Pour Over Coffee Vs French Press Which Brew Is Best

Pour Over Coffee Vs French Press Which Brew Is Best?

Last updated on January 22nd, 2024 at 13:18

Over the past few years manual coffee brewing has become much more popular. In this article, Pour over coffee Vs French press, we will do exactly that, compare the two beverages produced and the brewing methods.

While making the comparison I’ll mention which beans work best in each of the two brewing methods and why.

Keep reading to find out.

Pour Over Coffee vs French Press – What Is Pour Over Coffee?

Pour over coffee is a great brewing method that uses a filter and gravity to extract the flavorful compounds from your coffee grounds.

The method uses a constant flow of fresh water pouring over the grounds which is very different from the grounds steeping in hot water for a few minutes of the full immersion French press technique.

The result is a very bright, light and fresh tasting cup of coffee, very different from the deep, bold taste of a filter coffee and a French press coffee.

What Is Pour Over Coffee
The Pour Over Coffee Brewing method

Read: Difference between French press and pour over

What’s So Special About Pour Over Coffee?

The pour-over coffee method is special because it is a method where you have control over all the variables, the flow rate of your hot water, the temperature of the water, the grind size, the brew time (how long your water is in contact with the coffee grounds) and the coffee to water ratio.

The result of this is coffee lovers can control the taste and texture of their cup of coffee as well as the strength.

The Pour Over Brewing Method

The pouring of water over coffee grounds causes a little confusion between this method and drip coffee because they are broadly similar and both involve the use of a filter and pouring of hot water and the slow dripping of the coffee into the cup of coffee or carafe below.

To be fair, a pour over could be considered as a manual drip coffee or gravity-driven drip coffee, since drip coffee is automatic and pour over is a very manual process.

It’s an infusion method of extracting the flavors from the beans and is excellent at getting all the delicate and intricate notes and flavors from the ground coffee beans while not drawing out the coffee oils.

It’s a great brewing method for getting and training your taste buds to detect the very unique and subtle differences between the different single origin coffees from Costa Rica, Indonesia, or Ethiopia, for example.

It the best technique for brewing light roasts.

The Chemex Coffee Maker – A Variations Of The Pour Over

The Chemex coffee maker is by all means a pour over, with slight variations and, to be frank, a very eye-catching design with the wooden collar and hourglass shape of the body.

The Chemex coffee pour over method produces notably smoother tasting coffee than a traditional pour over with a Hario V60, due to the use of their own thicker paper filters.

If you regularly enjoy a traditional pour over, I invite you to try a Chemex and enjoy the unique taste and cup of coffee that it produces. One of the plus points is the sturdy glass material can place on a heater at a low or medium temperature to keep your brew warm while you are brewing your coffee.

The Chemex Pour Over Method
The Chemex Pour Over Method

Read: French press Vs Drip

The Chemex Brewing Method

Brewing with a Chemex is very easy and is not too dissimilar to a pour over. It needs a medium coarse grind size and a coffee to water ratio of 1:15.

Like a French press and pour over, don’t forget to let the grounds bloom to help them degas and release the carbon dioxide from in side the grounds.

What Is A French Press

A French press, also known as Plunger coffee, Coffee Press and a Cafetière, is a coffee brewing technique that dates to the early 1900s. It uses the full immersion brewing technique to extract the flavor compounds and oils.

It’s a very beautiful and classic coffee maker that has not changed at all since the original design a century ago with the core of its function the same 3 parts of a stainless steel filter, a plunger and a cylindrical carafe.

Due to the brewing time being 3 to 4 minutes a high quality press with thermal qualities is important to maintain the brew temperature. Today, thanks to modern technology, you have the option of an electric French press that comes complete with a heating element for that very purpose.

The amount of time that your hot water and your ground coffee is in contact with each other this style of making coffee is much better than a Chemex or pour over at drawing out the coffee oils making it a great brewing method for producing a strong, full bodied and deep tasting coffee.

For this reason, a French press is much better with medium-dark and dark coffee beans, which is a stark contract to a pour over that really struggles to get the coffee oils from the bean due to the constant flow of fresh water.

