French Press vs V60: Which One Is Better?
by Vasileia Fanarioti
Are you looking for the best way to brew your coffee at home but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry we’ve all been there!
What we have here are not only two brewers but also two completely different brewing methods: pour-over and immersion. The French Press is an immersion brewer while the V60 is a pour-over brewer.
You can probably guess by the name what the difference between these two brewing methods are. During immersion the coffee grounds are completely submerged in hot water to achieve extraction, like we often see in a French Press.
On the other hand, during pour-over brewing, the hot water is slowly poured on a bed of coffee and drains through a filter directly into your cup. This method lets you exercise more control over the brew and many like it for its precision.
If you try a cup of coffee brewed with a French Press and then immediately take a sip from a cup made with a V60 you will notice the difference straight away.
There’s a bit of science behind this fact and once you learn to control a few variables, then you’re guaranteed to make a delicious cup of coffee every time you brew!
How Brew Ratio and Grind Size Effects Brewing
What do you think is going to happen if you make a French Press brew with very fine ground coffee? Well, it’s going to taste very bitter. Similarly, if you use the correct grind size but let’s say you add more water than needed, your coffee might taste too weak.
Grind size and brew ratio are probably the two most important variables to control when you are brewing filter coffee. Thankfully, it’s easy to control them just but knowing a thing or two about what works best for each brewer.
French Press Brew Ratio and Grind Size
The French Press comes in different sizes and so the brew ratio is dependent on that and on how many cups of coffee you’re looking to make. Once you know how many grams of coffee beans you need to use, we recommend grinding them fresh to get the best flavour out of them.
Regarding the grind size, it’s best if you go medium-coarse. Since the French Press is an immersion brewer, this means that your coffee grounds will steep in water for a few minutes.
When you grind coarse you will slow down the extraction because your coffee grounds will have more surface area. Basically, the hot water will need more time to extract the coffee which will result in a balanced brew with no bitter flavours.
V60 Brew Ratio and Grind Size
Just like with the French Press, the brew ratio of the V60 also depends on the size of it and the number of cups you want to brew. When it comes to the grind size, V60 is much more forgiving than a French Press because it’s a pour-over brewer.
Like we mentioned above, during pour-over brewing you have control of the water flow rate and quantity. This gives you the chance to experiment a bit with the grind size.
As a rule of thumb, if you go too fine you will over-extract, if you go too coarse you will under-extract. Imagine water going through a bed of small gravel pieces and through a bed of sand. In which of these two scenarios will water go through faster? If you thought gravel then you’re right.
Same with coffee, if you grind your beans too fine then the water will reach your cup at a very slow speed and since it will be in so much contact with the fine coffee grounds it will end up over-extracting their flavours and aroma. This will result in a heavy and perhaps bitter cup of coffee.
On the other hand, going too coarse will result in the water going through your coffee grounds super fast and probably won’t have enough time to extract the coffee’s full flavours, thus under-extracting.
Keep this in mind: if it tastes bitter it’s over-extracted, if it tastes sour it’s under-extracted. The perfect grind size is somewhere in the middle and it also depends on your preference and willingness to experiment!
This is what it all comes down to, the flavour in your cup! If you read this far then you know these two brewers are very different to each other in more ways than one. Fortunately, they can both make a delicious cup of coffee but you should know there will be a flavour difference.
Coffee beans pack loads of natural oils and when you’re using a French Press, these oils are released into your cup giving it a full-bodied, intense, heavy flavour that packs a punch!
That’s in contrast to using a V60 because the paper filter absorbs these oils leaving you with a clean, bright cup of coffee with enhanced flavour notes. Both alternatives are amazing to taste so why not switch between the two depending on your mood?