There are countless ways to make coffee, each bringing forth experiences and flavor profiles that are unique to the specific brew method. Coffee enjoyers of any caliber have a favorite brew method, whether that’s drip, pour-over, or something else. This post is for French press coffee lovers and those looking to up their French press game.
If you need quick guidance on which French press coffee maker will work best for you, check out our recommendations below. Read the full post for our deep dive into everything French press coffee. We’ll look into everything that makes French press coffee special, as well as what to look for when shopping for your own French press coffee maker.
These French press coffee makers are our top choices at a glance. Read on to learn more about what to look for in a French press coffee maker and why these are our top picks.
- Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker (Best Overall)
- Bodum Brazil French Press Coffee Maker (Best One-Person)
- Stanley Classic Stay Hot French Press (Best Insulated)
- Espro P7 French Press Coffee Maker (Best Stainless Steal)
- Yield 850ml Glass French Press (Best Glass)
- Le Creuset French Press (Best Ceramic)
- Fellow Clara Stainless Steel French Press (Best Design)
What is a French Press Coffee Maker?
French press coffee makers are hands-on, analog coffee-brewing systems widely used all over the world. The French press was patented by inventor Ugo Paolini (who was, interestingly, Italian) in the late 1920s and has been used to brew bold, rich coffee ever since–though the design has undergone a few updates since its invention.
The anatomy of a French press coffee maker is simple: a carafe, typically made from glass or stainless steel, but occasionally stoneware or ceramic, and a lid which includes both a plunger and mesh filter.
To brew coffee with a French press, you’ll start with coarsely ground coffee, similar to the texture of coarse sea salt. Next, you’ll pour hot water (199–205 °F) over the grounds and stir, making sure all the grounds are soaked so they can begin brewing. You’ll then pour the remaining water into the French press to finish the brewing process. After about four minutes, you’ll slowly push the plunger–which is also your filter–down into the pot, straining the grounds away from the brewed coffee. The result is a thick, smooth cup of coffee with a powerful flavor and mouthfeel.
Learn more: How to Brew a French Press
What Are French Presses Made Out Of?
French press coffee makers can be made from a wide variety of materials, each with their own particular benefits. Most of these are dishwasher safe unless they feature wooden handles or press nobs.
Glass French presses, while beautiful and classic, don’t keep coffee hot for very long, but many coffee drinkers love the visibility of the coffee as it’s brewing. Glass French press coffee makers are also fairly inexpensive and easy to find, making them one of the more accessible options. While French press coffee makers are made of strong tempered glass, they are still susceptible to breaking if dropped.
Double-walled stainless steel French press coffee makers can keep coffee well insulated for quite a while–they’re also virtually indestructible, compared to the fragility of glass French presses. If you take your time drinking your coffee, a stainless steel French press would be ideal. If you don’t love the look of metal, there are stainless steel French presses with colorful coatings. However, some claim that metal affects the taste of coffee; if you’re particular about the taste of your coffee, you might prefer a glass or ceramic French press.
Ceramic French press coffee makers, while uncommon, are certainly an option if aesthetics are your thing. Ceramic French press designs are very beautiful and charming, though much pricier than steel or glass. They also provide a very neutral medium for brewing as they don’t react to the alkalis or acids from the coffee, nor do they retain any taste or odor from previous batches.
What to Look for in a French Press Coffee Maker
As with anything in the coffee world, you can find ultra-premium French press coffee makers for high price points as well as basic ones for much cheaper–but price point doesn’t always indicate quality.
French press coffee makers come in a variety of sizes, from 12-ounce to 34-ounce carafes–though you can likely find larger ones as well. Try to pick a French press size that fits your lifestyle.
If you want to use a French press as your default, day-to-day coffee maker for yourself, you might want to choose a 12 or 16-ounce French press. That’ll give you plenty of coffee to drink in a single sitting. Alternatively, a larger French press coffee maker is best suited for families or parties… as well as very avid coffee drinkers.