Coffee lovers should focus on what method is best for what type of coffee beans to get the best from both the beans and the style of brewing coffee.

French Press Coffee Brewer
French Press Coffee Maker

Read: Pour over Vs French press

What’s So Special About French Press Coffee?

With a French press you are restricted to only brewing hot coffee. Due to the full immersion brewing you of course use your press to make cold brew coffee by using cold water and leaving your press in the fridge to extract overnight and later completing the brewing process the following morning and removing the grounds from the French press.

Note: Even though a French press is a full extraction method, the particular beverage, a cold brew, produces a mellow and well-rounded tasting cup of coffee.

French Press Vs Pour Over Caffeine

There is quite a difference in the amount of caffeine with these two unique ways of brewing coffee, assuming making a beverage of the same size and using the same beans the results are as follows for 12 ounce (360 ml) cup of coffee:

  • Pour over: 175 mg per cup.
  • French press: 135 mg per cup.

The slightly smaller grind size is the reason why a pour over packs a greater caffeine kick.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pour Over Coffee Vs French Press

Is Pour Over Easier Than French Press?

No, while a pour over is not a difficult coffee brewing methods to master, a French press is much easier and fairly effortless. There’s is nothing difficult about any brewing method.

For what it’s worth, the key to coffee mastery is knowing which brewing method is best for which beans. For French press its medium-dark to dark roasts, for a Pour over its the lighter roasts.

Is A French Press Unhealthy?

Personally, I wouldn’t call French press or any type of coffee as unhealthy since there are thousands of studies and peer reviewed research that talk about the health benefits of coffee.

While there are studies that indicates the presence of cafestol, a compound that is associated with increased cholesterol in unfiltered coffee or coffee that does not use a paper filter, coffee does contain Niacin, which is a nutrient that has been proven to have the effect of reducing cholesterol. 

Looking at the bigger picture and the wide range of vitamins and minerals as well as potent antioxidants I wouldn’t jump the gun and call French press coffee or any type of coffee as unhealthy. 

Why Is Pour Over Coffee Good?

Like any brewing method, Pour over is only good if you are using the right type of coffee beans. Pour over coffee is simply fantastic when you are using specialty grade beans that are light roasts or blonde roasts.

It’s a brewing method that is simply fantastic at extracting the intricate and delicate flavors of the origins. 

Can You Add Milk To Pour Over Coffee?

Yes, coffee is a very personal thing, and you can add to your brew what ever makes it taste perfect for you. If you need a dash or milk or sugar to make the taste perfect for you, then by all means do so. Many people do just that.

Why Is My Pour Over Coffee Weak?

There are a few reasons why you pour over coffee is weak, thankfully this is easy to fix. Check your temperature to make sure that it is at the ideal brewing temperature of 92C to 96C (195F to 205F) and nearer the higher end without going over it.

If this is not fixing the problem, check your grind size and use a slightly smaller grind to encourage greater contact time between your hot water and coffee grounds.

Focus on your pouring technique, and that you’re not flooding your grounds or too slow a flow rate of water. It needs to be perfect. Also ensure that you are pouring in a spiral fashion.

Try a different filter.

Focus on the variables and what you can do to ensure a better extraction. Weak coffee is under extracted coffee.

Also, pay attention to the type of bean that you are using as a pour over is not that good at extracting and brewing the darker roasts.

Do You Need A Filter For Pour Over Coffee?

Yes, it’s literally impossible to brew a pour over coffee without a filter of some type or another. It’s not set in stone that you must use a paper filter you can experiment with a cotton cloth filter and a metal filter.

You need something to hold your coffee grounds as you pour your hot water over them.

Final Thoughts – Pour Over Coffee Vs French Press

If you have read this far you know just how different these two brewing styles are and in the Pour over coffee Vs French press you know which to use and when, and what beans to use to get the kind of coffee that you are seeking.

What did you choose? Which of the two won out for you?

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Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or Derek@LatteLoveBrew.com, mentioning your name and location

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