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Whats the Best Coffee for French Press?

On the face of it, the French press coffee maker is one of the simplest brewing methods there is: Grind coffee, add hot water, wait a few minutes, and then press the plunger. What could be simpler?

There’s one really important step you’re missing: if you pick the wrong beans, you end up with a chewy cup of bitter-tasting mud instead of the rich, sophisticated brew you’re longing for.

What coffee beans brew up the best French press coffee? Let’s review the way the French press works to understand how to choose the best coffee for French press brewing

TOP PICK

Organic Medium Roast (Lifeboost Coffee)

Perfectly roasted to a balanced medium-roast profile, these single-origin Nicaraguan beans produce a full-bodied, magical tasting French Press brew that will leave you wanting more. Organic, shade grown, Mycotoxin free and spring water washed – give them a try.

Getting the Most Out Of Your French Press

Of course, step 1 is to brew with good coffee beans.

Because the French press uses a stainless steel mesh filter to screen out the grounds, more of the delicious oils and solids from the coffee bean end up in your cup. Some coffee drinkers like the “chewy” texture produced by a French press, while others object to it. There are ways to minimize the mud, but essentially, steeping coffee grounds in water and then pressing them down with a mesh filter is going to leave a little bit of silt in your cup.

pouring hot coffee from a pot to a cup
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The traditional solution to this is to use coarse ground coffee. In addition to reducing the number of tiny particles that the mesh filter can’t capture, a coarse grind tends to make French press coffee sweeter and less bitter.

When shopping for the right beans, most French press coffee lovers prefer a medium roast or a dark roast. The French press brew method reduces the perceived bitterness that some people object to with dark roasts. Mostly, though, it’s for the simple reason that a smoky, dark brew just suits the character of the press pot.

The usual keys to getting great coffee with any brew method, of course, work for the French press:

  • Invest in a quality french press. Here are the best french press coffee makers of 2020.
  • Try to stay away from pre-ground coffee as much as possible. It loses its freshness too quickly. Buy good quality whole bean coffee and grind it immediately before brewing.
  • Use a good coffee grinder (burr, not blade), and a good french press (here is a list – avoid the cheap $1 shop options)
  • Purchase from reliable coffee roasters that roast their beans fresh
  • Properly clean your french press (like this) often to ensure your brew tastes clean.

PRO TIP: The French press needs a higher coffee-to-water ratio, with more coffee than the SCAA’s “golden ratio” (55 grams per liter). Our French Press brew guide suggests 27g of coffee for 350 ml of water (about 3/4 of the water you’d expect to use in a drip coffee maker).

So with all that in mind, here are our five choices for the best beans to use in your French press:

5 beans for Great Coffee with a French Press

Alright, here’s a few recommended beans for your french press brewing adventures:

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Lifeboost Coffees Medium Roast
  • Nicaraguan single origin coffee
  • Medium Roast, Full body.
  • Low acidity
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Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend
  • All-time best-seller from one of the leaders in dark roast coffee
  • Rich and complex, full-bodied
  • Roasted to order, same-day shipping ensures freshness
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Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (Volcanica)
  • Floral, fruity aromas really blossom in the French press
  • Medium-roast beans for a sweeter cup
  • Ripe strawberry, pineapple guava over layers of cedar, lavender, and chocolate
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Stone Street Colombian Supremo
  • Single-origin Arabica beans also a favorite for cold brew coffee
  • Smooth, sweet, well-balanced, and bold
  • Notes of fruit, chocolate, and caramel
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Sleepy Monk French Roast Sumatran
  • Wet-hull processing used in Sumatra lends earthy, mushroomy flavor to beans
  • Very dark French roast brings out the natural oils and a deep smoky aroma
  • Small-batch roasting helps ensure freshness
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1. Lifeboost Coffees Medium Roast

Specifications

  • Nicaraguan single origin

  • Medium Roast
  • Low Acidity

The mountain ranges of Central America have long been a production ground for high-quality Arabica coffee, and these beans by Lifeboost are shade grown high in the Nicaraguan mountains without pesticides or chemicals.

