8 Best French Press Coffee Makers
Here's Everything You Need to Know About Making French Press Coffee
By Dane Gillespie
If you’re a coffee lover looking to up your brewing game, you may have heard about French press. This classic coffee-making method has been around for over a century, and it’s loved by many for its full-bodied, flavorful brew. But can you make good coffee with a French press? The answer is a resounding yes! Below we cover everything you need to know about the best French press options available.
First, let’s talk about the basics of French press coffee. A French press, also known as a cafetière or coffee plunger, is a simple coffee-making device that consists of a cylindrical glass or stainless steel container, a plunger with a metal or nylon mesh filter, and a lid.
To make coffee with a French press, you simply add coarsely ground coffee beans and hot water to the container, let it steep for a few minutes, then press the plunger down to separate the grounds from the brewed coffee.
The best French press coffee is made with freshly roasted coffee beans that have been ground just before brewing. The water used to make the coffee should be at the right temperature (between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit) and should be free of impurities. The coffee grounds should be evenly distributed in the French press and should be allowed to steep for the right amount of time (between 3 and 4 minutes) before pressing the plunger down to separate the coffee from the grounds.
To make the perfect cup of French press coffee, follow these 10 Steps:
- Begin by heating water in a kettle or a stovetop pot. The water should be between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
- While the water is heating, set your whole bean coffee grinder to course and grind your favorite local beans like Airship. *Pro Tip* Make sure to keep your coffee beans fresh and ensure you get the most life and taste out of your coffee beans with a storage device like the Airscape Classic.
- Measure out the right amount of coffee grounds. A good rule of thumb is to use about 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 4 ounces of water.
- Put the correctly measured and ground coffee into the French press.
- Once the water is ready, pour a small amount into the French press and swirl it around to preheat the press. This will help keep the coffee warm as it brews and create a “bloom”.
- Slowly pour the remaining hot water over the coffee grounds, making sure to saturate all of the grounds.
- Allow the coffee to steep for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Stir the coffee grounds to ensure they have been distributed evenly and to put less pressure on the press. *Pro Tip* Use a wooden spoon for the best results.
- Once the coffee has finished steeping, press the plunger down to separate the coffee from the grounds.
- For most French presses, you must pour the brewed coffee into a separate mug because the coffee will continue to steep, become over-brewed, and bitter. Still, with the BruTrek® travel French press and Bru Stop® technology, over-brewing is no longer an issue. With the double-walled stainless steel body, this means that your coffee is the same from the first sip to the last.
To ensure that your French press coffee is of the highest quality, it’s important to use freshly roasted coffee beans that have been ground just before brewing. The beans should be stored in a coffee canister in a cool, dry place. Using clean, filtered water to make your coffee is also important.
If you want to experiment with different flavors, there are many types of coffee beans that you can use in your French press. From light and fruity to dark and bold, the right type of bean can help you create a unique and delicious cup of coffee.
Other ways to experiment with French press coffee include the temperature the coffee is brewed, the number of stirs and the type of stir stick you use for the coffee, the time that you steep the coffee, the amount of coffee that you put in the French press and slightly changing the setting when grinding coffee.
Let’s break down some of these variables:
The coffee-to-water ratio is crucial for French press coffee because it determines the strength and flavor of the final product. The coffee will be too strong and potentially bitter if the ratio is too high. If the balance is too low, the coffee will be weak and lack flavor.
When brewing French press coffee, the general rule of thumb is to use a 1:15 ratio of coffee to water, meaning for every 15 grams of water, you should use 1 gram of coffee. This can vary slightly depending on personal preference, but it is a good starting point.
This ratio is so important because it determines the extraction of the coffee. Extraction is the process of pulling the flavors and oils from the coffee beans into the water. If the ratio is too high, the water will not be able to fully extract all of the flavors and oils from the beans, resulting in a strong and potentially bitter taste. If the ratio is too low, the water will extract too much from the beans, leading to a weak and flavorless coffee.
It’s important to note that the type of coffee beans and their roast level can also affect the final flavor of the coffee. Darker roast beans will generally have a stronger flavor and may require a lower ratio, while lighter roast beans may need a higher ratio to extract their flavors fully.
The size of the French press can also affect the coffee-to-water ratio. If you use a smaller French press, you may need to increase the ratio slightly to ensure the coffee is strong enough. Similarly, if you use a larger French press, you may need to decrease the ratio to prevent the coffee from being too strong.
