French Press vs Automatic Coffee Makers

Table of Contents

Intro

If you are new to coffee, deciding how you want to make it every day is a huge decision to make. The two most popular ways are to use a French Press pot or use an automatic drip coffee machine. There is a lot to think about in order to make the best decision.

French Press vs. Automatic Coffee Makers

The choice between a French Press or drip coffee has been debated for years. It is a very personal decision, and neither choice is right or wrong. Depending on your lifestyle, favorite coffee, or location, one choice might be better than the other. 

A French Press is a simple device that has been around for decades. It’s a great way to make coffee even if you don’t have access to electricity. 

All you need is a way to grind your coffee beans and a way to boil your water. This method of making coffee does take a bit more time and care, though.

A drip coffee machine is powered by electricity and is usually automated. You don’t have to work about heating your water separately since the machine does it for you. 

You will need to grind coffee or buy pre-ground coffee in order to use it. You also have to purchase coffee filters, unlike with a French Press. A great choice for people who need their coffee but don’t have a lot of time to dedicate towards making it.

The Benefits of a French Press Coffee Maker

With a French Press, you have more control over the various aspects of the brewing process. You decide what temperature water to use, how long you allow it to brew, and how coarse or fine your coffee grounds are. This makes for a variety of coffee tastes with the same coffee beans. 

Since a French Press doesn’t need to be plugged into an electrical outlet, it’s extremely portable. You can take it with you on vacation or camping in the woods. All you need is a way to heat your water, and you can make coffee. 

When using a French Press, the coffee beans are ground coarser than a drip machine can use. The coarse ground beans combined with the immersive brewing method means you get more caffeine content in your cup of coffee.

There have been multiple studies into the health benefits of a caffeine-filled cup of coffee a day helping with many health issues and your overall well-being. Like everything else that’s good in life, you should intake coffee in moderation to be healthy. 

Another great benefit to a French Press is saving money. The filter on a French Press is metal and built-in. You don’t need any paper filters for a French Press, and the press itself is usually cheaper than an automatic drip coffee machine.

The Benefits Of Automatic Coffee Machines

An automatic coffee machine is great if you want coffee quickly. Newer machines can brew a cup of coffee in just a couple of minutes. This is a lifesaver if you live a busy lifestyle and need your morning coffee. 

The amount of coffee you can brew in a drip machine is almost unmatched. You can have up to 12 cups of coffee brewed in just a few minutes, and the heated carafe plate keeps it warm for hours. These are great in offices or for large families. 

An automated drip coffee maker comes with a certain level of consistency since it is mostly automated. If you find the perfect coffee you like through a drip coffee maker, it’s not difficult to replicate since you don’t need to worry about brew times or water temperature. You can make the same cup every day if you want to. 

These coffee makers are very convenient too. You don’t have to babysit your coffee while it’s brewing, you can walk off and do other things while it’s going. Some even have timers on them you can set, so your coffee is already done brewing once you wake up and get out of bed.

Which Coffee Maker is More Reliable?

While the automatic drip coffee machines have come a long way over the years, there is no denying the reliability of a French Press coffee maker. There are no mechanical parts or motors to worry about wearing out. With the electronics involved in some drip machines, Murphy’s Law is bound to show up eventually, and there’s more to go wrong. 

A French Press has very few moving parts that will wear out over time. About the worst thing that can happen is you drop it and shatter the glass. Luckily French Press coffee makers are much cheaper to replace as well. To top it all off, you can take your French Press coffee maker with you when you travel since it requires no electricity, and they are generally small devices.

How Does A French Press Work?

A French Press is an immersion brewing device for coffee. The coffee grounds sit in hot water for a few minutes instead of a few seconds, like other methods. You have control over the entire process of making your coffee, so it’s important to understand it.

You always want to preheat the carafe with hot water before making your cup of coffee. After doing that, you can add your coarsely ground coffee beans into the empty carafe. You have to heat your water separately; usually, you want it between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Add your hot water to the grounds and then place the top with the plunger onto the carafe to keep the heat inside. 

Time how long you want your coffee to brew, depending on how strong you want your cup to be. The average time is around 3 or 4 minutes. After the time is up, slowly press down on the plunger to force the grounds to be separated from your coffee. It’s important to make sure you press it all the way down, so your coffee isn’t over-brewed. 

Pour and enjoy your cup of freshly brewed coffee. With a French Press, it takes a bit of practice to make a consistent tasting cup of coffee. Each cup can be different depending on water temperature and steep time.

