A thermal-insulated French press that comes with a travel jar to keep coffee fresh.
Double-walled stainless steel construction, with easy-to-clean, rust-proof parts. Available in 4 attractive colors. Insulates coffee for as long as 60 minutes. Unique plunger design prevents sediment but produces a full-bodied, flavorful brew.
This French press has a tendency to leak.
A simplistic, well-received option that's been in production since the 1980s.
Classic French press design requires no paper filters or disposable materials. Constructed with BPA-free materials and high-quality borosilicate glass. Brews up to 32 ounces of coffee. Dishwasher-safe and easy to clean.
Certain pouring angles will introduce grounds into the brew.
With a black matte finish, this durably designed model offers both quality coffee as well as style.
Sizable coffee maker constructed from rust-proof stainless steel. Features an attractive black finish. The double-walled design has excellent heat retention. Filter produces delicious, clean-tasting coffee. Features inner measurement markings. Brews up to 1 liter.
This model is considerably heavier than other French presses.
This durable and heat-retaining French press is great for daily use as well as camping, according to our expert.
Large 48-ounce capacity. Keeps coffee hot for up to 4 hours due to double-walled vacuum insulation. Made of durable materials, making it great for outdoor use or on the go. Dishwasher-safe and easy to clean. The handle is ergonomic and comfortable to hold.
This model is quite large, which may be a turn-off for some consumers.
Well-made by a premium manufacturer that works great and delivers delicious flavor.
Decorative as well as functional, its enamel finish is available in several unique, beautiful colors. Constructed with durable, long-lasting materials. Easy to clean and coffee will not stain or build up if cleaned properly. Oven-, freezer-, microwave-, and dishwasher-safe.
A few customers found the plunger unreliable.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Making coffee in a French press involves steeping coffee grounds into water and then pressing the water out. This creates a coffee brew that many people consider richer and smoother than traditional, drip-brewed coffee. French presses are a great way to elevate your morning brew.
A French press uses a simple plunger and filter assembly inside of a carafe. When looking for a French press, you'll want to consider the quality of the construction materials, as these affect the longevity of the French press and the quality of the coffee it will brew. Materials range from cheap plastics to higher-end glass and stainless-steel parts.
Many philosophies exist for brewing the perfect cup of French press coffee. Follow these steps for a great cup of French pressed coffee:
Remove the plunger/filter assembly and heat water for the carafe. The amount of water you use determines how many cups your French press will yield. Most consider six fluid ounces to be one cup.
As the water heats, grind your freshly roasted coffee beans to a medium consistency using a conical burr. A “fine” grind setting will not work for French press brewing, as the smaller grounds can pass through the mesh filter.
Carefully measure your dry coffee grounds and pour them into the bottom of the carafe. The proper ratio of grounds to water is a matter of debate among coffee experts, but two tablespoons for every six ounces of water is a safe amount. Metric users should adopt a 1:10 grounds-to-water ratio for equivalent results.
Add a portion of water equal to that of your grounds to the carafe. Stir the mixture carefully with a wooden skewer or small spoon. When the grounds are saturated, allow them to bloom for approximately 30 seconds. This will “wake up” many of the essential flavors locked within the roasted beans.
Once the beans have bloomed, add the rest of the hot water to the carafe and allow the coffee to steep for at least three minutes (but no longer than five minutes).
This step gives the French press its name and reputation. Attach the plunger/filter assembly to the top of the carafe with the plunger fully extended. Using steady pressure (approximately 15 to 20 pounds of force), push the filter slowly to the bottom of the carafe. The spent coffee grounds should remain trapped behind the mesh filter, and the finished beverage should be dark and hot.
Serve and enjoy the coffee as soon as possible. Many French presses are heavily insulated to enhance heat retention, but the finished beverage loses its peak quickly after brewing.
The French press anatomy remains fairly constant from model to model: a plunger/filter assembly fits snugly over a cylindrical, heat-resistant carafe.
Here are the most popular:
Stainless steel retains heat exceptionally well, especially when the carafe features an insulated double wall. Because stainless steel is a non-reactive metal, it will not leach unpleasant metallic flavors into the coffee. For this reason, a number of experts favor stainless steel.
On the downside, stainless steel French presses can be notoriously expensive. And unlike glass and plastic, you can’t see through steel, so you must depend on the prescribed brewing time to get your coffee just right.
Glass is a popular French press carafe material, but not just any glass will do. Many companies use the heat-resistant borosilicate glass found in laboratory beakers and test tubes to make their carafes.
