Percolator vs French Press: Which is Better for You?

Percolator vs French Press: Which is Better for You?

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If you’re searching for a easy solution to make coffee, you may’t get way more again to fundamentals than the percolator or the French press. You don’t want any particular gear, and the brewers themselves are cheaper than most. Each technique has its followers and detractors, however which one is best for you? 

We’ve lined up some info and options that can assist you examine these two old school favorites.


There’s one thing concerning the coffee percolator that conjures up pictures of campfires and previous log cabins. And it’s certainly an old school method of coffee making. First invented within the late 1800s, it was an enormous enchancment on earlier strategies, basically boiling grounds in water.

The design of immediately’s fashions stays basically the identical. At the bottom, you’ve gotten a water chamber, which additionally holds the brewed coffee. The floor coffee is held in a metallic basket that has been perforated to permit the water to stream via. As the water within the backside is heated, the strain fashioned pushes the water up a pipe within the brewer’s heart, nicely falls over the coffee grounds. This is why you might even see this technique known as gravity percolation (1).

The percolator went electrical within the Nineteen Twenties and remained standard till drip coffee machines captured the nation’s hearts within the Seventies (2). And it’s simple to see why. The difference between percolator and drip coffee makers isn’t simply within the ease of use, but in addition within the style.  

There is usually a false impression that handbook percolators are the identical as Moka pots. However, they’re totally different brewing strategies. You brew coffee in a Moka solely as soon as, whereas the percolator sends the water via the bottom coffee a number of occasions. This is the key to its sturdy brew, however the purpose it has a repute for bad-tasting, bitter coffee. If you’re interested in this Italian coffee pot, we’ve additionally compared the French press with the Moka pot.


  • Extra-large capability fashions accessible
  • Great for tenting
  • No additional gear required


  • Stovetop fashions require monitoring
  • Coffee is definitely burnt

French Press

The French press is debatably as previous because the percolator (3), but it surely by no means actually fell out of trend in the identical method. Its continued recognition isn’t simply as a consequence of ease of use but in addition the full-flavored coffee it creates.

Like the percolator, the French press design hasn’t modified a lot since its creation. It basically consists of a brew chamber and a plunger with a mesh filter connected. The most well-known design has a glass brew chamber, however chrome steel can be standard. You’ll additionally discover that some dearer fashions have a double-walled beaker to assist retain warmth because the coffee sits brewing.

This creates a full immersion brew. The coffee grounds are in fixed contact with the new water for the complete brewing course of as a substitute of creating coffee with one thing like a pour-over brewer. 


  • Produces wealthy, full-bodied coffee
  • Consistent brewing outcomes
  • Easy to wash


  • Requires a separate kettle
  • Coffee can comprise sediment

Coffee Percolator vs French Press: The Showdown

If you’re somebody who has all the time appeared with horror at a percolator, you may not assume there’s a lot of a contest with regards to brewing coffee with the French press vs percolator. But bear with us; there are some situations the place the standard perk has its makes use of.

Ease of use

The user-friendliness of a percolator will range barely relying on whether or not you go for an electrical mannequin or one of many basic stovetop variations. The stovetop percolator’s design has modified little since its invention and lacks any fashionable expertise that makes it extra user-friendly. 

Using a percolator is comparatively simple – you simply add the coffee and the water and let it brew. But getting the brew temperature and time proper might be difficult. You want the water sizzling sufficient in order that it reaches the strain required to let the steam rise, however not so sizzling that you simply’re burning any modicum of taste out of your beans. Electric fashions take the guesswork out of how lengthy the perking cycle needs to be, in addition to eradicating the necessity to watch the machine whereas it’s brewing. Most will change to a “hold heat” mode as soon as the coffee is prepared.

The French press has a simplicity of use that’s exhausting to match. It requires the least hands-on time of all of the handbook coffee brewing strategies – besides maybe for chilly brew. Of course, it does take some consideration to element with variables just like the coffee grind, temperature, and timing to get your superb cup of joe. But getting a coffee out of this brewer is only a matter of including grounds and sizzling water and letting it sit. 

The solely factor that may go flawed right here is leaving it to steep too lengthy, which offers you an over-extracted, bitter brew.

Clean-up for each of those brewing strategies, sadly, means coping with a load of moist coffee grounds. For the brewer itself, the French press simply requires rinsing the glass chamber and mesh filter. For a percolator, you’ll must guarantee that the perk tube and filter basket are stored freed from grounds or residue, which may require a little bit additional consideration.

Winner: Tie. Yes, the French press is likely to be one of many best handbook brewers to make use of, however an electrical percolator makes the complete course of computerized. 


Let’s be actual, the coffee percolator isn’t recognized for its subtlety. In truth, what most followers of the brewer love is the face-slapping energy of the coffee it creates. The electrical model presents little room for tweaks, past the grind and quantity of coffee you employ. In concept you’ve gotten full management over a stovetop model, however in apply, it’s not the case. While you may flip your warmth supply up or down, there’s no method of measuring this to the purpose the place you would repeat the method precisely. One occasion the place the percolator does provide some versatility is that it could use it to warmth water in the event you don’t have a separate kettle.

