French Press Vs Coffee Pod Nespresso

French Press vs Coffee Pods (Nespresso & Keurig): Coffee Pro’s Deep Dive

Whenever the topic is convenience in coffee makers, the words “French press” and “coffee pod machines” are often thrown around. Still, the question remains, which one’s better?

Both have gained popularity for their ease of use and unique flavors, but picking one may not be a simple this or that.

In this article, I share with you an in-depth look at both brewing methods, weighing them by

  • taste,
  • strength,
  • versatility,
  • and other variables important to choosing a brewing machine.

Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or just looking to upgrade your morning cuppa, read on to find out which method reigns supreme: French press or coffee pods.

Comparing French Press & Coffee Pods

French Press Recipe Featured
Nespresso Pouring 2

The French press is a glass or steel cylindrical container where you pour hot water over coarsely ground coffee beans and let the mixture steep for several minutes. You then press the tool’s plunger down to separate the brewed coffee from the grounds. The result is an aromatic and flavorful cup of coffee with a rich, full-bodied taste.

Meanwhile, coffee pod machines use single-serving pods that are pre-measured and offer consistency in flavor every time. You simply insert your favorite pod into your machine, push a button, and let technology do all the work. All you have to do is wait for your perfect cup of coffee to be brewed right before your eyes. Nespresso and Keurig are popular brands in this space.

Here are the factors to consider when picking between the two brewing methods, followed by a detailed comparison of each feature.

FeaturesFrench PressCoffee Pods
Taste & FlavorFull-bodied with robust flavorsGenerally balanced with plenty of aroma
StrengthMedium to strong intensityRange from mild to extra-strong
Ease of UseRelatively simple but requires effortExtremely easy, one-button operation
Brewing SpeedTakes around 6-7 minutesTakes only 1 minute
VersatilityNot very versatile but has more flexibility than coffee podsLittle to no control over the brewing process
Durability & PortabilityGlass models are delicate while stainless steel models are durable and portableCompact but not suitable for traveling
SustainabilitySustainable with no disposable components, recyclable materials, and no electricity consumptionGenerally more wasteful
CostAffordable, starting from $20Higher initial investment starting at around $150 with recurring cost of pods

Taste, Flavor, & Strength

French Press and coffee pods have some noticeable differences in taste and flavor.

Let’s begin with the French press, which makes a full-bodied cup of longer coffee with robust flavors that vary based on the type of beans used. Due to its immersion method and filtration system, French press coffee contains more coffee oils and sediments than paper-filtered methods, resulting in a cup with medium intensity.

On the other hand, coffee pods produce a drink that has a generally balanced intensity and flavor with plenty of aroma. Different brands sell pods ranging from mild to extra-strong intensities. As a result, it’s easy to find one that fits your preference.

Personally speaking, I prefer French Press coffee because of its bold and full-bodied nature. While Coffee Pods are convenient when you’re in a rush or want an easy-to-make cup of coffee, I often find them lacking in flavor depth. Especially the cheaper 3rd party pods.

Ease of Use

Let’s discuss which one’s easier to use. The French Press requires more effort, but is still relatively simple to use. First, you need to ensure that your coffee beans are ground to medium-coarse to coarse size. Then, heat up water between 195°F to 205°F (91°C to 96°C) and pour it into the container with ground coffee beans, stir, and let it extract before pressing down on the plunger.

French Press Grind Size

On the other hand, coffee pod machines may be the pinnacle of easy-to-make coffee (without resorting to instant ones). The pre-ground coffee capsules come ready-made so there’s no need for grinding or measuring portions. All you have to do is pop in the capsule, press a button on the machine, and wait for your drink.

If easy usage is your priority then the coffee pod machine wins hands-down. Although, if not compared with coffee pods, the French press is also an easy way to brew your caffeine fix.

Brewing Speed

As someone who is always on the go, brewing speed is important to me. If you also seek a quick pick-me-up, then coffee pod machines are the obvious choice. Using the French Press takes around 6 to 7 minutes from grinding to brewing and cleaning up while it only takes 1 minute for a coffee pod machine.

Cleaning is also easier with coffee pods, just throw away (or preferably recycle) the used capsules and occasionally wipe down your machine. Meanwhile, cleaning a French press requires disassembling and taking out the grounds before washing the brewer thoroughly. Not too difficult but still takes more effort.


For your brewing method of choice, you might also want versatility. It allows you to control certain variables in your drink to produce coffee that perfectly suits your taste.

