The Stovetop and the French Press Methods of making coffee are similar in their simplicity and innovative design, but the coffee you get at the end is quite different stuff. While both methods will get you a good strong cup with plenty of texture to it, they aren’t meant to give you the same thing.
Stovetop espresso is used by many an espresso substitute although it can be considered to compete with the real thing in terms of taste and it’s way ahead in terms of practicality. The French press makes good old-fashioned strong coffee and the method is over a hundred years old, while the coffee is sometimes bitter, many coffee lovers appreciate the strength and intensity of this simple brewing method.
The quick low-pressure brew of the stovetop method makes for different results to the longer brewing time of the French Press. The stovetop brew is a quick pressurized burst through finely ground beans, whereas the French Press has the longest brewing time of all the coffee brewing methods, using a very coarse grind.
It needs to be said here that while it takes about 5 minutes to get coffee from a stovetop pot, the water only comes into contact with the coffee once it is hot enough to generate the pressure needed to force it up through the grounds, so the brew is quicker than you might think.
For the French Press, that whole 4 minutes is spent brewing the coffee, so there’s a big difference in contact time. The longer the brewing time the more flavor is removed from the beans, but the French Press method is prone to overextraction of the beans, and this can make for a bitter tasting cup for those not paying attention to the timing.
The French press is most commonly misused and often gets a bad press (forgive the pun) just because people aren’t using it properly. See our article comparing the french press to the percolator for more on this brewing technique. The french press, a percolator, and the moka pot are all common options for campers.
The Coffee Results
Both stovetop and French Press are very popular home-brewing methods, both here in the US and especially in Europe. They both give good strong coffee, with the French Press method giving a long coffee to be enjoyed slowly, the stovetop shares its intensity but is intended to be drunk quickly. As with all short and strong coffees, the stovetop’s brew lends itself well to forming the base for many other drinks, just by adding hot milk and flavourings.
So, at Gathering Grounds we believe that all coffee has its role, and both stovetop and espresso make for great methods for use at home or work. Coffee doesn’t need to be complicated and these time-tested methods will give you a great cup if you like the string stuff, and the equipment is a very small investment considering their usefulness and practicality.
Related – Can you make espresso without a machine?
Here are a few coffee makers we recommend. In fact in most cases we encourage our customers to own one of each device as they are very different and both brewing methods produce a much more interesting and delicious cup compared to standard drip coffee.
KONA French Press Coffee Tea & Espresso Maker, Black 34oz Teapot ~ Best Present Idea For GiftsSterlingPro French Coffee Press –8 Cup/4 Mug (1 liter, 34 oz), ChromeLeMeilleur French Press Coffee and Tea Maker – Double Wall Double Screen French Coffee Press – Quality Anti Rust Stainless Steel – 1 LiterBialetti 6800 Moka Express 6-Cup Stovetop Espresso MakerVenus Espresso Coffee Maker, Stainless Steel, 4 cup