If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you are either new to French Press coffee brewing, looking to buy your first press, or you’re a seasoned pro looking for a replacement. Whichever category you fall into you’ve landed on the right page.
There’s really no other coffee brewing method that’s in the same ballpark as the French Press. Its simplicity and ease of use are the reasons why so many coffee enthusiasts choose this brewer over any other as their daily coffee maker. I’ll admit, it does take a bit more work and patience compared to a push-button automated coffee maker.
But, once mastered, the French Press produces a smooth and rich coffee that’s worth the extra effort, and once you’ve given this method a try, I doubt you’ll be running back to your old automated coffee maker anytime soon. However, making great tasting coffee using this method requires a solid foundation, by that I mean starting with a good French Press coffee maker.
Why The French Press?
So what’s so special about using the French Press? Why should I use this rather than say the Hario V60 or the Aeropress?
Many people, including myself, believe that the French Press makes some of the best-tasting coffee. Apart from it being super portable and you can take it anywhere there are also a few other perks to using the French Press over other coffee brewers.
First off, there isn’t a paper filter insight – not needed, and not necessary.
The built-in mesh filter does an excellent job of keeping the coffee particles in the carafe and out of your cup. Not only that. By ditching the paper filters, you are going to experience a much more full-flavored cup of coffee due to all of the flavorful oils, that are often filtered out through paper filters, ending up in your cup.
Brewing coffee in the French Press allows for “steeping.” Simply put, your ground coffee will stay submerged in hot water for longer than say, an automated drip coffee maker or a pour-over such as a Chemex. The classic French Press also makes a great tasting cold-brewed coffee.
This results in a much more full-bodied and flavorful final cup of coffee; trust me, you will be able to notice the difference in flavor from your very first sip.
These are just a few reasons why you should give the French Press a try.
Metal or Glass French Press – Which is Better?
If you have already spent any amount of time looking at some popular French Presses, you have more than likely noticed that there are both borosilicate glass and stainless steel variations – so which is better?
The main difference between the two Press Pots is “heat retention.”
The glass French Presses look pretty, but they won’t keep your coffee as warm as a double-wall stainless steel press will.
But, that shouldn’t stop you from buying a glass press, there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the glass versions, and they can adequately keep your coffee hot for over 10 minutes, which is perfectly fine for most of you reading this (me included).
If you need to have piping hot coffee for longer than 30 minutes, then opt for the double-wall stainless steel press.
Either way, both options are great, and it boils down (pun not intended) to your personal preference on both style and heat retention.
Best French Press Coffee Maker Options For 2020
While writing this review, I literally put dozens of French Press coffee makers through their paces. Below are the brewers that made a list.
Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker
The Bodum Chambord Press coffee maker can brew up to 12-cups (roughly 51-ounces) of coffee in one session, making it an excellent option for 3 to 4 people. However, keep in mind that these cup sizes are estimates based on smaller European size cups, so if you drink coffee by the mugful, you could probably get three full mugs out of this coffee press.
The main glass carafe body is made from heat-resistant borosilicate glass which is durable and can handle some high temperatures. The carafe itself is also dishwasher-proof. However, I tend to only put the glass carafe section inside the dishwasher and not the entire metal coffee press and filter.
Bodum Kaffeebereiter ‘Eileen’
This Coffee Press from Bodum is a one-off design created to honor Irish designer Eileen Gray looks fantastic with its intricate stainless steel walled design that also helps to protect the glass from knocks and bumps.
The Bodum ‘Eileen’ 8-Cup French Press has been carefully crafted to withstand commercial environments making it an excellent buy for busy restaurants or high street cafes. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be used in the home to make great tasting brewed coffee.
The handle design has been purposely made round so that more than one French Presses can be carried at any given time; again this is more tailored to a commercial environment where waitresses need to hold multiple items.
The glass carafe is made from durable borosilicate glass that does a reasonably good job of retaining heat and keeping your coffee warm. The outer casing design is chrome-plated steel that comes in an array of different colors such as Green, Red, Silver, Black, Chrome, White, Copper, and Gold.
Just like any of the other popular glass wall stainless steel French Presses on my list, this particular offering would make a great addition to any coffee lovers collection and comes with all of the benefits of brewed French-style coffee in a modernist style.
KONA French Press Coffee Maker
The KONA French Press coffee maker is available in two colors (black and dark red). The design is a little different than the above two offerings (the Bodum and SterlingPro) the outer frame his crafted from a durable insulating plastic material rather than stainless steel. However, having plastic vs. stainless steel doesn’t affect how the coffee is brewed; it merely means that the whole coffee pot and glass carafe can be safely placed in the dishwasher.
Apart from that small difference in design, the KONA Press coffee brewer is basically the same. It has a durable heat-resistant, extra thick clear Borosilicate glass carafe, and a stainless steel filter that fits snugly inside and the Kona can also brew loose tea.
Hunt Brothers French Press Coffee Maker
If you’re looking for a simplistic French Press, I recommend that you take a few minutes to look at the Hunt Brothers. The materials used in manufacturing the Hunt Brothers French Press scream quality. From the premium heat resistant, dishwasher-safe borosilicate glass through to the classy stainless steel frame and handle, make this Press a must-have! What stood out to me when testing the Hunt Brothers French Press was the superfine double mesh filtration system which made this the clear winner at keeping those pesky coffee grinds out of your cup.
