Pour Over VS French Press: Which Makes the Best Coffee?

Coffee tastes best when you put a lot of effort into making it perfect!   If you want to try something both simple and more traditional than your usual high-end coffee maker, try using a Pour over or French Press to make a quick morning cup that is rich, bold, and tasty.

One has been one of the most popular manual coffee makers ever since the 1920s while the other is as simple as adding beans to water and plunging. Which do you prefer? If you’ve ever wondered how to use a Pour over or a French press without spilling coffee, hurting yourself, or accidentally causing a fire in your kitchen, you’ll learn the benefits, differences, and tips for brewing a pour over vs french press.

Pour-Over Overview

A pour over is a basic method of coffee making. When comparing drip coffee vs pour over, the only real difference is that a pour over is done manually.  However, it requires great attention. These coffee makers will create a fresh cup of coffee with rich flavorful notes. Pay attention to how it is done because it involves freshly boiled water, proper measurement, and some simple tools. 

How it Works

Pre-brewing procedure:

Before you proceed with the actual process of making Pour over coffee through this method. It is best to prepare all the materials needed. Such equipment that you will need are the following:

  • A manual brew dripper
  • Filter (typically made with cloth or paper)
  • Gooseneck kettle 
  • Carafe (either made from glass or stainless steel)
  • Coffee scale
  • Coffee grinder
  • Your favorite coffee beans!
  • Measuring cup and spoon
  • Water (don’t use distilled water or reverse-osmosis to brew tasty coffee)

Our Favorite Pour Over Coffeemaker

Pour over Chemex
Hario v60 Pour Over vs French Press
Hario V60 Pour Over

Brewing procedure:

Here is the least complicated step-by-step process for making a Pour over coffee.

  1. Boil water in a separate vessel. The temperature should be between 195 degrees Fahrenheit and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Position your pour-over cone over your mug at the side.
  3. Measure the coffee beans with a measuring cup.
  4. Put the beans in a burr grinder and grind. For every 4 ounces of water, use 7 grams of coffee (1 tablespoon).
  5. If you are using a paper filter, fold its edges before you place it to your brewer.
  6. After setting up your Pour-over kit, brine the filter in the dripper, as well as the mug with half of the boiled water. It will thoroughly saturate the filter and warm your dripper and your cup or carafe.
  7. After a minute or so, empty your carafe with the hot water and reposition the Pour-over machine.
  8. Put your freshly ground coffee to the soaked filter and give a gentle shake to flatten the bed
  9. Gently pour water from the center of the bed to the sides, just enough to wet the coffee grounds. Allow resting between 30 to 45 seconds.
  10. Afterward, pour the hot water slowly and gently to the center of the bed into the grounds. Avoid pouring down the sides. Pour at such a rate that the full brewing process will take two and a half to 3 minutes.
  11. Let your Pour over coffee cool down for about 2 to 3 minutes before you drink it. That’s because drinking coffee above 149 degrees Fahrenheit can increase your risk of esophageal cancer.

Congratulations! You’re now an official Pour-over coffee maker. Practice it more often, and you’ll be able to make a cup of coffee with a Pour-over like a pro! Yet, if you find Pour-Over a laborious coffee maker, proceed reading with how French Presses are used.

French Press Overview

Patented by two French inventors in 1852, French Press is a manual coffee maker. It uses pressure to force coffee grounds to the bottom of the pot while the coffee in its purest and most concentrated form rises.

Using the French Press method, you have to pay more attention to each step’s execution if you don’t want any signs of coffee grounds in your mug. Plus, it involves freshly boiled water, so be careful handling it.

How it Works

Pre-brewing procedure

To avoid distractions in making coffee with the French Press, it is best to prepare all the materials you’ll need. Such as:

  • Coffee beans: always check the expiration date, See to it that you’ll be using the freshest beans for a good quality cuppa.
  • Coffee burr grinder
  • Measuring spoon and cup
  • Scale 
  • Timer
  • Thermometer
  • Hot water
  • Your French Press!

Useful French Press Coffeemakers

Brewing Procedure

Here are the essential hacks in making a perfect French press coffee without breaking anything in your kitchen!

