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If you, like many other coffee lovers, have been wondering what the differences are between pour-over coffee and French press then stick with us. Today we’ll be discussing all the differences found between two of the most popular brewing methods: french press and pour-over coffee.
The terms ‘aeropress vs chemex’ and ‘chemex vs bodum’ or ‘pour over and french press’ are frequently heard in the coffee community and are often the topic of debate. But many people are often left wondering ‘are there any real differences between the two?’
The simple answer to this simple question is a resounding yes. In fact, the vast majority of coffee drinkers are often shocked when they hear that there are 10 notable differences between French press and pour over coffee!
So if you want to learn all about the many differences between French press and pour-over coffee, grab your cup of coffee (brewed using a brewing technique of your choice) and get ready to pour over this article.
In this article we will be discussing the 10 main differences between pour-over coffee and French press coffee. We’re going to cover all the different aspects, from the size of the grinds to the brewing time required and everything in between—some of these differences might surprise you!
But before we dive into the differences between these two incredibly popular coffee brewing methods, we’re going to provide a quick recap on what the two are exactly. Below you will find a brief overview of what French press coffee and pour-over coffee are.
As the name implies, French press coffee is coffee that has been brewed with a device called a French press. A French press, also known as a coffee plunger or press pot, is a coffee brewing device that was first patented by Attilio Calimani way back in 1929.
Since its creation, the French press method has seen ever-growing levels of popularity worldwide and the device itself has been modified as time has gone on.
Today, a modern French press typically consists of the following:
It is a simply designed device that serves its purpose well. Believe it or not, but a French press brewer can be used for more than just brewing a strong cup of delicious coffee—it can even be used to create food.
For instance, many food recipes found all over the internet call for the use of a French press to make soup! You can also use your French press to brew tea, strain juices & grains, and even create craft cocktails.
Pour-over coffee, also known as hand brewing or manual brewing, is coffee that has been brewed by pouring hot water through coffee grounds resting in a filter. This water seeps through the coffee and filter into a carafe. It is a bit longer process than with a drip coffee maker.
Making coffee using the pour-over method has been done for quite some time, this method was first created in 1900 Germany by Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz. Surprisingly, pour-over coffee makers are also often used to brew tea and are quite adept at doing so.
To make a cup of coffee using the pour-over technique, you’ll need the following equipment:
Since its inception, the pour-over method has been adopted by many brands and has come a long way. More and more coffee drinkers are turning to the pour-over method as their preferred way of brewing coffee.
The actual method of brewing is the main difference found between the two types of coffee. All a French press requires you to do is heat the water and pour it over the grounds. After blooming, the coffee needs to sit for 3 to 4 minutes before gently plunging. Avoid these common french press mistakes and your brew will be great.
The pour-over brewing process is a lot more involved. Here are the step by step instructions:
There are obvious differences in the design of pour-over coffee makers and French presses and most people would never mistake one for the other.
A French press will almost always look the same as it boasts a very simple, classic design. While you can get coffee makers in different sizes and colors, a French press is instantly recognizable.
The design of a pour-over coffee maker differs across manufacturers and comes in many different styles. The dripper can either be flat around the edges, ribbed, or include many tiny holes.
Another big difference between the two methods is the equipment needed to produce a hot cup of coffee. Neither requires an excessive amount of equipment, but the pour-over requires slightly more than a French press does.
A French press requires minimal equipment being; a beaker, stainless steel filter, and plunger. You can invest in a scale and timer for the ultimate cup, but these extras aren’t essential.
To get a cup of coffee from a pour-over you’ll need a bit more equipment including a gooseneck kettle, stand, filter, dripper, and container. Again, a scale and timer will take your brew to the next level, but this isn’t a requirement.
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No matter what type of coffee maker you purchase, the grind size needed is an important consideration. A coarse grind should be used for French press coffee to ensure over-extraction of the grounds doesn’t occur and that minimal grit is found in the coffee.
You will need to play around with your specific model of the pour-over coffee maker, but generally speaking, pour-over coffee requires a fine to medium-fine grind.
While neither method is as quick as using an automatic brewing machine, they don’t consume too much time and you’ll have your coffee ready to drink in just a couple of minutes.
With French press brewing, the brewing time is typically around the 5-minute mark excluding heating up your water and the grinding of the coffee beans. The time needed to get a hot cup of pour-over coffee is usually between 3 to 4 minutes excluding the time required to heat your water, rinse & insert the filter and grind the coffee beans.
The winner of this category will be dependent on your personal flavor preferences. Due to the grounds only being filtered at the end of the brewing process, French press coffee is known to have a richer, bolder, and more full-bodied flavor.
Because the coffee grounds are filtered pour-over coffee, while still flavorful, typically takes weaker and has a smoother, lighter, more delicate flavor.
The varying texture of the cup of coffee achieved from these different brewing processes is often the deciding factor for coffee drinkers.
French press coffee will often contain sediment, also called grit, which can result in a grainy texture that many people abhor. Besides the probability of grit, French press coffee also tends to be thicker.
With pour-over coffee, because coffee grounds rest in a filter, there will be no grit found in your cup of coffee. The resulting cup of coffee is smooth and light.
This area is one where the pour-over is triumphant over the French press. Because the parts must be dissembled, cleaning a French press coffee maker can be time-consuming.
On the other hand, the process of cleaning when using pour-over methods is quick and easy. Simply remove the filter and, depending on the filter type, rinse or discard and then wash the base with soapy water. In terms of ease of cleaning, a pour-over coffee maker is one of the easiest coffee makers to clean.
Both processes are more involved than that of automatic brewing, but neither is particularly inconvenient to use. For coffee enthusiasts who love an authentic brew and don’t mind the extra effort needed to produce a fantastic cup of coffee, the convenience aspect is usually not a deal-breaker.
Due to the cleaning process of the French press coffee maker, some would argue that it scores fewer points for convenience. On the other hand, many people feel that the overall the pour-over brewing process is complicated and not beginner-friendly.
The benefits of drinking coffee made from either a French press or pour-over coffee maker far outweigh the inconvenience of these manual coffee brewers.
One of the main reasons why these two methods are so popular with coffee lovers around the world is because both pour-over coffee makers and French presses are affordable.
A big difference is that with a pour-over you will need to purchase extra filters whereas a French press requires no additional spend on essential equipment.
While individual prices vary according to the brand and materials used, it is easy to narrow down the approximate cost. The average price range for a French press coffee maker is between $10 – $70, whereas a pour-over coffee maker such as a Chemex or Bodum start around the $30 mark and increase up to $70.
Before we wrap up this article, here’s a quick recap of the 10 main differences that we found between French press and pour-over coffee.
With all the differences we mentioned, the two methods also share many of the same similarities. Neither coffee maker will cost you too much in time or money. Both methods are highly effective brewing methods that can drastically improve the quality level of your cup of coffee.