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French Press vs. Pour Over Coffee

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French Press Vs. Pour Over Coffee

You've just received a freshly roasted batch of our Real Good Coffee Co whole beans — now all you need to do is determine which type of coffee beverage to make. Espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, and cortados are delicious ways to relax with a cup of coffee, but many on the run to school or work prefer the convenience of a quick French press or pour over. 

Have you ever been stuck deciding between a pour over or French press? Don't worry, many of us debate these brewing methods in hopes to discover which one is right for our morning cup. Spoiler alert — they're both amazing options you won't regret. In this guide, we'll discuss what makes a French press and pour over coffee different, how to prepare each and answer some frequently asked questions about both brewing methods. 

French Press Overview

The French press is also known as a coffee press or a cafetiere. It was initially designed in the late 1920s, then modified throughout the next 30 years. Today, a French press coffee maker is a popular brewing method because it's an easy and affordable way to make delicious fresh coffee in the comfort of your own home.

How It Works

The French press may sound like a fancy machine, but it's actually a simple and effective concept. Its namesake comes from the machine used for brewing — the French press machine steeps coffee grounds in hot water, then separates the grounds out to leave only the coffee liquid. The hot water is poured into a cylindrical glass carafe holding the coffee grounds. The grounds are left to steep, and then the plunger with a stainless steel filter is pushed to the bottom of the carafe to press the grounds.

Brew Method

A French press uses a brewing method called immersion. This type of brewing is a method in which the coffee grounds are immersed in water and left to brew. The difference between a French press immersion brewing and immersion brewing for cold brew, for instance, is that the water is heated for a French press and kept room temperature or cooled for a cold brew. 

Ease of Use

The French press coffee maker is an easy device to use, even for those who are minimally experienced at making fresh coffee at home. Once you learn how to properly make the coffee and clean the device, you'll be able to effortlessly prepare fresh French press coffee within minutes every morning. 

Brewing Time

How long does it take to make a great cup of French press coffee? The brewing time will range between three and eight minutes. 

Control of the Brew

You'll want to use your thermometer to get the hot water as close to 195°F as possible. Don't pour the entire amount of water into the grounds at once. Instead, pour a little in and watch as the frothy foam-like substance, known as the bloom, rises to the top. Enhance the flavor by letting it bloom for 30 to 45 seconds, then pour the rest of the water in. 

Resulting Brew

The extraction time ranges will impact the flavor of the resulting brew. If you want a more pronounced flavor, you could steep the grounds for as long as eight minutes. We suggest beginning at three or three and a half minutes, then increasing by 30 seconds each time to change the bitterness or boldness of the taste.

Resulting Brew

Materials Used

Very little is needed to make a delicious cup of French press coffee. A French press coffee maker is an obvious necessity, plus you will need hot water and coffee grounds. We suggest grinding your own freshly roasted beans using a manual or electric coffee grinder. You should also have a scale, measuring cup, timer, and thermometer on-hand if you want to maximize your chances of brewing the perfect cup.

Sizes Available

French press coffee makers are available in a variety of sizes, from travel-sized one-cup presses to party-serving 12-cup presses. When considering how much water and grounds you'll need to make your desired amount of coffee, refer to this serving size chart:

 One serving of regular coffee: 8oz of water | 0.5oz or 13.9g of coffee

  • One serving of strong coffee: 8oz of water | 0.7oz or 21.5g of coffee
  • Two servings of regular coffee: 16oz of water | 0.9oz or 27.8g of coffee
  • Two servings of strong coffee: 16oz of water | 1.5oz or 42.9g of coffee
  • Four servings of regular coffee: 32oz of water | 1.9oz or 55.5g of coffee
  • Four servings of strong coffee: 32oz of water | 2.9oz or 85.8g of coffee

Price Range

How much should you pay for a French press coffee maker? As with any other kitchen product, it all depends on the quality of brewed coffee you desire. Some French press machines are designed with an insulated carafe, two-stage filters, and enough durability to be safely washed in the dishwasher. 