  1. Before you start brewing, always grind your coffee beans first with your coffee burr grinder. Avoid using a grinder with blades if you want to pull-out wholesome flavors from the coffee beans.
  2. Find your coffee to water ratio. For starters, you can start with the baseline of about 7 grams of coffee (1 tablespoon) to 4-ounces of water. If you want a full-bodied coffee, use more coffee. If you wish to keep it light and savor the flavor, you may use less coffee.
  3. Preheat your coffee mug and your French Press before you start brewing. It is to avoid fluctuating temperatures that can affect the brewing cycle.
  4. Put the coffee grounds in your French Press and shake a bit to flatten the bed.
  5. Pour boiled water (with a temperature between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit) into the coffee grounds.
  6. Place the lid and start timing the brewing cycle. If you want a less bitter coffee, use boiled water with less temperature, and lessen your brew time between 2 and 3 minutes. If you want a great tasting coffee, make the brew cycle at least 3 or 4 minutes. Avoid brewing for more than five minutes, or the coffee will taste awful.
  7. Slowly but steadily push the plunger down to stop the brewing extraction. If the plunger exhibits resistance, it means that the coffee beans are too fine. If it doesn’t show a sign of resistance, then your coffee beans are too coarse.
  8. Decant the French press coffee gently to a carafe. Don’t let your French Press sit longer on a hot plate to avoid over extracting of flavors. 

Pat yourself in the shoulder. You’ve made your very first French coffee unscathed!

Coffee, Roast, and Grind 

No matter what sides you pick in this French press vs. pour over review, what matters most is the quality of the coffee beans you’ll be using. Each device has recommended grind quality. For instance, pour over coffee maker is best with beans that are finely ground – with a texture that can be compared to sugar grains. If you are using French Press, the ideal beans are coarsely ground coffee.

Which Coffees to Use

To brew a delicious coffee cup, it is vital to identify which coffees to use for each brewing device. And here’s our take on this.

A Light Roast is BETTER for Pour Over

Pour over coffee features subtle flavor notes and indulging aromas that wake up your senses. It gives you that ‘Mmmm’  when you take the first sip in your morning cuppa. Before you know it, you’re rallying back to the kitchen for the second cup. That’s the effect of drinking light roast coffee using the pour-over.

Although you can go medium to dark with Pour over, it’s the light roast that showcases the most authentic flavor and quality of the coffee. Ultimately, beans roasted in this level exercise a bright, acidic taste and a caffeine kick for on-the-go coffee lovers.

French Press is Best with a Medium to Dark Roast

Most French Presses have a stainless steel mesh filter to effectively screen out the grounds, coffee oils, and prevent contaminating your coffee cup. The “chewy” texture you experience with French Press coffee depends on the grind size you choose. The flavor and aroma come from the roast you choose.

A French press is perfect for medium to dark roast because this brewing method reduces the perceived bitterness of the coffee. Best of all, the press pot suits the smoky dark brew. There is probably a relationship between the French Press and the shiny, black color of a proper french roast. 

Types of Coffee Grounds: Coarse vs Fine

Grind Size Spectrum for a Pour Over vs French Press
Source: Medium.com

When you use Pour-over and French Press to brew a cup of coffee,  you extract the flavors and notes of the coffee beans as they mix with the water. Too long or too short, the time spent in the water will most certainly affect the flavor of your coffee. For extraction to successfully capture that unique flavor, intended by the roaster the grind size should be appropriate with the brewing method you use.

Why use MEDIUM ground coffee for Pour over?

Grind size affects the rate of extraction – the very reason why grinding before you brew is vital. A pour over utilizes the infusion method where the coffee and the warm water are in short term contact. When you make espresso, the technique used is immersion, which is longer than infusion.

In Pour-over it takes evaluation and tweakings to make a perfect cup of coffee. If you find your brew watery and sour, it suggests that you use a finer grind. If the brew displays bitterness and absence of sweet notes, the process recommends using a little coarser grind.

Why use COARSE coffee for French Press?

Since grind size has a direct effect on the extraction of coffee beans, the recommended grind size for French Press is a coarse grind. It is a preferred grind size to slow down the rate of extraction. Likewise, to avoid over-extraction, which can result in an awful bitter taste of the coffee.

Another reason why coarse grind coffee is perfect for French Press is that it won’t get stuck in the filter or push its way through. Potential problems that you might encounter if you use finely grounded coffee is that. 

  1. It would be difficult to press the filter down, which can result in spillage or breakage.
  2. Lots of grinds will land in your coffee mug
  3. The coffee will taste bitter because the fine grounds that had managed to pass through the filters will be over-extracted.

Taste Differences

The two brewing coffee devices also differ in the taste of coffee it produces after brewing. Here’s what you can expect when you use either of the two.