Glass is an ideal medium for coffee brewing, as it retains heat very well and doesn’t interfere with coffee’s natural acidity. And because it’s transparent, you can observe the brewing process from start to finish.
However, glass carafes can and do shatter from time to time. Companies incorporate protective elements into their glass carafes, but they cannot guarantee an accident-free experience. A cheap French press with a thin glass carafe is more likely to shatter than a high-end French press with thicker glass.
While a “cheaper” material like plastic may sound less elegant than glass or stainless steel, polycarbonate offers many of the same positive qualities as glass — but without the fragility or heat retention issues. Polycarbonate carafes are shatter-resistant and allow you to observe the brewing process. Many entry-level and mid-range French presses include polycarbonate carafes.
Unfortunately, polycarbonate is prone to scratches and dings over time. Cleaning can pose a challenge, and interior staining can occur. There is also the concern that a chemical called BPA could leach out of the plastic and into the food. Look for phrases like “BPA-Free” or “Contains No BPA” when considering a polycarbonate model.
Although not as common on U.S. shelves as stainless steel and glass, some French presses feature ceramic or clay-based carafes. The basic brewing method remains the same, but the process obviously can’t be observed due to the opaque nature of stoneware.
The carafe and lid are typically made from kiln-fired, glazed ceramic materials, and the plunger/filter may be a combination of ceramic and metallic elements. Heat retention is generally excellent, and capacity is rarely an issue.
However, many consumers view stoneware as more decorative than functional. In other words, the piece might ultimately end up on a fireplace mantel instead of the kitchen counter. Like glass, stoneware is prone to shattering, and some people worry that chemicals from the glaze or paint could leach into the coffee as it brews.
Each material has its pros and cons, and no single material clearly rises above the others. The “best” French press material often comes down to the consumer’s personal preference.
In today's world, with the plethora of options available to the coffee connoisseur, there is a new breed of carafes making the rounds. These are hybrids, with materials that are a combination of glass, stainless steel, and plastic parts. Though the durability of the products, and the quality of the brew they produce, are yet to be thoroughly tested, they are worth considering.
For individual coffee drinkers, a carafe capacity of six to sixteen ounces is often enough to enjoy one cup of high-end brew — plus top-offs. Rather than brewing too much coffee in an automatic drip pot, an individual can grind just enough beans to make one or two cups of java. These models also fit easily in a small kitchen or an RV.
There are also times when bulk coffee brewing is required, and some French press pots are up to that challenge. If brewing large quantities of coffee is your goal, use a glass or polycarbonate carafe with a capacity of four to eight cups minimum.
Some large French press carafes can hold up to 64 ounces of brewed coffee at a time. This translates to eight to twelve cups of coffee. It’s important to remember that many companies consider a cup to be six fluid ounces, not the larger eight-ounce measurement commonly used in the U.S.
Prices range from $15 for a plastic travel model to over $200 for a stainless steel model by a well-known European coffee company.
We recommend that most shoppers aim for a mid-range price of $35 to $75. Unless you’re looking for an ultra-stylish presentation piece or the best stainless steel money can buy, that is.
French press carafes are simple instruments, but they still require careful handling and routine maintenance. A well-maintained French press should last for five to ten years, if not longer.
Remember these tips when caring for your French press:
A. When professional coffee buyers test different beans for flavor quality, they often brew a straightforward and unfiltered mix of fresh roasted coffee beans and hot water. This is called “cupping” in the industry.
The French press method closely resembles cupping, since the essential oils and acidic tannins are not removed by a paper filter or recycled in a percolator. French press coffee is often bolder in flavor and stronger in body than coffees brewed by other means.
A. As tempting as it may be to agitate the ground coffee for maximum extraction, don’t do it. All of the essential oils and other flavor elements should be stripped away from the beans during the initial three- to five-minute brewing session.
The plunger does have the same effect as squeezing a tea bag for maximum yield, but its main function is to separate the grounds from the beverage itself. Pushing and pulling on the plunger repeatedly will only produce a bitter finished product.
A. Some coffee enthusiasts are loyal to a particular brewing method; others prefer to experiment. The French press method requires dedication from the user, since the process involves freshly ground coffee beans and a longer brewing time than a single pod or automatic drip machine.
We advise you to gauge your friend’s interest before buying a high-end French press. However, a cheaper model made of polycarbonate or tempered glass could be an excellent gift.