once you get used to it, you cannot go back.
The great thing about Chemex is that it can help you please a crowd as well since it gives you 4 different size options. It’s made of borosilicate glass and a wood collar, it makes any room look amazingly elegant.
You’ll have to handle this one with care as a 10-cup carafe full of coffee is a bit tricky to handle, but you’ll be throwing afternoon coffee parties with ease in no time, as soon as you learn to master it!
What kind of coffee do you use for a pour-over?
That’ll depend on each brewer separately. Still, think along the lines of medium grind. For example, Hario V60 needs medium-fine grounds. If your coffee tastes sour, use the finer ground. If it’s bitter, use a coarser grind. You can also decrease your brew time and test until you get it right.
What grind should I use for Chemex?
You’ll use a medium-coarse grind, but not too medium is the best option. Think table salt consistency and don’t forget to rinse the filter beforehand!
Before you leave: French Press VS Pour Over?
As you can see above, there is some significant difference between french press and pour-over. Essentially, your final decision on which one to pick depends on your preferences, your lifestyle, and your will to experiment.
If you’re in for a rich and strong coffee that’s bold and isn’t afraid to hide it, go for French press and this coffee maker, which is great for beginners. It’ll wake you on a lazy Saturday morning and allow you more flexibility.
On the other hand, if you’re in it for more than just a tasty cup, pour-over is probably your brew of choice. While it’s not for the faint of heart (learning curve and all that), a pour-over will give you the freedom of brewing amount without anything gritty in the final cup.
Make no mistake, no matter which of the two (pour-over coffee vs french press) you choose, both brewers and methods are affordable, produce delicious coffee, and allow you to take the brewing process to a whole new level.
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