Cup of Coffee
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The electric coffee machine has undoubtedly become the most prevalent and popular way to make coffee, but is it the best?  Many people use coffee simply for its caffeine content and ability to make one more sociable with little regard given to taste.  That being said, there are people like myself, who not only drink coffee for its effects on the body but also strive to make the best coffee we can with the most desirable taste.  A large part of this quest for great coffee is the tool that is used to make it.

Electric Coffee Machines/Makers

Coffee Machineor Coffee Maker
Credit: User ParentingPatch @ Wikimedia Commons

Now, for the purposes of this article, when I say “electric coffee machines/makers” I am talking specifically about standard, drip style machines that are typically used to make pots of coffee, not espresso machines.  That being said, this style of brewing is popular because you can make a pot of coffee which can house multiple cups at once.  This is great if you are brewing for a few people, but not necessarily the best method when it comes to developing flavor.

One of the issues with electric machines is the fact that dripping water onto a bed of crushed beans can be inexact.  Think about it: The machine drips water onto the coffee grounds but only in a small area.  This doesn’t allow all of the grounds to be saturated evenly with water.  This means that not only is the coffee going to be lighter in taste than possibly intended, but the flavor will become compromised.  The reason the flavor becomes compromised is simple: The flavor of the coffee changes according to how long it is exposed to hot water.  If the water is filtering through the grounds quickly, this will produce coffee different in taste than if the water were filtered through the grounds slower.

The French Press

French Press
Credit: User Frettie @ Wikimedia Commons

In a french press, the coffee grounds soak in a pool of water rather than having water filtered through them.  This allows the grounds to be saturated evenly which can drastically improve the consistency of the final product.  This also increases the unique flavor qualities of the specific beans or grounds being used.  I have found after using a french press with several different coffees, that I can taste more clearly the distinct flavor attributes of the individual brands rather than all of the coffee tasting the same or similar.

The french press also allows more discretion in the brewing process by allowing for modification of the temperature of the water used and the specific brewing time.  This is not the case in most electric machines which have preset settings which dictate the temperature of the water and the specific brew time(s).

Take Your Pick

From my experience, using a french press to brew coffee renders a much better result when compared to an electric coffee maker.  The fact that you are able to precisely control and experiment with the brewing process makes the french press an invaluable tool for the person wanting to brew their best cup of coffee.