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French Press Coffee vs Espresso: What are the Differences?

French Press Coffee vs Espresso: What are the Differences?

Personally, I enjoy homebrew coffee and I know I’m not the only one that has ever wondered what the difference between French Press coffee and Espresso coffee is.  French Press coffee is something many coffee drinkers have recently been switching to, while Espresso is more commonly had in cafes.

The Difference between these two types of coffee are quite staggering when you think about it and here at Gamble Bay Coffee, we are dedicated to giving you as much information about coffee as your heart can handle.

To start, I will say that French Press coffee has risen in popularity recently and many people are using it as their go-to homebrew.

Most people are content with drip coffee, which is fine, but there is nothing like the refined taste of fresh fine ground coffee that requires a mostly hands-on process.

Let’s look at how these methods make a difference shall we?

How are French Press Coffee and Espresso Different?

Difference Between French Press Coffee and Espresso
I’d like to go ahead and talk about what makes these two brewing methods different before we take a look at each of them individually.

  • french-press-with-coffeeEspresso is a more socialization focused coffee. Brewing Espresso requires special equipment and skill, hence why it is mostly made in cafes, whereas French Press coffee is easier to make at home.
  • French Press coffee does not come out as thick as Espresso does, with Espresso having a more syrup-like consistency. However, this is offset in that French Press coffee typically has more texture to it.
  • Although most Espresso machines and such have become automated and the process is much easier, French Press coffee is still very much hands-on and relies on careful attention and timing the steps to prepare it.
  • French Press coffee uses very coarsely ground coffee for a finer taste. It allows some of the grain to seep into the coffee without making it feel chunky or poorly made, while Espresso’s coffee grain is fine ground, it is not ground to the same fineness of French Press Coffee. More on the Espresso Process later.

Overall, both of these coffees take a bit of time to prepare. French Press Coffee requires patience to make it in the morning and, unless you have an espresso machine at home, like the Cuisinart EM-200, you’ll have to go to a cafe to get your daily Espresso.

Is Espresso Coffee Better than French Press Coffee?

There are a lot of different things that can determine this, but for the greater population of coffee drinkers, I’d have to say yes. Espresso doesn’t require nearly as much babysitting – if you can call it that – as French Press does. Espresso coffee can also vary slightly depending on the barista making it or the extras added.

Espresso requires no specific roast level or bean blend, but some beans are a better choice than others: find the best ones here. Since the so-called “Third Wave” of coffee, there are many different ways it can be prepared. A great example of this would be big cafes like Starbucks. They can make an Espresso in almost any way you can imagine.

One key similarity between Espresso coffee and French Press coffee is that they do not use paper filters, allowing many of the oils and minerals from the coffee grounds to go into the drink rather than the filter, giving them much more taste than regular household Drip Coffee Makers.

I think for most people Espresso will be the more favorable coffee due to the time and attention it takes to make a cup of French Press coffee and how adversely that can affect your morning schedules.

Now, for the most part, properly made Espresso coffee will be easier to obtain than French Press; although to me, there is nothing like a properly handmade cup of French Press coffee.

Is French Press Coffee Better than Espresso Coffee?

In short, yes. French Press coffee is some of the best tasting coffee you can make. The sad part is that for most people it requires a lot of patience and careful watching to be made properly, something that most of us simply don’t have the time to do in the mornings.

As I said earlier, it retains many of the minerals and such that makes coffee so healthy. French Press coffee also has less caffeine per unit than Espresso does, so it is less of an overload to drink. The reason French Press retains so much of those key minerals is that of the way the grinds are filtered through.

The reason the process requires so much patience is that most grocery stores don’t sell the right kind of coffee grinds to make it. French Press requires the beans to be ground to a specific coarseness so that the coffee is still clean enough to drink while sill allowing the water to get the most out of the beans.

We know that spending a fortune on an automatic grinder and a fancy French Press is not feasible for everyone, so for most people a good manual grinder like this JavaPresse will work just fine. However, if you can spare the cash for an automatic grinder and you are looking for something different we have a page on grinders.

The grinds help give a bold taste and texture to the coffee while also giving it a natural “fresh coffee” fragrance that you just don’t get from regular brewing. The downside is that for some people this bold taste is a little too much.

Although it is somewhat time-consuming to brew it, the satisfaction you feel from having a properly brewed cup of hot French Press coffee is what makes it so worth it.

So Which is The Best?

If you can spend the money on it and have the time to spare every morning, I’d argue that French Press coffee would be the best way to go. The French Press keeps in all the best minerals and oils from the coffee to help the coffee taste its best and invigorate your mind. Granted, Espressos largely do this as well, but it is typically drowned out by the milk and other stuff that is put in them.

If you are considering buying a French Press and the materials for it, I’d say it is most certainly worth the buy. The attention and care put into French Press coffee make it taste that much better. That being said, there are many different kinds of French Presses you can buy to suit your needs. There are presses that have a dual filter to keep the smaller grinds from gathering in your coffee and keep most of the texture out such as the Frieling Press or a regular press such as the SterlingPro for the true French Press Experience.

Espresso machines can be costly, more so than French Presses in some cases, but saving the time it takes to go to a cafe can be worth it to some people. In the end, you can’t really go wrong either way.

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