Coffee makers and French presses are two popular devices for making home brew in homes, offices, and hotels, etc. But which of these machines make the best coffee? That's what we’re going to find out in this coffee maker vs French press debate.
While fans of these machines may hold biased views in this French press vs coffee maker debate, we’re going to put both coffee machines side by side to help you understand their differences and superiority.
So let’s get brewing as we find the differences between a drip coffee maker vs a French press.
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What Are the Main Differences between A Coffee Maker vs A French Press?
The main difference between a coffee maker and a French press is in their method of brewing coffee.
A drip coffee maker brews coffee using an automated method known as drip filtration; the brewing method yields a lighter brew with a mild flavor. Whereas a French press uses a manual method known as immersion or steeping technique to brew your coffee grounds; this extraction process yields more amounts of coffee sediments, and thus produces a heavier and more flavorful cup of coffee.
The second main difference is that a coffee maker takes a longer time to brew your coffee (5 to 10 minutes), while a French press brews your coffee faster (around 5 to 8 minutes).
To better understand the key differences between a coffee maker and a French press and make a purchasing decision, we’ll explore both machines independently.
What is a coffee maker? A drip coffee maker or coffee machine is an automatic coffee brewer that uses a pour-over or dripping method to filter or extract coffee from coffee grounds. This coffee maker’s filtration process involves heating water using a heating element to filter coffee from a filter paper onto a coffee pot.
This brewing method prevents coffee grounds (sediments) from entering your cup. And it results in a brew that tastes lighter, smoother, and less acidic than coffee obtained from a French press coffee machine.
A coffee maker is great for keeping coffee hot and ready to serve whenever you need it rather than brewing coffee each time you need a drink.
What is a French press? A French press also called a coffee press, press pot, cafetière, or coffee plunger uses a manual steeping technique to brew your coffee beans. The French press steeping method involves;
- Adding hot water to the cylindrical container before placing the coffee grounds in the machine. Never use boiling water.
- Stirring the mixture before covering the container and allowing it to brew for 3 – 5 minutes.
- Slowly pushing down the plunger filter on the coffee grounds to the bottom of the container. The plunger will extract the brew until you get your desired coffee strength and catch the coffee grounds, preventing them from filtering into your brew.
This French press steeping method leaves you with a cup of full-body coffee that’s creamy, rich in flavors, anti-oxidants, and essential oils.
However, coffee extracted using a French press contains high levels of sediment and this makes it more acidic than the coffee from a drip coffee machine. So if you suffer from acid reflux, a French press may not be the ideal coffee machine for you.
What are the advantages of a coffee maker when compared to a French press?
The advantages of a drip coffee maker compared to a French press are that it’s easier to use and it has a larger capacity than a coffee press.
Ease of use
When compared to a French press, a drip machine is easier to use to make coffee. A drip coffee machine’s brewing method is automatic; simply measure the amount of coffee grounds and pour it in your machine, check your water level, and flick your switch.
Conversely, a French press uses a manual process that’s complicated. You have to consider so many factors such as the brew time, plunge rate, and water temperature. Furthermore, to get the best French press coffee, you’ll need to determine the perfect ratio between grind size and steeping time.
However, keep in mind that the results both the French press and coffee machine will yield depend largely on the kind of grind you use; a French press works best with a coarse grind while a coffee maker works best with a medium grind.
Larger capacity or brew quantity
The capacity of a brewer depends on its size. However, the average drip coffee maker makes more cups of brew than a French press. A drip coffee machine can yield 12 cups of coffee in one brewing cycle. Whereas a French press can yield 2 to 4 cups of stronger-tasting coffee in one cycle.
Secondly, drip coffee machines have heating elements that can keep your coffee hot for a long time. A French press doesn’t have a mechanism for keeping coffee hot. So you’ll have to don’t drink all your coffee immediately after preparation.
Compared to a press pot, a drip coffee maker produces a low acid brew. This is because it uses a filter to thoroughly extract coffee. The finished brew has no sediments and it’s these sediments that cause acid reflux. So if you suffer from acid reflux, a drip coffee maker is the best brewer for you.
What are the advantages of a French press when compared to a coffee maker?
The advantages a French press has over a coffee maker are that it gives you better control over the result of your brew and the French press tastes better than coffee brewed from a drip coffee maker.
You have better control over the grind sizes, amount of coffee beans, plunge rate, and filling the reservoir, etc. You can also heat the water in the French press to its ideal brewing temperature of 195 – 205 F. These factors added to the fact that you can choose the strength of your brew determines the quality of your cup of coffee.
While for a drip machine, after putting in the coffee grounds, the rest is left to the machine since it’s an automated process. And some models don’t heat the water to its ideal brewing temperature.
Richer and more flavorful coffee
The coffee produced by a French press has a bolder, richer, and more flavorful experience. The coffee sediments make the brew thicker and creamier, giving it a more textured feel and mouth-filling experience. While the drip coffee maker doesn’t have a perfect extraction method, and this results in a filtered brew with a lighter texture.
The French press is a more reliable device than the drip machine. The French press is a manual coffee that you can use anywhere and anytime, provided you have access to hot water. The machine also has no electrical or moving parts, and this makes it less prone to damages and lasts longer than a drip coffee maker.
On the other hand, a drip coffee machine has a heating element that may become faulty at some point. Secondly, as an electrical device, you will not be able to use it in a place where there’s no electricity. Plus it can disappoint you in the case of an interrupted power supply.
