There are so many ways to brew a delicious cup of coffee, it’s hard to keep up and know which one should be used for your daily cup.
The French press and Nespresso are two popular methods of brewing coffee that each have their own unique sets of advantages and drawbacks.
Coffee brewed from Nespresso pods will probably never taste as good as a properly brewed cup of French press, but it sure takes less preparation and precision to make.
When it comes down to making a choice between the two brewing methods, the choices can become overwhelming.
French presses require more supplies than a Nespresso machine which typically packs everything in one place. There are options out there bundling French press supplies, and those often come down to being cheaper than a Nespresso.
French press and Nespresso brewing methods are often compared because they are quick and easy ways to make a bold and delicious cup of joe. Nespressos that brew full cups can create a coffee comparable to French press, but the flavor just can not compete with a properly prepared batch of French press coffee.
While French press coffee is often regarded as the top method for brewing, it takes a little more precision and knowledge than other methods, which can result in a bad cup of coffee if done improperly. If you overgrind the beans, they will become overexposed in the hot water and the taste will be dreadful. Immersion could also be done for too long or too short of time, making for a cup of coffee that is way too strong or weak.
The biggest French press pots will usually require a separate carafe to prevent over-brew but because they brew hotter for longer periods of time you can get coffee nearly as strong as A Nespresso when using one right off the boil.
That’s where the Nespresso comes in. The room for error is small, as you can’t even use the wrong amount of water because the machine will pull exactly as much is necessary before brewing. The coffee will come out the same each time, which can add consistency to your morning routine and save you time.
It’s easy to add variety to your Nespresso brew with different flavors, which is something that cannot be done automatically with a French press.
The two brewing methods have a lot in common, with some key differences. Let’s look at the Nespresso and French press in-depth to decide which brewing method is better.
FYI – Both Nespresso capsules and French press will leave sediment in your cup but there will be less with a Nespresso unit. If you don’t want a lot of sediment in your coffee then a dual filtration French press will go a long way to keeping the coffee sludge out of your cup when you go to drink it.
The Differences Between Nespresso and French Press
Before deciding which method produces better coffee, it is important to understand what sets the two apart in the first place. The most obvious difference between the two is in the look and preparation method.
Nespressos are single-serve espresso machines, which can produce a single shot or a cup of coffee (a long black or Americano).
A prepacked coffee pod or capsule will be inserted in the machine, and the desired drink option gets pushed. The machine will pull as much water necessary for the drink, so using the Nespresso really only requires a couple of steps.
A long black will still be smaller in size than a single serve French press but because the latter will use more coffee grind the resulting drink can be nearly as strong if not more strong.
French presses work by steeping coffee grounds in hot water for a few minutes, a method of immersion brewing that produces a rich, aromatic cup. The beans are ground into a coarse consistency, placed in the bottom of the beaker, and immersed with hot water for about four minutes. After immersion, the plunger is pushed down on the layer of beans and the coffee is ready to go.
Clearly French presses are not the same as Nespressos. They’re both methods of brewing a solid cup of coffee in a short amount of time and in a convenient manner, though, so it’s certainly worth examining the differences between the two.
Let’s begin with Nespresso.
Is the French press better than Nespresso?
It’s a tough call, but I have to say no, Nespresso is not better than French press.
I can see why some would argue the convenience aspect of the Nespresso, but I find there are plenty of options for a small and convenient French press, like the Clever Chef. To be fair though, you can’t just press “brew” on a French press and have a delicious cup of coffee at your disposal.
If you’d rather make coffee in larger quantities, don’t count the French press out. There are a variety of sizes, and many can make a decent sized portion of coffee, like the Aztecus French Press which can make a liter of coffee at a time.
When making French press coffee, the grounds are immersed in hot water and stay there for a few minutes. Immersion brewing produces a much different flavor than methods that simply run water through the coffee, as the coarser grounds and submersion in hot water cause all of . The taste tends to have more body without any overpowering elements.
The thing about the French press is it takes a bit more knowledge and skill with coffee than the Nespresso. The process itself is simple, but there are a few important things users must keep in mind.
If you want to make a good pot of French press coffee, you’re going to need a good, consistent coffee grinder to get the perfect texture for brewing. If you aren’t willing to grind before each brew, you probably shouldn’t use a French press. Grinding right before making the coffee is essential to getting the most out of your beans.
If you’ve ever tried to make a French press with normal ground coffee, you’ll know why grinding a coarse batch of beans before brewing is so important.
There is no timer on a French press either, meaning you will need to be paying attention when making your coffee. If you leave the coffee immersed in hot water for too long, you will end up with an overexposed cup that is difficult to drink. If you leave it in too shortly, you’ll end up with a very muted cup of coffee.
There are some French presses with a timer, but it’s never just one button to brew and done.
Is the Nespresso better than the French press?
In short, no. But if you’re not interested in learning the ways of the French press, and just want a delicious cup of coffee at the push of a button, you might want to go for the Nespresso. This will produce a consistent, accurately measured batch of coffee every single time.
It’s true that the Nespresso takes less time, and leaves little room for error. There will never be an issue with measuring the wrong amount, or leaving it brewing for too long. You just can’t get that same bold, delicious taste from a pod though.
The Nespresso works in such a way that hot water runs through the pods until a full brew is completed. For a full cup of coffee, this water is pulled through the compact block of grounds at the bottom of the pack for an even longer time.
Nespresso machines take a little more set up than a French press. The Nespresso machines have a nice, sophisticated look to them when sitting on the countertop.
The type of Nespresso machine is important too, as only some can brew full cups of coffee as opposed to espresso shots. For someone who is not super skilled at pulling espresso shots or making coffee, the Nespresso can help make a delicious variety of coffees.
Once set up, making a fresh cup of coffee can take less time in a Nespresso, and the taste is still delicious.
So French Press or Nespresso?
French press will remain my top choice for brewing methods, but that’s not to say the Nespresso brewing method is not a better fit for certain lifestyles.
See this post for my favorite small French press coffee makers as these will be the most similar to making Americano’s from a Nespresso unit.
It’s important to consider the reasons why one would select the French press over the Nespresso or vice versa. Cost is a huge factor, and buying a French press may be more inexpensive than a Nespresso, even with the extra equipment for French press coffee makers, like a grinder.
If you can’t afford a Nespresso machine, a small French press is probably the best choice as it will produce a bold, vibrant cup of coffee. But it’s important to keep in mind that even though the cost may be lower than even a personal Nespresso, more work will need to be put into each cup.
Immersion brewing for French press means that careful attention to grinding even-sized beans and the time spent immersed will need to be taken. If either of these are messed up, the coffee will turn out with an unpleasant taste.
Nespresso however leave little room for error. It may be worth the extra cost to not have to worry about being precise when it comes to measurements or timing. The coffee is measured out perfectly for each use, packed into a compact pod. You’re basically guaranteed to have a delicious and consistent cup of coffee each time you brew.
When it comes down to it, it’s pretty hard to beat the taste and comfort of a fresh French press coffee. Nespresso is a great alternative for those who don’t want to dedicate the extra time to ensuring their French press is brewed properly, without sacrificing much flavor.
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Gamble Bay Coffee