French Press Vs. Pour Over (Explained)

Over the last several years, manual coffee brewing, notably French presses and Pour Over options, has grown quite trendy.

These coffee machines aren’t just for expert food lovers and coffee connoisseurs; nowadays, anyone from first-year university students to business owners utilizes French presses and Pour Over sets at home.

I’ve tried a lot of both to see what the differences are between Pour Over and French press coffee and the advantages of each technique. Check out my in-depth look at both coffee brewing processes for a complete picture.

French Press Vs. Pour Over: The Verdict

Both brewing processes take about the same time but involve different techniques, and the coffeemakers’ design also differs. You have more control over the result from your Pour over than you do from the French Press, so the design and material play a considerable role in the taste. It boils down to those liking light coffee(Pour Over) and those who want strong coffee(French Press).

Overall, I believe the two brewing styles have a lot to offer, and the best decision for you will mostly rely on your preferences: if you prefer assertive and bitter, go with a French press; if you prefer a light, bright, somewhat acidic cup, go with a pour-over. Here we go!

The French Press and Pour Over Designs 

French Press

French presses come in a variety of sizes, styles, and metals, but they’re usually made of glass and have a stainless steel filter coupled to a rigid plastic plunger cap which you use to press the grounds to the base of the press as it brews.

If you’re entertaining guests or have a large family of coffee lovers, you can buy single-cup or multi-cup presses. The first French press was invented in Italy and patented in 1929; however, earlier versions were created in France, thus the name.

Pour Over

The Pour Over brewing process has a long tradition and is a simple brewing method that has seen a revival as automatic coffee machines have fallen out of favor.

Hot water falls over coffee grounds in a paper or recyclable filter, brewing and dripping into the cup through an opening at the bottom of the Pour Over brewer, which rests on a coffee mug.

Though cloth-filtered Pour Overs have been around for ages, Melitta Bentz of Germany was the first to design the contemporary, paper-filtered type in 1908.

User-Friendliness

French Press

There are a few ways to get the procedure precisely perfect, but utilizing a French press can be summed up in two words: press down.

However, using the incorrect setting for coffee grinds, steeping the coffee for too long or too short of a time, and pressing the plunger at the right moment all matter.

One of the main benefits of the French press is that it dependably brews superb coffee once the user learns a few fundamental essentials.

Pour Over

Between the French press and the Pour Over, the Pour Over method is still the most convenient, but it requires a little more fiddling and experience.

You dump then allow the coffee to brew in a French press, but brewing a cup of Pour Over requires you to pour the water in a specified direction while paying close attention to the timing.

Though it’s an easy enough process to learn, inexperienced users will have a higher learning curve as they get to know and understand the brew system.

Brew Control for French Press and Pour Over

French Press 

One of the most significant benefits of French press coffee also comes with a disadvantage: while the brewing procedure is simple, it doesn’t control the coffee brew.

The mesh filter forces some of the particles and sludge out of your coffee, and using coarsely ground coffee beans will help you get a more consistent brew. The coffee in a French press cup is always robust and full of powerful, rich oils. You’ll get a soft cup if you leave the press to brew for shorter periods, but it’ll still contain silt and oil.

Pour Over

Pour Over coffee has more brewing control than the French press because you control the water directly with your pouring method, which is even better with a gooseneck kettle.

Pour Over coffee makers come in various forms and sizes, as well as the number of holes, hole diameters, and conical or flat bottoms. All of these factors influence the flow rate through the maker, with some being more forgiving than others.

In some ways, you’re limited with a Pour Over in the opposite way that you are with a French press – rich coffee oils and particles won’t pass through the more delicate filters, so you’ll always get a light, brilliant cup of java!

How to Brew French Press Coffee

  1. Preheat your french press by pouring hot water in the press and pressing the plunger down into the hot water.
  2. Before boiling, the water for the french press should be somewhat warm. After 30 seconds, drain the hot water.
  3. Place 20g of medium-ground coffee in the brewing chamber of your coffee press.
  4. Bring the water to a boil, then pour 300ml into the French press to thoroughly wet all the grinds. If necessary, give it another stir.
  5. Place the press lid on top of the plunger, which you should lift entirely up and out of the water. Wait for 4 minutes after setting the timer.
  6. Remove the lid from the French press and mix the floating grounds when the timer goes off. Scoop as much foam as you can with a large spoon and throw it away.
  7. Pour your French press coffee down the spout and into a mug after submerging the plunger at the bottom of the press.

How to Brew Pour Over Coffee

  1. Bring at least 400ml of water to a boil, then place your filter inside the pour-over coffee maker. 
  2. The water temp for Pour Over is similar to the French press. You can let the water boil and then leave it for a minute.
  3. Place the maker on top of your mug, then pour some hot water in a circular motion to entirely wet the paper filter. Dump the remaining water into the sink.
  4. Grind 18g of fresh beans to medium-fine, and place them into the moistened filter. Lift the pour-over and lightly shake it until the grinds flatten, then replace it over your mug.
  5. Re-boil your water and pour 50ml of water in a spiraling motion around the filter to soak all the coffee grinds. Let the grinds “bloom” to remove excess CO2 from the beans for 30 sec. 
  6. Pour the rest of the hot water, around 288ml total, into the filter. 
  7. Make slow, spiraling motions starting in the middle of the grinds and working your way to the outer edges of the filter. 
  8. Repour 2 or 3 times as the water recedes – again, you want the total water poured around 288ml. 
  9. The brewing process should take approximately 3 mins – any more than this means your coffee grinds are too fine or you’re pouring your water too slowly. 
  10. Too fast means the grind is too coarse, or you’re pouring too quickly. 
  11. Lift the brewer off of your mug and place it in the sink or over a small bowl. Enjoy your pour-over coffee!

