French Press vs. Keurig: the Ultimate Face-Off

If you love coffee, you’ll probably want to venture beyond the predictable drip coffee and try other brewing methods at some point. French press coffee makers and Keurig machines are two options that give you better-tasting coffee without requiring barista-level skills. However, the two have key differences. So let’s compare the French press vs. Keurig to determine the best for you.

How does a French press work?

A French press is a good example of immersion brewing, where coffee grounds stay submerged in water.

Coffee with a French press is prepared by pouring hot water over coarsely ground coffee and steeping for four to five minutes. Then, you push the plunger down, separating the grounds from the brewed coffee, and your drink is ready to enjoy.

French presses are simple to use, making them popular for camping and travel. You are not tethered to electrical power as long as you have some boiling water.

plunging french press down

How does a Keurig work?

Keurig coffee machines brew one cup of coffee at a time using special coffee pods called K-Cups. Place your mug on the tray and insert a K-Cup inside the machine’s upper part. When you lower the lid, a needle punctures the foil of the K-Cup.

After that, depending on the Keurig model, press the button to select your cup size and the brew button. Just enough water comes from the machine’s reservoir, heated quickly as it moves through a series of thin tubes. Keurig uses pressure when an air pump forces the water through the coffee grounds in the K-Cup.

K-Cups come in different flavors of coffee, some from famous brands like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. You can also get K-Cups that make other beverages like hot chocolate or tea.

putting k cup into keurig

French press vs. Keurig: the main differences

French press and Keurig coffee makers produce coffee in very different ways. Let’s compare factors like ease of use, brewing capacity, and price that will help you choose the best coffee maker.

French press


Brewing capacity

3-12 cups, depending on the French press size.

1 cup with single-serve Keurig models and up to 12 cups with K-Duo model with a carafe.

Brewing time

4-5 minutes after hot water is poured on coffee grounds.

1-4 minutes, including water heat-up time.

Coffee taste

Full-bodied and robust flavor, with a slightly heavier mouthfeel than coffee brewed with other methods.

Keurig coffee pods come in various flavors and roasts, so the taste will vary depending on the type of pod used. Some people may find Keurig brew less flavorful than freshly ground and brewed coffee.

Cleaning and maintenance 

Requires washing after every use.

Needs occasional cleaning.


Easily portable, even though models with glass beakers are fragile.

K-Mini is the lightest Keurig model that can be considered portable. The other models, such as K-Classic or K-Elite, are too bulky to be frequently transported.


A basic French press can cost anywhere from $10 to $30. Higher-end models made of high-quality materials, such as stainless steel, can cost upwards of $50 to $100.

A basic Keurig coffee maker can cost anywhere from $70 to $150. More advanced models with additional features like larger water reservoirs, temperature control, and programmable settings can cost up to $300 or more.

Ease of use

The French press method can appear intimidating at first. However, the ease of use may surprise you. The most important factors in brewing a tasty cup of coffee with a French press is the right water temperature and the suitable grind size.

Using a French press to brew coffee requires preheated water, whether using a hot plate, stovetop, electric kettle, or campfire. Like with any other brewing method, it is essential not to use boiling water. The water temperature should be about 200° F (93° C) when poured over ground coffee. If you don’t have a thermometer, wait a few moments after the water boils before using it to brew your coffee.

You can typically get away with substituting packaged ground coffee with other brewing methods, but this is not true with the French press. You need coarse-ground coffee for the French press, as finely ground coffee won’t stay under the metal filter. The coarse grind size also ensures proper extraction of the flavor.

Real coffee enthusiasts know that grinding coffee beans before brewing makes the best coffee. However, in practice, sometimes you are in a hurry and don’t have time for a lengthy preparation process.

A Keurig machine is straightforward to use and requires minimal effort. Inserting a K-Cup and pushing a button is all it takes to enjoy coffee. If you feel creative, use Keurig coffee as a base for cappuccino or iced coffee, or customize your brew with various coffee add-ins.

pouring hot water into french press

Brewing capacity

French press coffee makers come in sizes from 3 to 12 cups. You can get a small one to brew coffee just for yourself or a big one to make coffee for the whole family or a larger group at once.

A big advantage is that French presses are affordable enough, so you can buy a couple in different sizes for different occasions. However, this may not be necessary, as French presses are more forgiving than Moka Pots if you want to brew less than the full coffee pot. As long as you can figure out the water-to-coffee ratio to brew a smaller amount, you shouldn’t have a problem.

The standard-size French press that most people buy is the 8-cup, which makes 34 ounces (about 1 liter) of coffee. That’s 16 ounces each for yourself and a companion.

A Keurig coffee maker that uses coffee pods produces one cup of coffee at a time. Some Keurig models can brew a small, medium, or large cup that allows you to decide how concentrated you want your coffee. Keurig K-Duo is the only model suitable for batch brewing as it has a 12-cup carafe and the standard single-cup brewing function.

Brewing coffee with Keurig takes 1 to 4 minutes, including water heating time. The whole family can be served in several minutes, probably not any longer than it would take to heat the necessary amount of water for a French press and let it steep.

keurig brewing coffee into a cup


French press coffee is full-bodied and robust, with a slightly heavier mouthfeel than coffee brewed with other methods. Unlike drip coffee makers or AeroPress that use paper filters, metal French press filter lets all the coffee oils into the coffee, giving the brew a thick texture.

Some may find the intensity of French press coffee hard on their digestion. AeroPress, which can be compared to the French press regarding portability and affordability, boasts lower acidity as one of its selling points. The oily nature of French press coffee can also be a problem for those concerned about their cholesterol levels.

