Editorial: Is French Press Over?

First things first: Batch brewed coffee is not just a busy cafe necessity. It can be all class, and sometimes even divine. Not everbody’s got 4 minutes to wait for a handcrafted cup of drip, no two ways about it. But we here at Sprudge.com have a question we gotta ask: Who’s still making French Press for batch brewed coffee?

There was a time when French Press conveyed “not automated” and “specialty” to the consumer, but these days, Sprudge.com says French Press is getting a little tired. It’s sludgy, muddy, and usually underextracted. Is this how we want to drink coffee? Is this how it should be presented to the consumer? Has the tide turned?

We think it’s time. We think it’s time for even the snootiest coffee customer to look at that Fetco Extractor on your back counter with nary a whisp of condescension. Extractor is smart, sassy and has always been around, through the good times and the bad. Let’s face it, the overall quality of coffee has gotten so much better since the French Press was Queen Diva, no shade: coffee tastes fabulous in a well-tuned, choreographed batch brewing system like the Extractor. Snap, snap, presto: you deliver your customer exquisite auto-drip and they’ll forget all about your washed-up French Press sludge.

We all know that single batch is the ne plus ultra, be it Clever or Hario or Aeropress or Able, not to mention a well-made siphon or that Woodneck we had at Penny University like a year and a half ago. Top quality coffee, brewed to order, is not merely some trend or extension of the here and now; single cup brewing is here to stay, and you can taste it in the cup.  But we’re talking about batch brewing systems here – and we think French Press en masse is totally passé.




  1. Mark

    27 November

    I think this article is merely comparing apples to wrenches. While both methods brew coffee, they do so with the intent of offering a very different taste experience. I look at French Press in the same light as I look at unfiltered/unfined wines. Very few would refer to those wines as delivering “washed-up sludge.”

    My only problem with batch brewing Press Pot coffee is the obvious massive temperature loss that takes place during the brewing and transferring. 

  2. GHHowell

    27 November

    Couldn’t agree more!  Thanks for writing this.

  3. William

    23 November

    Put your French Press through the amount of testing and brewing and changes that we all have put into brewing the perfect Chemex, Hario, or method-of-the-week, and I’m sure you’ll find ways to mitigate all of those “problems.”  Really, guys?  No method is off the table completely.  It’s coffee, not fashion.

  4. David

    22 November

    Ouch.  I am a hunk and I love French Press.

  5. Joe Marrocco

    22 November


  6. shaggy

    22 November

    I really enjoy a well made french press pot. My most often home method, though I have a nice Hario set up. However, unless I get a cup poured right off the top, which my local cafe affords me, it is indeed all the unpleasant things described. Problem is  the sludge settles on the bottom of whatever vessel is used. The press pots are the least worst offenders for a number of reasons. The urn type are the worst, as you consistently get the settling sludge. I have had the absolute best and worst cup of coffe at my all time favorite place, Four Barrel this weekend. Three outstanding pourovers, excellent espresso time and again, dreadful french press. DREADFUL.

    What about bringing back to-order french press. I know it’s not grab and go. But that’s the point. It’s not that kind of coffee preparation. My home method includes immediately pouring carefully the french press brew into a Hario carafe leaving a little behind. The design is helpful in trapping some of the sediment behind as I enjoy the coffee out of the carafe. ( and the preheated excellent Hario glass keeps it pretty warm ) A kind of double filtration system. I get really satisfying results at home. This could work at an upscale cafe where presentation is part of the cost/value ratio.

    I agree. Batch brew can and is often really good. I was walking down Filmore in the rain, popped in Peet’s for a cup of hot joe with some h&h. Continued on to Citizen Cake for couple of those nice sandwich cookies and went on to the bus stop, in the rain. I was quite pleased….

  7. Jonathan Riethmaier

    22 November

    I came for the editorial. I left for the product promotion. I’m sure Fetco appreciates the free ad.

    • Franklin

      23 November

      oh whatdya you know

  8. Greenwaybarista

    22 November


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