Updated: December 13, 2021 by Owen Richardson
If you’re weighing your options regarding a French press vs a Keurig — this article can help you tip the scales in one way or another. It really boils down to taste, capacity, brew time, convenience, and cost.
Each coffee brewer has areas where it shines more than the other, so the question of which is better often comes down to personal preferences and needs.
Do you prefer to have your brew ready in two minutes? What’s your ultimate cup of joe? One that is rich in flavor and has a fuller body or the type that is less bold with little caffeine?
Whatever question you have, this comparison takes care of it and goes on to show you what coffee maker suits you best. There’s so much to learn about these two, and if you are a true coffee connoisseur, you wouldn’t want to miss out on anything.
So join me as I take you through everything you have ever wanted to know about the French press and Keurig.
Table of Contents
Main Differences Between French Press vs Keurig
The main differences between a French Press vs a Keurig are:
- A French press can brew between three to twelve cups in one go, whereas a Keurig can only make one cup of coffee at a time.
- The French press brewing process takes an average of four minutes, whereas a Keurig only takes two minutes to get your cup of joe ready.
- Using a French press takes some skill and attention, whereas a Keurig only requires you to position a cup and dial a button, making it far more convenient.
- A French press costs as little as $10, whereas the cheapest Keurig machine goes for around $65.
Looking at these differences, you can already tell that each coffee maker flourishes in specific areas. When it comes to speed and convenience, the Keurig machine wins hands down. A French press, on the other hand, will make the most delicious cuppa, and it can make up to 12 cups. Also, it won’t cost you a lot to own even the best French press.
Keurig and French Press: Overview
Before we delve into what distinguishes these two coffee makers, here’s some interesting information about their backgrounds you will want to know:
A French press is a manual coffee maker that steeps your coffee grounds in a beaker with hot water in order to brew a cup of joe for you.
Just as the name suggests, this device was first used by a Frenchman. But when the Italians got hold of it, they fine-tuned it and later on patented it. That was in 1929. But right now, there’s a long list of brands that produce the French press.
Why has it maintained its popularity? The answer is simple: Taste! I’ll talk more about this shortly.
Not many Americans use the French press though, mostly because of its manual mechanism. But in Europe, it’s a favorite for so many people.
Now, because it’s operated manually, you will do most of the work, from grinding and weighing the ingredients to boiling the water and mixing the contents. The machine only does the brewing.
But this is not in vain because the end result will be a sweeter, smoother, flavorful cuppa that you simply won’t be able to get with a Keurig machine (more about this later). It’s honestly a rewarding process that nearly every coffee lover is proud to carry out.
A French press is comprised of the following parts:
- A beaker which is more often a glass or stainless steel container
- A mesh filter made of stainless steel
- A lid fitted with a plunger
You will need to buy coffee beans and have a kettle and some freshwater before using it.
A Keurig is basically an automated single-serve coffee maker that brews only one cup of coffee at a time. It shares the name with its manufacturer. In the coffee universe, Keurig is a well-recognized and respected brand.
It wasn’t until the early 1990s that Keurig released its first signature coffee maker. Back then, it was only being used in offices, and this continued until 2004 when they finally made a coffee maker for home use.
Since then, Keurig has diversified its product line to include a variety of models with different colors and functionalities. So many people continue to warm up to Keurig because it has made coffee brewing easier and faster without sacrificing flavor and taste.
In the US, Keurig coffee makers are now a staple not just in homes and offices but also in hotels and other establishments.
Keurig brewing machines include the following features:
- A water reservoir
- A removable drip tray
- A press button
Now, there’s one additional item you will have to purchase to complete this set-up, and that is the K-Cups or what many coffee lovers call the Keurig pod. This plastic shell houses the coffee grounds, and it’s what you will use to brew your drink. Keurig actually patented them.
Comparing the Features of a French Press vs a Keurig
It’s easy to tell good coffee. A rich and delicate flavor is what you’ll recognize first. It will also be sweet, delicious, aromatic, and have a lingering aftertaste. Now, these two brewing methods don’t produce the same quality of coffee.
One area the French press thrives in is preparing rich, flavorful, and smoother coffee. This can be attributed to the brewing method. When the ground coffee is immersed in water and left to steep, a lot of flavor is extracted, leading to a richer tasting brew. Also, you have the chance to play around with the recipe and portions until you find a brew that matches your preference.
Moreover, with a French press, you can grind your coffee beans right before brewing, and I have to tell you this can make a world of difference.
