Pour Over Vs French Press - Which Maker The Better Brew

Pour Over Vs French Press – Which Maker The Better Brew?

Last updated on January 22nd, 2024 at 13:19

In the battle of the brew of a Pour over Vs French press it is not as simple as one coffee brewing method vs the other, it is a matter of using the right beans with the right method otherwise you will make a poor and rather bland tasting coffee with both methods.

As I compare these two brewing methods I also talk about which coffee beans work best with the two methods.

Keep reading to find out all about Pour over and French press coffee.

An Overview Of The Pour Over Method

The pour over coffee brewing method takes advantage of the constant flow of fresh hot water over your coffee grounds to produce a very bright and clean, crisp and very fresh tasting cup of coffee.

For the best results, you need some specialist brewing equipment like a:

  • Digital temperature controlled gooseneck kettle.
  • A coffee filter holder or a Hario V60.
  • A coffee filter.
  • A digital coffee scale.
  • A conical ceramic burr grinder.

When brewing your coffee grounds are put in a cone-shaped coffee filter. There are currently no flat-bottomed coffee filters for the pour over method.

The ground coffee is bloomed for 25 to 30 seconds to de gas before continuing with the brewing process.

While it is very common, with 99.9% of coffee lovers using a paper filter, it is not set in stone that you absolutely must use a paper filter. If you are experimental and the type of coffee drinker that loves the quest for the perfect cup of coffee you can try different types of filter.

The type of filter that you use will have an effect on how your brew will taste.

  • Metal filter: Produces a fuller taste that is slightly bolder and stronger tasting.
  • Paper filter: Produces a clean, fresh, and crisp taste.
  • Cotton filter: Produces an in between middle ground type of coffee between a metal and paper filter.

The reason behind the slightly different flavor is the amount of coffee oil that the different types of filter all to get into your coffee. There is also a slight difference in the contact time (brew time) with each of the three types of filter.


this is a variable that you can control with pour over coffee brewing.

Pour Over Vs French Press
Pour Over Coffee

Read: French press Vs pour over

What Coffee Beans Work Best With A Pour Over?

This is a large part of brewing coffee, using the right coffee bean with the best method for extracting all their flavor goodness out of them and into your cup.

Brewing with light roasts and at a maximum a medium roast, the pour-over brewing process will get your taste buds singing as it extracts the complex, delicate and intricate flavors from the bean.

With a pour over you will be able to notice the flavors of origin from each different coffee that you try. With time, you will be able to tell the difference in taste between a Kenyan, Indonesian, Costa Rican and Ethiopian coffee.

Due to the effort required, I suggest you use specialty grade single origin coffee with your pour over with a roast level of no more than a medium roast.

What Does A Pour Over Coffee Taste Like?

A pour over coffee has balanced, clear, clean and bright taste that is crisp. The rather fresh taste is due to the constant flow of fresh hot water, which is a stark comparison to the full immersion brewing of a French press.

This brewing process produces a coffee that has a balanced and more rounded flavor than French press coffee.

Here is a brief overview of how a pour over coffee should taste:

  • It’s light and bright. A pour over coffee when brewed perfectly should have all the light and bright natural acids in the brewed coffee, all the real juicy flavors.
  • It’s light and clean. A pour over coffee should have a good clean taste no matter what type of filter that has been used during the brewing process be it a metal filter, cotton filter or a paper filter.
  • It’s clear and nuanced. The reduced and short brewing time work with the filter to produce a coffee that has great clarity in terms of flavor where you can taste all the nuanced, unique and delicate flavor from the origins.

This brewing process will produce a cup of coffee that is slightly different every time you brew a cup, even when you stick to the same process with absolute precision and with the same beans. At Latte Love Brew our mission is to help you to brew and enjoy the best possible cup of coffee. 

What Does Pour Over Taste Like
Pour Over Tastes Great

What About A Chemex Pour Over Coffee?

