Coffee is one of life’s simple pleasures. For connoisseurs, the richness of the French press is the only reason to get out of bed in the morning, but for the unfortunate souls for whom coherent thought doesn’t exist before the first cup, automatic drip coffee is the answer to their java dreams.
So, while the French press vs drip debate drones on in the background, there are good reasons for coffee lovers to consider using both technologies. Let’s have a closer look at why.
Advantages of Drip Coffee Machines
Timing and Convenience
The French press method of brewing produces more complex coffee. Period. If you’re hoping we’re going tell you that joe made in an automatic drip machine is every bit as good, you’ll be disappointed, but the benefit of having a decent, albeit not a perfect cup, ready before the French press users have water boiled can make drip coffee a shortcut worth taking.
The bottom line is that hundreds of great things compete for precious moments in the day, and the convenience of drip coffee vs French press is undeniable. With features like programmable timers, automatic shut-off and a warming plate to keep your next cup hot, nothing gives you more control over how and when you enjoy your coffee.
Timers and Freshness
The closed system lets you add water and load grounds the night before while protecting it from the air that could affect its flavor. Once brewed, extra coffee keeps better for longer because the brewing cycle is calibrated and stops on cue, while French press continues to process and gives the latecomer to the breakfast table a bitter, overdeveloped cup.
To top it off, if you have a crew to feed, an automatic drip maker produces enough coffee to have everyone satisfied and heading out the door in a fraction of the time of a French press. Presses do come in large sizes, but the larger the pot, the more water has to come to a boil to and the longer it takes.
As for the taste, drip coffee can be excellent — especially if you’re new to brewing. Automatic drip machines are near foolproof, and once you’re accustomed to how the machine works and the ratio of grounds to water needed to produce the desired strength, you’ll never be without a quick cup again.
Cool Modern Features
Even complex features have evolved to be a breeze to operate, and choosing a type of coffee that’s compatible with an automatic drip machine is even easier because they’re almost all compatible! Select top quality beans and take the time to grind them yourself at home, and you’ll be stunned at just how good a cup a drip coffee maker can produce.
Here are a few well-reviewed Drip Coffee Machines on Amazon to Consider:
Advantages of French Press
For die-hard aficionados, the battle between French press and drip coffee is already over, and French press will forever reign supreme. This time-honored method of brewing makes a cup brimming with full-bodied flavors so deep and unique that if coffee is the pinnacle of your day, nothing else is worth the effort, but how does it make such a superior brew?
It’s all about extraction. Simply put, extraction is the process of drawing complex flavors out of coffee by dissolving it’s soluble compounds in hot water, and when it comes to getting the most out of your cup, it matters.
The whole point of grinding coffee is to increase it’s surface area. This allows hot water to flow over it freely and extract the entire gamut of potential tastes. For this, the French press method of brewing excels because unlike the timed cycle of a drip coffee machine, it puts you in the driver’s seat, giving you ultimate control over the wide range of variables that affect the taste of coffee from water temperature to dwell time.
Unlike drip coffee, French press brewing offers more opportunity to extract flavors. Water is heated to boiling point — a can’t miss temperature — and then slightly cooled. Once the grinds are immersed, coffee steeps, bringing out richness, depth and complexity.
Drip makers are fast, but have a reputation for under-heating water. Few produce the optimal range of 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit, and that means flavors are lost. Grounds have less exposure to hot water due to the speedy brew cycle and the lower dwell time also leaves valuable notes behind.
Timing and Control
Dwell time, the number of minutes water has contact with your grind, is a top determinant of taste. Too little dwell time, and coffee is weak and boring. Too much, and the flavor becomes bitter.
If you’re used to drip coffee, the trial and error it takes to refine grind, temperature and dwell time may be too much to bear, but for those with an adventurous spirit, a French press puts the possibility of the ultimate cup in your hands and has a few other distinct advantages over it’s plug-in cousins.
First, it’s portable and needs no electricity to operate. No costly filters are required, and although it can be a little fussy to clean, drip makers need similar maintenance, and ditching the filters is a convenient, eco-friendly plus. Use a press at home, bring to the office, or take it camping to enjoy a consistent cup every time.
