Many years ago, my brother introduced me to the French Press. He explained that for many, this was the best way to brew coffee. At the time, I didn’t have a sophisticated enough taste for coffee for it to make much difference. I also remember staring at the press pot and thinking about how primitive it looked compared to some of the tricked-out drip brewers that were on the market.
It would be many years before I would use a French Press again. I had made plenty of upgrades in my other coffee gear and certainly, the coffee itself that I was buying. I had finished some reading on making great coffee, and the press pot came up again and again. I decided to buy one, and alternated between using it and the drip brewer. As time has gone on, I’ve used the drip brewer predominantly to make a large amount of coffee to be poured into my Thermos, but for smaller amounts, some of the fancier brewing methods.
Last year, two different guests to the website asked me which I thought was the better brewing method between the press pot and the pourover method (the latter also known as the Chemex or Melitta). Similarly, many people still refer to the press pot as the Bodum, named after the company that made the design popular. Pourover was new to me, so I actually had to research it. When I did, it just seemed like a LOT of work compared to the very turnkey way of making coffee by press pot. With nothing else to go on, I ruled in favor of the press pot.
I now have a drip brewer, a press pot, and a pourover coffee maker in my coffee bar. I will say that both the press pot and pourover make a noticeably better coffee than the drip brewer, but then again, both are intended to be improvements on the design of the drip brewer, itself an improvement on the percolator.
Here is some loose logic for how and when I decide to use each:
- Drip Brewer: For making a lot of coffee at once. Generally to load into my Thermos for a day of being on the road, or if I am making coffee for a lot of guests.
- Press Pot: Takes the longest to cool down, so for when I have time to sit back by myself, and enjoy it (ie. Sunday afternoon, no hurries).
- Pourover: For some novelty in preparing it – it is definitely the most interesting to watch being prepared. I do enjoy talking through the process as I prepare it. Also, the paper filter removes any sediment from the coffee, which I like to provide for coffee drinking guests in my home who may not know to swish their cup before the last swallow, or care to.
So, the drip brewer remains my method for brewing a volume of coffee. Between the press pot and pourover, I cannot pick a “winner”. I like them both. The pourover leaves no sediment in the cup but the coffee cools off quicker. The press pot leaves sediment in the cup, but it doesn’t bother me as I’m expecting the sediment. I love having them all in the coffee bar at my disposal.