Although depressing the plunger is supposed to separate the grounds from the brewed coffee, you can sometimes get a few grounds in the coffee.

French press coffee can become bitter or too strong, especially if steeped too long. A manual coffee-making method requires more effort than an automatic Keurig machine.

Keurig coffee pods come in various flavors and roasts, so the taste will vary depending on the type of pod used.

Bitterness is virtually never an issue with Keurig coffee. However, Keurig is often criticized for dispensing watery coffee. This might be due to choosing the largest cup size, as the same amount of ground coffee gets flushed with more water while brewing.

Some Keurig machines have a “Strong” setting that can brew more concentrated coffee by slowing the water flowing through the coffee grounds. A “Strong” cup would be one of the standard mug sizes. It is the same amount of water with a slower push.

Some Keurigs also have a “Shot” function that uses less water to brew a concentrated shot similar to espresso. However, it doesn’t reach the 9 bars of pressure necessary for extracting a real espresso shot.

The main complaint about Keurig coffee is that it is less flavorful than freshly ground and brewed coffee. Although it is possible to use freshly ground coffee in reusable K-Cups, the disposable K-Cups that Keurig machines are known for contain coffee grounds that have been sitting there for months. No wonder Keurig coffee tastes not as flavorful as French press coffee does.

french press coffee with cake and chocolate

Cleaning and maintenance

Many French presses are dishwasher safe. The glass beaker can be removed from the frame and placed in the top rack of the dishwasher.

If your French press is not dishwasher-safe, a quick rinse with hot water after use and occasional cleaning with dish soap to remove coffee stains should be sufficient.

A Keurig doesn’t need to be cleaned with every use like a French press. If you see coffee splashes on the machine, you can easily clean them with a damp cloth. External parts of the Keurig machine, like the drip tray or water reservoir, should be washed by hand with dish soap and warm water once a week to avoid issues with mold or bacteria accumulating. You may need to prime your Keurig occasionally when the message pops up on the screen.

You will also need to descale the machine’s interior every three to six months, depending on whether there are mineral deposits in the water where you live. You can use a special Keurig descaling solution or try white vinegar and water mix.

washing keurig parts in the sink


French presses come in a wide price range, so you have some control over how much you spend. A basic French press can cost anywhere from $10 to $30. Higher-end models made of high-quality materials, such as stainless steel, can cost upwards of $50 to $100. They often have insulated walls to keep coffee warm longer.

With a French press, you have complete control over what kind of coffee goes inside — you don’t have to rely on K-Cups. However, if you don’t own a burr coffee grinder, you may need to factor in this initial investment to ground your coffee coarse enough for this brewing method.

Regarding environmental costs, French presses are eco-friendly as they don’t require plastic coffee pods or paper filters. The only waste they produce is used coffee grounds, which can be composted.

female hand pouring french press coffee

A basic Keurig coffee maker like K-Mini, K-Slim, or K-Classic can cost anywhere from $70 to $150. Prices increase for more advanced models like the K-Duo, which has a carafe and the typical single-cup brewing function.

K-Cups are an ongoing expense with Keurig coffee makers. However, you can reduce the cost by using reusable K-Cups that you fill with your favorite coffee. Packaged ground coffee should work well enough for this, but you can grind fresh coffee for a better Keurig experience.

Another thing to remember is that a Keurig machine is an electronic gadget. Like computers and smartphones, any electronic device has components that wear out over time. On average, Keurig coffee makers last three to five years, but their lifespan may be longer if you maintain them well.

Choosing between French press and Keurig

When pondering the Keurig vs. French press dilemma, it is important to define your priorities. Once you pinpoint the must-haves and deal breakers, you can make an informed decision and enjoy your favorite cup of coffee every day.

French press vs Keurig

Why choose a French press?

Choose the French press if you like trying different beans and roasts, and drink more than one cup of coffee. A big advantage of a French press is that it can brew coffee for a few people, so it’s an ideal coffee maker for a family.

A French press is also a great coffee maker for those who prefer to minimize waste, as there are no used coffee pods or paper filters to throw away.

French press is portable enough to take on a trip, especially with an RV. Paired with a camping coffee grinder, it can be a great companion on outdoor trips.

Aeropress Original Coffee Maker

Bodum Chambord French Press, 8 Cup

Chambord French press brews a premium cup of coffee in just 4 minutes. Simply add coarse ground Coffee, and hot water, and press. The 3-part stainless steel plunger has a mesh filter that helps extract your coffee's aromatic oils and subtle flavors.

Why choose a Keurig?

Choose Keurig if you want a quick cup of joe in the morning with a button push. You won’t have to boil water, grind coffee or clean your coffee maker afterward. Discarding a used coffee pod is all it takes to maintain the coffee machine after using it.

If convenience and brewing speed are your top priorities, the Keurig coffee machine is your choice. Once you find your favorite coffee pods, you will always enjoy the same-tasting coffee.

Keurig machine doesn’t create any mess, so it is perfect for an office or any other public space with a coffee bar.

Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker

Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker

The Keurig K-Classic brews a rich, smooth, and delicious cup every time. Simple touch buttons make your brewing experience stress-free, and multiple K-Cup pod brew sizes help to ensure you get your perfect cup. Whether you prefer your coffee strong, mild, decaf, or flavored, this coffee machine can brew your favorite coffee.

A Keurig and a French press are coffee brewing devices that meet different needs and tastes. Whether your priority is speed and convenience or enjoyment in trying different single-origin coffees, one of these coffee makers will suit your needs.

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