Pros

Although the French press does feature a filter to prevent grounds from getting into your finished brew, this filter does not cause the coffee to lose overall flavor from natural oils. Other filter types, like paper filters, may dilute the flavor of the final product. 

Cons

One downside to preparing your own French press coffee is that the length of immersion time can have a significant impact on the taste of your finished cup. For those rushing to get a fresh cup before they head out to work, the time and tact needed to ensure you yield the flavor you desire may be considered too time-consuming.  

Pour Over Overview

Pour over coffee is a classic brewing method that's becoming increasingly popular. This simple and elegant way of brewing fresh coffee is slightly different than an immersion brewing method because it is constantly saturating the coffee grounds with new, fresh water. It's also known as drip coffee or filter coffee, though it should be noted that its process is slightly different than the process a standard filtered drip coffee maker uses.

How It Works

Making coffee with a pour over coffee maker involves pouring water over coffee grounds. Because the filter sits in a cylindrical shape, the hot water will move in a circle around the grounds as it settles to the bottom of the filter. Like drip coffee, the hot water will pass through the filter and prevent coffee grinds from getting into the final brew. 

Brew Method

The pour over brewing method is an infusion method that extracts the flavors yet leaves many of the natural oils in the filter. This method also prevents the coffee grinds from becoming over-saturated with water. 

Brew Method

Ease of Use

If you've ever used a standard drip coffee maker before, then you should have no trouble using a pour over coffee maker. The elements of this brewing process that require the most attention are the coarseness of the grind and brewing time limit.

Brewing Time

How long does it take to brew a pot of pour over coffee? After around 10 minutes you should have completed the entire process. As for the brewing time of the coffee itself, anticipate roughly three to four minutes for light roasted beans and two-and-a-half to three minutes if you choose to use dark roasted beans. 

Control of the Brew

Similar to pouring hot water into your French press, we suggest slowly pouring the hot water into the grounds. With the first pour, allow the coffee to bloom, then continue gradually pouring the rest of the water. Though you should be patient, we recommend you do not pour too slowly and cause the grounds to dry.  

Resulting Brew

After your coffee has brewed, it should yield a smooth taste that is free of any coffee grinds. The flavor should be noticeable yet not bitter, bold, or overpowering. 

Materials Used

To begin, you'll need many of the same items you'd use during other coffee brewing methods — hot water, coffee beans, a manual or electric grinder, and a scale. However, unlike other brewing methods, like immersion brewing, you will also need filters.

Sizes Available

Pour over coffee makers are available in a variety of sizes, ranging from single-serve to a liter of coffee or more. When considering how much water and grounds you'll need to make your desired amount of coffee, refer to this serving size chart:

  • One serving of regular coffee: 8oz of water | 0.5oz or 13.9g of coffee
  • One serving of strong coffee: 8oz of water | 0.53oz or 16g of coffee
  • Two servings of regular coffee: 16oz of water | 0.9oz or 27.8g of coffee
  • Two servings of strong coffee: 16oz of water | 1.1oz or 31.5g of coffee
  • Four servings of regular coffee: 32oz of water | 1.9oz or 55.5g of coffee
  • Four servings of strong coffee: 32oz of water | 2.13oz or 63g of coffee

Price Range

How much should you pay for a pour over coffee maker? Lower-priced models are available online and in many common department stores for only a few dollars. However, other high-end models are priced online for hundreds of dollars more. When it comes to purchasing a pour over coffee maker, many brands will deliver a higher-quality product at prices that are within an affordable range for most homeowners. 

Pros

Those who are seeking a smooth-tasting cup of coffee similar to a drip coffee will prefer the taste of pour over compared to French press. It's also much easier to clean compared to the French press. 

Cons

The absence of full flavor is the biggest disadvantage to using a pour over coffee maker. Although some coffee brewing methods, like immersion brewing, will allow the full flavor of the beans to be retailed through the brewing process, brewing coffee beans with the pour over method will lose some flavoring.

