Keurig vs French Press - Comparing Capsule Brewing to Manual
Ever sat at home sipping the brown water that spurted from your Keurig, wondering if there’s better coffee than this?
Many coffee drinkers acknowledge that the Keurig, while quick, lowers the bar for coffee standards substantially.
Even the creator of the Keurig says, “I feel bad sometimes that I ever [invented] it.”
From an environmental standpoint, K-cups make a huge, non-positive impact. And from a coffee standpoint, things aren’t much better.
So is there anything good about Keurig? Today we’re comparing Keurigs to the classic manual method, the French press, to see how they stack up and if it’s time to move on from the Keurig forever.
Comparison: Keurig vs French Press?
Ease of Use
Place a mug on the tray, insert a pod, close the lid, select mug size, press brew. And boom, you’re done. A few models change these steps around a little. But for the most part, Keurigs were made to be easy.
The French press process is actually pretty easy too:
- Heat the water to about 205F and pour it over course grounds
- Wait about 45 seconds, then stir
- Place the lid on and wait 3-4 minutes
- Slowly press down on the plunger but try to avoid squeezing the grounds at the end
- Pour and enjoy
Keurigs have made coffee brewing as easy as pushing a button. And while brewing with a French press isn’t complicated, it involves a little more skill than a Keurig. So Keurig wins here.
Once you fill up the reservoir and place your pod, the Keurig brews in less than 2 minutes. So after waiting for it to heat up and brew, the total time takes around 3 minutes.
The French press seems a lot more involved, but it can be done in 5-6 minutes total. Give yourself a couple minutes to heat the water and grind the beans and then 3-4 minutes of steeping time. If you use pre-ground beans, it takes even less time.
The Keurig’s main advantage is speed, so it wins this category. But the French press process is quick and doesn’t need much attention, so it comes in a very close second.
Ease of Cleanup
It’s wise to clean the reservoir as soon as it runs out of water. Other than that, there’s not much daily cleaning required. But if you want your Keurig to last more than a year, you’ll need to do regular maintenance, including changing the charcoal filter and de-scaling the machine.
A French press, on the other hand, will last for years with minimal cleaning effort. Simply toss the grounds and rinse the carafe with hot, soapy water. Just make sure to thoroughly remove all those stubborn coffee grounds from the filter.
French press takes the win here. You do need to clean it after every use, but it doesn’t require the same frequent, heavy-duty maintenance needed for a Keurig machine.
Keurig’s are synonymous with single-serve coffee, so they’re good for one mug. You usually have the option to brew different mug sizes, but keep in mind that the amount of coffee stays the same as the amount of water goes up.
This means that the bigger-sized options will give you a weaker cup of coffee. We recommend always choosing the smallest cup size for the best flavor.
French presses come in all sizes, from 3 cups to 12. These cups run a little small (roughly 4oz), so the smallest option is perfect for one mug and the 12 cup option makes enough for a group.
The French press beats the Keurig because of its versatility. And they’re so cheap, you can reasonably purchase 2 different sizes to meet all your personal and hosting coffee needs.
Keurigs come with everything you need to get started. Over time, you’ll need replacement charcoal filters. Also, consider a reusable K-cup and a drawer or stand for storing your assorted pods. But these items are nice-to-haves, not necessities.
We recommend investing in a kettle for boiling water. Some other valuable, but not totally necessary, equipment would be a grinder for the freshest coffee and a scale for measuring the grounds.
French press wins. It has the advantage here in that it’s not a machine and doesn’t need any replacement parts. So the only other thing that’s good to have is a kettle, but you can even squeak by with boiling water in the microwave if you want to save money.
Keurig makes the decision hard by offering hundreds of models, but plan to spend anywhere from $65-$150 for the best at-home Keurigs. The higher-priced machines give you more power to customize your brew, while the $65 range provide portability and speed.
$30 will give you a first-class French press. But even the $10 presses can rock your coffee world with flavor. And the low-priced stainless steel versions will last for decades.
Seriously, invest in a French press if you haven’t already! At the price of a couple drinks from Starbucks and way less than a box of K-cups, you can own a timeless brewing device that makes infinitely better coffee.
If you google “Keurig taste,” the following three suggestions pop up: like water, bad, burnt. Yikes! Even people who drink pod coffee admit that it’s not as good as the stuff you can brew yourself.
But with hundreds of varieties available from Banana Foster Flambe to a traditional French Roast, you may be able to come up with a flavor you enjoy. Or try a few of these suggestions about how to make Keurig coffee passable as the real deal.
Strong. Bold. Rich. French presses produce flavors of coffee a Keurig can only dream about. Sure, it might take some refining to get just the right grind or water temperature or brew time. But once you nail down the process, you’ll experience a new depth of coffee flavor.
French press wins hands down. If you’re looking for more than caffeinated water, turn to the French press. You’ll still get your caffeine, but with the addition of delectable flavor too.
Better Coffee Is Just a Press Away
Keurigs have taken over the American home brewing scene for good reasons: they’re easy to use, quick, and fairly inexpensive.
Who doesn’t value a little extra time in the morning and a little extra spending money?
But we’ve also seen that the trade-off for this efficiency is taste. And even for those who’ve found a K-cup flavor they love, it’s hard to deny the environmental toll they’ve created.
Enter the French press. This little, inexpensive device packs a full flavored coffee with the addition of only a couple minutes to your brewing routine.
Drinking your morning coffee can get even better, while still being quick and easy, when you brew with a French press.