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Quick Overview: French Press vs. Drip Coffee

stainless steel french press and coffee maker on kitchen table


At a Glance:

  • Brewing Method: French press uses complete immersion/steeping brewing. Drip machines heat water and drip over coffee grounds, using gravity to extract flavor from the grounds as the water falls through and into the carafe below.
  • Speed: Brew time for a French press is generally 4-6 minutes, while drip machines usually take 3-10 minutes.
  • Coffee Grind: French press uses coarse grind. Drip machines vary from medium to medium fine.
  • Control over the Brew: French press provides more control over brewing than drip machines.
  • Ease of Brew: French Press is fairly simple but more involved than drip machines, which are mostly automatic.
  • Size: French presses typically come in 8,16, 23, 32, and 44 oz. Drip machines generally have capacities varying from 2 to 14 cups.


Much of the flavor in a cup of coffee comes from the oils in the coffee beans. A French press provides a full-bodied and rich cup of coffee. Drip makers use a filter. Often they use paper filters that can prevent the oils from making it to your cup, but some people prefer the lighter taste.

Also, French press gives you more control over things like water temperature and steep time, which you can use to fine-tune your perfect cup.

We should also mention that many automatic drip makers continuously keep the coffee hot using a heat plate, which will make the coffee taste burned or more acidic as it sits. There are some makers that have a thermal carafe, which is preferable, but coffee sitting for hours can still get an over-brewed taste. But the convenience of having a cup ready to go all day is preferable to many.

At the end of the day, the best brewing method depends on your personal preference. 


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