Pour Over VS French Press: Which Brewing Method is Better?

Pour Over VS French Press: Which Brewing Method is Better?

Pour over and French press are the two manual brewing techniques to make wonderful coffee. Both yields excellent results and have a separate fan following.

Both are a bit similar in saying that both use infusion brewing technique and you don’t need any hefty machines to buy in both cases. However one can get confused about which method to use. 

This article is a complete comparison between pour over vs French press. We will look at each brewing method in detail and see how both are similar and different and which brews better coffee.

Pour Over VS French Press

french press vs pour over

Both French press and pour over are popular brewing techniques. A French press requires a French press device. Pour hot water coffee and hot water, let it steep and plunge the filter back into the bottom of the device. The coffee is ready.

Pour over or dripping method is popular due to its simplicity. It uses a pour over carafe and a coffee filter. Water is poured over the coffee-bed in filter with a gooseneck kettle, and coffee passes through the filter to the bottom. So both are easy-to-use methods. Let's look at each method in detail.

What is French Press?

French Press

French press is a brilliant brewing technique for those who like full-bodied coffee with aroma and flavor. 

It's a manual coffee maker. The device was invented in France during the mid to late 19th century by two Italian designers in 1929. 

The French press consists of a cylindrical jug, a plunger, and a three-part filter system. The three-part system includes a spring filter, micro-mesh, and a base filter. 

Brewing Technique

A French press uses hot water and pressure to brew coffee, somewhat like an espresso.  The coffee is steeped in water for a few minutes. The plunger is pushed down with force to brew the coffee with pressure. The French press method extracts more oils from coffee beans that can make coffee a bit acidic. 

How to Use French Press?

We assume that you already have a French press device. A French press uses a coarse grind.

  • Boil water on the stove. For best results, water should be just below the boiling point of around 200 degrees F.
  • Add coffee grounds to the bottom of the French press.
  • For the French press, 1:12 ratio is widely used. That is 12 parts of water to 1 part of the coffee.
  • Pour a small amount of water on the ground to saturate them for one minute(coffee blooming).
  • After one minute, pour the rest of the water into the beaker.
  • Use a wooden spoon to stir the water. Put the lid on to minimize heat loss.
  • Let the coffee steep for 4 minutes.
  • Put down the plunger towards the bottom and transfer the coffee into a cup.

Pour Over Method

Pour over method has been in use in Europe since 1900. The method is also known as drip coffee or filter coffee. It's another manual method. 

Brewing Method

Like the French press, it's also an infusion method for brewing coffee. But still, the difference is that pour over method uses gravity to pull down the coffee in the cup underneath. There is no use of pressure like the French press.  

How To Use Pour Over Method?

For drip coffee you need a brewing device or a dripper. Different types of drippers are in the market. The popular choices are Chemex, V60, Kalita Wave, and Melitta. 

Besides the dripper, you need a coffee filter and a kettle to pour. The gooseneck kettle gives an even pour. For drip-over coffee, you need a scale to make sure the coffee and water ratio is right, and coffee results are consistent each time.

  • Put the kettle of water on the stove and heat the water.
  • The ratio of water to coffee is 1:17, that is, one part of coffee to 17 parts of water. 
  • Pour the required amount of coffee into the coffee filter.
  • Pour a small amount of water and let the coffee bloom.
  • Wait for 30 seconds until the blooming process is ended and the coffee is settled.
  • Pour water with a constant flow on the coffee bed. Stir the coffee grounds to ensure no dry lumps on the filter.
  • Once the coffee drip down to the bottom, transfer it to a serving cup.

What Are Similarities of the French Press and Pour Over Method?

There are some similarities between the two methods. French press and pour over are manual methods. There are no machines involved unless you are considering a coffee grinder. Both use infusion techniques to brew coffee. Coffee is immersed and saturated in water. So both the French press and pour over technique use the infusion method.

What are the differences Between the French press and VS Pour?

Brewing Technique

Though the French press and pour over use infusion techniques for brewing coffee, they still work differently. The pressure is not as much as in espresso, but you can make an espresso-like drink with a French press. Pour over, on the other hand, works with gravity and time. Water is poured on the coffee bed, and gravity pulls down the liquid.

Brewing Time

The pour over method brewing time is between three to four minutes. 

Acidity Level

The French press method extracts more oils from the beans. Pour over coffee is less acidic than the French press.

Coffee Ratio

The coffee ratio between the two brewing techniques is also different. French Press uses a 1:12 ratio. Pour over method uses a 1:17 ratio.


French press coffee is more concentrated than the pour over method. It has a velvety and concentrated feel. Coffee is bold and full of aroma and flavor. You have more control over the brew; if you want it stronger, let the coffee ground steep in the water for a bit longer. However, changing the flavor from strong to bitter takes a few seconds, so you must be careful about the timing.

Pour over coffee is also strong and full body. It is not bitter at all, and it yields a smooth and clear taste. 


The French press method gives consistent coffee. If you follow the time, the results are the same every time. Pour over method requires a learning curve. You have to be precise about pouring water over the coffee bed. It may take a while before you have control over the water flow and, thus brewing process. 

Coffee grounds

coffee grounds

Just like espresso require a fine grind for the French press, you need coarse ground. Pour over requires a medium-coarse grind. It should have sand-like texture. 


For the pour over method, you need filters. If you are using a paper filter, it is disposable, and you need a new one every time you are brewing. You also need to buy a gooseneck kettle for a precise and even pour of water over the coffee bed. 

The French press method requires the basic device, which is also not very expensive. Pour over requires filters, a carfare to catch the drip, and the gooseneck kettle. So it's a bit more pricey.


French press is a bit harder to clean. You can read our post on How to clean French Press to understand the deep cleaning. It has several parts that you need to rinse in water. For the pour over method, the disposable filter is thrown, and it is only the brewing beaker that you need to rinse. If you are using Chemex, it can be tricky to clean from the inside.

Final Words

Both French Press and pour over are manual techniques for brewing coffee. Both give a good cup of coffee. Ultimately, choosing one over the other is a matter of personal preference. Many regards pour over method as meditative, where you see coffee dripping down. French press coffee is closer to espresso. It is a cheap but effective way of having a velvety and intense cup of coffee.

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