French Press vs Pour Over

The French Press coffee set-up has long been a thorn in the side of the pour-over coffee enthusiast. At least it has been that way for this pour-over enthusiast. Yes, I have always found French Press to be bothersome for a number of reasons.

First of all: it is a time-consuming process. You can’t simply add hot water, plunge, and pour – oh no! That wouldn’t be prim and proper. Nope, you’ve got to wait at least five minutes in order to make “the right cup of coffee.”
For future reference, I want it made plainly clear that I have no interest in “the right cup of coffee” if it involves waiting an extra five minutes.

Secondly, French Press is a pain in the jibblies to clean! It’s the inverse of the bidet argument, ya know? The bidet-fanatics state that it is more hygienic to wash the poo off one’s posterior, and they may be right. “If you got some shit on your hand,” they say. “Would you just wipe it off with some paper, or would you at least rinse it off in the sink, if not with soap and water?” And this is a good argument (though I do like to point out that a butthole does not have the same day-to-day requirements for hygiene that a hand does. We don’t use our butts to eat or wipe our eyes. I, for one, have never used my butt to pick my nose. Honestly, until just now, it has never even occurred to me to attempt such a feat. We almost never greet each other by shaking butts – we do every once in a while on the dance floor, but even that is usually separated by a layer or two of clothing. I imagine that Nudist Colonialists are very in favor of bidets whenever possible. As for the rest of us, a thorough cleaning in the shower or tub with some reasonable regularity is probably enough to stop the spread of most diseases) but when it comes to filtering a muddy substance, paper has a clear advantage.

Much like the majority of filtration processes (car oil filters, air filters), the disposable and compostable paper is a tried and true method of sequestering an unwanted substance. The pour-over system easily gets all the coffee grounds out of the brewing device and into the compost bin, keeping them out of the sink. Seriously, a French Press should really be called a Sink-Clogger Press.

The prissy French Pressies will say that their preferred method is better for the environment, however, I would debate this claim. Indeed, the FP has fewer consumables, so there is theoretically less waste. The excessive amount of water needed to clean the Press undercuts this position, though. Furthermore, the stainless steel, glass, and plastic on the typical Press Francés all have much more detrimental effects on the world. (Don’t get me started on those friggin pod coffee machines! I call ’em “Coffee Printers” and they’re the most wasteful things I’ve seen since single-use ice trays [yeah, it’s a thing. Google it])

Even a hater like myself must admit that the lack of consumables does make the French Press extremely reliable. It is frustrating to run out of coffee filters, so the Press does win out as the Old Stand By. Of course, I’ve also been in a pinch and poked a couple holes in a beer can and used that as a filter. So, yeah, a French Press is about as good as an old can with some holes poked in it.

Next up is the taste: blech! It’s the grittiest, most acidic version of popular brewing methods. Yep, that’s about all I have to say about that.

The Pour-Over system is certainly not as elegant as French Press. But considering the number of elegant, gold-plated faucets in the world, and considering the number of starving children in the world, I’ll consider myself happy to be in the “Don’t be so picky and High-Falluting and just be Happy that you have a Warm Cup of Anything” camp.

Finally, and probably the most annoying thing about French Press is that, despite everything we’ve mentioned, the people that love French-Pressed coffee have this little, arrogant snicker of a pause that they insert when asking if you’d like a cup. “Want some coffee?” They ask. Then they lean in a little and say: “You know, it’s (snicker) French Press.”

BONUS: If you ever happen to drop a French Press, well, enjoy sweeping that up and shopping for another coffee maker. Perhaps consider a Pour-Over setup.


2 responses to “French Press vs Pour Over”

  1. Bearded Ben Avatar
    Bearded Ben

    I hate having to buy coffee filters!
    Are there reusable screens for pour overs yet? That would be the best solution for me.
    I don’t mind washing dishes.

    Oh yeah, bidets for the win!!! 🚽 💦

  2. Will raise those prissy pressies and throw a stainless steel coffee filter into the mix for pour overs, YEEHAW. I love this rant deeply.

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