Percolator vs French Press – Which One Makes Better Coffee?

By Mark •  Updated: 12/10/21 •  10 min read

The French press and percolator are two of the oldest coffee-making equipment, with their simplicity and efficiency keeping them in use to this day.

Although the French press and percolator have a similar appearance, the brewing methods are vastly different, resulting in different final beverages.

Many individuals stand by them, and they each have their own set of advantages.

If you’re trying to decide which one to buy between these two brewing techniques, there are several things you should know about how these coffee brewing equipment function and, more significantly, how the coffee you can produce with each taste!

Percolator vs French Press
Percolator vs French Press

In this percolator vs French press article, I will talk about the differences between the French press and percolator coffee makers.

I’ll go over their brewing processes and what facts you should think about before purchasing.

Percolator vs French Press

What’s the difference between a Percolator and French Press?

What’s the difference between a Percolator and French Press

There are five key differences between a percolator and a French press:

1. Taste
2. Ease of use
3. Brewing method
4. Speed of brewing
5. Portability

Let’s at each of these five key differences in more detail.

#1 Taste

Preparing coffee using a percolator produces a rich, hot coffee that fills your kitchen with that familiar aroma that’s hard to ignore when performed correctly. Percolators brew a nearly empty cup. On the other hand, the coffee will almost certainly be robust and caffeine-rich. 

The percolator will not carry over subtle flavor notes, but lovers of strong coffee will enjoy it. Mixing milk or cream can readily fix this type of flavor; however, you may not appreciate that method to coffee consumption; it negates the point of consuming coffee black.

In comparison to the Percolator, the French Press creates a gentler cup of coffee. The French press generates a full-bodied brew that isn’t as powerful as a percolator. It keeps the flavors and nuances. 

Since there is no paper filter, the natural coffee oils in the coffee beans are allowed to pass through into the cup, giving in a full-flavored coffee with a creamy taste.

Winner: Although we can’t speak for individual tastes and preferences, most coffee drinkers prefer presses that provide better, more flavorful coffees instead of percolators that offer bitter coffee.

#2 Ease Of Use

I believe the French press comes out on top in terms of usability, especially for folks who aren’t great at paying attention to details and prefer quick, easy activities. A French press’s setup is fundamental and efficient.

A percolator necessitates some expertise, as well as quick thinking. It is necessary to keep an eye on them. There is always the possibility of leakage due to the heating and the formation of steam. If this occurs, it could result in a significant disaster. And I’ve always had problems with the screwing mechanism so that I could be opinionated.

Winner: While neither brewing process is particularly hard, the French press has a considerably faster learning curve. It also doesn’t require you to observe the entire procedure.

#3 Brewing Method

Preparation time for both the French press and the coffee percolator is substantially longer than the actual brewing time. It will save you even more time if the beans are already grounded.

Simply pre-boil the water for the french press, which should only take a minute or two with an electric kettle. It takes about 3-4 minutes to brew the coffee before it’s ready to serve. Unless you’re attempting to brew many batches of coffee, it’s pretty quick and straightforward.

French Press
French Press

Coffee percolators take between 5 and 10 minutes to prepare, depending on various parameters, such as whether you use a stovetop or electric percolator. The good news is that you can brew massive amounts (approximately 100-cup percolators) in a short amount of time, making it ideal for parties or large families.

Winner: I won’t be able to declare a clear winner in this case. Compared to percolators, the French press takes far less time to create single-serve coffees, but percolators have the advantage when producing big batches.

#4 Speed Of Brewing

The time it takes from a bean to get a cup of coffee depends depend on whether you have a stovetop or electric percolator.

Electric percolators are generally much faster, with several claiming a 5-minute brewing process. It also depends on how much espresso you require because brewing twenty cups in a  percolator takes a lot longer than making a single cup on the stovetop.

Making coffee in a percolator takes 2-10 minutes, whereas brewing coffee in a French press takes 3-5 minutes. On the other hand, the French press requires additional time because you must boil the water separately. It doesn’t take long, but it does help close the distance.

Furthermore, the percolator’s working time is usually shorter. In 7-10 min, you’d probably like your coffee. You won’t notice much difference in time if you use a percolator with the same capacity as a French press.

Winner: The French press If you use an electric percolator, the difference isn’t significant, but the stovetop method takes too much time.

#5 Portability

The coffee percolator and the French press are portable and quite comparable in size for the same cup capacity.

Coffee Percolator vs French Press
Coffee Percolator vs French Press

French Press – This is a terrific all-in-one approach that is reasonably portable as long as you can heat the water, have finely ground coffee, and a safe manner of carrying your press.

Percolator – Almost all percolators can handle any coffee grind, provided it is rough. However, they frequently necessitate using a stove, fireplace, or plug socket.

Lastly, making one or two cups of coffee in a percolator is likely excessive and underutilization of the device. For portability, I’ll suggest you go with something else.

Like I already said – Percolators and French presses are both mobiles in the traditional sense. With a few tweaks, the French press is on the rise.

The French Press is the winner! Although both are easier to transport, the French press is more lightweight and handy than the percolator.