A Keurig machine makes good coffee, but it’s not as flavorful as what a French press produces. And here’s why. The brewing time, water temperature, and serving size are all fixed, so you have absolutely zero control over how your coffee tastes.
Winner: French Press
French press is hands down the winner when it comes to taste. For delicious fresh coffee with a richer, fuller body, this is the coffee maker you can bank on.
Volume or capacity is all about the amount of coffee you can brew with your machine, and it’s not the same for these two coffee makers.
A French press can brew up to twelve cups of coffee. It all depends on the size you buy. Available options include 0.35 litres (3 cups), 0.5 litres (4 cups), 1 litre (8 cups), and 1.5 litres (12 cups).
Here’s the fun fact about all these options: the brew time is the same. So the effort and time you put into brewing three cups will still be the same when you raise the number to twelve cups of coffee, assuming you already have coarsely ground coffee beans for French press.
With a Keurig machine, you can only brew one cup of coffee at a time. Sounds like a lot of work when you want four cups, right? Well, not really. The machine compensates for that with a faster brewing time.
So you can still brew a couple of cups, but this will have to be done in quick succession, which can take a bit of time.
Winner: French Press
The undisputed winner in this category is the French press. If you have a family or have people over more often, it would serve you well.
Convenience and Ease of Use
Convenience in this case sort of represents the absence of difficulty. Picture waking up in the morning and not having to grind your coffee beans, weigh them, and follow a five-minute recipe before your coffee is ready. Instead, you simply load a cup into your coffee maker, press start, and behold! Your coffee is ready to be served.
Well, that is another aspect that distinguishes these two machines.
French press coffee takes more time and effort to prepare, especially if you have to grind your coffee beans first. There’s the measuring part too, where you have to get the water and coffee proportions right. Thereafter, you will have to wait four minutes before the brew is ready.
However, cleaning and maintaining the coffee maker is easy; it only takes minutes to rinse and get it ready for the next brewing task
The convenience of a Keurig machine is what makes it a favorite for coffee connoisseurs. Brewing with it is a breeze. Once you load your cup into the machine, your work is pretty much done. Even better, you can load and schedule it to brew your coffee at 6:59 am, just when you are about to leave the house for work.
Cleaning the Keurig is best done when the water runs out. That aside, no daily cleaning is needed. However, you will have to maintain it regularly to increase its longevity. That is done mostly by descaling it and replacing the charcoal filter.
Keurig is no doubt far more convenient than the French press. Once you press the button, that’s it!
I may have mentioned it in passing, but brew time is most definitely a significant difference you will realize between these brewing devices.
The average time it takes to brew coffee with a French press is four minutes. But before that, you may have to spend a few minutes grinding your coffee beans and heating up the water to the required temperatures.
A Keurig machine will get your coffee ready in less than two minutes. Once you fill up its reservoir and insert the pod, the machine does the rest of the work.
Speed is another area where the Keurig shines. It will get your brew ready faster than a French press.
Cost is a factor you do not want to overlook when comparing two coffee-making machines. They all come at a different price, so if that’s a major factor to you, then this comparison will give you an idea of which option to go for between the two.
For as low as $30, you can get a nice French press that will prepare delicious, rich, flavorful coffee. Some even cost as low as $10, and even though they aren’t as effective as their more expensive counterparts, they still get the job done.
Even though you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to variety, Keurig coffee makers still come at a slightly higher price, with the cheapest in the market costing around $65 and the expensive ones going for as high as $150.
Winner: French Press
A French press clearly offers the most value for money. High-quality coffee aside, you spend way less than you would on a Keurig. If you don’t mind the brewing time, then the French press would be a nice investment for you.
Keurig vs French Press: The Winner
It’s safe to say that neither of these coffee makers is absolutely better than the other unless you narrow down your argument to taste, brew time, capacity, convenience, and cost.
The rich, bold, and delicious coffee a French press brews is what makes it a favorite coffee maker for many coffee lovers. Add to that the control you have over taste and the ability to brew over ten cups, and it becomes even more irresistible. Even your tight budget can’t stop you from owning one!
But for those mornings when you simply don’t have the time to grind your coffee beans, wait for the water to heat up, and stare at your coffee maker waiting for it to yield coffee, the Keurig will save the day. It’s quick, saves time and effort, and will still make a perfect cup of coffee. Plus, you actually don’t have to clean it daily as you would a French press.