A French press is cheaper than a drip coffee maker. The cost of a good French press ranges from $15 to $150. While the cost of a drip coffee machine costs between $50 and $350.
Which One Is More Usable in the Kitchen Between A Drip Coffee Maker and A French Press?
A drip coffee machine is more usable in the kitchen than a French press due to its ease of use and larger capacity. A drip maker is easier to use as the only thing you have to do is put your coffee beans into the machine and add water to the reservoir before flicking the switch. But with a French press, you have to consider the amount of coffee beans, grind sizes, plunge rate, temperature of the water, and volume of water.
Secondly, a drip coffee maker can filter 12 cups of coffee in one cycle while a French press can brew 2 -4 cups of coffee.
And should you be asking this, “Is a drip coffee maker the same as a French press?” These coffee brewers are not the same. A drip coffee machine uses a heating element, filter paper, and boiling water to filter coffee brew. The filtration process is known as drip filtration. We’ve documented how to use a drip coffee maker here.
On the other hand, a French press or press pot uses hot water (not boiling water) and a plunger filter to extract coffee brew. The process is known as an immersion or seeping method.
What foods can you process in a drip coffee maker?
A drip coffee maker can process coffee grinds into a coffee brew with a smooth taste and light texture. Here are the uses of a coffee maker.
What foods can you process in a French press?
A French press can only process coffee beans into a richly flavored coffee brew with a thick and creamy texture.
Can a drip coffee machine and a French press be paired together in a kitchen?
Yes, you can pair a drip coffee machine and a French press in a kitchen as a coffee machine can brew more cups of coffee than a French press if you have guests. While a French press can brew a more flavored cup of coffee when you want to enjoy a single serving.
What are the instances where a drip coffee maker and a French press should be used together?
You can use a drip coffee maker and a French press in your kitchen if you need an endless supply of coffee and still want to have control over your brew.
For days where you don’t have the patience to process coffee grinds every time you need a drink, the coffee maker will provide you with multiple cups of hot and nice coffee. Plus it can supply you with a cup of coffee when you wake up early in the morning.
And for the times when you want to savor a cup of coffee rich in oils, luxurious flavor, and appealing aroma, the French press will duly serve you.
Also, if there’s a power failure or your drip coffee machine’s heating elements disappoint, you can rely on your French press to process delicious cups of coffee for you.
What are the instances where a drip coffee maker and a French press should never be used together?
Do not use a drip coffee maker and a French press when you’re making a single brew of coffee for less than 4 people. This is because both drip machines and press pots can process coffee grinds to give you 4 cups of coffee.
Secondly, don’t use a drip maker and a French press when you suffer from acid reflux. The sediments in the cups of Joe brewed by a French maker increase the coffee’s acidity.
What to Consider when Buying A Drip Coffee Maker or A French Press
If you love to brew coffee like a skilled barista, here are the factors you should consider when buying a drip coffee maker or a French press.
What type of coffee maker should I get?
There are three types of drip coffee makers; they include thermal, glass, and dual pot coffee makers.
Coffee makers with thermal carafes are insulated and can keep coffee warm for hours. They’re great for people that love to enjoy their coffee hot all the time without putting the drip coffee maker on a hot plate.
Glass carafe coffee makers aren’t insulated, so they can’t keep coffee warm for a long time unless you put them on a hot plate. They can only keep warm for 20 minutes. However, the glass allows you to see the quantity of your brew and since they’re mostly open-air, they can fill your room with the aroma of your coffee. They also allow you to set a timer for how long the hot plate will brew your coffee.
Dual pot coffee makers have two brewing stations that allow you to brew two different flavors of coffee simultaneously. For example, you can brew a pot of decaffeinated coffee and regular coffee at the same time. This is great for an office setting with lots of coffee lovers.
How much does it cost to buy a coffee maker or French press?
Coffee makers are more expensive than press pots because they’re easy to use and they use an automated coffee brewing system. A coffee maker costs between $50 and $350. Also, keep in mind that you’ll also have to buy other items regularly; items like some pods or capsules that can cost $5 to $7 (for a single-serving machine) or filters.
A French press on the other hand is cheaper and can last a lifetime unless the glass carafe breaks (which shouldn’t be difficult to fix). A French press costs around $9 and $150. However, those priced around $35 will be fairly valuable.
How much coffee do you drink?
If you live alone or only drink a cup of coffee a day, a single-serving machine will suffice. But if you drink more cups, then it’ll be best if you get a model with a larger pot that can make 12 cups of coffee.
If you love to have your cup of coffee first thing in the morning, you can get a programmable coffee maker. Also, a model with an auto-shut off feature will ensure you aren’t always inspecting your brew. You can also find brewers with a water indicator level and an auto-clean feature.
What are the best brands for coffee makers?
The best brands making the best coffee makers are Cuisinart, Keurig, Ninja, Bodum, and Breville.
Cuisinart is popular for making dependable kitchen appliances that are affordable. Their mid-priced coffee makers are top-quality ones and have gotten lots of positive reviews.
Keurig is a brand popular for its single-serving coffee makers. The good news is that their product can also make chocolate and tea.
Ninja is one of the best brands making innovative coffee brewers. Their models offer impressive brew size ranges.
While Bodum is popular for making some of the best French presses, they also have a few quality drip coffee makers.
Breville is one brand that makes top-quality kitchen appliances. Some of their drip coffee makers are mid-priced while others are expensive. Breville has models with impressive features and designs.
What are the best brands for French presses?
The 5 brands making the best French presses include Espro, Bodum, Frieling, Gorsche, and SterlingPro.