A Chemex pour over coffee maker is a very stand-out variation of the pour over coffee brewing technique. The eye-catching hourglass design and wooden collar was invented in 1941.

To use a Chemex, you must use their own filters as they are notably thicker. If you try to be smart and use regular filters, you end up with a significantly reduced contact time and a very weak and watery brew.

A Chemex is not simply a fancy looking pour over, far from it! It produces a cup of coffee that tastes different from a regular pour over coffee, it’s much smoother, more balanced and well-rounded.

One of the advantages of a Chemex is you can heat it directly and not damage the device. Which means you can ensure that your Chemex coffee does not go cold.

The Advantages Of Pour Over Coffee

Pour over has the advantage of being able to get more of the coffee soluble compounds into your cup. The result of this is getting more of the delicious flavor compounds into your cup of coffee.

The resulting beverage is not as intense, and is a brewing technique that really shines through when you are using lighter roasts and the single origin beans.

An Overview Of The French Press Method

A French press goes by many names, including the Cafetière, coffee press, press pot and plunger coffee. It has been around since the early 1900s and is a very different method of brewing coffee than a pour over coffee.

The extraction method uses the full immersion brewing where your grounds are steeped in hot water for 3 to 4 minutes, a stark contrast to the flow of fresh hot water of the pour over method.

The result is a coffee that is bold, strong, flavorful cup of coffee that has a heavy body.

Due to this extraction method and its ability to draw out the coffee oils, a French press works best with a medium-dark to dark roast coffee.

French Press Coffee Maker
French Press Coffee Maker

What Coffee Beans Work Best With A French Press?

Brewing coffee is simply not about randomly picking a brewing method and using it masterfully and getting a great cup of coffee. It is about using the right beans with the right method to get the best results, and of course mastery of the particular method.

For a French press due to the long contact time in the hot water this method is simply brilliant with medium-dark and dark roast coffees and drawing all those really deep, dark flavors.

It is not so good at extracting the flavors from light roasts as the full immersion method needs oily beans to really be at its best.

What Does A French Press Coffee Taste Like?

The French press coffee tastes strong, bold, tasty and full-bodied. It is a type of coffee that espresso lovers will enjoy. Due to the full immersion method, it is excellent with oily beans and extracts all great deep and bold, dark and traditional coffee flavors.

It is not a method that works so well with the lighter beans; in fact, if I was to be completely honest, it struggles with these beans.

  • It’s bold and rich. The brewing time is 3 to 4 minutes and produces a bold tasting, dense and full-bodied cup of coffee. You will not be able to taste the unique flavors of the beans with this method.
  • Heavy-body. The stainless steel filter allows all the coffee oils to get into the brew, and small amount of tiny coffee grains make their way into your cup of coffee and continue to extract.
  • Reduced acidity. Notably, a French press produces a coffee that has a low acidity. The extraction method does not produce a zesty juicy coffee but a bolder, deeper and darker tasting one.
What Does A French Press Taste Like
A French Press Taste Good

The Advantages Of A French Press

If you are the kind of coffee drinker that prefers a strong, bold and rich tasting cup of coffee, then clearly a French press and using dark roasted coffee beans is what you are best using.

The technique excels at drawing out the intense, deep and bold flavors from the coffee beans.

Pour Over Vs French Press Health Benefits

French press coffee lovers enjoy this method for the ability to adjust the brewing time, grind size and brewing temperature to produce a cup of coffee exactly as you like and love it.

There is no doubting the health benefits of coffee as there are thousands of research papers, many of which are peer reviewed. It is nutritious and loaded with antioxidants.

I wouldn’t concern myself too much with which coffee brewing method is healthier as research is limited in this area and more limited are long term double-blind clinical trials.

Based only on my opinion, a pour over would be slightly healthier due to using a paper filter and filtering out the coffee oil and in particular cafestol, an oil in coffee that may increase your cholesterol levels.

