The taste and preparation of French-pressed and Turkish coffees are highly different, but I think they are both the same kind of coffee, named coffee Arabica.

  • Turkish coffee has smaller grains and is prepared by putting the coffee powder within boiling water.

  • French-pressed coffee has larger grains and is prepared by placed in coffee maker in which hot water washing over the coffee powder on top of a paper filter.

These are my unprofessional experience with these two cases, but what are the actual difference? and is it possible to interchangeably use the preparation methods?

  • As @MartinTurjak mentioned, Arabica is a species of coffee. Likely named that way since coffee is a drink of Arabic origin and the original species likely were Arabica.
    – MandoMando
    Jul 22, 2013 at 15:06
  • 1
    I totally agree with @MartinTurjak on all points in his answer. I would just like to say that what you call "French coffee" in your question is usually called drip-coffee or filter-coffee. Under the name French coffee I understand a cup of coffee with a shot of Cointreau.
    – BobbyZ
    Jul 23, 2013 at 22:29
  • I suggest adding a small edit to clarify that you are referring to French-pressed coffee (coffee brewed using a French press), vs French roasted coffee (coffee roasted to the end of second crack or slightly beyond).
    – Matthew
    Jul 24, 2013 at 14:50

2 Answers 2


You list the main differences already (and yes they can be both made from the same bean or blend).

The name turkish coffee refers to the preparation method ... and the grind/granulation/coarseness is adjusted to the method.

  1. Coarse ground coffee - Turkish preparation:

    I come from a culture where Turkish coffee is brewed in almost every home, so I always preferably go for it. And sometimes not having the fine turkish-style coffee powder at hand (living abroad) I have made (read: tried to make) "Turkish coffee" with a coarser ground coffee powder many times - the taste is often quite alright, as you can compensate for the surface (exchange area) with adding a bit more powder or letting it sit a bit longer. However, as for this preparation you leave the powder in the coffee (also while drinking) the coarser coffee does not sink easily ... so you get it all between your teeth, if you don't filter it out somehow (which is then not the traditional Turkish coffee anymore).

  2. Turkish-ground coffee - filter preparation / French press:

    On the other hand using a French press, the fine Turkish-ground coffee escapes through the mesh. This is not too bad, as the super fine coffee will sink and you will end up with coffee brewed in the carafe (like the "mud coffee" or kafe botz that they drink in Israel), with the unnecessary addition of making the French press dirty. Used to prepare filter (drip) coffee, the finely ground coffee clogs the filter paper. (being the adventurous type I have experienced all this already, but wouldn't dare recommending it)

In both cases you get coffee as a result after some hassle ... and even the desired taste might be reached ... but using the right coffee grind with the right method makes everything way easier.

The best is if you can grind your beans yourself (in Europe you can find public coffee grinders in many supermarkets and stores) ... then you can always achieve the desired coarseness for the right method of preparation (drip brew, french press, espresso, turkish,...).

Some additional notes:

  • You mention arabica - it is the most widely cultivated and commercially used species of coffee (Coffea arabica) - so you will likely find it used in most preparation methods; the other species that you sometimes get is called robusta (Coffea canephora) and has a much stronger bitter flavor.

  • Not only the specieas, but also the roasting is very important for the flavor. So with the same bean you can get very different coffee (from a very strong dark roast to a very light roast). In some places I have seen turkish coffee prepared by quickly roasting the dry coffee powder in a cezve before boiling water was added, which gave it an extra toasty aroma.

  • In some places, turkish coffee will be made with the addition of spices (e.g. cardamom), which you can find also already in some ground Turkish/Middle Eastern/Iranian coffee blends. This will quite likely make a big difference in flavor when compared to "French" coffee (or to some drip-coffee blends that are sometimes made with the addition of hazelnut or vanilla flavors).


Semantics and Grind sizes

Turkish coffee and French press can either refer to the method of brewing coffee, or on some ground coffee packaging, can refer to the grind size; Turkish coffee traditionally uses a fine grind, whereas french press traditionally uses a much coarser grind.

Coffee Species

Arabica and Robusta are species of coffee, where arabica is universally considered to be the better tasting. The beans you buy may be single origin coffees, which means that all the beans come from a single coffee plantation, or they may be blends of different single origin beans, even blends of arabica and robusta coffees together.

Brewing methods

Traditionally turkish coffee involves mixing fine ground coffee with water and bringing it to the boil on a stovetop. Once the coffee reaches the boil and it has cooled enough to drink it is ready. Usually this is done using a cezve or ibrik (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cezve)

French press (plunger coffee) involves adding boiling water to coarse ground coffee and steeping the coffee for about 3-5 minutes before plunging the filter to filter out the coffee grounds. To brew French press requires a... french press

If you'd like to learn more about different coffee preperation types, wikipedia has some really good information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_preparation

Source: I'm a barista.

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