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French Press vs. Pour Over

Sketch pitting the French Press coffee maker against Pour Over brewersIn the last decade, manual coffee brewing, such as French Presses and Pour Overs, have become increasingly popular.

The truth is that most manual brewers will produce fantastic coffee. The big difference will come from how your brewer fits your life.

It doesn’t matter how good the cup of coffee is if the brewer doesn’t work for you and your lifestyle.

sign that says coffee in lights

So let's compare the French Press vs. pour overs and see which will be a better fit for you.

To help you decide between French Press and Pour Over, we will cover six categories; the lifetime cost, the ease of use, the cleanup and maintenance, brewing speed, serving size, and durability.

A Table that compares the qualities of French Press and Pour Over coffee brewers

LIFETIME COST

Winner: French Press

When deciding whether to purchase an at-home brewer the first thing to consider is the lifetime cost.

French Press next to white bowl with coffee beans in it

Pour-overs range in price from five dollars all the way up to over fifty dollars depending on the brand and type, and have an added cost of $3-$15 per pack of filters. French Presses cost between $20 and $50 depending on size and brand, but don't use filters.

If you are considering the lifetime cost of your brewer, the French Press comes out on top.

Browse our web store for a selection of our favorite Pour Over Brewers or French Press.

EASE OF USE

Winner: French Press

When you are bleary-eyed, half asleep, and just want to go back to bed; the last thing that you want to do is worry about the speed at which you are pouring hot water over your coffee.

steaming blue mug on side table with white bedding in background

To use a pour over correctly, you need to pour water over the grounds, hence the name, at a slow and steady pace for around four minutes. The French Press is simple and easy, even a two-year-old could do it.

With the French press, you get to just dump your freshly ground coffee and hot water in the carafe.

Learn more about using these types of brewers form our French Press and Pour Over brewing guides.

CLEANUP / MAINTENANCE

Winner:  Pour Over

Finding a brewer that is easy to clean up can add more "you" time to your busy day.

A cup of steaming coffee sits beside coffee beans which have been arranged into the shapes of an equals sign, and a heartIf brewing coffee in a French Press is easy, clean-up is not. Cleaning up a French press means that you will be dumping, shaking, scraping, and wiping out the grounds to make sure you don’t let any go into the sink where it could clog your drain.

With a pour over, clean-up is a snap. All you have to do is gather your filter full of spent grounds and dump it right into your compost bin.

BREWING SPEED

Winner: Tie

French Presses and pour overs use time to extract the flavor from the coffee beans.

hundreds of watch faces in large pile

It takes the same 4 minutes to brew a cup of coffee with either the French Press or a pour over.

There isn’t a clear winner on how quickly you will get your cup of coffee with either of these brewers.

Serving Size

Winner: Tie

Find a brewer that can adjust to your needs by producing one or multiple cups of coffee.

French Press pouring coffee into one of several mugs on a tray

Whether you are looking for a single serving brewer, or one that you can use to serve your guests at a dinner party, you will have plenty of choices with either a French Press or pour over.

Both brewers come in a variety of sizes and styles.

DURABILITY

Winner: Tie

Although most of your manual brewers will stand up to normal use, if you are a bit hard on your coffee gadgets you will want one that is sturdy.

steam coming out of a stainless steel pour over that is brewing coffee into a glass carafe

The pour over comes in a lot of styles and options, including some very durable and BPA free plastics and stainless-steel options. Those BPA free plastic models seem to make pour overs an easy choice when it comes to durability. But not to be out done, you can find stainless-steel French Presses that will hold up to your clumsy and sleep-deprived morning hands.

If you need durability, purchase the robust plastic or stainless-steal options.

OVERALL CONCLUSION

Our coffee needs are as particular and unique as we are.

A Hand pours steaming water from a kettle into the top of a coffee loaded Chemex Pour Over brewer that sits on a modern glass coffee table

The goal is to find a brewer that fits your life and makes a spectacular cup of coffee.

Are you looking for a brewer that allows you to do something else while it steeps your coffee? Does a beautiful brewer that you can feature on your counters appeal to your inner dinner party host?

With today’s options, you don’t have to sacrifice your preferences and expectations to get an outstanding cup of coffee at home or on the go.

Leave a comment below, on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and let us know what you expect from your brewer and which one fits that bill.

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