French Press vs. Keurig

Updated July 13th, 2020
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Coffee is one of the most popular drinks around the world. In this article, we will compare French Press and Keurig coffee machines, which one will brew a coffee that will make you feel like you’ve have reached the pinnacle of your coffee-making capabilities. Should you use a Keurig or a French press for whipping up your daily fix.

French Press vs. Keurig: There’s a Big Difference

The Keurig is a highly popular, electrically powered appliance that found its way out of offices and into homes in the early 2000s. It works like this: fresh coffee grounds are sealed up in a small plastic cup with a foil lid. When this cup is fitted into the machine, the foil seal is pierced by a spray nozzle, which lets loose a flood of hot water into the coffee grounds. The water filters through the coffee, out a discharge nozzle, pierced into the plastic base of the cup, and into your mug.

 

The French press, on the other hand, has been around for nearly a century. The very first version popped up in France in 1929. Using it couldn’t be more straightforward: you spoon some grounds into the bottom of the press and pour boiling water over. Leave to brew for up to six minutes, then fit the lid and push the press down. Pour and enjoy!

French Press vs. Keurig: The Facts

We’re going to examine the evidence, analyze aspects like expense, environmental impact, convenience, and that all-important flavor.

Expense

The French press is cheaper.

Keurigs are electronic appliances with multiple working parts that start at around $60. French presses are simple jugs made of plastic and glass, or metal, with a basic filtered press attached to the lid. You can pick a perfectly reliable model for around $12 (you can come by some gorgeous lookers if you’re willing to cough up a little more).

The coffee used in a French press is cheaper, too.

A bag of coffee grounds can work out to around half the price per serving of the K-cups the Keurig uses. The price per cup of French press coffee can drop even further if you buy beans and churn out fresh grounds every day. (something we recommend).

Environmental Impact

K-cups are becoming increasingly infamous over the amount of foil and plastic they are contributing to landfills. 95% of K-cups can’t be recycled. Let’s get Many coffee drinkers drink loads of Keurig coffee, which causes tons of un-recyclable K-cup waste. We’re talking over a million kilometers’ worth of K-cups if they were placed side by side.

Happily, the newest K-cups are mostly recyclable. You still have to pick through each (dirty) cup and separate the materials into your bins. Keurig machines themselves can also be recycled but not into your household waste system. You’ll have to drop them off at the nearest e-waste center.

French presses, on the other hand, are highly recyclable. This French press is 75% recycled materials. And if your French press breaks, you can drop it into the recycling bin – or recycle it yourself. You can recycle your beans or grounds packaging, too, if you buy your coffee in tins, plastic containers, or paper bags.

Convenience

Easy use is a big deal when it comes to everyday coffee brewing. After all, coffee is the elixir of the exhausted, over-worked, and temporarily world-weary. There are a few aspects to consider in the convenience department, so we’re going to list each one.

Storage or Counter Space

The average Keurig, as an appliance, is a lot larger than milk-jug-sized French presses. Even the tiniest Keurigs have a larger countertop footprint than a French press. They have a cord, and need to be handled and stored with care.

On the other hand, you’ll need a kettle if you’re going to use a French press. So while you can use a kettle for a ton of uses besides coffee making, storage and countertop space for a French press is not as minimal as the jug itself.

Ease and Number of Steps

Assuming that your Keurig is plugged in and stocked up with water, making a cup of coffee can essentially be broken down into four super-simple steps.

  1. Take out a pod.
  2. Slot it into the machine.
  3. Take out and position your mug.
  4. Press the appropriate button.

The French press takes a few more steps at 7.

  1. Switch on the kettle.
  2. Take out coffee, press, and spoon (I like to keep a small tablespoon in my bag of grounds.)
  3. Measure out coffee into the press.
  4. Pour in boiling water.
  5. Wait.
  6. Press the coffee.
  7. Pour.

And you can make it eight if, like me, you prefer to preheat your French press.

Waiting Time

A Keurig takes around 2-3 minutes to heat up and spout out your coffee. After the hot water is in your French press, you’ll need to wait 4-6 minutes to pour out your brew.

However, this begs the question,  is brewing your coffee a process that should be rushed?

Capacity

You may wait longer and execute several more steps when using a French press. But you may also be whipping up that delicious brew for up to eight people (the size of an average French press has a 34-ounce capacity – apparently enough to serve over half a dozen people.)

Most Keurigs offer single servings, so you’d have to repeat the process for every cup. And if you have a roomful of people and they all want to drink together, it gets complicated.

Cleaning

You don’t have to clean a Keurig after every use. However, you will have to descale it eventually and change that icky filter.

Cleaning a French press is as simple as emptying the grounds and swishing a bit of warm, soapy water around the parts. You don’t even need to wash it after every use. You also won’t have to worry about wetting any temperamental electronics.

Flavor

Being able to offer the most delectable result, the best quality cup of coffee, is the trump card in the game of Keurig vs. French press. Because this is where the stakes are highest.

The Keurig falls short in several ways when during the brewing process. Firstly, the water it spouts out is lower than optimal coffee-making temperature: it tops at 192 degrees Fahrenheit, while the best cups of Joe are produced between 195 and 205 degrees. Secondly, one of its biggest selling points – fast coffee – is also kind of its downfall: the grounds have too little contact with the hot water to bring out the best in terms of flavor and health benefits. And the same sized pod is used for every serving size, so you can’t use your favorite giant mug and expect a decent cuppa. Keurigs are known to produce a weaker coffee.

With the French press, you’ll be using a kettle to heat your water. Many electric kettles produce water that’s up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, and stovetop kettles go even hotter. And you can decide how long you want to brew your coffee. You can even leave it overnight. The resulting flavor is pristine: it’s like you can taste each fragrant molecule of coffee.

One flavor bonus of the Keurig is the crazy assortment of flavor options available. While these aren’t your traditional cup of coffee, they can help to balance out the watery flavor of a Keurig brew. There are some truly superb flavored gourmet grounds on the market. They’re just not as varied or exciting, in general, as the K-cup flavors.

Conclusion

Having a French press is not a bad idea. It is cheap, recyclable, makes up to eight cups of coffee, and the coffee tastes delicious. You can even take it with you on a camping trip.

A Keurig coffee machine if good if you prefer the convenience. The process is much faster, and it is easier to clean. Try to get recyclable pods. And don´t forget that this machine is not ideal if you have more than one guest asking for a cup of coffee.

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