In addition to affecting the flavor of the coffee, the coffee-to-water ratio is also essential for the overall brewing process. If the ratio is incorrect, it can lead to problems with the brewing process itself, such as the coffee not being fully saturated or the coffee taking too long to brew.
So, the coffee-to-water ratio is a crucial aspect of French press coffee. It determines the strength and flavor of the final product and can affect the overall brewing process. It is important to experiment and find the right ratio for your taste and preferences, as well as consider the type of coffee beans and the size of the French press being used.
The Right Grind for the Coffee Beans
Another important factor in making good French press coffee is the grind of the coffee beans. Unlike drip coffee makers, which use fine, even grounds, French press coffee is best made with coarse, uneven grounds. This allows the coffee to steep properly and extracts the beans’ full flavor without becoming overly bitter or astringent.
For pre-ground coffee, look for a coarse or French press grind. If you’re grinding your own beans, aim for a slightly coarser grind than you would use for drip coffee.
When coffee is ground too finely, the small particles can pass through the French press filter and end up in the final cup, leading to a bitter and muddy flavor. On the other hand, a coarse grind allows for the water to fully saturate and extract the flavors and oils from the coffee without letting any of the grounds pass through the filter.
Additionally, a coarse grind allows for the proper amount of time for the coffee to steep and extract. If the grind is too fine, the coffee will extract too quickly, resulting in a weak and underdeveloped flavor. With a coarse grind, the water can fully penetrate and extract the flavors from the coffee over the recommended 3-4 minute steep time for French press coffee.
Furthermore, a coarse grind helps to prevent the common issue of “over-extraction” in French press coffee. Over-extraction occurs when the coffee is in contact with water for too long, resulting in a bitter and unpleasant flavor. A coarse grind allows for the appropriate amount of time for the coffee to extract, preventing over-extraction.
Once you have your coffee and water in the French press, it’s time to let it steep. The ideal steeping time for French press coffee is around four minutes, but you can adjust this to your personal taste. The steeping time of French press coffee can significantly impact the final product’s taste. Steeping time refers to the length of time that the coffee grounds are left to soak in hot water before being pressed and poured.
A shorter steeping time will result in a weaker, more delicate flavor. This is because the hot water has less time to extract the flavors and oils from the coffee grounds. As a result, the coffee will have a lighter body and a less intense taste.
On the other hand, a longer steeping time will result in a stronger, bolder flavor. This is because the hot water has more time to extract the flavors and oils from the coffee grounds, resulting in a fuller-bodied and more robust taste.
It is also important to note that the steeping time can affect the texture and mouthfeel of the coffee. A longer steeping time can result in a thicker, heavier mouthfeel due to the extraction of more oils from the coffee beans. On the other hand, a shorter steeping time can result in a lighter, more watery mouthfeel.
Stirring the Grounds
Stirring the grounds helps to evenly distribute the coffee throughout the water and extract more flavor from the beans. It also helps to break up any clumps of grounds that may have formed, ensuring that all of the grounds come into contact with the water.
Also, stirring the grounds helps release gases trapped within the beans. These gases, known as volatile aromatics, contribute to the flavor and aroma of the coffee. By stirring the grounds, you can help to release more of these gases and enhance the overall flavor of the coffee.
Stirring the coffee grounds is an important step in the French press brewing process because it helps evenly distribute the coffee in the water, extract more flavor from the beans, and create a more balanced and nuanced cup of coffee.
The first stir is essential as it helps to distribute the coffee grounds and water evenly. This initial stir helps extract the maximum amount of flavor from the beans and ensures that all the grounds are fully immersed in the water. Without this initial stir, the coffee may come out unevenly extracted and potentially taste weak or sour.
However, the number of stirs during the brewing process can also affect the final flavor of the coffee. Some people recommend stirring the coffee every minute or so during the brewing process to help evenly extract the flavors from the beans. Others believe that stirring the coffee too frequently can disrupt the brewing process and lead to a less balanced flavor.
One potential reason for this is that stirring the coffee too frequently can cause the grounds to become over-extracted, resulting in a bitter taste. When the grounds are left undisturbed, the water can extract the flavors more evenly, resulting in a smoother and more balanced flavor.
