We’ve all met coffee snobs, in fact, some of us may even be one. The list of coffee debates is endless, but you’re here for one reason: French Press vs Pour Over.
Whether you’re looking to open up the hottest new café or simply want to spice up your coffee game, you’re here, you’re curious and you’re wanting to know. I’m proud of you for just being here, choosing to say no to single-use coffee pods and yes to indulging in the perfect cup of coffee to start your day.
Now, this controversial standoff between two coffee methods is filled with opinionated die-hards that will push you in a million directions; but I’m here to give you the facts and ultimately help you decide which is best for you.
French Press Vs Pour Over Coffee: Which Method Is Better?
Let’s break it down and start with the basics.
What Is A French Press?
Simply put, a French press is a cylinder-shaped coffee pot with a plunger and built-in filter which brews coffee directly in the pot by letting the grounds steep in water. To use the French press, you place coffee grounds at the bottom of the pot then top it with hot water.
After a quick stir, you lower the plunger into the pot, but stop just above the water and coffee grounds. After waiting a few minutes (time up to debate *cue opinionated coffee lovers) for the coffee and water to brew together, you press the plunger down to separate the grounds from the coffee.
Following this, you pour your coffee and enjoy.
What Is A Pour Over?
A pour over, alternatively, is a drip method of producing coffee. During this method, coffee grounds are added to a damp filter and hot water is poured over the grounds, slowly, meticulously and almost ritually.
During this hand poured method, the hot water infuses with the coffee’s oils and fragrances in its own time then drips through the filter directly into your cup or serving carafe.
Most of the oils and grounds are caught by the filter, leaving you with cleaner, more refined cup of coffee.
Congratulations, you now know the difference between a French press and a pour over! While that’s all well and good, which one is best for you? Enthusiasts will argue day and night, holding true to their favorite, but the reality is what you like may differ greatly from the person next to you.
Things To Consider For Your Perfect Cup Of Coffee:
1. Flavor & Texture
If you’re after full bodied, flavor packed coffee, French press is your best bet. While the coffee steeps, oils are extracted from the grounds and packs a punch of flavor into the coffee. French press coffee is known to have more texture with a little grittiness to it. Some love it, some hate it. For the perfect taste though, be sure to pay attention to your steep. After the grounds are pushed down, the coffee continues to steep, if you plan to enjoy that extra cup later, decant it and reserve.
A pour over, on the other hand, is known to be lighter, brighter and fruiter. Being that the coffee grounds and oils get stopped by the filter, one ends up with a smooth, clear finish. Said to emphasize the intricate flavors found in coffee, especially while using single origin beans, coffee devotees rarely add milk or additional flavors to pour over cover, simply savoring the coffee itself.
2. Involvement, Time & Cleanup
If you are just starting on your home brewing journey, the French press is an easy first option. As long as you have quality beans, simply add the water and ground coffee and wait. Setting a timer to know how long the coffee has been steeping will help, but there isn’t much work to it. The pour over on the other hand, although simple in theory, takes a bit more effort. Pouring the water in a particular circular motion and at a certain speed will yield consistent coffee. Getting this hand pouring method right can be tricky, but ultimately very rewarding. In the end, both methods take about the same amount of time to brew, but the pour over method requires more focus on attention.
In terms of cleanup, the time varies slightly. Making coffee at home always requires some sort of clean up and if you absolutely despise doing dishes or are finding yourself rushing out the door in the morning, this is something to consider. Although neither method requires too much time, the pour over method is definitely faster. To properly clean a French press, it must be dismantled with each piece cleaned individually. The pour over, however, requires a quick wash after the grounds and filter are removed and disposed of. Check out recommended ways of disposing with coffee grounds.
To have high quality coffee, high quality beans are the most important. Finding a blend or single origin with the right taste profile can take some time, but it is worth the investment. Disregarding the cost of coffee, as it is important for both methods, the cost of a quality pour over carafe can range from £20 to £50. In addition, for the best results one should use a gooseneck kettle to help with a slow, consistent pour and coffee filters are needed. A quality French press on the other hand is one piece of equipment that can range from £20 to £40.
Flavor & Texture
full bodied, flavor packed coffee
lighter, brighter and fruiter
Ease Of Use
French Press Vs Pour Over: Summing Up
Ultimately, the method you choose is a personal decision. Understanding the flavor profile and texture of coffee that appeals to you is most important. If you want something bold that smacks you awake in the morning, the French press is about to be your best friend. If you’d rather sip on something lighter with detailed coffee notes, try your hand at a pour over. After flavor profile, understanding the time commitment and personal involvement to brew that perfect cup must be considered. Lastly, we can’t forget about cost, a crucial decision factor. Considering that at first glance they may seem relatively priced, keep in mind that additional items will be needed for that perfect pour over.
If you ask me, I’d go French press purely for that burst of flavor, but that’s my personal preference. I’m not here to judge, but others may be!