This is not at all to say that a French press would raise your cholesterol levels as coffee contains niacin, which is known to reduce cholesterol.

It may be that the two balance each other out. If you have any health concerns and a small change is going to affect you, please consult with your family doctor.

Pour Over Vs French Press Caffeine Content

Coffee drinkers often fall into the trap or the “coffee caffeine lie” where they falsely believe that a strong and bold tasting cup of coffee means more caffeine.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

The bolder, stronger and darker tasting the coffee is, the less caffeine it has – as a general rule of thumb.

In this situation of Pour over Vs French press, a pour over will have more caffeine due to using light roasted beans and producing a brighter and lighter taste.

Assuming the same beans were used and brewing a cup of coffee that is the same 12 ounce (360 ml) the amount of caffeine is as follows:

  • 175 mg of caffeine in a 12 oz (360 ml) pour over.
  • 135 mg of caffeine in a 12 ox (360 ml) French press.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pour Over Vs French Press

Which Tastes Better Pour Over Or French Press?

Which of these two tastes better is very subjective as both coffee brewing methods are at their best with very different roasts.

If your personal preference leans towards a cup of coffee that is full of the floral tastes and intricate and delicate notes of the origin, then using a light roast or a blonde roast with a pour over will taste much better than had you used a French press.

If you are the kind of coffee lover that enjoys a brew that is bold and full of flavor, then medium-dark to dark roasted coffee bean and making a French press coffee is a much better option than a pour over.

Coffee brewing is all about using the right bean with the right method to get the best flavors out of them.

Which Has More Caffeine French Press Or Pour Over?

Between a French press coffee maker and a pour over the best at extracting the most caffeine is a pour over. For a 12 ounce (360 ml) cup of coffee a pour over will have 175 mg while the same cup of coffee with the same beans used will have 135 mg of caffeine with a French press.

Can You Make Pour Over Coffee In A French Press?

Technically speaking, it is completely possible to use your French press to make a pour over coffee, but there is no real reason why you would do that unless you wanted to use the large carafe to hold and pour your coffee into your cup. It is very common to make a pour over coffee directly into your coffee mug.

Is Pour Over Coffee Smooth?

Yes, making a bright and smooth, crisp and clean tasting coffee is one of the benefits of brewing coffee with a pour over coffee maker.

It is the constant flow of clean fresh water that produces the smooth mouthfeel.

Why Is My Pour-Over Coffee Weak?

There are a few reasons why your pour over coffee is weak. The most common causes are:

  • Your grind size is too large.
  • Your water temperature is too low.
  • Your coffee to water ratio is out; it’s probably too high.

Check your water temperature and make sure it is in the perfect brewing temperature of 195F to 205F (92C to 96C) and nearer the higher end of this temperature range.

Use a slightly smaller grind size and reduce the coffee to water ratio that you are using.

Make only one adjustment at a time until you find out what the problem is.

How Do You Bloom A Pour Over Coffee?

Blooming coffee is easy, and you need to do it with both a pour over maker and a French press.

Put your coffee grounds in your coffee maker and add twice as much of your hot water as you have grounds (for 25 grams of coffee grounds, add 50 grams of hot water).

Wait 25 to 30 seconds for the grounds to degas (bloom) and then continue to pour the rest of your hot water and continue with the brewing process.

What Coffee Is Best For Pour Over?

The Pour over coffee brewing method is best and rather excellent with a lighter roasted coffee bean as it is brilliant at extracting all the delicate and intricate notes and flavors of origin.

If you have an expensive single origin coffee bean of a light roast, the pour over method of coffee brewing is the best for getting the best flavors out of them.

Final Thoughts – Pour Over Vs French Press

If you have read this far, you know which of these two brewing methods is best suited to you and why.

Above all, you know which beans to use with both methods to get the best tasting coffee from both the different ways of brewing.

In this Pour over Vs French press battle of the brew, which one wins 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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