I sometimes think a French Press is a little bit like a comfy old sofa in the living room. It often doesn’t look flashy or sophisticated but it’s familiar and you know that as soon as you sit on it you will sink into a world of comfort and a place that feels like home. French Press is much the same. It isn’t (generally!) as innovative or flashy as some other brewing methods but it is familiar and you know that as you push that plunger down you are well on your way to a delicious, full-bodied cup of goodness.
And that is really why we have written this article, to help you find the right French Press/Plunger for you. Maybe your old much-loved French Press has finally given up the ghost, or maybe this is your first foray into this brewing method. Either way you have a decision to make, which French Press to buy? And just like the rest of life there are good options and bad options.
In this article we will try and help you navigate which are some of the best French Presses out there and which might be the right one for you.
Our Pick: Espro P7
While due to price this may not be the right option for everyone, we believe that the Espro 7 is the single best French Press currently available on the market. This Press is made with the highest quality of materials, has an innovative filtration system to stop silt entering the cup, and just makes a fantastic cup of coffee!
What To Look For In A French Press?
Finding the right French Press for you ultimately comes down to personal preference and knowing what you are looking for. Like most other products there is not one size that fits all but instead each Press has its own strengths and weaknesses. Here are a few things to think about to help you figure out which is the right press for you:
One of the first decisions that you will need to make is which material should you go for? Glass and stainless steel are the most common materials but there are also plastic and ceramic options.
Size and Capacity
The next important consideration is how big a French Press do you need? Is this a coffee maker for the boys at the office or for family and entertaining guests? Then go for a larger size so that you can cater to everyone with a single brew. Alternatively, if this is mainly just for yourself or you and your partner/spouse, then go for a smaller and more compact size.
Some of the more common sizes among french presses are 12 oz which will do 1-2 cups, 18 oz for 3 cups, 32 oz for 6-8 cups, and the mammoth 51 oz for 10-12 cups. It is worth noting that when French Presses are advertised in terms of cups (ie 12 cup press) these are smaller cup sizes than an average household mug.
Where are you intending on using this press? Is it going to be a permanent feature of your kitchen or office? Or is it to bring with you on that business trip or hiking expedition? If you will be moving this regularly or bringing it travelling then it is better to buy one that is durable and compact.
Finally and probably most importantly, French Presses vary greatly in the quality of the filter(s) they use. More traditional and cheaper presses typically have a single metal filter that works okay but often allows a fair amount of coffee grounds to make it into the cup. This is probably the biggest difference between cheaper and more expensive presses. The more high-end presses often have two connected filters, one of which is made of finer mesh, to keep coffee silt from the cup. Some presses such as the Espro models and the American Press now use very sophisticated systems to keep the cup of coffee as ‘clean’ and silt free as possible. So how much does coffee grounds in your French Press bother you? The quality of some of the high end presses is frankly astounding and seems like they may well last a lifetime, but they don’t come cheap. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for with French Presses.
The Best French presses of 2020
This stainless steel coffee maker represents some of the greatest advances in the world of French Press. It is made of the highest quality of materials, is double walled and vacuum sealed to keep the coffee hot for hours, and is fitted with advanced micro filters. The real difference that Espro brings is in these patent-pending filters. These twin filters are made of incredibly fine mesh with a silicone lip to give you an incredibly clean and grit free brew. While the Espro 7 is a real investment in terms of price, it represents the cutting edge of French Press technology for delicious coffee.
The Chamford is the iconic French Press and is likely what first comes to mind when this brewing method comes up in conversation. And there is a lot to love about it; it is made of heat resistant borosilicate glass, comes in a wide range of sizes, is aesthetically pleasing, has a stainless steel mesh, and best of all is amazingly affordable. We own and use a Chamford and have been really happy with it. It is reliable, deals well with regular use, and can make a really enjoyable coffee. The downside of course is that being made of glass it is breakable and requires more care than some other presses on this list. Overall though a great option for anyone looking for a simple and affordable French Press that is still high quality.
