There are many methods of making good coffee out there but the cafetiere and drip coffee makers are two very popular techniques.
The argument over which is the better of the two is one lingering discussion that may not end anytime soon.
A French press is also known as a cafetiere is a coffee brewing device invented in 1929. The phrase cafetiere is more popular in the United States and Canada where it is used than in France where it’s called cafetière, meaning coffee maker.
A narrow cylindrical glass or plastic beaker, a lid and a plunger that fits in the cylinder are common features of the modern cafetiere.
Drip coffee makers need electricity to work and they can maintain temperature so the coffee stays as hot as you want.
Most of them are completely automated so you have very little control over how the coffee turns out.
Cafetiere vs Drip Coffee: What’s The Difference?
There are many features we can use for comparison so let’s look at them:
You don’t need to buy coffee powder for any of these devices as both can handle coffee beans. The quality of grinds instead is very important.
Coarse grinds work with the cafetiere and medium grinds are the case with the drip coffee maker.
Both machines can produce a variety of flavors but one factor that can make or break your coffee flavor is your bean type.
That has nothing to do with the machine you use and it’s something you’d have to handle when shopping. Check for reviews of coffee beans with quality flavors before buying.
Machine filtering is also something that can affect flavor and this is an area where the cafetiere wins as it doesn’t use a filter.
2. Brewing Time
Drip coffee makers are what you want if you need a cup of coffee in good time. The cafetiere has to handle more manual operations than the automated drip device so this isn’t surprising.
There’s also a learning curve with the cafetiere so you’d spend less time making coffee as you get used to it.
Things like heating the water to the right temperature and how to operate the plunger really do matter when you’re just starting out with the cafetiere.
That’s different from the drip maker where everything works at the push of a button.
Clean-up times for both machines are about the same, a simple rinse would do for both with a filter change needed for the drip maker.
The only problem with the cafetiere is removing the leftover grounds as you can’t leave any inside because they’ll produce bitter coffee the next time you use them.
3. Ease Of Use
The cafetiere is portable, if you have a coffee travel kit you can take it with you on vacation or even camping. You can’t do this with the heavier electrical drip machine.
Brewing coffee is easier with a drip maker as everything is automated and you only need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to be fine.
The only thing that’s outside the machine’s control is the grind so if it’s anything apart from a medium grind you’ll get a bad coffee.
The cafetiere allows you vary the grind quality, water temperature and plunge rate so if you want that barista experience, this is the one for you.
4. Capacity and Durability
Both devices can provide up to ten cup servings (4-5 oz per cup) but the drip maker can do this at once so it will be the more appropriate choice when serving a crowd.
Many people would bet on the cafetiere to outlast the average drip machine and here are some reasons for that: the final coffee drink is liquid and this can make the drip wires break down.
Also, many of the drip coffee makers are made with brittle glass so a little push off balance can destroy your coffee maker.
Caftiere’s come with simple and separate parts that can be replaced when faulty so they’re the more durable option.
Over time, cafetieres are a more economical option. They come in a wide price range and have good products at both extremes.
You’d need to get a separate kettle for heating water as that’s not in the coffee set.
Drip machines have a decent $40-$300 price range and you’ll need to get a lot of filters if you’re getting the low-end products.
The expensive drip coffee makers come with more controls and settings so you’ll get less automation with a $40 device.
6. Brewing Method
The cafetiere and the drip coffee maker brew coffee in different ways.
Here’s how it works for the drip machine:
#1. Pour clean water into the reservoir. It doesn’t need to be hot as the drip’s internal heater will handle that.
#2. Add a filter and fill the device with medium ground coffee. This is important ‘cause if it’s too coarse or too fine you won’t enjoy the drink.
#3. Push the start button to initiate brewing and wait 4-8 minutes for it to get done.
Here’s how it works for a cafetiere:
#1. Preheat your device to warm it up a bit and enable it keep your coffee hotter longer than it normally would.
#2. Pour the hot water out and dry your press.
#3. Fill the device with coarse coffee grinds.
#4. Add water at 205°F (96°C) to the coffee.
#5. Leave for 30 seconds and stir. Add a little hot water at this point while stirring.
#6. Place the lid over the beaker and pull the plunger up.
#7. Leave it to brew for 3-5 minutes.
#8. With one hand on the lid, push the plunger down with the other. Watch the grinds at the bottom so the plunger doesn’t squeeze them because this will change the taste.
#9. Pour your coffee out and enjoy, try not to leave anything in the container as it loses taste and heat with time.
That’s it for the cafetiere and drip coffee maker. While one demands your concentration and gives you control over much of the process, the other automates everything and requires little from you.
Differences in personality and lifestyle will mean that neither the cafetiere nor the drip coffee machine will work for everyone at all times and in all places.
It’s up to you to choose the perfect fit and this post will guide you with that.