Best →

French Press Coffee Vs Percolator

Alexis Labadie Profile image

Written By:

Updated August 28, 2022

When you look for coffee brewing techniques better than a drip coffee machine, you may decide between French press coffee vs percolator coffee. The best coffee maker brews coffee in batches with multiple cups of enhanced flavor. Both stainless steel French presses and stainless steel percolators create flavorful beverages for your morning cup of coffee.


  • Percolators provide an excellent option for large-capacity brewing using convection to heat coffee and keep it warm.
  • French presses remain easy to use and clean, and they make enough coffee for families to drink in the space of a few minutes.
  • A French press maker brews by immersing coffee beans in hot water to extract flavor from your favorite roast coffee beans for several cups of coffee.

However, you will notice several differences between a French press and a percolator, including brew size, brew time, and brewing methods. Additionally, a French press provides an easy-to-use option for families. For other preparation methods, check out our article on an espresso machine vs a French press.

Difference Between French Presses and Percolators

Although both French presses and percolators make coffee using hot water, the brewing methods differ significantly. Some of these variations affect the flavor and preparation time, including filter use. However, both make excellent cups of coffee with strong brews for when you want it, though you may need to plan your brew.

Insider Tip

A French press has a few parts, and all of them are easy to clean.

The most significant differences between the two stem from the ease of use and cleaning, taste, and brew method. They also make varying amounts of strong coffee within one cycle, depending on the size of the product. If you want more variety in the temperature of your batches of coffee, consider whether you wish to use a stainless steel French press vs a cold brew maker.

Brewing the Perfect Cup

A stainless steel French press coffee maker features immersion as part of its brewing method. During this process, you heat your water to just below boiling using a kettle or other water heating method. Then, once your water is heated and your coffee is ground, you combine the two inside the French press coffee maker. After allowing your beverage to steep for 3-4 minutes at the high water temperature, depress the plunger and pour your drink into a separate carafe, decanter, or mug, cooling before serving.

On the other hand, a stainless steel coffee percolator over a drip maker, heats water below the percolator basket, a filter device that holds your coffee grounds. The hot water rises into the basket with the beans, beginning extraction. Then, the machine cycles water within the percolator to spread the heat throughout. Different percolators require different brew times, but the average cup of coffee made with this model can be ready within ten minutes.

High Capacity

Percolators make large amounts of coffee for meetings and groups, but some are designed to make enough for a family. Camp coffee percolators are also used for traveling or camping trips. Percolators use convection to keep coffee warm, so they remain ideal for meetings, especially large-form percolators called urns. However, you still shouldn’t make more cups than you need because there will be flavor degradation over time.

French presses typically brew less coffee than a stainless steel percolator. However, they make more than an espresso machine or single-serve coffee maker. You can find higher and lower capacity brewers with percolators, though the average French press makes about eight cups.

Ease of Use

A French press coffee maker remains easy to use since you simply combine your elements and let them steep. These components and the stainless steel nature make a French press better for easy use, and you can clean the pieces easily. Additionally, a few features add to the number of parts, and you eliminate the need for a paper filter.

Coffee percolators require several parts, including the carafe, basket filter, percolation pipe, and spout. These parts complicate the brewing process. Plus, the percolator needs descaling every few uses to eliminate limescale and mineral build-up, unlike a French press coffee maker.


A percolator gains a build-up of limescale and minerals, so make sure to descale the metal model every few uses.


Can a percolator be used for tea?

Yes. To make tea in a percolator, follow the same process as you would for brewing coffee, but replace the coffee grounds with a tea bag or tea leaves.

What are the best beans for a French press?

The best beans for you may not be the best for others. However, many people prefer a medium or dark roast for their French press coffee maker.

Can you use fine ground coffee with a French press?

You can use a fine grind for a French press, but the cup of coffee probably won’t taste as good. Additionally, some of the grounds will escape the filter of the French press coffee maker, so you should use a more coarse grind.

STAT: A percolation extracts coffee with clean water, and an immersion extracts coffee with water that is gradually becoming more and more concentrated. (source)

Alexis Labadie Profile image