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Best French Press Coffee Makers of 2019

Walking up to just about any coffee shop, and ogling all the impressive and bizarre coffee gear (I'm talking about Mr. Syphon), you could get the impression that brewing coffee is quite complicated.

And you'd be wrong. Because nowhere in the Coffee Bible does it say that brewing can't also be simple. And perhaps the easiest of manual brewers is the French Press - a.k.a. the plunger, a.k.a. the 'press pot'. It's way, way easier than some drip coffee makers.

Using the French Press is easy, and delicious: Grind freshly roasted, high-quality coffee beans in the right coarseness, put the ground coffee in, pour hot (not boiling water) over it, and simply press down when your timer says 'Ding!' Done. So easy, even the French can do it. No precision pouring, stirring, or gooseneck kettles required. No paper filters needed. Many aficionados of coffee say the press pot produces the best brewed coffee. It certainly captures the full essence of the bean.

But use a lousy French Press and your coffee will over-extract and taste average. Today we’ll be taking a look at the best French press currently, and the top contenders.

TOP PICK: Frieling Double Wall French Press

Frieling French Press

This press pot is beautiful and distinctive, but there's actually more to that! Its stainless-steel construction makes it long lasting and lets it keep your coffee hot 4 times as long as glass. Plus it has a double-screen filter of fine Italian mesh to reduce the grainy texture of some French press coffee. This is why it's our top pick.

What To Look For In a French Press

Despite how simple the mechanism is, French Presses come in all sorts of variations, and it can be difficult to separate the functional from the flashy.

ideas on choosing the best french press coffee maker

To help you navigate the flurry of dinky knock-offs and overpriced frustration traps, here is a list of what to look for the perfect press:

Material Stainless Steel vs Glass (and heat retention)

These coffee makers are almost exclusively made from one of two materials: borosilicate glass or stainless steel. Although some may think the choice between one or the other comes down to visual appeal, it’s really more of a practical matter.

Glass french presses are pretty, but won’t keep your coffee warm as well as a double-wall stainless steel press.

However, if you feel particularly driven towards glass, breathe easy, because unless you plan to let your coffee sit for more than ten minutes, the amount of heat lost in a glass coffee press isn’t too significant. If you pour it into an insulated travel mug the moment you push down the plunger, choosing a glass or stainless steel press makes no difference.

Between these two choices stainless steel offers you more control over temperature for a longer period of time (1) and this may be good for someone brewing for more than themselves.

If you’re the one responsible for the morning coffee for you and your special someone, ensuring that their coffee will stay hot - no matter how long they take doing God knows what in the bathroom - can be the key to a happy morning.

Also, stainless steel is orders of magnitude more accident-proof than glass carafes (...yes, we're speaking from personal experience here).

Although the glass often used in press pots - borosilicate glass - isn’t as fragile as momma’s fancy wine glasses, it’s still glass, which, as science still maintains, is more prone to breaking than steel.

Design & Comfort

Design may seem superficial - and it often is - but it can also be practical. Comfort, for example, is one of those unappreciated-until-you-try-it advantages.

Considering the times we crave coffee the most are also the times when our fine motor skills are at their lowest (AKA mornings), a comfortable handle may reduce the rate of morning rage-attacks.

French Press Coffee Maker

Whether you’re pouring for just yourself, or for a plus-one, a good handle keeps that delicate coffee maker from careening off the counter to an untimely, messy death.

While on the topic of design, it’d be evasive to not at least mention aesthetics, so I’ll say this: a handsome coffee maker isn’t always a well functioning one. Showing off your pretty new coffee brewer is fun and all, but delicious coffee doesn’t always come from the prettiest instruments (e.g. the AeroPress).

Size - Do You Really Need a French Press That large?

When you make a cup of coffee, are you really just making a cup, or is it more like two cups? If your morning “cup” consists of one to wake and one to go, then you probably need something that can keep up.

There are a few standard sizes to choose from, but 12 oz. and 34 oz. are the most popular. If you're alone or with someone else, I'd recommend going with the 12 oz. To give you some perspective, 12 oz. gives you one large cup of coffee, or two small cups. Needless to say, the 12 oz. model is also by far the more travel-friendly coffee press, for all you road brewers out there. 

If you often find yourself brewing for your family, colleagues or groups of friends, opt for the 34 oz. version. This would also be our recommendation if you're dealing with two coffee guzzlers, as you won't get two cups of coffee out of the 12oz.

But bigger isn't always better. A French Press coffee maker is all about proportions. If you're going to use the 34oz size you'll need to put more coffee grounds and water in the carafe to make the ratio work with the depth of the plunger.

Filtration System (which affects taste)

The final consideration before purchasing your press is its filter. The filter in a typical French press, composed of a sandwich of steel mesh held in place by stamped steel, is not nearly as fine as those in a drip or pour over coffee maker, and therefore not as good at keeping out bits of sediment. And more sediment in your brew will change the taste as it over extracts the remaining coffee.

However, a French press filter will not filter out the tasty and aromatic coffee oils as other filters will.

Although some people like some extra grit floating around in their coffee (2), it’s not for everybody. That said, there are some unique ways to get around brew debris. One of these, the “pull” method of brewing, has you place coffee grounds on top of the filter, and pull them out after steeping.