In terms of quality, healthy coffee; these beans make a wonderful choice. They are roasted carefully to a balanced medium roast, making them ideal for French Press brewing, but they are also hand-selected for purity, hand-washed and sun-dried to remove unwanted moisture during processing.

Expect a well balanced, smooth and earthy body with low acidity and pleasant lingering aromas of chocolate/nutty undertones. The company is so sure you’ll love them that they offer a 60 day money back guarantee.

2. Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend

Specifications

  • Signature Peet’s Coffee Blend

  • Dark Roast
  • Full-bodied and layered taste profile

If French roast is too smoky for you, there’s a whole world of dark roast coffee to choose from. One of the most reliable is Major Dickason’s Blend from Peet’s Coffee. Founded by Alfred Peet in Berkeley, California in the 1960s, Peet’s has always focused on dark roasts. Peet’s online orders are roasted and shipped the same day, so you know your coffee beans will be as fresh as possible when they arrive.

Their Major Dickason’s blend, named after an early supporter of the original shop, brews up a rich, satisfying cup of coffee that’s a great everyday choice. It’s delicious in pour over or drip coffee makers, as well as in a Moka pot, but it’s a superb way to experience the magic of the French press. This is a blend crafted for a rich flavor profile, with spicy, complex notes and a full body.

3. Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Volcanica Coffee

Specifications

  • Ethiopian Arabica

  • Medium Roast
  • Complex floral and fruity notes

Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, and it still produces some of the finest, and truly unique, coffees in the world. Ethiopian coffee tends to have fruity flavors, with blueberry prominent in some of their best beans.

Volcanica’s Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is distinct in that the bulk of each crop is harvested from wild coffee trees, resulting in a coffee with floral and fruit tones from the Arabica beans grown in the area for generations.

sting notes for this coffee list ripe strawberry, dark chocolate, lavender-like floral notes and aromatic cedar in the cup. This is a medium-roast coffee, which contrasts with the typical dark roast normally associated with the French press.

4. Stone Street Colombian​​ Supremo

Specifications

  • Colombian Arabica

  • Dark Roast
  • Clean, acidic flavor

The Stone Street Colombian Supremo is a great roast of a favorite single-origin Arabica coffee from one of the world’s most respected growing regions, and the beans grown here are considered some of the best in the world. While this is one of our recommendations for cold brew, it’s also well suited to the French press.

These high-quality dark roast Colombian Supremo beans yield a smooth, sweet, well-balanced, and bold coffee flavor. When combined with the deep and rich results made possible by the French press brew method, this Colombian is characterized by notes of fruit, chocolate, and caramel.

5. French Roast Sumatran, Sleepy Monk Coffee

Specifications

  • Sumatran Arabica Blend

  • French Roast (quite dark)
  • Bold, smokey, and smooth flavor

What pairing could be more natural than a French press and a French roast? Traditionally the darkest beans around, French roast coffee has an appealingly clean, astringent mouthfeel but, surprisingly, less acid and caffeine than lighter roasts.

We love Sumatran coffee for a French roast because the wet-hull processing used for Sumatran beans gives them an earthy, mushroomy flavor that makes it a natural for an ultra-dark brew. Sleepy Monk’s Sumatran French Roast, sourced from the Aceh region at the northernmost tip of Sumatra, combines a dark, toasty aroma with a velvety mouthfeel and great bite. Pair this one with crispy bacon for an unbelievably delicious breakfast.

The Verdict

All of the beans covered would make a great french press brew but we’d recommend starting with:

Have you tried any of these coffees? Do you have a special bean you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!

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My world consists of coffee, Travel, water sports and Dogs...sometimes all at the same time! I spent years as as a travelling barista where I learnt the art of brewing-coffee-on-the-road. I'm a bit of a street art fanatic, and my favourite type adventure usually ends at a coffee plantation.

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