How to Get the Best Cup from an Auto-Drip Coffee Maker

A large part of the coffee-making process is automated with a drip coffee maker, so it’s important that you control what you can to get the best coffee possible. What you can control is your coffee beans, how you grind them, your coffee to water ratio, and a good preheating. Keep all these things in mind, and you can brew great coffee in a drip machine. 

You want your beans as fresh as you can get them. I suggest buying whole coffee beans at a minimum. If you can find a local coffee roaster that has a blend you like to try to buy directly from them. Only buy enough to get you through a month and grind them as needed. 

The consistency of your ground beans is super important to the taste. If you grind it too fine, water won’t pass through easily, and if they are too coarse, it won’t extract enough coffee from the beans. For a standard drip machine, you want a medium grind that should be almost sand-like. 

The coffee ratio will completely change how strong or weak your coffee will taste. The standard ratio is a tablespoon of ground coffee for every six ounces of water. If you want a stronger cup, just add a little more, and vice versa,

While water temperature on most drip machines is managed by the machine itself, some cheaper coffee makers struggle to get up to the recommended brewing temperature. If you have one of these cheaper machines, just run a blank brew through of just water. This will heat up your machine to the right temperature.

How Many Cups ​can ​you Brew?

This is one of the deciding factors in getting a French Press over an automatic drip coffee machine. If you are looking to brew coffee for a lot of people, then a drip coffee machine would be a better choice. French Presses are very limited in how much coffee they can brew at one time. 

The average French Press can brew about four cups of coffee. You can find some press pots that can brew up to eight cups, but they are rare and bring up another issue. The longer you let coffee sit in a French Press, the more bitter it’s going to be. This isn’t a problem if you are drinking it right away but can be an issue. 

An automatic drip machine can brew about twelve cups of coffee in one run. You also don’t have to worry about your coffee going bitter before you get the chance to drink it since the carafe sits on a hot plate to keep it warm. If you need to make coffee for large groups like in an office, a drip coffee machine is the best choice.

The Easiest Way to Clean Your French Press

Cleaning a French Press can be a messy process if you try to scrape out all of the grinds by hand. It feels somewhat gross, and the coffee grinds get stuck under your fingernails. There is a much easier way to clean your French Press without having to stick your hand inside.

First, get a fine mesh metal sieve. Fill the carafe with warm water to dislodge all of the coffee grounds that are stuck inside. Slowly pour the filled carafe into your sink through the sieve. This will keep the coffee grounds from clogging your sink, and you can easily throw them in the trash or in your compost. 

Next, you have to make sure the plunger and handle are clean. Fill the carafe with warm soapy water. Take the plunger and push it onto the top of the carafe. Move the plunger up and down to loosen any coffee grounds stuck in it as well as scrub the sides of the carafe. Just pour everything out and dry, simple, and easy. Make sure to repeat this once a month to keep your coffee tasting good.

The Easiest Way to Clean Your Coffee Maker

If you want the best possible coffee out of your drip coffee maker, you will need a clean carafe and machine. The carafe should be cleaned after every use, but the machine can be cleaned on a monthly basis if you use it every day. You can deep clean your coffee machine with a surprising number of household items. 

You want to get all the calcium deposits and any coffee residue out of your drip coffee machine because, over time, they will degrade your machine. The coffee residue is very acidic, and we all want our coffee machines to last for as long as possible. White vinegar is the most common thing people use to clean the inside of their drip coffee machines. 

You want to use a half and half mixture of white vinegar and water. Pour this mix into your coffee makers reservoir and run it through a brew cycle just like you would making coffee, minus the filter. This will break down the calcium and coffee residue on the inside. I suggest giving it around 15 to 30 minutes to sit. 

The last step is to run a few cycles of just plain water through your coffee machine to flush out any residue and remaining white vinegar mixture. If you don’t wash out the vinegar, it can be just as acidic, and It will make your next cup of coffee taste terrible. If you don’t want to use white vinegar, you can substitute it with lemon juice or a baking soda mixture.

Conclusion

In the long run, both of these options will provide you with great coffee for a long time. The decision is a matter of preference and lifestyle. If you are busier, then a drip machine is a great choice, but if you have the time, a French Press will give you much more control over taste.

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Sources

How to Clean a Coffee Maker, According to Cleaning Experts
https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/tips/a26565/cleaning-coffee-maker/

Pressed coffee is going mainstream — but should you drink it?
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/pressed-coffee-going-mainstream-drink-201604299530

How to Make the Perfect French Press Coffee
https://www.peets.com/learn/how-to-brew-french-press