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Pourover vs. French press

Postby bigbad on Wed May 23, 2012 2:08 am

There are all types of pourover techniques, and they all aim to extract the grinds at an even rate. People seem to have various theories on how to pour and why, etc etc.

The kalita wave dripper seems to tout even extraction via a flat bottom, and therefore the grinds are extracting at an even rate.

I was wondering where the french press falls into all this... it seems to have fallen out of favor with the public, but I imagine it would be pretty consistent on a brew-to-brew basis, considering you don't have the manual inconsistencies of pouring throughout the process. You just fill the french press with hot water in the beginning, reducing the variables that come from all the manual pouring of a pourover.
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Postby Eastsideloco on Wed May 23, 2012 11:18 am

I don't think that the French Press has fallen out of favor at all. There are definitely more immersion brewers than ever. (I just added the Cafe Solo at home, for example.) So maybe that's what you're noticing.

In my experience a lot of smart people on Home Barista consistently recommend French Press as a high quality alternative to inexpensive home espresso machines. You do good coffee more justice with a French Press than with a cheap espresso machine. My favorite local roaster here in Austin, Cuvée Coffee, sells La Marzocco espresso machines to its accounts. For the restaurants that can't justify that big upfront expense, they recommend stocking a bunch of French Presses. (At most restaurants, I'd rather have a press pot than a poorly poured espresso.)

It's too bad more French Press users have never actually read (or followed) the product instructions. A lot of my friends brew for home use with French Press. Most of them brew multiple cups and leave the liquid in contact with the grounds after the first cup is poured off. So the second cup is bitter. I think some of these "insulated" immersion brewers, like the Cafe Solo and other press products, inadvertently encourage this bad behavior. People don't realize that they need to decant into a thermal caraffe or thermos after the 4 minute extraction.
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Postby jbviau on Wed May 23, 2012 11:44 am

^^^ +1. About that last bit, I agree you need to decant when brewing with the Solo. However, I've heard from a few people that they can get away without doing so post-plunge when using the Espro press. Has me curious.
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Postby yakster on Wed May 23, 2012 12:20 pm

Full immersion brewing is still alive and kicking with the French Press, the Espro Press (with improved filtering), the Clever dripper, and the ever popular vac pot (aka siphon). I suppose you could even consider the Aeropress a full immersion brewer, but it's usually used with far shorter contact times.

I think a lot of the popularity with pour-over methods are it's speed and it's clean cup when used with paper filters, but I generally prefer a cup with more body and oils.
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Postby iginfect on Wed May 23, 2012 8:19 pm

About 2 years ago I converted from fp to vac pot for my am brew. The fp is a backup if any of the glass on the vac pot press. The ccd is for travel only.

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Postby entropyembrace on Thu May 24, 2012 9:21 pm

I have an espro press...I don't use it as much as I used to...but that's because turkish has replaced it as my main alternative to espresso.

I don't even own any pourover devices...
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Postby Martin on Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:08 pm

My clear preference is espresso, so I don't get totally engaged in obsessive pour or french. My clear espresso alternative is my Newco drip. My (web-only) comparison is that the basket design and water dispersion come pretty close to the "new wave" of pourover devices. The variability of my hands-on technique with older pourovers (Chemex, Melita-type baskets, etc) cancels out at least some (if any) of the shortcomings of the drip. The Newco's operation (allow 1 minute of pour into the grounds before allowing the flow; drips directly into vac carafe; rinse is all that's regularly required) adds a dimension of replicability and convenience.

FP is another animal altogether. I happen to like coffee with a little muddyness, but there's a lot of effort and cleanup to get it right.
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Postby Sam21 on Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:10 pm

I recently bought the small Espro and almost immediately purchased the larger one as well. I had sold my Bodum Columbia (4-cup) press, as I was tired of silty coffee - even with the break and scoop method. The Espro does a great job and produces some tasty coffee. I find that a good extraction in a press is much different than a good pour over cup. My Espro cups have been sweet, very full bodied, with integrated acidity. The same coffee in a pour over is sweet, clean, and bright. To me, they present different aspects of the coffee. I like the Espro presses because they are perfect for travel due to their durability.

Regarding the grounds left in the Espro... Espro has said that due to the fact that water cannot escape from under the filter once the filter has been pressed (unless you remove the plunger and plunge a second time - pumping air), the water above the filters cannot return to the grounds. The filters are too fine for water movement. Therefore, once the pot has been plunged, the coffee can be left in the pot for a short period of time. I believe there is a video of the larger pot being tasted after 25-30 minutes with good results. I have not tried this myself, but will at some point.
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Postby jammin on Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:15 pm

Love me some Press Pot. Full on bold and intense flavor.

I love pour over for it's high end clarity and pronounced acidity.
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Postby ex trahere on Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:25 pm

I think one can make consistent press coffee without trying too hard, but I don't like French press even when done correctly, so I'm invariably biased towards drip.

Without a dedicated device such as an uber, lb-1, or one of the yet to be released but promising automated pouring units, it takes a steady hand to make a good, consistent cup.
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