Pour Over Coffee Vs French Press – The Ultimate Showdown

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For those of us who are serious about our coffee, a coffee machine is simply not an option. The substandard watery and tasteless brews they create are an offense to our taste buds.

Some call us coffee snobs for this opinion, I call us civilized.

It’s understandable why so many people are reluctant to manually make their morning brew. Fiddling around moments after waking up while bleary eyed in a zombie like state is not exactly fun, regardless of how much you love coffee.

But for us (and countless thousands of others) it’s all worth it when we take that first sip of “proper coffee” to start the day.

But while us coffee aficionados are united in our love of manual brewing, we are less united when it comes to what kind of brew we should make. Some people swear by their French press, others think that anything other than pour over coffee is sacrilege.


Today we are going to give you the rundown of the pros and cons of both methods to settle the issue once and for all.

Let’s get started.

Why A French Press?

As the name suggests, the French press was developed in France and it took the world by storm when it was first released hundreds of years ago. For its time it was a revolutionary device that changed the way people thought about coffee.

As a testament to its genius, it’s still in use today, proving thousands of people with an impeccable morning brew.

It’s super easy to use compared to some other coffee making methods. You simply put coffee grounds into it, add boiling water, let it brew for a while, and you’re ready to drink.

Image source: Blue Bottle Coffee

Image source: Blue Bottle Coffee

When you’re ready to pour your cup you press down on the plunger at the top which forces all the grounds to the bottom of the glass container. However, it’s not a perfect device, and there can occasionally be a slight sprinkling of grounds in your cup from time to time.

The coffee it produces is different to what you’d get from a pour over brew. This is because the grounds are submerged in water for much longer.

The end product is thicker and richer than pour over coffee.

French presses have gotten a bit of a reputation throughout the years for being fiddly and tricky to use properly. When you don’t know what you’re doing finding the perfect ratio of water to coffee is a case of trial and error.

This learning process, unfortunately, puts many people off these amazing little devices. Some people don’t experiment, and others simply can’t be bothered. But if you put the effort in, a French press can be super convenient. They are a very “hands off” device and they can be trusted to do their thing while you go about your morning routine.

Why Pour Over Coffee?

Making pour over coffee (also called filter coffee) used to be a time consuming and messy affair. But small modern twists on the classic design have enabled it to become a viable modern day option for making your morning brew.

The process is reasonably simple (and is not that dissimilar from a French press). Put some coffee grounds in a filter, boil some water, place the filter in a funnel like device and place a jug underneath it.

Source: Stump Town Coffee

Source: Stump Town Coffee

You then slowly pour water through the grounds and it will filter down through the funnel and end up dripping into the jug as fresh, hot coffee.

Because the grounds are in contact with the water for less time than a French press, the coffee has a much lighter taste to it.

It’s very rare for coffee grounds to make it into the cup giving you a smooth reliable brew.

Pour Over Coffee Vs French Press Coffee – The Verdict

In our opinion pour over coffee is inferior to the French press.

Now before you get the pitchforks out, let us explain our position.

In all honesty, pour over coffee is not much better than using an automatic coffee maker. It’s essentially the same process that is taking place, you’re just doing it manually.

We’d be lying if we said it tasted exactly the same because it doesn’t. But the difference in taste is alarmingly small.

To make things even worse for the pour over coffee method it’s not all that easy to do. We are guessing most people reading this are useless in the morning until they have had their morning brew. Aligning jugs and funnels isn’t exactly fun in itself, but then you also have to stand there and manually pour the water in.

You can’t just dump it all in at once (if you want the best coffee possible) so this is going to take a few minutes to do properly (which feels like forever at 7 am in the morning).

Why go to all that effort for something that is negligibly better than an automatic coffee maker?

Then, on the other hand, you’ve got the French press. This device is far from perfect either, the dark flavor may not be to everyone’s taste, and the occasional coffee grounds that make their way into the cup are annoying, to say the least.

But the French press does create a much better cup of coffee, and you don’t have to babysit it while it’s brewing by slowly pouring water in. Simply throw in the grounds, chuck in some water, and let it do its thing.

We admit that the learning curve is greater with the French press, and that’s super annoying. It’s difficult to get the timing and ratios right at first.

But if you can be bothered to put the effort in – it makes a far superior brew.

Other opinions are available!