Pour over coffee vs French press
Over the decades, the French press has declined in popularity to become a rather uncommon method for brewing coffee despite being extremely convenient (it uses even less equipment than pour over coffee). This could be because the method produces a heavy and bitter brew that can be hard to swallow if not properly managed.
The French press used to be the most convenient method for making coffee at home. All that is required is the press itself, coffee grounds, and hot water. The coffee is placed in the press, sectioned below the plunger, and then hot water is added to the flask. Once the coffee is brewed to the drinker’s satisfaction, the plunger is pushed down to compress the coffee grounds at the bottom of the flask. This prevents them from floating freely in the water, reducing the contact with and extraction of the coffee.
In contrast with pour over coffee, the coffee is literally steeped in the grounds – similar to the way one would brew tea. Since pour over coffee only allows a very short amount of time in which both hot water and coffee are in contact with each other, and a filter is used to separate the coffee from the grounds, finer grounds are used in brewing and the resulting coffee is lighter in taste.
The taste of French press coffee can be highly unpredictable with each brew since most people leave their coffee in the press until they’re ready to drink it. Even though the infusion of coffee with water is restricted and coarser grounds are used, the steeping process still occurs and this may result in a highly bitter and oily brew – especially if a heavier roast is used. Additionally, sediment from the coffee grounds can also escape into the coffee.
With the presence of a filter and a short extraction time, pour over coffee is by far smoother, lighter, and cleaner. Those who prefer a more full-bodied cup will tend to favor the French press, and it is certainly better if you’re drinking coffee for the caffeine, but you’re missing out on the intricate flavors that will take your appreciation of coffee to the next level.