Next, there’s less waste. Coffee that sits on a drip maker’s hot plate too long tastes burnt and usually ends up down the drain. Steel carafes are better at maintaining temperature and won’t scald coffee, but they don’t improve the taste of an otherwise dull brew.
Finally, did we mention the coffee tastes better? We did, but it’s so important, it’s worth pointing out again. Drip coffee is ultra convenient and that a big deal for folks on a schedule, but nothing squeezes more impressive flavor out a bean than a French press.
Here are a few well-reviewed French Presses on Amazon to Consider:
Secura Stainless Steel French Press Coffee Maker
Cafe Du Chateau – French Press Coffee Maker
Large French Press Coffee Maker – Vacuum Insulated Stainless
Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker
KONA French Press Coffee Maker
Bodum Brazil French Press Coffee Maker, 34 Ounce, 1 Liter
Why Does America Love Drip Coffee Makers?
America can take both the blame and the credit for developing the mass-produced automatic drip coffee maker. French press fanatics call the invention a crime, while millions who would otherwise have to forgo the daily pleasure of a cup because of a long brewing process sing its praises.
When it comes to morning joe, the world has been looking for ways to fix it faster for decades. Before the first Mr. Coffee was introduced in the early 1970’s, it was the percolator. Before that were machines from the dangerous to the preposterous and before that was just a pot of hot water and coffee beans.
What it really comes down to is convenience. Drip coffee is a cop out to some who believe that anything worth doing is worth the effort to do well — and they may be right, but from a cultural standpoint, our lives have been drastically improved by accepting a few minor compromises that let us have more of what we love every day — including decent coffee.
Today, we have two competing trends — a yearning for something special and a desperate need to shave seconds off the time it takes to get a caffeine fix. So, while the good old Mr. Coffee machine remains a fixture in homes and break rooms across the country and continues to satisfy millions, French press and other ways of brewing that make coffee an experience to savor are gaining traction.
Ultimately, it’s possible to have the best of both worlds and enjoy what each technology has to offer. The results are not always as individual as you are, but there are choices and compared to a long history of precarious coffee making, both are a big improvement! Have a look at how far we’ve come.
The Evolution of Brewing Coffee
From the discovery of the coffee bean around the year 850 to the invention of the modern drip coffee maker, there were more than a few misadventures and miscreants, but there were also heroes that, according to legend, include: an intoxicated goat, a merry Mufti, a Turkish army, a Pope, an ingenious Frenchman and an Italian to whom the coffee world is grateful.
It started in Ethiopia with a goat who’s lively antics after eating coffee beans led a herdsman to give it a try. In near bliss, he delivered the beans to a local monk who met them with suspicion and threw them into a fire. Another monk salvaged the then-roasted beans, mixed them with hot water and voila, the first cup of rudimentary coffee was born. A powerful local Mufti took a liking to the new drink, and the world’s first coffee houses were established to celebrate it’s goodness.
The next few centuries were spent debating the practical, cultural and spiritual merits of coffee as Turkish armies demanded it for fuel on long marches, students planned revolutions with cups of it in hand and Christian leaders worried it was satanic until Pope Clement VIII finally gave it his blessing in 1600.
Through the years, coffee was responsible for wars between the sexes and even between countries, but brewing methods didn’t start to advance until the early 1700’s when the French first wrapped coffee grounds in a linen bag and steeped it in hot water like tea. Finally! Modern joe was born.
The early 800’s brought us the first percolator, and the design was steadily refined until Hanson Goodrich, an Illinois farmer took out a patent for it in 1889. By today’s standards, percolated coffee is synonymous with stale cafeteria brew, but it was among the first electric coffee makers that used the high heat required to extract flavor from coffee and at the time, it was a technological marvel and a taste sensation.
Thankfully, other cultures around the world were also refining their brewing techniques and in 1929, Italian inventor Attilio Calimani designed the world’s first French press, and what America couldn’t improve upon on taste, it did on speed. In 1972, Ohio native Vincent Marotta redesigned the percolator by lowering the water temperature and love it or hate it — the now ubiquitous Mr. Coffee was introduced.
The rest, as they say, is history, but whenever you’re tempted to join the French press coffee vs drip brew debate, remember the humble roots of this amazing beverage, give both methods the kudos they deserve and consider yourself lucky whichever you are fortunate enough to drink.