French Press vs Espresso Coffee Brewing Styles Compared

We explain the advantages and drawbacks of each of these two methods and compare them in detail
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Last updatedLast updated: November 02, 2021
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After a really busy day, you just want to enjoy a cup of very good coffee. You may also want to wake up every day to smell your nicely made cup of good coffee. The two popularly used methods of brewing coffee are the “French Press and Espresso” method.

The French press vs. espresso argument does not seem to end. There are quite some differences between the two methods of brewing coffee. One glaring difference is in the way they are brewed.

This article is your guide into knowing what the French press and espresso are, the advantages and possible drawbacks of using both methods, their differences and possible similarities, the nutritional benefits that you can get from both, the roast required, the taste and flavor, the caffeine content they both have, the grind size required, and the amount of time required for brewing.

What Is the French Press Brewing Method?

French Press vs Espresso Coffee Brewing Styles Compared

The French press method and equipment have been around for the longest time in many homes. It is interesting to note that for some time there was a back and forth on who owned this method until it was finally patented in Millan about 80 years ago. It is commonly used because it is a cheap and easy method to brew coffee. The equipment used for this method of brewing coffee is the French coffee press. The French coffee press is also known as a coffee plunger, coffee brewing, amongst others.

As simple as the French press brewing method is, if you make the mistake of selecting the wrong type of coffee beans from the start, you will end up having a nasty tasting coffee on your hands, and trust us when we say, there is nothing that as bad as starting your day with having to drink a bad cup of coffee. The best coffee bean used for the French press brewing method is those that have a coarse texture.

The French press brewing coffee machine usually has a plunger that comes with it.  The first step in making a French press coffee is for you to roast and grind the coffee bean into a rough or coarse form.

One fundamental error you must never make when using a French press is to grind the coffee beans to a smooth texture.

The next step after grinding into a coarse texture is for you to measure the right quantity of the ground coffee bean that you need. There are a lot of measuring scales, cups, and many other types of equipment and utensils for measurement. You may be wondering why we are emphasizing so much on getting the exact measurement right; this is because if you get it wrong you may end up with a bad and bitter-tasting coffee.

After you might have measured and taken out the right amount you need, place a kettle of water on your heat medium, that is either your gas or electric cooker, heater, or whatever you use. Leave the water to reach boiling point temperature and then turn off the cooker. Set it aside and leave the water to cool for a bit. While waiting for the water to cool down, get your French press-ready.

Pour your ground coffee bean into the French press and pour your hot water slowly into the coffee until it gets to the required and right level. This whole process of adding the ground coffee to the hot water and leaving it to brew for a few minutes is known as steeping or immersion brewing Trusted Source How to use a French press to brew perfect coffee | CNN Underscored There's a seemingly endless number of ways to make coffee from drip machines and pour-overs to single-serve makers and moka pots. If you're ready to explore the French press, we talked to experts to walk you through everything you need to know. us.cnn.com . After it has brewed at the right amount of time, you would then use the plunger in your coffee beaker. The plunger helps to draw out the liquid and oil content of the coffee and separate the coffee grounds from it. What you need to do is keep pushing the plunger down slowly for a couple of minutes.

Once you can get the adequate and needed amount of brewed coffee, pour it into a cup almost immediately. If you leave the coffee in the French press for too long you may end up having some bitter parts of it seep into your cup.  Getting a good French press is very essential to get a good coffee end product.

Advantages of the French Press Brewing Method

There are quite some pros that come with making use of the French press brewing method. Some of which are;

  1. It is very easy to use the french press. The use of the french press in making your coffee saves you a lot of mental and physical stress. It is very easy to make a cup of coffee using this method. All you have to do is grind, brew, sieve, and drink.
  2. It is cheap. Buying a French press costs very little money. Different varieties of it can fit into your budget.
  3. You can easily carry your French press anywhere you go; It is very portable. The beaker where you pour the ground coffee bean into is not connected to electricity, all you need to do is to get hot water to draw out and brew the coffee.
  4. A French press does not need or use a filter in extracting the liquid and oil from the coffee. The benefit this gives you as a consumer of the French press coffee is that you are consuming a cup of coffee that has all the essential oils derived from the coffee bean present in it and also has an enriched flavor.

Drawbacks of The French Press Brewing Method

All that has a good side also has its deficiencies. Certain cons come with using the French press brewing method. Some of these are;

  1. They are highly caffeinated Trusted Source Pressed coffee is going mainstream — but should you drink it? - Harvard Health Pressed coffee, once the darling of trendy coffee houses the world over, has broken out of its upscale origins and can now be found in kitchens all across America. Aficionados have been raving for years that pressed coffee tastes better than regular coffee — and they may be right. But it … www.health.harvard.edu . Because the French press doesn’t use filters, all the oils and caffeine in the ground coffee bean are extracted into the cup of coffee. Taking a lot of French press coffee can lead to having a high caffeine and cholesterol level in your body system.
  2. It can be time-wasting. A major part of processing the coffee is done manually and so cannot be as fast as when using the coffee machine. If you are using it for the first time, you wouldn’t be able to handle it quickly as you have to master it and try it more than once before you can achieve the desired taste of coffee you want.
  3. Because you do not make use of filters, sediments of the ground coffee can sometimes slip and settle under your cup of coffee. There are always normally particles in your coffee when you use a French press.
  4. It’s usually sort of messy. Because of the whole crushing and pressing of the coarse coffee bean, you end up having a lot to clean up and wash off.

