French Press vs Drip - Which is Better?
From espresso to cappuccino to flat white, people love their coffee. In the past, people had to go to their local coffee shop and asked a barista to prepare their favorite coffee beverage. Because of the availability today of various kinds of coffee machines, people can now brew their favorite cup of coffee as a professional barista did.
The coffee machines today have acquired a degree of refinement that allows people with no experience in brewing coffee the skill to make different recipes of coffee. People now freely make a latte, cappuccino, and other popular coffee beverages in the comfort of their homes.
Coffee machines are so popular that you could hardly find a home without one. You can buy a coffee machine for as low as $20 to a high of thousand dollars, depending on the quality and type of coffee you want to brew.
The traditional way of brewing coffee involves two popular methods: pressing or dripping. To press or to drip is an ongoing battle that coffee fanatics love to have. For many years, the debate continues which is better between the two methods of brewing coffee.
The goal here is to closely examine the popular methods of brewing coffee and find out the best way of preparing your morning jolt of caffeine.
What is French Press Coffee?
At home and in the foodservice industry, French press coffee has become one of the most popular methods of coffee brewing. This method of preparing coffee produces coffee with strong flavors that people have come to love.
What is a French press? Contrary to what its name suggests, a French press is not French as it was invented in Milan, Italy more than 80 years ago, with the classic design persisting today. French press still makes coffee with rich flavor to complement your breakfast of choice.
The French presses make coffee by steeping coffee grounds and hot water in a beaker. After steeping the coffee, the coffee grounds are separated from the liquid coffee by pressing a filter made of metal mesh to the bottom of the beaker. The liquid coffee that has been separated from the grounds will then be poured into a mug. The filter lets the natural coffee oils and fine particles to pass through it, giving the coffee a thick body.
The process of steeping water and coffee over an extended period is called immersion brewing. The coffee grounds are immersed in water unlike the drip method of making coffee where the water has to pass through the grounds.
The mixture of coffee grounds and hot water allows for a uniform extraction of coffee. However, leaving the coffee and water to steep for too long could result in over-extraction of coffee. Over extraction occurs also if the coffee grounds are too small. The immersion of coffee grounds in water should be done at a certain period to get the best-tasting coffee possible.
The French press has two main parts:
1. The Lid, Plunger, and Filter
A French press has a metal filter that allows the coffee grounds’ fine particles and natural oils to pass through. This allows French press coffee to have its rich texture and hearty body that you do not see in coffee brewed using a paper filter.
The metal filter is connected to the metal rod that goes through the plunger, which is used to press the metal filter down to the bottom of the beaker. This is the reason why the process of brewing coffee is called the French press.
The lid fits exactly onto the beaker’s top, with the filter snugly fitting the beaker’s sides with pressure on the walls to prevent the coffee particles from slipping through when pressed.
2. The Beaker, Base, and Handle
The beaker is made either from glass or hard plastic. There are cases also when the beaker is made of metal or ceramic, although these two materials are not as popular as glass and plastic. The beaker holds the coffee and hot water for steeping and also as the vessel with which to pour coffee into your cup or mug. The body and the handle of the beaker are configured according to the material used.
The minimum requirements to make French press coffee are a French press, hot water, and ground coffee. You do not need other equipment such as long neck kettle, electricity for brewing, or a supply of paper filters.
You can improve the quality of your French press coffee with a few additional tools such as a burr grinder. The burr grinder allows you to freshly ground your coffee beans right before you start brewing. This ensures that you will get the freshest tasting coffee possible as compared to when you use pre-ground coffee beans. Coffee beans, once they are ground, will begin to oxidize and lose much of its flavor. Pre-ground coffee, therefore, is not much of an option when you want to brew fresh-tasting coffee.
Another advantage of using a burr grinder is having a uniform particle size of the coffee grounds. Uniformly ground particles are important in a French press because the coffee grounds may be over-extracted when steeped with water for so long. For the French press, coarse grind coffee is highly suggested. Uneven particle sizes of coffee grounds, such as those produced by a blade grinder will have the small particles over-extracted while the large particles will be under-extracted. Over-extracted coffee particles result in a bitter taste.
What is A Coffee Maker?
The coffee maker is a friendly utensil found in most American homes. Most people who are dependent on caffeine to start their day relies on the coffee maker for the cup of java that gives them the needed jolt to start the day.
Preparing coffee using a coffee maker each morning is easy. All you have to do is scoop on the coffee grounds, add some water to the machine’s water reservoir, and turn the switch on and shortly, coffee will be dripping out of the machine as its rich aroma fills the air. Most likely, you don’t even bother to imagine what was going on inside the machine – how the machine heats up, how water from the reservoir goes over the coffee grounds in the filter basket. To many people, the gurgling sound when the coffee machine operates is a welcome sound, without even bothering to find out how coffee is brewed.
The typical drip coffee maker is not rocket science, so it will be easy for coffee lovers to understand how it works. To make your morning cup of coffee, you will need coffee beans, which are seeds of the coffee plant’s seeds or cherries. The two most common species of coffee plants are Arabica and Robusta.
There are many types of coffee makers on the market but the most commonly used, and perhaps the simplest, is the traditional coffee maker or the drip coffee maker. The drip coffee maker is a simple device that had been around for many decades.
