What is the best French press coffee maker for you?
In this article we’ll go through the specific details of some of the best and most trustworthy French presses out there to help you decide which is perfect for you.
What to Look for in a French Press
Filtration and Seal:
This is probably the most important thing to look at when buying a French press.
You want to make sure that the plunger and mesh covering make an effective seal to keep the coffee grinds out of the end product you drink.
Look for a fine wire mesh. Some brands even have a double filter on the plunger if you’re really worried about any grinds getting into your coffee but if this stays a consistent problem you can also start using a slightly coarser grind as well.
The other part you want to look at is how tight the plunger sticks to the walls of the press.
If this seal isn’t tight then you’ll inevitably end up with too many grinds mixing into your coffee after you press it down.
Glass vs. Steel vs. Plastic:
The clear winners here are glass and stainless steel.
Some people aren’t concerned about hot liquids and plastics but the old experiment with the Styrofoam coffee cup weighing less after hot coffee was put in it and then removed still freaks me out no matter how many times plastics companies fix some new found toxin.
That being said, plastics are extremely durable so it’s really up to you.
Glass is great because it gives a really nice aesthetic feel by allowing you to see the coffee as it brews and you’d be surprised how much you’ll miss this if you switch to a non-translucent carafe.
The only downside to glass is, of course, durability.
Constant heating and cooling will eventually put enough stress on the glass that it can fracture.
That being said I’ve been using a glass French press daily for more than a year now with no problems.
Just make sure you go with a borosilicate glass that is heat resistant.
The last choice has become increasing popular over the past few years and that is a stainless steel French press.
The biggest advantage to these is that they are much tougher and durable than their glass cousins.
Also, they retain heat better than glass which means that you can create the perfect temperature for your coffee as it brews.
However, since you shouldn’t let your coffee brew inside your French press for more than four minutes this shouldn’t really be an issue unless you’re a true perfectionist.
Another big factor to take into account is exactly how much coffee you can brew at a time with the French press.
If you just want one for yourself then go ahead and go for a smaller model but if you want to brew for your friends and family you may want to go for one with a larger capacity.
Durability is definitely something you want to consider.
If you have young children you might honestly be nervous about keeping a hot glass container on the kitchen counter every morning if everyone is running around crazily.
Also, if you’re going to be doing a lot of travelling then a stainless steel model may be better for you even if you prefer the look of a glass press.
If you’re going camping you might even want to pick up a plastic model which won’t ding as easily in a backpack.
Just be honest with yourself and if you have to you can even pick up one model for travelling and a different design for home use.
I would vote no on this one unless you’ll be brewing your coffee near the Arctic Circle.
The reason why is that your coffee shouldn’t spend more than four minutes brewing in your French press.
Any longer than this and your coffee will begin to pick up a more bitter taste without any other added benefits.
Therefore you should never store your coffee long term inside the press.
Instead you should transfer it to a separate insulated thermos.
That being said, if you really are camping in below freezing temperatures it could make a slight difference in the taste of your brew but otherwise I wouldn’t consider it necessary.
The last thing to consider is the overall style of the French press.
This is something that will be with you for a long time so it is important that you feel like you’re using something that is visually appealing as well as useful.
Some presses honestly look like a work of art when they’re brewing up your favorite cup while others are much more utilitarian.
It’s up to you which you want to go with while also keeping the overall durability in mind as well.
What is the Best French Press for You?
Below I’ve collected the best French presses on the market right now and given an in-depth look at each of their strengths and weaknesses.
Read on to decide which one is right for you:
Kona French Press Coffee Maker:
The Kona French Press will brew up 34 oz. at once and strikes a nice blend between the aesthetic appeal of a glass press with some added durability.
The glass carafe still allows you to see your coffee as it brews but it also includes a set of wraparound plastic ribbons that help to protect it if it slips off of your counter or cabinet.
The glass part of the press is also made with heat resistant borosilicate glass which you should always look for when purchasing a glass model.
Overall the Kona is one of the best choices for anyone who wants the appearance of a glass press but also wants the extra security of the plastic ribbons in case there are any accidents.
The Kona press may not have the true beauty of an all glass press but it still strikes a good compromise for those of us who may be a little bit clumsy or who want to make sure their investment is good for the long haul.