With the French press, you may regulate variables at nearly each step of the brewing course of, which presents you versatility within the ensuing cup of coffee. 

It is a full-immersion technique of brewing, which suggests you’ve gotten full management of how a lot contact your coffee has with the water.

The water to coffee ratio, grind dimension, water temperature, and steeping time are all simply measurable and adjustable. However, you may’t go too positive on the grind dimension otherwise you’ll find yourself with a mouthful of muddy coffee.

The brewer itself can be utilized as a steeping vessel on your chilly brew. This technique doesn’t require a brewer, but it surely does require straining – which is the place the mesh filter of the French press turns out to be useful. You may even make an espresso-style coffee in the event you use a technique often called double brewing. 

Winner: French press. The cafetiere takes out this spherical hands-down. Being in a position to regulate your brew at each step alongside the way in which means numerous variations in the way you make your coffee.


As a brewing method that’s been round because the late 1800s, the stovetop percolator isn’t reliant on electrical energy. These brewers have been created for use with any accessible warmth supply and durable sufficient to outlive years of use. A percolator produced from aluminum gained’t be fairly as long-lasting as one produced from chrome steel, but it surely’s mild sufficient to journey with. 

Just keep away from any brewer fabricated from ceramic or glass for the plain dangers of breakage.

The common French press isn’t massive or heavy, but it surely’s not notably helpful if you wish to brew coffee on the go. The principal subject is that you’ll want a kettle or one other solution to warmth water. And whereas some can be found in chrome steel, most French presses include a glass brewing chamber – not superb for shoving into your backpack. If you’re decided to take one on the street, we’ve written a information to the best French presses.

Winner: Percolator. The truth you could stick this coffee maker straight over a hearth makes it a simple decide with regards to the French press vs percolator for tenting.

Brew time

Time from bean to getting that contemporary cup of coffee in your hand will once more rely upon whether or not you’ve gotten a stovetop or electrical percolator. For the primary brew with stovetop, 10 minutes is usually really helpful, however when you get a really feel for the brewer, it’s possible you’ll wish to scale back this to 6-8 minutes. 

Electric percolators are normally a lot faster, with many promoting a brewing cycle of underneath 5 minutes. It additionally relies on how a lot coffee you want, as brewing 20 cups in an urn-style percolator will clearly take longer than a single cup on the stovetop.

Using a French press will take you round 5 minutes from begin to end. Unlike with a percolator, you’ll want time to boil your water first. Once you’ve added the water to the grounds, it needs to be left to steep for 4 minutes – although this is without doubt one of the variables you may play with.

Winner: French press. There’s not a lot between these two in the event you go for the electrical percolator, however the stovetop model makes it twice as lengthy.


What you’re in all probability most to know is, do percolators make good coffee? After all, the brewing technique has a foul repute for bitter, flavorless coffee. But followers of perked coffee realizing how a percolator works will allow you to keep away from severe errors.

Bitter notes in coffee are positive if correctly balanced.

When performed accurately, making coffee with a percolator creates a wealthy, sturdy coffee, filling your kitchen with that basic aroma that’s exhausting to withstand.

The French press can be recognized for producing a full-bodied brew, however not sturdy in the identical method as a percolator. The lack of a paper filter signifies that the pure oils within the coffee beans come via into the cup, leading to a full-flavored brew with a wealthy mouthfeel. 

Winner: French press. Bold might be lovely, however the extra nuanced taste you get from French press coffee takes the prize.

The Verdict

Based purely on our love of nice coffee, we’re going to go along with the French press right here. Plenty of coffee drinkers on the market will increase an objection to this, and to be truthful, there are occasions when the percolator will show to be extra helpful. It’s all about what you’re searching for in a coffee maker.

Use a percolator if:

  • You must brew massive batches of coffee
  • You desire a cleaner cup of coffee
  • You like a really sturdy brew

Use a French press if:

  • You need full-flavored coffee
  • You want a quicker brew time
  • You need a neater cleanup


Your percolator might be making weak coffee for a number of causes. The first is that the water will not be getting sizzling sufficient to flow into a number of occasions via the grounds. Another purpose might be that you simply’re utilizing the inaccurate grind dimension or an excessive amount of coffee, each of which additionally forestall the water from circulating correctly (4).

The finest beans for French press are medium to darkish roast, with a rough grind. Despite the identify, French roast coffee will not be particularly designed for this brewer, but it surely does work nicely (5). If you need assistance selecting beans for French Press, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites.

You can use a percolator for tea, although we are able to’t make any ensures concerning the style. Place your tea baggage or bulk tea into the coffee basket, and pour the water in as you usually would. Run the perking cycle as common, and your tea might be prepared.

  1. Percolator. (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2021, from
  2. The historical past of Electric Coffee Percolator. (2021, February 08). Retrieved from
  3. Kumstova, Okay. (2018, March 22). The historical past of french press. Retrieved from
  4. How to maintain percolators rising to the event. (1998, December 12). Retrieved from
  5. Goodwin, L. (2019, October 03). Is French roast coffee the darkest you will get? Retrieved from

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