Frieling has been known for a fair while now as the gold standard for high-end French Presses. This elegant looking coffee maker is a step above your average French Press in quality, flavour, and durability. It is made of very high quality 18/10 stainless steel and is double walled ensuring that coffee can stay hot for long periods of time. It features a double filter with a tight seal to prevent most (although not all) coffee silt from entering your cup. This is a beautiful looking press which is known to make a superb cup of coffee. It is also easy to dissemble and dishwasher proof. However, the quality of this coffee maker is reflected in the price which is significantly higher than many other presses on this list. While we prefer the Espro we still think this should be a serious option for those looking to buy the best!
Grosche is a relatively new player to the French Press scene but seems to be making some significant home runs! This rather elegant looking press is made in Germany out of incredibly strong Schott-Duran Borosilicate glass and advertises itself as a brewer for both coffee and loose-leaf tea. Some of its significant features include a minimalist stainless steel housing, a dual filter system, and a heat-retaining lid. Many customers have been very happy with this French Press and have found it to make a relatively clean and enjoyable cup of coffee. In addition, Groshe is a company committed to aid work so that the purchase of any of their products helps support bringing safe and clean water to communities in need.
The Kona has been around for awhile now and is generally known as a simple, inexpensive, and durable press. Like many other presses on this list it is made of borosilicate glass with a stainless steel mesh. It also has a unique plastic housing aimed at protecting the glass from breaking. It also has a bigger handle than most to protect hands from accidental burns (which can be a real hazard on this brewing method!). The Kona is really a no-frills-attached french press that is cheap and will get the job done.
Bodum have turned up a few times on this list because coffee makers are their thing and they have a track record for quality. And their travel press is no exception! This exalted travel mug has an inbuilt plunger and a double walled stainless steel exterior so that you can literally brew your morning hit on the road to work. This is a great option for those who want coffee on the go. One potential downside, however, is that it only uses a single filter and so will allow some silt into the cup. Also, the placement of the plunger in the lid means that this cup is not completely leakproof and so must be stored upright at all times. It is available in a range of colours.
Just to put some competition for Bodum on the table we thought we would include the travel press by Espro. This slimline travel mug is another French Press for the road that uses a miniature version of the trademark Espro filter system for a very clean and delicious cup of coffee. Like the Bodum it has terrific heat retention and is able to keep the coffee hot for hours without over-extracting. If this wasn’t advanced enough the have even released a new Ultralight travel press which weighs a mere 9.8 ounces!
We couldn’t compile a list of French Presses without including this incredibly original take on what a french press ought to be. Their slogan really says it all “the press without the mess.” This distinctly unfrench press stores the ground coffee in a 100 micron (=very small!) mesh container that’s connected to the plunger. This means that following brewing, you can simply remove the chamber and empty it into the bin. By all it accounts this makes a very clean and delicious cup of coffee that really is a joy to make. It is made of strong BPA-free plastic which makes it very portable and in some ways comparable to the AeroPress. This is a great choice for those looking to do French Press with a twist and impress your guests at the same time!
How to Make Delicious French Press with a Cheap Press
While we would all love to have the best of the best, some of us simply can’t afford it and will likely end up with one of the cheaper models by necessity. However, that doesn’t actually mean that we will be stuck with a second rate brew. Well known coffee guru James Hoffman has come up with what he believes to be the most delicious French Press method possible and it can be done with almost any Press! We have used this method a number of times and found it to be delicious and produce a very clean cup. So whether you have opted for a more entry-level or high-end press the following method is well worth a try!
We hope this review has been helpful in giving you some insight into which is the right French Press for you. Our recommendation is that the Espro 7 is the best of the money can buy to make a delicious and sophisticated cup of brew. Alternatively, the Bodum Chamford is a great alternative for those on budgets that is great quality with a far cheaper price tag!
As always we would love to hear from you so feel free to comment or ask a question below.