Stoneware Press from Le Creuset
This French Press is an excellent alternative to the plastic and stainless steel coffee pots. Unlike a majority of the other French Presses, the Le Creuset Stoneware Press is made from a durable stoneware material with a high gloss enamel glazing which helps to keep your coffee warm. It’s available in various colors such as cherry, blue, gray, yellow, green, and a few more that I can’t quite remember.
Even though the Le Creuset Stoneware Press is made out of a stoneware ceramic type of material, it still operates in the same way as any other French Press coffee brewer; it has a metal plunger with a filter inside just like the others above. The stoneware ceramic also aids in heat retention, which in turn means that you’ll have piping hot coffee for a lot longer when compared to some of the glass verities.
Francois et Mimi Vintage Double Wall Coffee Press
The Francois et Mimi Vintage has a 34 oz capacity which a decent size for 1 or 2 coffee drinkers. It’s been manufactured entirely from high-quality stainless steel and features a double-wall interior for better heat retention. It’s the Francois et Mimi’s vintage look that sets it apart from some of the other Presses found on our list. This classic French look never goes out of fashion; combine that with the durable stainless steel, and hardy mesh screen filter and this Press will be able to churn-out piping hot coffee for many years with very little maintenance.
Frieling French Press (Double Wall Stainless Steel)
We have saved the best (or most expensive) French Press to last. The Frieling stainless steel French Press is the crème de crème of press pots; it doesn’t get much better than this. Just like the above Francois et Mimi Press, the Frieling Sterlingpro double wall is manufactured entirely of high-quality stainless steel. However, the Frieling can brew up to 36 oz. rather than only 34 oz. making it the better option more than Mimi option above.
Just like the Francois et Mimi, the Frieling comes with a double-walled interior for better heat retention, and it’s worth pointing out that this quality stainless steel French Press was recommended over at Reddit (1) by avid coffee enthusiasts. I also discovered that the filter has a better design than the Francois et Mimi Vintage above plus the Frieling filter has a more snug fit. It’s also worth mentioning that it seemed to able to filter out much more sediment and unwanted coffee grounds than some of the others – more than likely due to the better filter design.
Belwares Double Wall Black Stainless Steel French Press
If you’re searching for a French Press that looks different to all of the others, take a look at the Belware black stainless steel French Press. The Belwares Press screams sexy with its elegant and modern cylinder design. But looks aren’t everything, and the Belwares doesn’t disappoint when it comes down to functionally. The double-walls provides a vacuum layered construction that is guaranteed to keep your coffee hotter for longer. The tight-fitting mesh screen filter ensures that next to no coffee grounds will make it into your cup.
Coffee Gator French Press Coffee Maker
If you like to idea of a cylindrical double-walled French Press but also want some “out of this world” colors, I highly recommend that you take a look at the Coffee Gator French Press. At the time of writing the Gator Press was only available in 34 oz. capacity. Which shouldn’t be an issue for most of you reading this and enjoy two or more cups or want to share? Like many of the other Presses that made the list, the Gator Press also features a double-wall insulated stainless steel body for better heat retention.
Plus, a durable double filter that helps to remove more sediment, without removing the oils that make the French press provide such delicious coffee. If you’re a fan of freebies, you will love the mini airtight coffee container that holds enough coffee for two full pots, which is perfect if you plan on traveling. I haven’t seen any other presses in such bright colors such as Green, Bright Orange, Pink, Red, Grey and lastly regular brushed silver. They have to be seen to be appreciated, so make sure you head over to Amazon to take a look at the full range.
What Size French Press Should I get?
Once you’ve picked out your new French Press, the next question you’ll need to ask yourself is “what size”?
Almost all French Press coffee makers come available in various standard sizes ranging from a small 12 oz. all the way up to a massive 51 oz.
To keep things simple, coffee is typically measured in 4 oz. cups but bear in mind that these are small cups. The average person tends to drink out of a large mug which is around 12 oz.’s once full. So with some basic math, you should be able to determine just how big of a french press you’ll likely need.
Personally, I like to use a 34 oz. Press, if that helps at all?
How I Tested Each French Press for This Review
My testing process was pretty simple. First, I took each of the French Presses and put them in the dishwasher to see how they would hold up. Almost all manufacturers say that their coffee presses are dishwasher safe, but over the years, I have found that isn’t always the case.
Secondly, I looked at brewing coffee, I filled each French Press carafe to the brim with boiling water to make sure that they were durable enough to withstand high temperatures as promised by the manufacturer and held the advertised amount. Of course, the stainless steel pots were a pass, and I was more concerned with the borosilicate glass carafe beakers.
Another vital test I carried out was to see if a pre-ground, store-bought coffee at a medium grind would be suitable for the filters inside of the Press. I always recommend that you grind your own coffee at home, but I also understand that many of your buy pre-ground coffee so a medium grind is going to be the product you would commonly find on the store shelves.
So bearing that in mind, it’s essential to know whether your French Press is going to work well with a store-bought medium grind coffee.
I brewed batches of Folgers Classic Roast Ground Coffee (medium grind), Dunkin’ Donuts Original Blend (medium grind), and Starbucks Breakfast Blend (medium grind) and noted how much of the grounds remained and how much slipped through the filter.
It’s also important to note that I also disassembled each coffee Press in between testing batches to see how easy they were to clean.
Each batch of coffee brewed was then poured into cups and examined for taste, clarity, and how much sediment was left at the bottom of the cup.
All of the best French Presses that made my list passed all of our tests with flying colors. However, almost all did let some coffee sediment through the fine mesh filter.
But this is understandable when you’re using store-bought pre-ground coffee at a medium grind. I recommend that you grind your whole bean at a coarse grind setting for better results.