Classic french press coffee makers add a hint of vintage to your coffee experience.
I've always thought that french presses make coffee drinkers look sophisticated and bad ass.
You drink a lot of coffee, you need your own carafe, you know what a french press is, and you're good with that image.
5 Best French Press Coffee Makers
Want to make the most incredible coffee at home, but don’t have the time or money for big, fancy coffee machines?
How about a personal, classic french press?
In this article, I review the best classic french press coffee makers that you can buy now:
A French Press is an affordable, simple way to get the most out of your coffee beans, and a bad ass cup of joe (or 4), every time.
A super simple machine, a coffee press has a glass or stainless steel beaker with a handle and spout for easy pouring.
Attached to the lid of the beaker, is a movable plunger with a screen mesh (to strain the coffee).
Other Names For French Presses
French presses have a lot of weird names like: coffee plunger or press pot. In France, french presses are called cafetière.
And of course in the United States, we call these old school coffee makers french press or coffee press.
Stainless Steel vs. Glass
Stainless steel french press varieties tend to be more expensive than the glass ones, but trust me, after breaking 8 personal glass french press beakers, the stainless steel option is godsent.
Both glass and stainless steel presses are heat resistant and durable. Just know that with glass, it's more likely that you can crack or shatter the coffee press beaker if you mishandle it.
How to Make Coffee In a French Press
I have a quick how-to for making coffee in a french press, but for those of you that hate to read, here you go (watch this):
Tips For The Best French Press Coffee
1. Course Grind Your Coffee
Preferably using coarsely ground coffee beans, (which you can and should grind yourself with a home coffee grinder), and place the ground coffee in the beaker.
2. Add Hot Not Boiling Water
Add a little hot (not boiling) water (preferably 96°C / 205°F) to steep the coffee, and let it sit. Wait 30 seconds and then slowly add more water until you have filled your beaker.
3. Put The Lid On, Plunger Up
Making sure the plunger is in the pulled-up position, place the lid securely onto the beaker. Let nature do the brewing. If you are using drip grind coffee, the preferred brewing time is anywhere from 3 – 4 mins.
For the coarsely ground beans, it’s anywhere from 6 – 8 mins brewing time. I like to use a mini timer or my phone to maker sure I get it right.
4. Push Your Plunger, Slowly
Slowly and carefully, press down on the plunger until it reaches the bottom.
The coffee grounds will strain out of your coffee as you push down. The screen mesh should prevent any coffee particles from escaping into your cup, which is why coarse ground coffee is recommended.
Sometimes I get lazy and use whatever drip ground coffee I have for my french press, and I end up with coffee grounds all up in my mouth and cup.
Not the best.
Plus, it makes it harder to clean your french press afterwards.
5. Calibrate to your tastes
Your first few attempts at making french press coffee will be trial and error. If it tastes weak, add more coffee or let it steep longer.
It’s all up to your own individual taste.
I personally like 1.5 tablespoons of course ground, medium roast beans per 8oz of water, but that's just me (no science or expertise here)...
How To Clean a French Press Coffee Maker
Properly cleaning your French Press is super important to maintaining future epic quality coffee.
Failing to do so can result in your coffee tasting stale and a smelly, moldy coffee press.
Simply running your press under hot water is not sufficient (although, being lazy, I admit I've done this).
You need to clean it thoroughly to make sure all stale coffee odors and flavors are out.
Why Should I Clean My French Press?
The oils extracted from your coffee beans are the main culprit for bad smelling french presses and burnt or bitter french press coffee.
Coffee oils tend to cling to the beaker and screen mesh and build up over time, unless you use good quality soap and scrub after every use.
Scrub gently so you don’t want to damage/bend the plunger or screen mesh parts.
Rinse well, so that you don’t end up with soapy coffee.
Fast Way To Clean Your French Press
If you’re in a hurry, here's another option to clean your French Press:
1. Dispose of your used coffee, rinse the beaker and plunger well.
2. Add a few drops of dish soap and then fill the beaker halfway with hot tap water.
3. Replace the plunger on the beaker and “plunge” gently a few times to remove any leftover grounds and oils.
4. Rinse well to avoid future soapy coffee and dry upside down.
Are French Press Coffee Makers Better?
Because French Presses don’t use filters like electric drip coffee machines, the oils of the coffee beans stay in your brewed coffee.
The filters of drip machines tend to absorb a lot of the lovely coffee bean oils you want, whereas French Press process allows these oils to percolate properly.
The steeping process is also unique to the French Press and allows the coffee to percolate thoroughly.
Another advantage of the French Press is its portability. There are even travel-style french presses these days...
But the biggest advantage is that a classic french press allows you to create a brew perfect for you!