Which Has a Faster Brewing Time?

French Press

I find that the French press takes around 5 minutes from start to finish – between the 4-minute brew-time and the preheating process. It’s one of the simplest, shortest, and most straightforward coffee brewing methods. 

Pour Over

Between the French press and Pour Over brewing methods, there is a barely noticeable difference in time. Making a cup with a Pour Over coffee maker should take around 4 minutes total, with a quick preheating of the filter and a 3-minute brewing process. 

Overall Taste 

French Press

Does French press coffee taste better? That’s a question to avoid amid coffee fanatics, as it’s an argument you won’t win.

That’s because people are crazily committed to their beloved brewing strategy, and no one agrees about what flavors make the very best cup of coffee. 

Regardless of mine or your position when it comes to flavor, what is clear is that these two coffee makers create a nice-tasting cup of Joe’s. I love that because it offers something for everyone!

A French press cup contains heavy, rich coffee oils and a dark, cloudy look. A French press cup gives me the perfect kick in the teeth to start the morning off right.

It has a downside as it tends to get a little sludgy, leaving the sediment in the last few sips of your cup. French press coffee can get bitter with a very heavy mouth-feel, which people either love or love to hate. 

Pour Over

Is Pour Over coffee better? You can’t enter a third-wave coffee shop these days without eyeing even one Pour Over coffee maker. 

The Pour Over is prominent due to its taste, which is the opposite of the French press. Its brewing procedure helps bring out the flavor of specific beans. 

Usually, this means most Pour Over is drunk black, though that’s certainly not a hard and fast rule. People who love the French press might not be as excited about drinking Pour Over, as the taste is lighter.

Materials Needed

French Press

The French press is simple – all you need are some coarsely ground beans, hot water, and your press. 

Pour-Over

I find that the Pour Over brewer won’t need a lot either; however, it may lead to wastefulness since it utilizes more paper filters, but these filters, which are sometimes biodegradable. It’s not, though, when they comprise other materials, like linen. 

What to Look for When Buying a Pour Over System

Filters

Manufacturers design filters to fit specific devices and enable efficient extraction. Some people believe that paper filters have an unpleasant papery taste, especially if they are chlorinated. Wash your filter, then use it to prevent this. It’s up to you the specific filters you use, but be sure they’re compatible with your device.

Scales

If you want to make consistently good coffee, you’ll need scales. Purchase a digital scale, then use it to weigh coffee and water. Knowing how much of each ingredient you included in a good (or terrible) brew might help you duplicate it or alter it for even greater accuracy.

Kettles 

Kettles constructed specifically for Pour Over usually keep water at a consistent temperature. Alternatively, have a thermometer with you to ensure uniform extraction.

Coffee Type

When selecting your beans, there are a few things to keep in mind, including the roasted flavor is best. Because the Pour Over method brings out subtle flavor characteristics and smells, a mild roast may be preferable. The brightest, most acidic flavors come from beans roasted to this profile.

Size of the Grind

The rate of extraction is affected by the area of your grounds. Pour Over is an infusion method, meaning the coffee and water are in contact for less time than in an immersion method but more prolonged than in espresso. Begin with medium grind size, then assess your cup and make adjustments as needed.

What to Look for When Buying a French Press

The structure is essential, and the most well-known are:

Ceramic

Many people use them as a conversation piece in their homes rather than press coffee since they are gorgeous.

Hybrid

Hybrid French presses, which combine glass, metal, and plastic, have recently become popular. Some individuals have questioned their effectiveness, but I haven’t had the opportunity to test one yet.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel preserves heat incredibly well, primarily if the carafe has two insulated walls. Since stainless steel does not respond to chemicals, it won’t shed any metal parts into your coffee. As a result, numerous experts advise using stainless steel.

Glass

Because it effectively holds heat and does not affect the acidity of the coffee, glass is a suitable medium for brewing coffee. Because the brewing process is transparent, you can witness it from beginning to end. Carafes made of glass, on the other hand, can break.

Polycarbonate

Many of the same advantages as glass exist in polycarbonate but without fragility or heat retention issues. Carafes made of shatter-resistant polycarbonate allow you to observe the brewing process. Check to see if it’s “BPA-Free.”

Capacity

There are times when you need to make a large batch of coffee, and a few French press pots will suffice. I recommend a glass or polycarbonate carafe with a minimum capacity of four to eight cups if you plan on brewing a lot of coffee. If money isn’t an issue, a European stainless steel model is the way to go.

Price

French Press prices range from $15 to $200, but if you’re new to the procedure, I recommend going for the middle ground.

Care and Maintenance

Even though French press carafes are simple instruments, they must be handled with care and serviced on a regular basis. A well-kept French press should last at least five to ten years with proper care. I recommend purchasing one that has extensive care instructions.