What Is Espresso Brewing Method?

French Press vs Espresso Coffee Brewing Styles Compared

Coffee made with an espresso machine is yet another popular method of brewing. The whole concept behind the espresso machine and even the meaning of the word espresso is for the coffee to be prepared quickly without wasting any time.

Even though it is a fast method of brewing coffee, it has been said to be one of the most difficult ones. You have to be able to get the technique right in brewing the coffee and get a high-quality espresso machine, or you would end up with a bitter and nasty coffee.

There are quite some basic and important things you have to put into consideration Trusted Source Science may have found the secret to a better, and more sustainable, espresso coffee shot - CNN edition.cnn.com when making espresso coffee for you to get the desired result. The type of coffee bean you use is of the essence, how you set your espresso machine to grind the coffee is also important, you also know how much of the ground coffee you need, the next thing to consider is the water pressure and the temperature of the water. In summary, you have to pay attention to the details.

The first step in using an espresso machine to brew your coffee is to dose your coffee beans, by this we mean, you grind the right quantity of coffee and pour it in a heap into a filter basket. You should ensure that you don’t over-dose the coffee, if you overdo it or you don’t do it enough, it will come out bitter or sour.

The next step is for you to ensure that the ground cover bean is spread evenly across your filter. You should then make use of your tamper to add pressure to and compress the ground coffee.

Finally, you would insert your filter into the group head of the espresso maker and then brew your coffee. You should brew the coffee immediately to avoid it burning.  Once the espresso machine is done running, your coffee is ready for drinking.

Advantages of The Espresso Brewing Method

The espresso brewing method has some advantages. Some of these advantages are;

  1. If you love your coffee to have a very strong taste and flavor then, the espresso method of brewing your coffee is the best. Because of the method in which the coffee bean is roasted, ground, and brewed; espresso comes out with a

bold and strong taste.

  1. Because most parts of the coffee brewing process are electronic and mechanized, the espresso method is a very fast one. In a few minutes, your coffee is ready.
  2. The espresso method of brewing coffee does not require the use of a lot of coffee beans.
  3. Espresso can be consumed or taken with different dishes and drinks.

Drawbacks of The Espresso Brewing Method

Apart from its advantages, espresso has its disadvantages. Some of these disadvantages are;

  1. It is quite expensive to use, although there are arguments that the espresso machine is economical.
  2. Espresso coffee is a lot difficult and technical to make. You have to be careful not to under-make it and at the same time not to overdo it.
  3. The taste can tend to be quite strong for you.

Side-by-Side Comparison

There has been a long-standing argument on which method of brewing coffee is the best. Both the French press method and the espresso brewing method are commonly used and very popular. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. We would be considering certain features peculiar to both methods below.

Roast Required

One major and fundamental disparity between the French press and espresso maker is the type of roasted coffee bean used in making the coffee. While the French press requires the use of the coarse coffee bean in brewing coffee, the espresso maker uses only very fine ground roasted coffee beans to make coffee.

Grind Size Required

Grind size simply refers to how smooth you grind your coffee beans. If you are using the French press then the ground size shouldn’t be too smooth, it must be coarse. However, if you are making use of the espresso method the ground size has to be smooth. If you use a fine grind size for the French press, you’ll end up with a bitter coffee; it is better to have coffee grounds with a large surface area.

French Press vs Espresso Coffee Brewing Styles Compared

Caffeine Content

The caffeine content in both French press coffee and espresso is very high and rich. Both methods produce delicious coffee rich in caffeine. They both contain concentrated levels of coffee, therefore, leading to the high caffeine level they have.

Taste and Flavor

Both the French press coffee and espresso when brewed rightly always come out with a strong flavor and a delicious taste.

Nutrition Facts

Coffee beans are rich in oil, caffeine, and antioxidants. The caffeine it produces provides the body with energy. Coffee has also been scientifically proven to help in increasing your metabolic rate. Coffee contains other nutrients like Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, and Magnesium and potassium.

Brewing Time and Volume

Both methods of coffee brewing do not take time to brew. However, the expresso method can take a bit of time because of its complexity and technicality. Once you get a hang of it, it becomes very easy and fast going forward. The volume of water you put in your coffee is dependent on how much coffee you are brewing.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, both the French press method and the espresso method of brewing coffee are the best you can use. They have their advantages and their disadvantages. However, if you are looking to get a cup of rich and delicious coffee you should go with either the French press or the Espresso.

References

1.
How to use a French press to brew perfect coffee | CNN Underscored
There's a seemingly endless number of ways to make coffee from drip machines and pour-overs to single-serve makers and moka pots. If you're ready to explore the French press, we talked to experts to walk you through everything you need to know.
2.
Pressed coffee is going mainstream — but should you drink it? - Harvard Health
Pressed coffee, once the darling of trendy coffee houses the world over, has broken out of its upscale origins and can now be found in kitchens all across America. Aficionados have been raving for years that pressed coffee tastes better than regular coffee — and they may be right. But it …
3.
Science may have found the secret to a better, and more sustainable, espresso coffee shot - CNN
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