One of the great things about coffee is that it can be prepared in so many different ways. Each brewing method produces different flavors, aromas and textures. I was curious to know how French Press coffee compared to other styles, so I did some research.
So, does a French Press make coffee stronger? Yes, French Press often has a stronger taste and fuller body compared to drip coffee because it has a longer extraction period, does not use a paper filter, and is brewed with a higher coffee-to-water ratio. But drip coffee can contain more caffeine due to lighter roasts.
Read on to learn more about why French Press produces stronger coffee.
French Press coffee has stronger flavors due to a longer extraction period
French Press coffee grounds have a longer extraction period because they are in contact with water for a longer period of time. This means the coffee beans have more time to release fats, acids and other flavor compounds that give coffee its delicious and bold taste.
Extraction refers to the process where coffee beans dissolve into water. There are many factors that affect the rate at which this extraction occurs, including how coarsely the coffee beans are ground, the water temperature, the brew duration and the equipment used.
Therefore, it’s entirely possible to make drip coffee that is stronger than French Press. More on that in a moment. But we can safely assume that the average cup of French Press results in a longer extraction period.
How long does French Press extract for?
The most commonly recommended brewing time for French Press coffee is 4 minutes, which isn’t much longer than typical drip coffee. In fact, some drip coffee has a longer brewing time depending on how coarsely the coffee is ground.
However, French Press coffee is made using a metal screen instead of a paper filter. The metal screen allows finer coffee grounds to pass through and be poured into the final beverage where it continues extracting flavor.
Therefore, the average extraction time for a cup of French Press coffee is often longer than drip coffee. As a result, the total amount of flavor extracted from a French Press is higher as well.
Metal French Press screens allow a stronger body texture to come through
French Press plunger screens do not absorb any liquids or oils. They simply block coffee grounds from being poured into the mug. These oils that end up in French Press coffee, which are naturally formed in coffee beans, contribute to a stronger taste and texture.
The paper filters used for drip coffee absorb many of these oils during the brewing process, which causes the coffee to lack a full body. A fuller bodied coffee has a more prominent mouthfeel and texture and is perceived as having a stronger or more complete taste.
More coffee grinds are used
French Press coffee is most commonly brewed using a 1:15 coffee-to-water ratio while drip coffee uses a 1:17 ratio. The higher ratio of coffee in French Press causes it to extract more flavor and caffeine from the beans.
The result is a stronger tasting French Press coffee.
Just to be clear, these ratios are not set in stone. Drip coffee can be brewed using a higher coffee-to-water ratio if desired. But generally speaking, French Press is prepared with a higher concentration of coffee.
The one caveat to this is that French Press coffee calls for more coarsely ground beans. Meaning, the ground bean pieces are larger in size and have a smaller surface area than the more finely ground beans used for drip coffee.
This is worth mentioning because a smaller surface area means French Press beans will extract flavors at a slower rate. However, the prolonged French Press extraction period usually counterbalances this.
French Press has stronger caffeine content than drip coffee
French Press is one of the more highly caffeine types of coffee due to its long brew duration. A longer brew time allows it to extract more caffeine from the beans, making it stronger than drip coffee.
Click here to learn more about why French Press coffee is highly caffeinated.
How to make drip coffee that is stronger than French Press
Generally speaking, drip coffee is prepared using a fairly consistent water temperature, grind density and brew duration. However, you can choose to prepare your coffee in whatever way you want. So there are a few parameters you can change to brew stronger drip coffee.
Use more finely ground beans
Finer coffee grounds will increase the rate of extraction and will produce a stronger tasting coffee. This is because more finely ground coffee beans have a greater surface area and make more contact with the water, causing them to dissolve more quickly.
The risk with using finely ground beans is that they will over extract and add an astringent and bitter taste to your coffee.
Use a hotter water temperature
Hotter water temperature will increase the rate at which coffee grounds dissolve into your beverage. This will produce a stronger tasting coffee as long as you brew it for the same amount of time as before.
The risk with water that is too hot is that you risk burning your beans, which will add unpleasant flavors.