Manual coffee brewing methods are becoming increasingly popular as people look for a more flavorful and authentic cup of coffee. Whether you’re an experienced at home barista or just starting out, there are two popular manual brewing methods that stand out for their bold flavor: French press and pour-over.
Both involve pouring hot water over freshly ground coffee beans to extract the flavors from the grounds, but each method has its own unique benefits. In this article, we’ll explore both French press vs pour-over so you can decide which one is best suited to your taste preferences and lifestyle.
French Press Coffee
French press, or press coffee, is an immersion brewing method that involves ‘soaking’ the coffee grounds in hot water for a few minutes before plunging down the grounds to stop the steeping.
The result is a rich, full-bodied cup of coffee with a distinct bold flavor. French press tends to be richer in flavor than other brewing methods due to its longer extraction time, manual stirring of the grounds and higher natural coffee oils content. It’s also higher in caffeine content.
On the other hand, pour-over coffee is considered to be a drip method. The coffee brew is produced as you pour the hot water over the grounds. So unlike French Press, it does not soak or steep for a long time. Also, Pour-over methods use paper filters, which traps a lot of the natural oils in the coffee. This gives the resulting cup of coffee a cleaner and brighter flavor than French Press.
In terms of caffeine content, pour-over coffee is slightly lower than French press due to its shorter extraction time. However, it still produces a bold and flavorful cup that is smooth on the palate.
French Press vs. Pour Over Taste – Which Is Bolder?
When it comes to taste, French Press is usually considered the bolder option. This is due to its longer steeping time and higher natural coffee oils content, which gives it a strong flavor that stands out in comparison with pour-over coffee.
However, pour-over can still produce a bold cup of coffee, especially if you use a coarser grind size and add more grounds than usual. In that case, the resulting cup of coffee will be bold, strong and flavorful. But it still won’t compare to French Press.
If you prefer a bold and full-bodied cup of coffee, you’ll enjoy French Press coffee. It’s a simple method that gives you full control over the steep time of your coffee and allows you to control the strength of your brew.
However, if you feel like a you’d rather enjoy a lighter cup of coffee, which can still be strong, but where you can taste clear variety of notes in your cup, pour-over is great just for that. It produces a clean cup that’s less ‘grimey’ than what French Press would produce.
French Press vs Pour-Over: Ease of Use
Now we’ve talked about taste and established that French Press wins the Bold coffee title, let’s talk about the brewing methods themselves and which is easier to do.
French Press is certainly the easier one here. Overall, Immersion brewing methods (where the coffee grounds can soak and steep) like French Press, Clever Dripper or Aeropress are easier than pour-over methods, which require a lot of precision.
French press requires coarse coffee grounds, scoop the amount you want to brew and pour hot water over it. Let it steep for a few minutes and plunge down the handle to filter out the grounds from the coffee. And you are all set!
Pour over, on the other hand, whether that’s a Chemex, Kalita or V60 brewer, requires that you slowly pour the water over the grounds in a matter of 2 or 3 minutes until you’ve reached the desired amount of coffee brew. It requires that you follow a certain flow within a time frame for a proper extraction, which can be hard to do in the beginning. But like everything else, practice makes perfect.
So when it comes to brewing, French Press is the easier one to do.
Cleaning the brewers is another story. And it’s where the French Press loses.
Cleaning a French press pot is a hassle that made me give up on the tool eventually. Because it doesn’t use a paper filter, you have to scoop out the grounds to the bin. NEVER dispose of ground coffee in your drain, it will clog it eventually. Once you got rid of the grounds, you can wash out the pot with water and soap like you would anything else. But for the plunger and mesh filter, you’ll want to make sure no grounds are stuck there. The mesh filter can get clogged if you don’t wash it properly. So I advise that you disassemble the whole thing every few uses and clean it thoroughly.
Pour-over tools, on the other hand, are a breeze to clean. Since they use paper filters, it’s just a matter of picking up the filter, disposing of it and rinsing the brewer. And you’re all set!
Overall – Which Brewing Method Is Better? French Press or Pour Over?
Both methods have pros and cons. French Press produces a bolder cup of coffee, but it requires more effort to clean. Pour-over gives you a lighter and cleaner cup of coffee, but you’ll need to practice your pouring technique if you want to get the most out of your beans.
At the end of the day, it’s all up to you and what you prefer in terms of taste and convenience. If you’re looking for a bolder cup of coffee that’s easier to make, French Press is perfect for that. But if you want to explore the different flavors in your beans, pour-over is the way to go.