To get you brewing the french press way, start with a classic french press!
There are so many beautiful coffee press models out there, but start with a solid, functional one that's tried and true to start your press collection.
Here are my top 5 picks for classic french press coffee makers.
Made from 18/10 stainless steel, the Secura Stainless Steel French Press is made to last. Due to its double-walled construction, it’s more efficient at retaining heat, compared to the regular cheaper single walled French Presses.
Although it’s preferable to drink your coffee as hot and as fresh as possible, the Secura’s double walled feature keeps your coffee hot for a longer period. It also has a convenient safety feature where the handle and plunger knob remain cool and therefore you can comfortably pour without fear of burning.
The screen mesh plunger has a 3-layered filter structure that traps even the tiniest coffee grounds, ensuring you get the full-bodied coffee experience. All the parts are dishwasher safe. This French Press comes in at the higher end of the price range, but should be considered a worthy investment.
- Thermal retention
- Dishwasher safe
- 3-layered filter
- Stainless steel build
- Lid isn’t a true seal as its simply magnetized
- Filter can be difficult to clean
This is a 34Oz/1L French Press which can make up to 8 cups of espresso or 4 mugs of your favourite brew. It’s vacuum-layered, double-walled and the walls are 33% thicker than your average stainless steel French Press.
Made from surgical grade steel, this machine promises you that your coffee will remain piping-hot for a long while! The cool touch handle keeps you safe from burning, and the spring-loaded, double screen mesh plunger keeps the coffee grounds where it should, giving you a clean cup each time.
This machine is tough and rust proof and won’t break like a glass French Press should you accidentally drop it. It also comes with a handy mini container for more coffee for your next caffeine fix!
Not only that, but it’s available in a number of colors to match any kitchen decor. This French Press is the highest priced machine in our list, but couldn’t be left off as it’s a worthy consideration.
- Thick walls ensure heat and durability
- Various colors to choose from
- Tough and robust
- Cool touch handle
- Large capacity
- No glass so you can't see how much coffee is left
- High price
This French Press features a durable, clear Tritan carafe that is shatter resistant and perfect for the on-the-go person. Many a camper has claimed being the hero for bringing this little beauty along.
The convenient windows along the side show how much coffee is left in the container/carafe. The screen mesh plunger is made from silicone and comes apart for easy cleaning. The lid over the spout has a secondary filter, ensuring your coffee remains particle-free.
The large capacity is ideal for up to 8 cups (4 mugs). The handle and plunger knob are made from non-slip materials for easy pressing and pouring. The container/carafe is dishwasher safe.
This French Press is a little more towards the lower end of the price scale, but due to its convenience as a travel mug, it needed to be included.
- Sturdy, robust construction
- Perfect for those rushing to work, going camping, or even backpacking
- Reasonable price
- Dishwasher safe
- Plunger has been known to cause a mess
- Can be awkward to clean, as it’s sometimes difficult to remove the different parts
The Bodum range of French Presses is very well known, and this particular range consists of a variety of colors and sizes to match any coffee lovers desires. Starting at a small 12oz, it goes up to a very generous 51oz size, which can make up to 12 cups of coffee!
This Chambord coffee maker is impressive with its classic design and easy handling. The container/carafe is made from durable, heat-resistant, flavor-neutral boro-silicate glass.
The lid has a special closure and is also equipped with a silicone seal, which prevents any coffee leakage should the coffee maker be accidentally knocked over.
The glass container/carafe is framed in stainless steel for added protection and the handle is made from BPA-free plastic. The screen mesh plunger is 3-part stainless steel filter that helps extract all the flavorsome oils. The price range for the Chambord range varies quite a bit, according to the size.
- Mesh filter secures coffee grinds in the carafe
- Glass allows the user to see how much coffee is left
- Stainless steel filter
- Durable, heat-resistant glass
- The cups of coffee made tend to be less than advertised
- The smallest one is difficult to clean due to its size
This is the cheapest one of the top 5, but is still worth a mention as it’s perfect for those who are on a budget, but still want to get the best cup of coffee.
Its large capacity of 34oz can brew up to 8 cups (4 mugs). An insulated plastic frame surrounds the durable, heat resistant borosilicate glass container/carafe. Dishwasher safe.
- Restaurant quality coffee at a fraction of the cost
- Easy to clean and store
- Dishwasher safe
- Price. Yes, it seems odd that this is both a pro and a con, but the saying is “buy cheap, buy twice”
Our Top Pick: Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker
I like being able to see my coffee in the beaker and knowing how much is left (so I tend to own more glass ones even though I break them).
It’s easy to use and easy to clean. And bonus: it’s really pretty! The cheaper ones tend to have issues with breakage and color changing.
Get yours and get brewing, the French way.