Between the two, the French Press provides more flexibility compared to coffee pods. While not very versatile as it can only make s single type of hot coffee or cold brew, you still have some control over the steeping time, temperature, and grind size.

Meanwhile, the convenience of pod machines really compromises the control you have during the brewing process. You can only pick your capsules to get different results in your cup.

As for flexibility in size, coffee pod machines often have 2-3 buttons:

  • 25 ml (espresso shots)
  • 40 ml (short cups)
  • 110 ml (large mugs)

Then you have the French press which comes in various sizes, allowing for more size options and yielding different amounts depending on your needs:

  • 3-cup (0.35 L)
  • 4-cup (0.5 L)
  • 8-cup (1 L)
  • 12-cup (1.5 L)
French Press Sizes

In summary, while coffee pod machines are very convenient, they lack the versatility and flexibility in capacity giving the French press the win in this category.

Durability and Portability

Now let’s have a look at the durability and portability of these brewing tools. For starters, glass French press models can be delicate, but stainless steel versions are more durable and easier to handle without worrying about breaking them. It also has a portable size and weight, making it the better choice if you often find yourself brewing while traveling.

Coffee pod machines use plastic and stainless steel for their parts. While home models are pretty compact and generally sturdy enough, coffee pod machines themselves are not suitable for brewing on the go since they need electricity to operate.

Therefore, if you really want a coffee maker that allows you to brew coffee on road trips, then the steel French Press is your best choice. I’ve brought mine hiking and camping numerous times, and it never disappoints.


When comparing French press and coffee pods, I believe sustainability should also be a key factor to consider.

Coffee pods create massive amounts of waste due to their pre-packaged pods that cannot always be recycled. Most people don’t even bother finding a way to recycle them. Just FYI, the inventor of the K-Cup regrets creating the product due to the amount of waste it produces.

Capsule refill systems do exist, which minimize pod waste, but you need to wash and refill them yourself which compromises the machine’s main selling point: convenience in making coffee.

Used Nespresso Capsules Waste

French Press is undoubtedly the more sustainable option of the two methods. It has no disposable components or paper filters; it’s mostly made with recyclable materials such as glass and steel; and it doesn’t consume electricity to brew.

So if making environmentally friendly decisions is important to you, you should really opt for the French press. I stay away from pod machines whenever possible for this very reason.

It is also best to consider more ways to keep your coffee sustainable, such as using shade-grown coffee and recycling your used coffee grounds.


Giving the French press and coffee pod machines a cost comparison, the difference is (unsurprisingly) striking. On one hand, you have a wide price range for French Presses that start at $20 and can go up to over a hundred dollars depending on the size and material of the press with no recurring costs from filters.

And then you have coffee pod machines, which have higher initial investments with prices ranging from around $150 to $600. And then the individual pods themselves also provide recurring spending expenses which are not cheap by any means. The cheapest 3rd party Nespresso pods cost around $0.30 right now (2024), while the better authentic pods sell for upwards of $0.80 each.

It’s clear as day, the French press is way more affordable in comparison to the coffee pods. But if you were to ask me if coffee pod machines are also worth investing in due to the convenience it brings to the table, I’d say you may want to explore automatic brewers with grinders. I’m just not a big fan of pods considering the added cost and its negative impact on the environment.

French Press and Coffee Pods – Weighing the Pros & Cons

Now that we’ve gotten a closer look at the features of each brewing method, here’s a quick overview of the pros and cons of French press and coffee pods so you can finally decide which one is for you:

Brewing MethodProsCons
French Press– Easy to use
– The glass material offers decent heat retention
– Stainless steel models offer durability
– Some sediments may get into your drink
– Common glass build is prone to breakage
Coffee pods– Automation allows for quick and convenient brewing
– Different kinds of pre-packaged capsules for consistent results
– Requires electricity
– Pricy plus the pods become recurring expenses
– Limited control over the brewing process

You can also check out how French press compares to other brewing methods such as:

And here are how coffee pod machines fare against other brewers:


Choosing the better brewer between the French press and coffee pod machines is really subjective, depending highly on your taste and lifestyle. Coffee pods are perfect for quick and convenient coffee with consistent quality, while the French press has versatility, affordability, and sustainability to its advantage.

Personally, I’d pick the French press any day because it produces less carbon footprint and it’s a pretty portable tool, allowing me to enjoy my cup of coffee wherever I go.

That is my preference, but how about you, which brewing method do you like better? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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