When you open the top lid of the coffee maker, you will see three important parts:
- The reservoir – This is a small tank that holds the water needed to brew coffee. This pours into the reservoir before you start your coffee-making process. When you peer inside the reservoir, you will notice a hole at the bottom.
- The tube – There is a tube that leads up from the hole at the bottom part of the reservoir. This goes up the device carrying water to the drip area.
- The showerhead – Hot water is sprayed over the coffee grounds through a showerhead. In some versions of the coffee maker, the water comes out of the hose onto the drip area, which is a perforated disc and falls to the coffee grounds.
The system of a coffee maker cannot be classified as a high-tech device. It is a simple device of tubing and electric wires. A tube picks up the water from the bottom of the reservoir and passes through the hot-water tube. Inside the device is a heating element. It is a simple coiled wire that heats in the same manner as the filament of a light bulb or the heating element of an electric toaster. The coil gets hot when electricity runs through it. The heating element performs two main tasks: first, to heat the water that will be used in brewing coffee, and to keep the coffee in the carafe warm.
The heating element is controlled by the coffee maker’s switch. The heating element is powered when the switch is flicked on. The heating element comes with sensors and fuses to prevent it from overheating. If the coil gets too hot, the sensor will detect it and turn off the power. When the heating element is cooling down, the same will also be detected and turns on the power. The cycling keeps the heating element at even temperatures.
A coffee maker has a one-way valve to prevent boiling water from flowing back into the reservoir. The valve lets cold water pass through the aluminum tube, forcing the bubbles of the boiling water up the white tube. The valve accepts only inflow but prevents any backflow. The valve system allows water to flow only to one direction, which is toward the showerhead and never back into the reservoir.
Making coffee using a drip coffee maker follows these steps:
- Pour cold water into the reservoir. Water will flow from the reservoir down through the hole and into the heating tube.
- Water flows the one-way valve into the aluminum tube in the heating element and up through the white tube. Gravity will propel the water.
- Turn on the switch. The heating element heats the aluminum tubing and the water starts boiling.
- As the water boils, the bubbles rise into the white tube. The tube is small and the bubbles are big, forcing the column of water upward on top of the bubbles.
- The hot water flows up the white tube and drips evenly on the coffee grounds.
- The hot water flows through the coffee grounds, picking up the oil essence on its way down to the coffee pot.
- Pour the hot coffee from the pot into your mug.
You can add milk and cream to taste.
There newer models of the drip coffee maker with advanced features that allow you more control over your coffee. There are machines will built-in grinder to give you nice and fresh coffee each morning. There are also digital coffee makers that allow you to adjust the strength of the brew. Automatic coffee makers can be programmed so it will start brewing coffee before you wake up in the morning, giving you the privilege of waking up to a steaming pot of fresh coffee.
The best coffee makers are available on the market. Just choose the right one for your taste and needs.
What to Choose - French Press vs Drip Coffee Maker?
People have the coffee press or coffee maker. Seldom does a regular person have both. When discussing french press vs drip, it is necessary to understand that these two deliver different types of coffee. The drip coffee maker has advantages over the French press, particularly in their capacity. A drip coffee maker typically brews up to 12 cups of coffee in one operation. It also allows you to plan, which is possible by setting up the machine in advance without having to worry that your coffee grounds or water will be contaminated during the wait. When you are ready to brew your coffee, all you have is turn on the switch and your drip coffee will be ready. Another option is to program when your machine will turn on if you have one that is automatic.
By contrast, the typical France press coffee makes only two or four cups of coffee per cycle, although newer versions of the press can make up to eight cups.
The drip coffee maker keeps your coffee pot nice and hot, allowing you to enjoy more than one cup. This machine is advantageous when you will be brewing coffee for a big group.
The French press coffee goes cold fast. If there is any leftover, you will have to reheat it but the flavor will not be the same anymore.
Another consideration when you need to choose between French press vs pour over coffee is the time taken to brew. There are instances when you want to have your coffee immediately after waking up in the morning. The time it takes before your brew is ready could be the deal-breaker in your choice.
The average time to produce a brew using the French press is between 5 and 8 minutes because you have to boil the water first and allow some minutes more for steeping the grounds and the hot water.
A drip machine, on the other hand, takes from five to minutes to brew your coffee. You have to wait for the machine to heat up, let it brew the coffee, and wait for it to drip down into the coffee pot.
When it comes to the ease of use, a French press has many variables to play while a drip machine requires grinding the beans, setting up the machine, brewing time, speed of drip, and more. You need a lot of practice before you can perfect your brew with the French press while you will do no wrong brewing with the drip coffee maker.
Both the French coffee press and drip coffee maker are useful in their ways. The benefits of each depend on the coffee drinkers themselves, specifically their preferences on taste and their lifestyles.
Coffee lovers who want to have better control of the variables in brewing coffee would prefer the French press. When you know how to operate the French press, you will be confident in brewing the perfect flavor and taste of coffee every time.
With the drip machine, you are likely to get a light and bland flavor. If you keep the coffee pot too long warming in the machine, the more bitter taste it will have.
If you are looking for the maximum and pure coffee flavor and taste, go the French press way.