Pour-over

Since the roast’s grounds sit in the filter and don’t have direct contact with the brewed Pour over coffee, the result is a weaker coffee than the French press coffee. Yet, it still displays the unique flavor of the beans.

Another recognizable feature of a Pour over coffee is that it has no grit, and its texture resembles the finished brew of an automatic drip machine, which is light and smooth. So if you prefer a coffee with a delicate flavor and less, the pour-over method is the best for you.

French Press

French press did not become a popular method of brewing coffee because of its classic aesthetic look. Coffee drinkers prefer it over pour-over because of the quality of coffee it can brew. Satisfying and rich. That’s how French Press coffee lovers described the finished brew. 

The texture of the French press coffee differs from the Pour-over coffee. It feels thick and velvety in the mouth because of its contact with the grounds from the beginning to the end of the brewing cycle.

The direct contact enables you to draw out more concentrated flavors and oils during the brewing process. And this allows French Press to produce a strong brewed coffee with a bit of grit. Best of all, you can customize the pot of coffee whenever you can as long as you hit the right ratio of water to coffee. 

Conclusion: Pour Over vs French Press

This French Press vs Pour over review can teach us a thing or two in terms of making coffee. First, it shows you how to be selective with the kind of beans to use if you want a high-quality coffee every morning. Second, a great tasting coffee is never instant. It requires effort and patience.

Finding out what method of brewing is best for you highly depends on your preference. Your choice can be affected by the taste, flavor, grit, texture, and kick that you are looking for a roast. But this can’t be solely dependent on your taste preference. The beans, the grind size, and your knowledge of using the brewing device play a vital part in producing a morning cup you’ll always love.

Have you experienced using French Press or the Pour Over Method? What brewing device do you prefer the most? Can you share with us your discovered hacks in making a good tasting coffee with these brewing devices? Please share your ideas about the featured brewing methods in the comments below!

Dave Hoch

Dave Hoch

Author

Gregariously grounded, whimsically witty, and remarkably resolved. Big lover of adventure and all things related to traveling by bike. Can't go a day without a coffee, even if it's decaf.

Other Articles You Might Find Useful:

Tiny Footprint Coffee: A Coffee Roaster with an Environmental Cause

Tiny Footprint Coffee: A Coffee Roaster with an Environmental Cause

The global population today marks 7.8 billion. Many scientists predicted that in 50 years, there's be a population boom to 9.8 billion. Although it will shrink to 8.8 billion by 2100, it's still not good news. That's because the environment would likely suffer from...

10 Best Sumatra Coffee: Unusual Beans with Extraordinary Flavor

10 Best Sumatra Coffee: Unusual Beans with Extraordinary Flavor

Ever wonder what makes Starbucks coffee unusually delicious? It's all in the choice of coffee beans! As a matter of fact, Starbucks uses Sumatra coffee beans in some of its coffee blends to balance the taste of its roast. That's why Starbucks is one of the primary...

What’s the Best Coffee for Cold Brew?

What’s the Best Coffee for Cold Brew?

We’ve chosen nine great coffees to try for your next cold brewing session at home. It's hard to drink hot coffee when it’s hot outside. So, to please my cold beverage craving I thought I’d give cold brew coffee a shot. It’s very popular lately so we've spent hours...

Top 10 Best Light Roast Coffee Options

Top 10 Best Light Roast Coffee Options

Light roast coffee is not for everyone. It has different flavors than dark roast because it is more vibrant and has less oil but it can also seem watery or more sour to some. Big Cup of Coffee has made a list of the top 10 light roast coffee options worth brewing. Our...

Pour Over Vs Drip Coffee: What’s the Difference?

Pour Over Vs Drip Coffee: What’s the Difference?

On a daily basis, Americans drink three cups of coffee on average, but what kind? How do Americans prepare their coffee? In this review, we’ll differentiate between two of the most common and simple brewing methods: pour over vs drip coffee. Find out how you can...

Tandem Coffee: A Taste of Portland, Maine

Tandem Coffee: A Taste of Portland, Maine

Best value is a big, catchy phrase. Whenever people hear or see this in sizeable, bold placards, the first thing they ask is "what will I get?" In this review, we've put everything you don’t know about Tandem Coffee Roasters into full view. We've included detailed...

Learn to brew the perfect roast at home

Subscribe to join our FREE list and…

Z

Learn how to brew the best coffee at home without headaches.

Z

Find the best deals on beans, grinders, coffee makers, and more.

Z

Get access to our reviews of coffee tools and gear.  

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *