There comes a question that all coffee aficionados must ask themselves: “Pour over vs french press? Which should I invest in?”
These two brewing methods are the most popular ways of concocting the perfect cup of coffee however; each is catered to two different audiences. One isn’t necessarily better than the other but there may be one that is more appealing to you.
Are you a pour over person, or a French press person? Let’s find out.
How are they Brewed?
1) Start with a grind the size of coarse sugar. (think Sugar in the Raw). You want between one half to two-thirds full of coffee grounds in the dripper. Too little won’t restrict water enough making a diluted brew, too much may cause an overflow, and an awful cup of coffee.
2) Your clean (filtered) water should be 30 seconds off from boil if you’re pouring straight from the kettle. Somewhere around 200 degrees Fahrenheit works well.
3) Add enough water to soak all visible coffee, try not to pour onto the filter and go from the center of the grounds outward in a spiral. Wait for the coffee bed to stop the initial swelling (around 30 seconds after the pour) before you add more water.
4) Pour quick, gentle and evenly over the coffee grounds. Pace yourself and keep your pouring going. The lower you pour from, the better, but make sure you remain consistent. When you stop adding water, let the dripper continue to drip until it finishes (about 20-60 seconds depending on the size of your grind).
5) The pouring process should be continued to about 2.5 – 3 minutes for dark roasted coffee and 3 – 4 minutes for a medium and light roasted coffees. This includes the dripping time after you stop adding water.
6) If the coffee tastes weak, then the grind is too course (try a finer grind). If your coffee is too strong, use a little less coffee or add a bit of hot water to the finished brew.
1) Begin with a very coarse grind. It should appear like coarse salt. If your brew was weak, grind it finer; if it was an unpleasant and overly extracted flavor, grind it coarser. A good coffee-to-water ratio is about 70 grams of coffee per liter of water.
2) Pour your boiling water in. If you have an insulated or double-walled press, you should wait 30 seconds off of boiling. If brewing dark-roasted coffee or decaf, have water about 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit lower.
3) When you add water, start a clock. You may add water, stir and add the remaining water. Give your coffee a a gentle stir about 30 to 45 seconds in. When most of the coffee is sunk and not floating, it’s time to put on the lid.
4) Go for a target brew time between 6 to 8 minutes for a nicely flavored brew.
5) When you’re done brewing, time to use the plunger. Press very gently. If you feel the plunger starting to get a little tight, back up about an inch or two and then plunge again. Once you’ve reached the bottom, you’re finished!
6) If your plunger is pressed down nice and tight, it’s ideal to pour off the entire beverage right after to stop the brewing process.
Difference in Taste?
Due to their vastly different brewing methods, doesn’t matter if we used the same beans, we get a whole different taste between the two. But what exactly will we taste in a pour over vs French press?
Pour Over: Pour overs are mostly described as a lighter, cleaner brew. Due to the nature that the water is poured through the coffee rather than sitting in it, the beverage is a concoction of a smooth caffeinated runoff. There isn’t a lot of coffee oils (unless you’re using a reusable coffee filter) or any of the grind’s grit. This leaves you with a delicate tasting brew.
French Press: The French press’s brew is a powerful punch. By having the brew mixed with the grounds and then pressed, you get a brew that extracts all of the beans’ oils and some of the coffee’s grit. Those who prefer the French Press method enjoy the very strong flavors and residue that the brew may include. A lot of people complain about the over-extraction, but some prefer that potent flavor.
So if you prefer a lighter and cleaner cup, go for a pour over. However if you feel you may enjoy a powerful flavor with a little grit, then the French press is for you.
After you’ve made your brew comes the (sarcastically) fun part of the brewing process: the cleanup.
Pour Over: With a pour over the cleanup is very simple. You toss out the grounds and filter (if you’re using paper filters) and then rinse out the kettle. All done.
French Press: With the French press, cleanup is a little more complex. After rinsing out the kettle, you’ll have to take apart your French press. There’s the plunger, the press’s walls and ultimately the bottom. The bottom has pressed grounds so you’ll have to scrub deep and efficiently to get it all out.
Hands down the pour over wins in terms of cleanup, however the flavor of the French press may be worth the cleanup.
Pour Over vs French Press, Which Are You?
A lot of folks say that one is better than the other, but for some of us, both are excellent for different reasons. Whether its the overall brewing process, or the differing flavorful results.
Looking to get into French Press coffee, or know a certain coffee connoisseur who could use a new French Press? Visit Crucial Coffee’s Facebook page. All you have to do is ‘Like’ our page and you’ll be entered to win our September French Press giveaway.
Happy brewing! Cheers.