On the other hand, not stirring the coffee enough can lead to under-extraction, resulting in a weak and sour flavor. This is because some of the coffee grounds may not come into contact with the water, leading to a lack of flavor extraction.
It’s worth noting that the number of stirs can also depend on the type of coffee beans being used. For example, darker roast beans tend to be more resistant to over-extraction, so they may require fewer stirs compared to lighter roast beans.
In general, it’s best to err on the side of caution and start with fewer stirs and adjust as needed. A good rule of thumb is to stir the coffee once at the beginning of the brewing process and then again after around four minutes. This should help extract the beans’ flavors while avoiding over-extraction evenly.
Ultimately, the number of stirs needed to achieve the perfect cup of French press coffee will depend on personal preference and the specific beans being used. Experimenting with different stirring techniques can help to fine-tune the brewing process and find the perfect balance of flavor and strength.
The Argument for Using a Wooden Spoon for Stirring
For a few reasons, using a wooden spoon to stir French press coffee is the best option. Wood is a natural and renewable material that is environmentally friendly. It is also durable and long-lasting, meaning that you won’t have to constantly replace your spoon like you would with plastic or metal utensils.
In terms of functionality, wood spoons are perfect for stirring French press coffee because they do not conduct heat. This means that you can stir your coffee without worrying about the spoon getting too hot to hold or burning your hand. Plastic and metal spoons, on the other hand, can get very hot and can potentially burn your hand if you are not careful.
Wood spoons do not scratch or damage the glass of your French press, which is important for maintaining the longevity and functionality of your coffee maker. Plastic and metal spoons, on the other hand, can scratch and damage the glass, leading to cracks and breakages. This is especially important to consider if you have a high-quality, expensive French press that you want to take care of and use for a long time.
In terms of taste, wood spoons are also a great choice for stirring French press coffee. They do not have any taste or odor that could alter your coffee’s flavor. Plastic spoons, on the other hand, can sometimes have a strong, plastic-y taste that can affect the taste of your coffee. Metal spoons can also leave a metallic taste in your coffee if they are not cleaned properly.
Wood spoons are also very easy to clean and maintain. They do not hold onto bacteria or germs like plastic or metal utensils can, and they can be easily washed with warm water and soap. They do not rust or corrode like metal spoons can and do not warp or melt like plastic spoons.
What is Coffee Bloom?
Coffee bloom is the process of releasing carbon dioxide from freshly ground coffee beans when water is first added to them. This causes the coffee grounds to expand and float to the surface of the water, forming a foam or “bloom” on top.
In a French press, the coffee bloom is the initial foaming that occurs when hot water is added to the ground coffee beans. This is a sign that the coffee is freshly ground and has not lost its aroma or flavor. The bloom also helps to extract the flavors and oils from the coffee beans, resulting in a richer and more robust cup of coffee.
During the coffee bloom, it is important to let the coffee sit for a few minutes to allow the carbon dioxide to escape from the beans fully. This will result in a smoother and more balanced cup of coffee when it is finally brewed.
Bigger the bloom → Fresher the Coffee → Better the Taste. And it smells great too, who doesn’t love the smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning?
How Does French Press Coffee Compare to Drip Coffee?
One of the biggest differences between the two is the flavor. French press coffee is known for its full-bodied, robust flavor, thanks to the longer steeping time and the use of coarse coffee grounds. On the other hand, Drip coffee tends to be lighter and more nuanced, with a smoother, more balanced flavor.
Another key difference between French press and drip coffee is the level of acidity. French press coffee is generally less acidic than drip coffee, thanks to the longer steeping time and the use of coarse coffee grounds. This makes it a good option for people who are sensitive to acidity or who simply prefer a less acidic brew.
There’s the matter of convenience as well. French press coffee is generally more time-consuming and labor-intensive than drip coffee. This can be a drawback to some, but those that enjoy the process of making coffee may prefer French press. There are also more variables involved with a French press (that we’ve outlined in detail during this blog). So, the person making the coffee may feel that they are more in tune with the process.
That’s why I love French press coffee, I get to make the coffee exactly how I want to, and if I want to try something different? I get to do that too.
In conclusion, the best French press coffee is made with freshly roasted, high-quality coffee beans that are ground just before brewing. The water should be at the right temperature and free of impurities, and the coffee grounds should be evenly distributed in the French press and allowed to steep for the right amount of time. By following these steps, you can create a delicious cup of French press coffee that you can enjoy anytime.
