French Press Vs Drip: Which Brewing Option Tastes Best?

If you’re looking for an easy and convenient coffee making method, you’ll definitely want to consider French press and drip coffee. Both brewing options deliver great-tasting coffee, and they’re both super convenient if you’re a regular coffee drinker. 

So which one is better? That’s what we're here to find out in this complete guide to drip coffee vs. French press.

Not only will you learn about the difference between French press and drip coffee, but you’ll also learn tips and tricks for making each one at home.  

morning coffee

The French press is arguably one of the most popular coffee brewing fixtures known to man. The history behind it is interesting - you’d assume that it found its origins in France, but Italians actually argue that the French press originated in their country because the patent was issued by two Italian men in 1928. 

french press

No matter who made the French press, we know one thing; this coffee making method is great for anyone who’s looking for a bold, robust cup of joe. Best of all, it’s possible to get that bold flavor in a few easy steps. 

A French press consists of 3 simple components: a glass container (or carafe), a metal mesh filter, and a plunger attached to a lid. To brew French press coffee, start by placing ground coffee beans in the carafe, followed by hot water. Allow the coffee and water to steep for several minutes, then push the plunger down to filter out the coffee from the liquid. It’s all very simple and straightforward.   


How Does French Press Coffee Taste? 

In terms of taste, French press coffee has a lot going for it. It’s bold and rich, has a heavy body, and the natural acidity of the coffee beans is muted thanks to the steeping process. So when comparing French press vs. drip coffee taste, the French press is without a doubt the bolder option.    

So why is it bolder and richer? It all has to do with the full immersion of the coffee grounds. Ideally, you’ll allow the grounds to steep for 4 minutes, and during this time, the boldness is able to come out. When the grounds are filtered, there are tiny “micro-grounds” left behind, and this attributes to the heavier texture.  

Another great thing about using a French press is that it allows the drinker to have more control over the strength of the brew. Just plunge the filter once you’ve hit your desired steeping time.  

woman drinking coffee

What Is Drip Coffee? Brewing Method Explained 

Drip coffee machines are a common household fixture. Most drip coffee machines use electricity to automatically push the water through the grinds, which eventually “drips” through as yummy coffee. This method first came about in Germany in the 1950s, and it quickly became viewed as one of the most convenient ways to make coffee.  

You’re probably already familiar with how a drip machine works, but let’s do a quick recap. After plugging in your coffee maker to a compatible outlet, you’ll pour water through the top of the machine using the included coffee pot and place the pot in its designated place on the machine. 

Then, add a filter to the designated coffee grounds compartment, add in your ground coffee beans, and turn the machine on. The water will then drip through the grounds, move through the filter, and drip into the pot, ready to drink.  

coffee machine

Why Do People Enjoy Drip Coffee? 

Drip coffee machines are convenient and efficient. All you have to do is pour the water in, add your filter and coffee grounds, and hit a button. This is definitely a big reason behind drip coffee’s popularity. It’s even possible to set up an automatic feature ahead of time so that your coffee brews at a specific time each morning. 

Another reason so many people enjoy drip coffee is the easy clean-up. Most of these machines use paper filters, so all you have to do to clean up is toss the filter and used grounds into the trash. 


French Press Vs Drip Coffee: Brewing Comparison 

The brewing steps aren’t the only difference between French press and drip coffee: 

The Number of Cups Brewed

One of the great things about drip coffee is that you can make 8-12 cups at a time, so it’s a great choice if you’re making coffee for the entire household. While there are some French press coffee makers that make 3-4 cups at a time, smaller options can only handle 1-2 cups. 

Brewing Time

The ideal brewing time for French press coffee is between 3-5 minutes. Some drip machines can brew in this same amount of time, but other models can take anywhere from 10-12 minutes to complete the brewing process. 

Ease of Use

Both machines are easy to set up and use, but a drip coffee maker has an easier clean-up process. In fact, the clean-up is one of the downsides to using a French press; you need to take apart all of the components and clean each one thoroughly before using it again. With a drip coffee maker, all you need to do is toss out the old grounds. 

Grind Size

When comparing French press grind vs. drip grind, there is one big difference. French press coffee should be ground coarsely to prevent grinds from getting through the filter. If it is ground too fine, the final brew can taste chewy and unpleasant. With drip coffee, it’s best to use a medium grind; too coarse will result in a weak brew, and too fine can lead to a bitter taste. 

Taste & Flavor

Taste and flavor are probably the biggest difference between French press vs. drip coffee. If you want a bolder, heavier taste, go with a French press. 


Can You Make Espresso in a French Press or Drip Machine? 

Yes and yes! It’s possible to make espresso in both a French press and drip coffee machine.  

Here’s the step-by-step process for making espresso with a French press:  

  1. 1
    Pre-heat your French press with warm water prior to brewing. This will help to create a warm, full-bodied espresso
  2. 2
    Using an electric kettle, stovetop, or microwave, heat your water to about 195 degrees.  
  3. 3
    Empty the water you’re using for pre-heating the French press and add your ground espresso beans. It’s recommended that you use 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 1 cup of water.  
  4. 4
    Add a small amount of water on top of the grounds. The key here is small; this will result in a more flavorful brew, which is essential for espresso.  
  5. 5
    After a few minutes, add the rest of your water and stir. Allow the mixture to brew, and when you’re ready (3-4 minutes), press down on the plunger.  
  6. 6
    Enjoy! 

The steps for making espresso in a drip coffee maker are just as simple:  

  1. 1
    Using finely ground espresso coffee grounds, add the grounds to the drip machine's filter.  
  2. 2
    Tamp down gently with a spoon to help create pressure in the brewing process.  
  3. 3
    Add water to the machine’s water chamber.  
  4. 4
    Turn the machine on, wait for the brew to complete, and enjoy! 
cup of coffee

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Which has more caffeine, French press or drip? 

When examining how much caffeine is in your coffee, drip coffee is the winner.

Taste of Home says that

“French press coffee is low in caffeine because the grinds are so large. They have to be; otherwise, you'd be left with a cup full of coffee grounds."

What is the difference between percolator and drip coffee? 

Before the drip coffee maker came about, a percolator was a go-to option for brewing coffee at home.  

With a percolator, the water is cycled through the grounds multiple times, which results in a stronger, more robust-tasting coffee. However, a drip machine is definitely considered more convenient and easier to use, especially if you live an on-the-go lifestyle.  

What is the difference between pour over drip vs. French press? 

Pour over coffee is similar in style to drop coffee, only it is a manual method that requires you to slowly "pour over" the water into the grounds. Feel free to check out our guide on pour over vs French press for a full comparison.  

What is the difference between Vietnamese and French press coffee? 

Vietnamese drip coffee vs. French press machines have a few similarities, like a robust, bold flavor. But there are some major differences, like the fact that a Vietnamese coffee maker drips coffee slowly into your cup or mug, while a French press steeps the grounds directly in the water.  

If you’re interested in making Vietnamese coffee at home, check out this recipe 

How long do French press filters last? 

If you take care of them properly and clean the filter after each use, it could last for several years. The French press uses a mesh metal filter, so the trick is to keep it well-maintained to avoid rust and corrosion. 

brew filter coffee

Conclusion

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with adding French press or drip coffee to your daily routine. The one you choose depends on your preferences for flavor, clean-up convenience, and ease of use. If you can’t decide between the two, why not have both a French press and a drip coffee maker in your kitchen?!