Why Does French Press Coffee Taste Better? 5 Secret Reasons

french press coffee is one of the best tasting brews

So Why Is French Press Coffee Better?

It’s no secret that some ways of preparing coffee taste better than others. Many coffee connoisseurs agree that French press coffee tastes better than other kinds of brews such as drip, percolate, or pour-over.

Coffee brewed in a French press can taste better than other methods for preparing coffee since the lack of a paper filter allows oils from the coffee beans into the brew. This can give it a richer, more aromatic, and full-bodied taste. French press coffee uses an immersion rather than a filter process. It may also have a different effect on the acidity levels in your cup of joe.

Check out these 5 reasons why French Press tastes better than other brews.

1.    Filtering

Since a French press uses a mesh stainless steel plunger instead of a paper filter to strain the brew from the grounds, the coffee retains more of the natural coffee bean oils. 

These are called tocopherols, triacylglycerols, and sterols. It is these fatty, lipid oils that give coffee its delicious flavor.

A French press retains more of these oils and that gives the brew a richer flavor than other types of brews that filter out these oils. This maximizes the potential flavor that you can extract from a pot of French press brew.

There’s often a rich sediment that lingers at the bottom of the French press and your cup that adds extra flavor.  

One benefit of using a French press to brew your java is that the presence of coffee bean oils makes it easier to identify where your coffee beans come from.

For example, you are more able to detect notes that come from Kenya or Guatamala. A dark or medium roast will have more oils than a light roast.  

At the same time, it’s a good idea to drink your batch of coffee quicky instead of letting it sit in the French press. While some people like to let the press stand all day, this can give the coffee a more bitter flavor. If you like coffee with a stronger, bitterer tang, then a sit-and-forget-about-it mindset is the way to go.

french press coffee

2.    Immersion

A lot of people swear that French press coffee is the best.

One top reason why French press coffee can taste better than drip or cold brews is due to the immersion method of making coffee.

Instead of dripping water over the beans or percolating in a machine, the press steeps the coffee directly in the water. This immersion process allows the coffee to steep like a good cup of tea. It also helps extract every last bit of flavor from the ground beans.

It’s a basic process. After you add the coffee and hot water to the French press, you stir it and let the glass canister sit for several minutes. Then you depress the plunger and pour. 

During the immersion and filtering process, little bits of coffee grounds remain in the brew. This gives the coffee an extra caffeinated flavor. Basically, everything except the coffee grounds goes into your cup.

When you can taste each flavor from oils, bean fragments, and caffeine, you are able to experience your cup of joe with all five senses. The beans are also fully saturated, which helps improve flavor.

A drip machine or percolator doesn’t soak all the grounds. For many coffee lovers, this gives French press coffee a full-bodied and complete taste that adds to the experience.

3.    Coffee-to-Water Ratio

Many people who are used to automatic coffee from a drip machine are impressed when they taste French press coffee. At the same time, some coffee connoisseurs prefer fancy hot pour-over brews done by hand, such as Hario V60) to immersion methods like the French press these days.

One little-known reason why French press coffee tastes better than most automated brewers is that most auto-drip machines don’t use enough coffee compared to the water ratio.

For example, to get the perfect cup of French press coffee, you will need to use more coarse coffee grounds than if you’re using a regular drip machine. It’s a good idea to grind the beans yourself.

That way, you can make sure that you get the right consistency necessary to create the most balanced and aromatic cup of coffee each time.

French presses also use a higher coffee-to-water ratio than pour-over machines. They even require a higher amount of coffee than the usual “golden ratio” that is 1:18 parts coffee to water. This means reducing the amount of water to get a rich, full-bodied flavor.

To make the perfect cup of French press coffee, add 1:15 or 1:12 ratio of coffee-to-water. If you go above a 1:17 ratio, the coffee will taste weak and watery

A second reason why French press coffee tastes better than other kinds of brews is that French presses typically use boiling water or around 200° Fahrenheit. In contrast, most automatic coffee makers don’t reach high enough temperatures to extract the full flavor from the coffee grounds.

A French press also keeps the temperature consistently hot during the full immersion process. This makes a difference to the brew and extraction method.

Since percolators and drip machines often heat up fast and cool down fast, the machine only hits the right temperature in the middle of its brewing process. A French press maintains this consistent heat during the entire brew cycle. 

Since consistent water temperature is a crucial part of the brewing process, the French press’s steady high temperature makes a difference in extracting full-bodied flavor.

It’s important to recognize that water that is too hot and that is poured too quickly from a heating device such as a kettle into the French press can mute some of the aromatic palette.

cup of french press coffee

4.    Lack of Impurities

Coffee brewed in a French press also tastes better because the stainless-steel filter removes impurities that slip into the brew from the manufacturing and drip-brew process. When you use a drip coffee maker, impurities come from the drip machine.

When you use a French press, you’re able to drink the coffee the way it was intended, without any added impurities. This gives you a purer brew which results in a better taste. Since the French press doesn’t use a paper filter, you also won’t get the taste of processed paper in your cup of joe.

5.    Acidity Levels

Compared to lighter roasts and pour-over brews, which result in lighter cups of coffee, coffee from a French press has a bold, strong flavor. That’s because French press coffee usually has higher acidity levels due to its brew process. 

If you want a lighter cup of coffee but want to keep the proper coffee-to-water ratio, then you can adjust the amount of time that you let the coffee steep.

For example, if you want a cup of strong, dark, full-bodied coffee, let it sit for 4-6 minutes after pouring the hot water and stirring. Plunge at 5-6 minutes and pour. If you want to achieve a lighter cup with softer aromatic notes, then only let the brew steep for about one minute.

Because a French press brew is a manual process, you have more control over acidity levels and how the cup of coffee turns out. At the same time, it can mute some of the acidic high notes that many connoisseurs prize.

Is French Press Coffee Really The Best?

Coffee brewed in a French press vs. an automatic machine has many possibilities. It gives you more control over the process, coffee color, acidity, and taste.

While it can take some time to play with the process and figure out temperatures, steeping times, and grinds that work best for your taste, it’s worth it to get that perfect cup of rich, delicious, and full-bodied coffee.

Christopher Mize
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