So, you’re sold… Right? It’s time to start making some rich, buttery coffee and tap into a new world of flavor. Now it’s time to choose. There are a few things to consider when making your buying decisions:
- Material: French presses can be made of glass, stainless steel, or a combination of both. Glass presses are often more affordable, but they are more fragile and can break if dropped. Stainless steel presses are more durable and resistant to breaking, but they can be more expensive.
- Size: French presses come in various sizes, from small single-serving presses to large presses that can make several cups of coffee at a time. Consider how much coffee you typically brew and how many people you’ll be serving when choosing the size of your press.
- Filter material: French presses typically come with metal or nylon mesh filters. Metal filters are more durable, but they can allow finer particles to pass through, which can affect the taste of the coffee. Nylon filters are more effective at trapping fine particles, but they may need to be replaced more frequently.
- Ease of use: Look for a French press that is easy to use and clean. Some presses have features like insulated handles and spouts to make pouring easier, and others have a built-in scale to measure the right amount of coffee and water.
- Price: French presses range in price from around $20 to $100 or more, depending on the material, size, and features. Determine your budget and look for a press that fits your price range and meets your needs.
So, what are the Top 8 French presses on the market?
- Steel Toe 3.0
- Double Shot 3.0
- Ethoz® FLASK
- Coffee Gator
- Bodum Eileen
- Le Creuset Stoneware
Top French Press Options
BEST FOR CAMPING | Basecamp French Press
Whether camping in the great outdoors or simply wanting to enjoy a rich and flavorful cup of coffee in the comfort of your own home, consider the BaseCamp French Press. Boasting patented Bru Stop™ press technology for a delightful smoothness, camping with these quality camping french presses is sure to be a delight. What’s more, thoughtful design features such as a threaded lid make it easy to retain heat and prevent any potential spills.
Ready for camping? Or maybe just some camping vibes? Get yourself one of these BaseCamp French Presses today – they’re sure to make your favorite morning brew extra special.
- Comes in two sizes – 32 and 48 fl. oz.
- 4 color options
- Easy-pour spout
- Sturdy handle
- Padded base
- Double-Walled Stainless Steel to keep your coffee hot
- The top can be difficult to unscrew if not aligned properly.
- A more premium-priced option than some of the others on this list.
EASIEST TO CLEAN | OVRLNDR® Travel Press
Whether you’re a coffee fanatic on the go or the type of person who enjoys the comfort of making drinks in your own home, this easy-to-clean OVRLNDR French Press is the perfect addition to your kitchen. With its patented removable bottom, you can easily empty any leftover grounds and wash with ease. On top of that, the patented Bru Stop™ press gives your coffee an unparalleled flavor that won’t leave a single trace in your mouth.
Plus, the OVRLNDR comes with all the perks of easy portable brewing – no more need to order drinks while you’re on the go! Quick easy clean-up means more time for what truly matters: enjoying every sip of delicious and smooth coffee.
- Brews 24 fl. oz. of coffee or tea.
- 6 color options
- Patented removable bottom for easy cleaning.
- 18/8 restaurant-grade stainless steel body.
- BPA-free plastic-lined removable bottom.
- BPA-free components (top lid, press screen).
- Double-Walled Stainless Steel to keep your coffee hot
- Built to drink right from the press
- Only 1 size
- Complaints of the press only going to the where the bottom unscrews and leaves some liquid and grounds.
MOST AFFORDABLE & ENTRY LEVEL | Steel Toe 3.0 French Press
Looking for a travel french press that not only brews fabulous coffee but can also meet all of your travel needs? Look no further than the Steel Toe 3.0. This ultra-durable travel press is designed to last and constructed with double-wall, vacuum-insulated stainless steel so you can take it anywhere and everywhere – imagine reaching the top of the mountain with a perfect cup of hot coffee waiting for you!
And the best part? You don’t just have to limit yourself to coffee – The Steel Toe 3.0 has you covered if you want tea or overnight cold-brew AND doubles as a happy hour beer stein! There’s no other travel press like it, so head outdoors and get ready to make your perfect cup!
- 6 color options
- Very affordable
- Padded base
- Double-wall vacuum-insulated stainless steel body.
