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Which is Best: Pour Over, French Press, or Phin Filter?

  • 4 min read

We often get asked if our Vietnamese coffee beans can be brewed in methods besides the phin filter and the answer is yes! While the phin filter is an iconic part of Vietnamese coffee culture, what comprises Vietnamese coffee is the fact that it is coffee grown and produced in Vietnam. That being said, our coffee beans happen to be extremely versatile and lend themselves well to a variety of brew styles!

Among popular at-home coffee brew methods are the pour over and the French press. How do they compare to the phin filter? We’re here to take you through each brew style.

With pour over coffee, control is key.

Pour over coffee is known for its clean extraction and nuanced flavor notes. Coffee fanatics will tell you that single-origin coffee made via pour over is among the best you could possibly have. When brewing pour over coffee, you do need a bit more equipment and precision throughout the brewing process.

To brew a pour over, you’ll need finely ground coffee, the brewer of your choice, paper filters, and a scale to start. Because this brew method uses a paper filter, the final cup of coffee is clean in the sense that it doesn’t have any sediment or coffee grinds in it and that the extracted brew does not carry over any of the oils from the coffee beans themselves.

With this brew method, you have total control over the temperature of the water, speed of the pour, amount of water, amount of coffee, and much more. As such, brewing coffee via pour over is more of an involved process that requires attention to detail in order to achieve your personal perfect cup of coffee.

French press gives you everything in your cup!

While some tout pour over coffee as being the best way to experience all that a coffee bean has to offer, others will say the same of French press coffee. In contrast to pour over which is a filtered brew style, French press coffee is an immersive brew style which requires steeping and saturation of the coffee grinds. Because of this, French press coffee is known for being full-bodied and expansive in terms of flavor.

When brewing French press coffee, you saturate coarsely ground coffee with hot water and steep before plunging. The final cup of coffee will more than likely contain complex flavors with a satisfying mouthfeel. Additionally, you may find sediment of tiny coffee grinds at the bottom of your cup since the French press does not use any paper as a second layer of filtration. 

All in all, this brew method is a tried and true way of getting a reliably delicious cup of coffee whenever you need it. French presses come in various sizes as well, making them customizable for households. While other brew styles may require more precision and control, French press coffee is fairly hands off– you just bloom, steep, and plunge in 4 minutes!

Phin filters pack a complex punch with little effort.

Pour over and French press are already large parts of American coffee culture, but we’re here to introduce the phin filter as the next big thing in specialty coffee. With its compact size, ease of use, and concentrated brew, the phin filter is making its way toward being a household staple.

Phin filters don’t need any paper filters or complicated steps to making a guaranteed delicious cup of coffee. Once you understand the brew process, making coffee with a phin filter becomes second nature. All you need is finely ground coffee and hot water to extract a concentrated yet complexly flavored cup of coffee. 

Where the pour over requires utmost attention to detail and the French press needs a timed plunge, the phin filter can be left to brew while you tend to other things! Once the water runs through the filter, that’s it– there’s no need to worry about over-extraction as the coffee does not steep in the filter and gravity does its job to ensure no water remains inside. Additionally, clean up is a breezeas there are no finicky parts to deal with and you can wash the filter with ease.

So, what’s the best brew style?

While we are #TeamPhin (no bias), there really isn’t a best brew style or way to make coffee. The pour over, French press, and phin filter all yield very different cups of coffee even if you use the same kinds of beans– and that’s what makes coffee brewing so fun! We don’t advocate for one over the other because they each have their own unique qualities that make them distinct from one another.

If you’re looking for a clean, smooth cup of coffee that’s a fun and hands-on brew experience, we recommend trying out the pour over. If you want a full-bodied and silky cup of coffee, check out the French press. If you want a strong and bold cup of coffee, you should definitely try out the phin filter. Ultimately, the choice is yours as to which brew method is the best for you and there is no absolute right or wrong way to enjoy your brew!

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Check out our brew guide for even more ways to brew coffee.

Purchase our Phin Kit (phin filter + Vietnamese coffee) here.

Watch how to make coffee with a phin filter here.

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