Coffee is not just coffee. The methods used to make it can be the difference between bitter and beautiful, as all coffee aficionados know well. Here at Gathering Grounds we understand the importance of finding the right style of coffee for your tastes and lifestyle, so we’ve provided this guide to help you get to grips with the differences.
Which is the most convenient?
Well it depends what you mean by convenient.
In terms of the ease of making coffee and the lack of input from the brewer, the automatic-drip machines are a clear winner. It’s just a matter of pressing a button or maybe two, you can go and do something else while the magic happens, and you’ll get a cup of coffee at the end of it. You can get them with a timer to have a cup ready when you wake up, get out of the shower or in time for your favorite TV show.
If by convenient you mean that it can be stored away, ease of cleaning, or is easily portable, then it’s the French Press for you.
You might have to pay a little more attention to the coffee making process but the gain is in the simplicity of the equipment. You can carry your French Press to work or take it camping, you can clean it in the dishwasher and it won’t take up any surface space in your kitchen, unless you choose to display it for all to see.
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Being able to see all parts of your coffee maker, see what it’s made of and to be able to clean it simply are a huge benefit of manual makers, some of the health issues potentially associated with some auto-drip machines are deeply worrying.
The French Press also gives you, at a cost of the ease of the auto-drip machines, a level of control which allows for the development of great brewing technique. You make your coffee an art form when you brew it yourself and it is, for a coffee lover, a far more rewarding process. In fact we recommend our customers own and use a few of the most popular alternative brew coffee makers as they are all super affordable and can give you access to an endless array of good coffee in many different styles. See this post for more on the differences between the French Press and the Aeropress for one or this one covering the differences between the Aeropress and the Chemex.
What are the differences in the brewing method?
The difference in the brew are profound also, the French Press uses a coarser grind and the beans are brewed for longer. The drip grind is finer so can be brewed more quickly. There is often a difference in the water temperature used too, with French Press being made with slightly hotter water than most drip coffee. Of course due to the four minute brewing time of the French Press, the coffee you get at the end will most likely be cooler than freshly prepared drip coffee.
All of these things add up to two very different styles of coffee. The French Press is strong kind of like percolator coffee and sometimes a little bitter, whereas drip coffee is less intense and a smoother cup. If you like potent coffee then you will probably prefer the french press… but even then you may even want to consider a percolator over regular coffee or even stovetop espresso.
Both styles of coffee have their issues with water temperature. Where most auto drip machines fail to achieve optimal water temperatures to get the best out of the beans, the French Press method can give you trouble trying to keep the coffee warm. The thin plastic or glass that the majority of French Press coffee makers are made of means they don’t keep heat in very well so you’ll need to drink the coffee quickly or move it to an insulated container as soon as you can.
Drip and French Press are very different methods of brewing coffee, almost every aspect of the brew is different between to two methods and the equipment used to make it varies greatly too. The French Press gives a more rustic and strong coffee, made with basic equipment, the expensive machines which are the most common method of making drip coffee create a cleaner, smoother brew.
We’d like to invite you to see some of our french press coffee makers here and compare them for yourself. Many people swear that french press coffee is as good as it gets even in the worst of circumstances.