If you like to enjoy your coffee slowly throughout the morning, you might want to choose a French press that keeps your coffee hot for a long time. Stainless steel French press coffee makers are typically the best as far as insulation goes, though there are double-walled glass French press models that can do a decent job of insulating as well.
The ideal solution, however, is to pour your French press coffee into another vessel once it has been brewed. Coffee left in the French press coffee maker will continue to brew and become over-extracted over time, making the coffee bitter. By pouring the brewed coffee into a separate carafe, you can keep your coffee hot and prevent over-extraction at the same time.
Because brewing coffee with a French press is all manual, you might want a model that’s easy to clean. Dishwasher-safe French press coffee makers are usually made predominantly of glass, stainless steel, or ceramic. However, some models come with wooden handles or even gold coating for added elegance–these features likely need to be hand washed. Try to find a French press coffee maker that is easy to disassemble so you can fully clean the mesh screen and carafe regularly to keep it in top shape.
When shopping for a French press coffee maker, one of the most important features to check is the filter. A French press with a low-quality, ill-fitting filter isn’t going to make good coffee. Not only will you end up with a bunch of grounds in your coffee, but you’ll also end up with bitter, over-extracted coffee. A good French press will have a filter that fits perfectly within the carafe.
7 Best French Press Coffee Makers
To help you get a head start on your hunt for the perfect French press coffee maker, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite models and shared what makes them special.
1. Best French Press Overall: Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker
Bodum has been integral to the coffee scene since the 1940s and has perhaps one of the most popular French press designs on the market. Their classic Chambord French Press Coffee Maker is truly one of the best French presses available in terms of form, function, and value. The Bodum French press is perfect for novices and experienced coffee connoisseurs alike. Best of all, this French press comes at one of the best price points out of all the others listed here.
2. Best One-Person French Press: Bodum Brazil French Press Coffee Maker
Bodum wins again, this time with the 12-ounce Brazil French Press. This is perfect for small coffee batches and those looking to cut down on their caffeine intake. Because it’s from Bodum, you can be assured the quality of this French press is top-notch.
3. Best Insulating French Press: Stanley Classic Stay Hot French Press
Stanley is definitely having a moment with their water tumblers, but it’s their Stay Hot French Press that shines here. The stainless steel vacuum insulation keeps coffee piping hot for hours, perfect for the outdoors or for a leisurely Sunday brunch. Its size is also a benefit, holding up to 48oz of delicious coffee. This French press also comes in a variety of colors if you aren’t a big fan of the metal look.
4. Best Stainless Steel French Press: Espro P7 French Press Coffee Maker
The Espro P7 French Press takes the crown for the best stainless steel French press. The design of this French press is sleek on its own, but you can choose a colorful coating if silver isn’t your thing. Espro is known for its superior mesh filter which does an excellent job of keeping coffee smooth and free of even the finest of particles.
5. Best Glass French Press: Yield 850ml Glass French Press
Yield makes beautiful home goods products and their glass French press is no exception. Their French press is made entirely of durable premium heat-proof borosilicate glass that’s available in a variety of beautiful colors. This glass French press is sure to wow guests and look great on any kitchen countertop.
6. Best Ceramic French Press: Le Creuset French Press
Le Creuset has been the paradigm for beautiful stoneware kitchenware for a long time, and with good reason. Their Ceramic French Press is one of the best on the market for its beautiful design, sturdiness, and convenience as its dishwasher safe. Le Creuset offers a wide variety of colors so you’re sure to find a French press that matches your kitchen aesthetic.
7. Best Design: Fellow Clara Stainless Steel French Press
The Clara French Press from Fellow simply had to be featured for its modern design. It is a beautiful, durable stainless steel French press coated with a sleek matte black finish, with optional walnut handle and press nob for added elegance. If you’ve been looking for something different without sacrificing quality, a Clara French press will do the trick.
Brew Your Favorite Cup
French press coffee is delicious and it’s pretty fun to brew, too. No matter which French press coffee maker you choose, we’ve got you covered with a wide variety of roasts that will taste amazing with this brew method.
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