French Press vs. Drip Coffee: Which Brewing Method Is Right for You?

More than 50% of the population of the United States are coffee drinkers. It goes without saying that these 150 million people would have an opinion on which coffee brewing method was the best – a drip machine, or a french coffee press.

Consider a few major factors when deciding which might be best for you, but it’s highly recommended you try both at some point in your coffee enjoyment journey. Following is a quick breakdown of the differences between both methods, which may help you determine which you prefer.

Drip Machine

The most common method of brewing coffee is with some type of electric drip machine. Although they come in countless varieties, brands, and designs, the actual brewing method is essentially the same for all.

A drip coffee machine (usually just referred to as a coffee maker), is an automated process. It does require the action of adding a filter, coffee grounds, and water.

There are certainly high end machines and fancy espresso machines that you can purchase to make specialty and artesian coffees right at home. Or go to a fabulous coffee shop and have them do it for you on a commercial grade machine. It is known that the drip machine takes longer for the coffee to brew. Yet, it seems by far the most hands off once a pot is started.

Simply put – a drip coffee machine can create a great brew for the very least amount of effort.

French Coffee Press

The French coffee press may be a slightly less common method to brew coffee, but most definitely a classic. The French press operates manually – meaning you are actively the one brewing the coffee.

A  high quality French coffee press will have several layers of filtration to ensure a rich brew without any grounds remaining behind. The press, or plunger, allows you to steep your grounds without using paper filters.

The French coffee press is usually made of glass and stainless steel, materials built to last without rusting or losing their beautiful, stylish look. One of the best things about a French coffee press is that it’s not bulky and doesn’t require electricity to produce an amazing tasting cup of coffee.

ConvenienceSince coffee making and drinking are very much a part of many lives, it can be good to look at the convenience of the drip and French press coffee maker.

Focusing on how long it takes to just prepare the brewing option and complete the brew itself, the time frame for both is pretty efficient.

A drip coffee maker takes 3 to 10 minutes on average, whereas a French coffee press takes between 5 to 8 minutes. At this point, we need to take into consideration the skill of the coffee preparer themselves.

The French coffee press is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it is so versatile and customizable, any coffee creation is possible with very little machinery. On the flip side however, that much leeway can make it difficult for the novice coffee maker to perfect. It will take longer than it does for someone who has already mastered the art of the press itself.

While more affordable on average, the French coffee press doesn’t accommodate as many drinkers as the drip machine can. A press allows you to make up to 8 cups (usually less), but a regular machine will make up to 14 cups.

Flavor

When debating the flavor of the coffee made by a drip machine vs. the French coffee press, it mostly comes down to personal choice.

One argument is that the French coffee press is able to create a more robust and rich coffee flavor because its filters are steel and not paper. Paper filters can remove flavors and oils from the coffee grounds resulting in a more watered down taste.

However, there is a big learning curve with operating a French coffee press. There are many variables that will affect the taste of the coffee when made with a press. The grounds you choose, and how many scoops you add to the press will impact boldness.

The temperature of the water that you use, as well as how long you steep (soak) the grounds also play a factor. It may take some time and experimentation to perfect your perfect pressed coffee. With a drip machine, the odds are your coffee will come out tasting the same every time. Not exactly a bad thing.

Overall, there are pros and cons to both a drip machine and a French coffee press. There may be times you prefer one over the other – and there is no rule to say that a coffee enthusiast can’t utilize and enjoy both brewing methods and have the best of both worlds.

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