There’s a romance, elegance, and nostalgia to using a French Press. The modern one can trace its roots back to the middle of the 19th Century, when two French inventors (Mayer and Delforge) created a coffee pot with a built-in filter to strain the grounds when poured. Prior in Europe, coffee was largely consumed with the grounds left in the cup—the way the Ottomans, who introduced the beverage to Europeans, drank it. In the early 20th Century, a version of the Mayer and Delforge design was patented in the US and eventually became the one sold by Bodum today. All of this is to say that the French Press has been making delicious cups of coffee for almost 200 years.
The standard way to use French Press is pretty straightforward: grind your beans slightly coarser than medium (each grinder will have its own setting here), add water to your grinds at a 17:1 ratio, let steep for 4 minutes, plunge, and you’re done.
If you want to try a different way to brew using a French Press, you can find alternative instructions online that take longer (15 minutes-plus to steep), and some that suggest you don’t even use the plunger at all. Regardless of technique, you can use this device to make rich coffee at home without splurging on an expensive machine or adhering to a complex routine.
Here are 10 French Presses that we recommend:
The Classic One
This is likely what you think of when you imagine a French Press. Bodum is largely responsible for popularizing this brewing method in America, and Chambord is the model they did it with. The heat-resistant glass body can make up to 8 cups, and will last you for years.
The Affordable One
For less than the cost of some bags of fancy coffee, this basic French press is a solid bet. It comes in 3 cup and 8 cup sizes, as well as several colors, and is dishwasher safe. The glass body is not insulated, so it won’t keep your coffee hot for too long, but if you’re just brewing a cup to start your day, it’s perfect.
The Camper’s Dream
For those who love to backpack, you can use this stainless steel French Press as a vessel for boiling water over a fire before brewing coffee in it. Making up to four cups, and featuring handles that fold away, it’s easy to carry and use. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe.
The Car-Friendly Option
This travel-sized French Press fits about a cup-and-a-half and is perfectly sized for your car’s cup holder. The double-walled design keeps your everything insulated for longer, and the lid’s seal makes it spill-proof.
If You Want All The Features
As the most expensive French Press on this list, it lives up to its price tag. With a beautifully designed stainless steel body, double-walled insulation to keep your coffee hot for hours, and a two filter system, you’ll get a cup that’s smooth and delicious. Also worth noting is that the filter system completely stops extraction after you press the plunger down, meaning you can leave your coffee in the press and the flavor won’t change.
If You Coffee On-The-Go
Just like the brand’s more expensive option, the P1 also has the same filter system that will stop extraction once you push down the plunger. This travel-sized option also has double-walled insulation to keep your coffee warm for several hours.
The Indestructible One
This mug is a French Press within a thermos. The stainless steel body is virtually indestructible, and its double-walled, vacuum-sealed insulation will keep coffee hot for 4 hours (or, cold for 9 hours if it’s cold brew). With a 48oz capacity, it’s enough to hold your morning cup and afternoon pick-me-up.
The Stoneware Version
Le Creuset is a trusted name in the kitchen, and their enamel stoneware French Press combines their signature aesthetic with functionality. The material used retains heat better than most glass or metal presses, and won’t get stained by coffee oils.
For A Smoother French Press Flavor
Much like the Espro P7, the Frieling adds a second filter to their plunger for a smoother flavor. Its polished stainless steel body makes for a clean design, and its double-walled insulation keeps your coffee warmer longer. It’s cheaper than the Espro but the filter doesn’t completely stop extraction—meaning that your coffee will grow more bitter the longer it’s left in.
For The Design Conscious
Hario’s glass French Press may not travel well, but it looks so good on the kitchen counter that it won’t matter. An inner glass carafe brews up to three cups while the outer glass body helps insulate the coffee. Plus, the olivewood collar makes for an ergonomic handle.
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