Pros And Cons of A Percolator

Pros and cons of a percolator
Pros and cons of a percolator

Pros

  • Can brew large batches of coffee at the same time – ideal for visitors
  • Affordably priced
  • Models with extra-large capacity are available
  • Excellent for camping
  • There is no need for any additional equipment
  • Cleaning is the only thing required
  • Brewing requires less attention.

Cons

  • Produces inconsistent results and average tasting coffee
  • More difficult to clean
  • Stovetop models necessitate constant attention.
  • Coffee burns easily.

Pros And Cons of A French Press

Pros and cons of a French press
Pros and cons of a French press

Pros

  • Coffee has a rich flavor.
  • Roasting features are stressed
  • Cleaning is a breeze
  • There is no need for maintenance
  • comparatively low-cost
  • It has a compact footprint
  • You can use it to make loose-leaf tea or a cold brew.

Cons

  • This brewing method only makes 2-4 cups at a time
  • You will have some coffee grounds in your cup
  • It necessitates the purchase of additional equipment 
  • Requires consideration of water temperature, coffee grind size, and brewing time
  • Must be served immediately to avoid over-extraction
  • Health issues that may arise.

FAQs

Does a percolator make better coffee than a French press?

Does a percolator make better coffee than a French press

Although a Percolator can produce excellent coffee quickly, the flavor and texture are inferior to that of other methods such as the French Press or V60 coffee dripper.

Why is the French press better?

Why is the French press better

The French Press extracts the most taste and aroma from your coffee. It’s also helpful if you’re pressed for time. Simply mix your powdered coffee beans with hot water and set them aside for another few minutes before pushing down the nozzle.

When you want a coffee with many flavors, a French press is ideal.

Like others that use immersion brewing, this method produces a robust, strong cup that often shows darker roast qualities wonderfully.

A coffee press might suit you better than a percolator if you want to create coffee that is both delicious and rich.

The capacity of a French Press vary, and hence the amount of coffee it can produce at once differs, but even the most extensive French press can only brew three or four cups of coffee at a time.

They’re fantastic for making your morning cup of coffee or amounts if you have a couple of friends over for coffee, but that’s just it.

Although you’ll need a kettle or saucepan to boil water, French presses are relatively inexpensive, and they’re arguably the most straightforward coffee brewing appliance available.

They’re easy to use and maintain, and they don’t require any care other than frequent washing.

Finally, the press needs you to regulate the brew, pay attention during brewing, and ensure that your coffee does not become over-extracted, based on the combination you choose.

Is percolator coffee any good?

Is percolator coffee any good

Percolators provide a less sophisticated brewing experience, and while they can control the brew, the results are very uneven.

They aren’t designed to make brewed coffee with many flavors or emphasize roast features, which is understandable given that the equipment was designed to make caffeinated coffee rapidly and in huge quantities.

Percolators will need you to watch constantly and withdraw the coffee from the heat once it reaches the correct strength, but unlike the French press, they will not demand you to stir or press at specific moments during the brew. 

Although percolators don’t produce as much rich coffee or complex flavor profiles, they are more lenient if you fail to turn off the heat.

Is There a Clear Winner?

Preferences are subjective, but both of these coffee brewing processes are well-balanced. It’s challenging to identify a winner in the french press vs percolator debate because it boils down to personal opinion. And for me, Press is the way to go!

Which One Should I Choose?

None of these two methods is superior to the other.

The solution to which one best matches your coffee demands is purely a matter of personal taste!

French presses produce more rich, delicate coffee and are very consistent, making them ideal for individuals who want to get the most flavor out of their coffee.

However, as they only make small batches, they aren’t ideal for preparing coffee for more than one or two people simultaneously.

 Percolators have less flavor and smoothness, but they can make vast amounts of coffee for gatherings or when you have many guests.

They’re perfect for boiling large quantities of coffee in one go.

You should have a decent grasp of these two coffee brewing processes by now. Hopefully, our list of advantages and disadvantages for each has helped you determine which is best for you.

Another consideration when choosing between a percolator and a French press coffee pot is the time required to prepare a cup of coffee.

The majority of Press coffee pots take only three-four minute brewing time, with some requiring five minutes, so you won’t have to wait long to enjoy your first cup of joe. 

On the other hand, a percolator takes time and can take up to 10 minutes to complete the brewing process because percolators are often larger than French press coffee pots.

Percolators make large batches of coffee, not simply a specific kind of coffee.

It’s not hard to find percolators that can make up to 100 cups of coffee at once.

Final Thoughts

I hope you’ve figured out what kind of coffee brewing process is ideal for you.

I understand that using a percolator is a general approach, and it was formerly the only way to prepare coffee.

Similarly, the French press has remained unchanged since the dawn of coffee.

Both places serve hot, fresh coffee. One will produce a robust, bitter cup of coffee that will hold up to milk and sugar while still shining through.

Press has a more refined flavor profile and greater depth than other coffees.

Even so, if you have a large number of visitors to serve, you’ll have to choose between a massive batch of mediocre coffee or several tiny batches of excellent coffee. I prefer the Press because it produces a more balanced, flavorful cup.

Mark

G'day from Australia! I'm Mark, the Chief Editor of Portafilter. I'm super passionate about everything coffee related and love to spend endless hours mastering pulling the perfect shot on my Breville Barista Express.

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