What Is a Chemex Coffee Maker?

A Chemex coffee maker is a device used to make pour over coffee. Invented in 1941, its distinctive design features an hourglass-shaped glass body with a wooden collar around the neck. The Chemex coffeemaker uses its own thick paper filters to yield a smoother tasting cup of coffee. One benefit to the Chemex is that its glass frame can be easily heated on the stove. It's also easy to clean — remove the wooden handle, and either hand wash the coffee maker or place it in the dishwasher.

What is a chemex coffee maker

Brewing a cup of coffee with a Chemex coffee maker is easy. First, grind your coffee beans into a medium-coarse grind. Open the Chemex filter and place it into the top of the Chemex brewer. Place one tablespoon of coffee into the filter for every five ounces of water. Pour a little hot water into the brewer, let the grounds bloom, then slowly pour the rest of the water. After the coffee is brewed, remove and discard the filter. You're now ready to enjoy your perfect cup.

Pour Over vs. French Press: The Verdict

The French press vs. the pour over. Two great brewing methods you can use to effortlessly make delicious cups of coffee at home. Both have their advantages, though some coffee drinkers will prefer one over the other because each brewing method will result in noticeably different tasting cups.

What's the most significant difference between French press and pour over? The French press brewing method uses immersion brewing, while the pour over brewing method uses an infusion method. These different types of brewing methods offer advantages when using specific types of beans. Those who enjoy smooth coffee with a pleasant flavor should use light roast beans in a pour over, while those who enjoy rich, bold tasting coffee should use dark roast in a French press.

Comparing ease of use, a pour over may be an easier brewing method to try for those already used to making filtered coffee. In terms of expense, both a pour over coffee maker and French press can be purchased for a reasonable amount. 

FAQ about Pour Over vs. French Press

Would you like to learn more about the best ways to make pour over or French press? Here are answers to a few frequently asked questions many first-time at-home coffee makers have.

What Is the Best Type of Bean for French Press?

Those who choose to brew a cup of French press coffee will likely enjoy the rich taste that medium or dark roast beans can offer. 

What Is the Best Type of Bean for Pour Over?

When picking a bean for a pour over coffee maker, we always suggest trying a light or medium roast coffee for an easy-drinking cup.  

What Coffee-To-Water Ratio Should You Use for French Press?

When brewing French press coffee, you'll be using a coffee-to-water ratio that applies to all types of immersion coffee, with the exception of cold brew coffee. We suggest a 1:17 ratio for a standard cup or a 1:11 ratio for a stronger cup. 

What Coffee-To-Water Ratio Should You Use for Pour Over?

A pour over coffee will require the same coffee-to-water ratio as a standard drip coffee will. We suggest a 1:17 ratio for a standard cup or a 1:15 ratio for a stronger cup. 

How Do You Keep Your Brewed Coffee Hot?

If you're making coffee via the French press or pour over method, you'll want to keep any extra brew leftover hot enough to enjoy a few additional cups. You can pour the remaining coffee into an insulated container or tumbler, pour it in a cup and use a can warmer or buy a mug warmer — which is basically a hot plate for a cup of coffee. We prefer to purchase a larger, insulated mug that we can either sip from or pour from when needed. 

Real Good Coffee Co Beans for French Press or Pour Over Coffee

Pour over vs. French press — two great brewing methods to make delicious cups of coffee. If you're still debating which at-home manual brewing method to try, you're in luck! You can purchase a French press, pour over or Chemex coffee maker and make fantastic cafe-quality coffee within minutes. Whichever of these coffee brewing methods you prefer, make sure you use Real Good Coffee Co for every batch. 

Real Good Coffee Co

At Real Good Coffee Company, we only roast the best 100% Arabica coffee beans. Our selections include two-pound bags of our Breakfast Blend Light Roast, Donut Shop Medium Roast, French Roast Dark Roast, and our Organic Dark Roast. Send us a note today to order your first batch and feel free to ask us for any assistance you need with brewing the perfect cup at home. 

 

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