The French Press vs Drip Coffee Machine — Which is Better?

Updated on: April 7, 2022
Author: Nick
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French Press vs Drip

Recently, coffee consumption has risen in popularity by almost 5% [1]. With more people choosing to make their own coffee, it has once again sparked the French press vs drip brewing method debate. To settle this once and for all, we’ve identified some major pros and cons for your consideration.

French Press vs Drip Coffee

In short, French press coffee will result in bolder coffee flavors and a quicker preparation time. However, it will require more skill to operate, and it may not be suitable for large households.

The drip coffee maker is very easy to operate, can prepare large portions and keep them warm. But the drip machine requires electricity to use, and your coffee will result in weaker flavors.

Let’s now dive in deeper and cover what these two coffee brewing methods are, including their pros and cons.

The French Press Coffee Maker

Dating back to the 1800s, the French press’ origins are debated between Italy and France. While the first iteration of the coffee press is credited to a Frenchman, it was an Italian duo’s patent from 1929 that resembles the press we use today [2].

It has stood the test of time and French press coffee has become a staple when making coffee.

Barista Warrior Insulated Stainless Steel French Press with Thermometer

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Bolder Flavors

French press coffee features richer flavors comparable to that of an espresso machine. For many coffee connoisseurs, this is integral to preserve the terroir of the bean. Because a French press doesn’t use a coffee filter, some coffee lovers believe it better preserves the bean's flavor profile and mouth finish.

The French press also allows much greater control over different variables, such as coffee bean grinds, water temperature, and the plunge rate. In other words, the French press allows you to create that perfect cup of coffee for YOUR taste buds.

This is also why many would prefer to use a french press when making a caffe misto at home, since the bold flavors go well with steamed milk!

Faster Brewing Time and More Practical

Is your morning coffee time usually a bit pressed? Puns aside, if you answered yes, then French press coffee can be a time-efficient choice. From boiling the water to the steeping, the total time from prep to cup will only be around eight minutes. Even if you include clean-up, a press only requires a quick rinse after use.

Also, you can take your French press to work, and be a coffee snob by telling your coworkers how better your French press brew coffee is.


Limited Servings

Let’s be honest. Even if you live alone, you’re not just going to have one cup. Most French presses, though, only yield between one to two servings depending on the press size. You could invest in a larger one for a greater yield. However, having the coffee just sit in the press for long will adversely affect the flavor. We’ll pass on cold coffee!

Requires Technique

Regardless of what device you use, there is always a degree of involvement required from your end to produce the ideal brew. This is underscored in the French press.

Because of its simplicity, there are fewer fail-safes to help you achieve the right water ratio, water temperature, and plunge rate. So you will need to nail these to have great French press coffee. You will also need a good coffee grinder, as using fresh coffee beans is the way to go.

Also, one of the trickiest parts of using a French press is that these variables will change if you change your coffee beans. Each bean is different, so you’ll have to be careful what grind size is appropriate, and how long the coffee grounds steep to avoid a weak or over-brewed cup.

The Drip Coffee Machine

The classic drip coffee machine has been a household and workspace office for generations. Currently, drip coffee makers can be found in 45% of households [3]. No surprise here as the humbler drip coffee maker is easy to use, dependable and durable when you need a hot cup of joe.

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Fully Automated

A practically fool-proof way to make coffee, the drip coffee maker’s fully automated systems drastically reduce the margin of error.

For instance, don’t have the time to babysit your brew? Most drip coffee makers have an internal circuit board layout that is specially programmed to accommodate pre-determined commands. This means after you input the time you want your coffee, you can set it and forget about it. The drip’s programming will also take care of all the steps before “serving” your coffee at a specific time.

Keeps Coffee Warm

There’s nothing quite as disappointing as tepid coffee. Thankfully, because most drip coffee machines have a built-in heating mechanism like a hot plate, your brewed coffee will stay warm throughout. In some machines, a thermal carafe maintains the coffee’s temperature without overheating the brew. However, don’t leave the coffee sitting on the hot plate for too long, as it will get spoiled.


Reliant on Electricity and Not as Practical

As an electrical appliance, you will need a stable power source to use the machine’s full capacity. Any sudden power fluctuations may also mess up any ongoing brewing or burn out the delicate components.

Also, good luck putting your drip coffee machine in your bag if you want to use it at work...

Produces a “Milder” Flavor

According to serious coffee drinkers, a typical drip coffee maker will take away a lot of the natural character and boldness of your grind. Partly, this is due to the filter paper absorbing some of the flavors. Aside from this, many long-time coffee drinkers say that drip coffee has a one-note finish that's hard to tweak.

Here’s a tip to improve your drip coffee flavor. Get a grinder, or a coffee maker with a built-in grinder! Your coffee grounds will be as fresh as possible, and this is an important step to improve your coffee quality.

Drip Coffee Maker

The Verdict

Neither French press coffee nor drip coffee is superior to the other. As cliché as it may sound, what it all boils down to (pun intended!) is what you prefer. Depending on your preferences, either device can satisfy your caffeine craving.

For example, do you have 5 kids and need to get them ready in the morning? Drip coffee might be more suitable for you in this case. Or if you live alone, using a French press coffee maker to brew an amazing cup of joe could become part of your morning ritual.

Nick loves coffee... Actually, he NEEDS coffee! So, he has dedicated his time to learning all he can about this magical bean. He can make a mean latte, is obsessed with flat whites, and is always up for a cup of java!

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