Here's Why You Really Need a French Press to Make Coffee

It’s better than your drip coffee maker — or that fancy pour over.

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April 21, 2021
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Coffee brewing in a French press in warm morning light;

Photo by: ktasimarr/Getty Images

ktasimarr/Getty Images

Think back to the last time you ordered coffee at a fantastic restaurant. Maybe it was a long time ago, or maybe it was just the other day. Chances are, when they offered it to you, they mentioned it was actually espresso — or French press, which also often stronger than your average cup. While espresso often requires a large and expensive machine to make, French press is quite the opposite. It’s totally achievable at home. Many of us (myself included) are trying to perfect our home coffee rituals these days. Why not add some five star-restaurant-quality brew to your morning routine?

Here’s the main advantage of French press in my humble opinion: it’s more flavorful than other types of coffee. It tastes more complex. It’s bolder. It’s less bitter. To be dramatic, switching from a drip coffee maker to a French press is like going from seeing in black and white to color. And here’s why.

First, the way the French press works allows the coffee beans to steep in hot water — instead of being rushed through quickly — much like the way tea is made, making for non-bitter results. Second, and this is a biggie, French presses don’t use a paper filter like drip coffee makers or pour overs. This means that all of coffee’s oils end up in your glass. Oils are a vehicle for much of coffee’s flavor and aromas — they are a good thing! You will also probably notice a few small particles of coffee grounds at the bottom of your glass, and that’s totally normal for French press coffee. You can reduce them by ensuring that your coffee beans are evenly ground, but also know that they help reduce acidity in your glass by attaching to acids in the water (neat).

In addition, French presses are convenient: they’re inexpensive, they’re simple to use, they’re small so they don’t take up much space and they don’t require electricity (great for travel or camping). If you just want to brew one cup of coffee for a midday pick-me-up, you can do that with a French press. All in all, the barrier to entry is pretty low — and it makes a really satisfying cup of coffee.

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