- Built to drink right from Travel press
- Only 1 size – 20 fl. oz.
- Not as stylish as other options
BEST FOR STORAGE | Double Shot 3.0 French Press
Say goodbye to clumsy storage or bulky mugs, and say hello to the Double Shot 3.0 Travel Press mug with storage canister! This storage french press is essential for anyone on the go, featuring a double-wall vacuum insulated body, a laser-welded durable handle, and a patented Bru Stop™ travel press assembly guaranteed to make the perfect brew every time.
With the Double Shot 3.0 spill-proof combination press & drink lid, you can bring your morning cup of coffee anywhere outdoors without worry. Plus, with the attached storage canister, you’ll have room to store extra grounds or snacks! Now you can have smooth-tasting coffee wherever life takes you – cheers!
- 4 color options
- Attached storage container for extra storage.
- Carabiner-friendly handle
- Double-walled vacuum insulated steel
- Built to drink from Travel press
- Only 1 size – 16 fl. oz.
- The handle can be a little bulky if you are looking for something more discreet.
MOST INNOVATIVE DESIGN | ethoz® FLASK®
The ethoz® FLASK® French Press is a stylish and unique press. It features a borosilicate glass outer shell with a 360° pour. The brewing process happens in the inner shell; the 17 fl oz inner shell and metal filter allow users to use fine-ground coffee for a more refined-tasting brew.
If you are looking to elevate your coffee-drinking experience, look to the ethoz® FLASK®.
- Filter made for fine-ground coffee.
- Clean and refined look that is a perfect addition to your kitchen.
- Removable bottom for easy cleaning.
- A more premium-priced French press than others in the space.
- Only serves 17 fl oz. of coffee
HONORABLE FRENCH PRESS MENTIONS
ALL-AROUND PRESS | Coffee Gator French Press
The Coffee Gator French Press is one of the most well-known stainless steel French Press because they offer consistency with their product. This no-fuss French press offers a stainless steel body to keep your coffee warm and a clean look that will look good in your kitchen.
- Stainless steel body to keep your coffee warm and will be more durable than glass.
- Has a high-quality filtration system to not allow ground in your coffee.
- A smooth action on the French press itself.
- No Bru Stop® (will continue to brew after pressing).
- A polarizing style that not every consumer will enjoy.
- Is not built to drink out of.
BEST CLASSIC GLASS PRESS | Bodum Eileen French Press
The Bodum Eileen brews a consistent cup of coffee with a classic glass look. The Eileen also features a metal framing that may offer more heat retention, and a more modern design and can be customized to your color preferences with styles in black, chrome, gold, copper, and white.
- Additional insulation from the metal frame.
- Very little sediment left after pressing.
- Stylish and modern design.
- No Bru Stop® (will continue to brew after pressing).
- Not built for the outdoors or to drink out of.
- The glass can break easily.
PRESS WITH A RUSTIC FEEL | Le Creuset Stoneware Coffee Maker
The Le Creuset Stoneware Coffee Maker is an eye-catching French press with a unique material – ceramic. The stoneware french press coffee maker does have some abilities other French presses do not – it is dishwasher safe, stain-resistant, and could be a long-term solution for coffee. Still, it is also fragile and does not have a perfect filtration system.
- Le Creuset stoneware is known for its quality and durability, making this French press a good investment for long-term use.
- The stoneware material helps to keep the coffee hot for longer periods, making it perfect for slow sipping.
- The smooth surface of the stoneware makes it easy to wipe clean and dishwasher safe.
- Le Creuset stoneware comes in various colors, making it an attractive addition to any kitchen.
- The Le Creuset stoneware French press is more expensive than other French press options.
- The stoneware material makes the French press relatively heavy, which may not be ideal for those who need a more portable option.
- While durable, the stoneware material is still prone to breaking if dropped or subjected to extreme temperature changes.
In the end, what is most important is to find a French press that works best for your needs.
If you are looking to be in outdoors where it may be more difficult to clean the French press, you want to save space in your pack, or you just want great camp coffee, BruTrek® Travel French Presses may be the right option for you.
If you will only use your French press inside and have other drinking vessels, the FLASK French Press by Ethoz® may be the correct answer.
If you have any additional questions about which french press is best for you, Contact Us today at Planetary Design so we can help. Now get out there and brew good coffee!