For most coffee drinkers in the U.S., drip coffee is the brew of choice. But if you’ve never tried coffee made in a French press, get ready for a whole new experience.
First, let’s review how both methods work. With a drip coffee maker, you place a paper filter into the machine, add the coffee grounds, fill the tank with water, and brew. The water in the tank is heated and funneled back over the grounds, and as the water passes through the grounds, it becomes coffee. It then travels through the filter and into the pot or carafe, which usually sits on a heated plate. When all the coffee has completed this journey, it’s ready to drink.
For the French press, you scoop the coffee grounds into the cylindrical container, pour in hot water, place the lid on top (without pushing down the plunger), and let the grounds steep for three to five minutes. Once the steeping is complete, gently push down the plunger to separate the grounds from the brewed coffee. When you pour, the liquid coffee will emerge from the beaker, while the wet grounds stay behind, beneath the plunger. The French press brew is now ready to drink.
Do these two different brewing methods result in two distinct cups of coffee? Many coffee fans think so!
For many, the most significant difference is all about flavor. When the coffee travels through the drip machine’s paper filter, much of the natural oils present on the grounds are trapped. The resulting coffee is considered by many to be weaker and less flavorful. Since the French press doesn’t use a filter, it delivers a more pure and true coffee taste that java fans appreciate.
Drip coffee continues to be heated after brewing (on the hot base of the drip machine), which is a plus if you don’t get to pour yourself a cup right away. But the longer that coffee sits on the heat, the more likely it is to end up tasting bitter.
There is a slight difference in brew time between the two methods. You can drink a fresh cup of French press coffee in about five to eight minutes. A drip machine can take five to ten minutes, depending on how many cups you’re brewing.
Drip machines can usually brew as many as ten to twelve cups at a time, whereas most French presses can only accommodate up to four cups. If you need to serve a crowd, the drip machine may be the best option. But if you’ve got a more intimate gathering, the French press coffee would offer them quite a treat.
Whether these factors are game-changers is up to each java drinker. But we think the flavor boost alone should make it a no-brainer to say “oui” to a cup of French press coffee. Tell us what you think once you’ve tried it!