The French Press vs. The Coffee Percolator: The Debate Rages On

french press vs percolator

Common wisdom tells you that french press coffee is better than coffee from a percolator but what would you think if I told you that wasn’t so clear cut of an opinion?

Is it actually possible that percolators can make coffee as good as or better than a french press?

I say it’s possible but maybe not always.

Give a me a minute to explain.

The Differences Between French Press and Percolator Coffee

As we all know, the French press it’s one of the most popular methods for coffee-brewing nowadays, right up there with moka pots and espresso, but circumstances and the rising popularity of automatic drip coffee makers have forced the classic percolator to fade a bit in the minds of coffee lovers worldwide. The two methods can both give great coffee but there are significant differences in character between the two.

To start lets consider where the percolator came from.

The Percolator’s Back Story

The percolator can found its origins way back, in the early 1800s. It was originally created by an Englishman, but it was in France, in the year 1819, where a Parisian tinsmith incorporated the elements that turned this coffee maker into what we know today: a stove-top metal device that heats water and filters it through ground coffee beans using the pressure from the bubbles resulting from heating the water.

Percolators expose coffee beans to higher temperatures than other methods and may expose already brewed coffee through the beans several times. This can result in something called over-extraction, which means the user will obtain a more robust and acid cup of coffee, though this can be controlled by keeping an eye over the brewing process itself (temperature of the water, timing, etc.).

Here are a few of the better percolators sold today.

 Presto 02811 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 8-Cup Coffee Percolator Medelco 8 Cup Glass Stovetop Percolator

Then We Have the Origins of French Press Coffee

We have gone through the history of this press and its strong and weak spots several times in the past, so the only thing we have yet to determine is: which one of these two devices is best? As it always is when it comes to coffee, the verdict can vary according to personal choice and taste of the user.

The difference in the resulting flavor is a result of the amount of time the water passes through the ground beans. The French press, with its rod and manually operated mechanism, only filters the coffee beans once. The percolator will repeat the process until water passes the boiling point, meaning the bubbles will fade.

Here are a Few of the Bestselling French Presses We Like

 KONA French Press Coffee Tea & Espresso Maker, Black 34oz Teapot ~ Best Present Idea For Gifts Bodum Chambord 8 cup French Press Coffee Maker, 34 oz., Chrome SterlingPro Double Wall Stainless Steel French Coffee Press, 1 Liter

Very much like its stove-top colleague, the moka pot, the percolator doesn’t leave a lot of room for rookies and mistakes. If you’re not familiar with its mechanisms, chances are you will end up with a too strong and acid beverage. If that is what you like, more power to you, but the French press allows its users to experiment and play with the different variables, making the resulting coffee more personalized and versatile.

Take a look at this post on the French Press vs the moka pot for more on these two brewing techniques.