Grosche Madrid French Press Coffee and Tea Maker:
The Grosche Madrid press is a very beautiful and classic model that comes in 11.8, 34, 51 oz. capacities.
It is a simple design composed of a borosilicate glass carafe surrounded by a thin metal wire frame to support it.
Although this model is not as durable as the Kona model its classic look appeals to many and it also looks great when brewing tea as well.
It employs a double filter system too, with one filter on the press itself and the second on the lid for when the coffee is poured.
SterlingPro Stainless Steel French Coffee Press:
The SterlingPro is an extremely durable model that is built to last.
It is also insulated if you want to use it outdoors in colder climates to get that perfect pour but remember that you shouldn’t let your coffee brew for more than four minutes if you don’t want it getting bitter.
It also uses a double filter system to keep the coffee grinds where they’re supposed to be, at the bottom of the press and not in your coffee mug.
With its classy stainless steel finish it will look good sitting on your counter or in your office and you won’t have to worry about it slipping and breaking as you would with the other glass models in this review.
Coffee Gator Stainless Steel French Press:
Coffee Gator’s 34 oz. press is a really cool and modern looking design that looks like something more appropriate on the set of Star Trek than your home but that is where its appeal comes from.
The maker boasts that it is 33% thicker than the competition and that if it falls on the floor you’ll more likely have to fix the floor than the coffee maker.
It also comes with a neat book on how to brew your own great coffee at home making it a great gift for friends and family as well.
Bodum Chambord French Press:
The Bodum brand is well known in the coffee world and this model has been around for a long time.
It comes in sizes ranging from 12 oz. all the way to 51 oz. so it can accommodate those looking for a personal morning coffee or a press for the whole family.
Although it may not be as popular as it once was it still makes a great budget press that looks great with its clean glass finish.
If you’re looking for a basic and dependable all glass press then you can’t really go wrong with this Bodum Chambord.
Café Du Chateau French Press Coffee Maker:
This Café Du Chateau press is a great and well designed model that really has you covered.
Half of it is wrapped in stainless steel for extra durability while the other half still leaves the borosilicate glass exposed so you can see your coffee brewing in the morning.
It has a capacity of 34 oz. and is the only model in this list that uses an impressive four filter system to ensure no coffee grinds ever make it into your mug.
This system is definitely better for those who like to use a finer grind in their press.
Le Creuset Stoneware French Press:
This fashionable number makes 27 oz. at a time and is made of neither glass nor metal.
It’s actually made of high-fired stoneware with a non-porous enamel finish.
The blue glaze gives it a striking look making it a nice centerpiece on your table and even though it might look fragile it is dishwasher safe.
The plunger is still stainless steel with a mesh press in order to ensure the coffee grinds stay put at the bottom of the carafe too.
Kitchen Supreme French Press Coffee and Tea Maker:
Kitchen Supreme’s 34 oz. press is a great press that includes all of the extras.
Similar to the Café Du Chateau model it is a glass carafe surrounded by a stainless steel sleeve on one side making it a little more durable than some of the other all glass models while still allowing you to see the coffee brewing.
On top of that it comes with four mesh filters to keep your grinds out of your coffee and its own steel stirring spoon.
GSI Outdoors JavaPress:
The GSI outdoors coffee press is a little different than the other models reviewed here as its only purpose is to take on rough adventures or camping trips when you know even your stainless steel press will get dinged up too badly for it to work anymore.
That’s why I included the GSI in this list. I’m usually wary of plastics and hot liquid but for only specific and occasional use this BPA free model is about as good as it gets.
It includes a cloth sleeve and handle made with water resistant cloth to make it easier to hold and transport.
This model is also insulated but as I said earlier don’t fall into the temptation of leaving your coffee to brew inside the press the whole time you sip on it over the course of an hour as you’ll just make the coffee too bitter and defeat the whole purpose of using a French press in the first place.
Star Wars R2D2 Coffee Press:
And how could I not include this wonderful little press!
This loyal droid will handle up to 32 oz. at a time and even if it may not be the most reliable model on the market it’s still every Star Wars fan’s dream come true.
It may not be the best idea to use it every day but it’s guaranteed to be a hit at the office and for some fun when friends and family come over.