“Get a good grinder so you can lessen the chance of having too many ‘fines’ that will sneak past the filter and cause the coffee to be over extracted.” - J Killen, Royal Drummer Cafe, Seattle.


The Best French Presses of 2019

Now that you know how to spot a good French press coffee maker, let’s take a look at the finalists:

IMAGEPRODUCTFEATURES
hg-table__imageFrancois et Mimi Double Walled French Press
  • Good for packing and traveling
  • Effective at keeping your coffee hotter for longer
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageBodum Chambord French Press
  • More reliable than other models
  • Glass carafe in a stainless steel frame
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageKONA French Press
  • Least expensive on this list
  • Better at straining out the sediment
  • Easy and comfortable to handle
  • Dishwasher safe
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageFrieling Stainless Steel French Press
  • Utilitarian and eye-catching
  • Better at screening out sediment
  • More durable than glass
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageBodum Brazil French Press
  • Eye-catching colors make this a standout on your kitchen counter
  • Metal filter comes apart for easy cleaning
  • Low price
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageKuissential 8-Cup Stainless Steel French Press
  • Double-wall construction gives maximum heat retention
  • All parts dishwasher-safe
  • 100% stainless steel
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageBodum Columbia Stainless Steel French Press
  • Design echoes the classic teapot shape but with a modern twist
  • All compoments are dishwasher-safe
  • Thermal insulation helps keep coffee hot up to 2 hours
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageSterling Pro French Press
  • SterlingPro double wall construction keeps coffee hot
  • Available in 1.75L size (59 oz.), about six full-size cups
  • 100% stainless steel - no plastic parts
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageCoffee Gator French Press
  • Stainless steel construction plus eye-catching color makes this unique
  • Double screen filter produces a cleaner cup
  • Double wall construction provides superior heat retention
CHECK PRICE →
Francois et Mimi French Press

At only 12 oz., the Francois et Mimi French press is the smallest on the list, making it a smart choice for the solo brewer. Additionally, the interior of this coffee press has double walls and is made from insulated stainless steel, which makes it much better at retaining heat than the single-walled glass carafe that most other French presses have.

Where this coffee maker loses some points is its relatively high price, and its comparatively less-effective mesh filter. For the small size (12 oz., 375 ml), you may not be willing to pay the price for this French press, considering you can easily make the same amount of coffee in a lower priced, 34 oz. French press.

In regards to the filter, although it is by no means bad, it is not as good as some of the others on this list.

PROS

  • The small and compact (a good travel french press)
  • It is more effective at keeping your coffee hotter for longer.

CONS

  • The small size can only accommodate 12 oz. at a time.
  • It's the second most expensive on the list.
  • The filter is not as effective at keeping sediment out of your coffee.

Bodum Chambord

Somewhere amongst all the confusing press pot origin stories, the Dutch company, Bodum has also staked a claim. Although Bodum does not pretend to have invented the coffee press, they certainly contend to have perfected it.

I won’t support or refute this claim, but I will say that it’s no mystery why Starbucks continues to stock their shelves with these very well designed coffee makers.

Bodum has a number of different glass-walled French press coffee makers available (which you can see here), but this model is the classic. I have owned and used this press, and can attest to its reliability and ease of using and cleaning. The borosilicate glass used by Bodum has proven to be very durable and heat resistant. However, like the Francois et Mimi, the Bodum Chambord will leave a little fine sediment in your coffee, because the plunger doesn't press all the way to the bottom.

PROS

  • This Bodum French Press is more reliable than other models over longer periods of time.
  • The casing for the beaker is made from stainless steel, which will not loosen over time.

CONS

  • The mesh filter is not always effective at removing sediment from the coffee.
  • The handle is not very well designed, which makes pouring a little awkward.
  • Sediment is left floating near the bottom because the filter does not press all the way to the bottom.

Kona French Press

Like the Colorful Brew, the KONA’s frame is made from BPA-free plastic. It features a stainless steel filter which does a better job at straining out the coffee grit than some of the more expensive presses, like the Bodum Chambord. Additionally, this bad boy is able to be completely disassembled and machine washed. The KONA French press comes in two sizes, a travel-friendly 12oz and a bigger 34oz version.

However, what sets this French press coffee maker apart from the Colorful Brew is its unique design.

The KONA is not only fun to look at, but also safer to use. The large handle is ergonomically designed so that the handle fits comfortably and more securely in your hand as you pour. Ergonomic handle design is often overlooked in a press pot, and shouldn't be glossed over ...we've burned our hands multiple times while pouring, so we know what we're talking about here!

Apart from that, the KONA is the least expensive item on this list, and it still functions just as well as all the others, although it may not last quite as long.

PROS

  • Least expensive coffee press on this list.
  • A finer filter screen is better at straining out the sediment than the Bodum Chambord.
  • Ergonomic design is easy and comfortable to handle.
  • Plunger and mesh filter are both made out of stainless steel.
  • Available in red or black.

CONS

  • Certain pieces, like the filter and filter attachments, have a comparatively short lifespan.
  • The thin plastic lid on the KONA may begin to stretch and crack over time.

Frieling French Press

The Frieling Stainless Steel French Press is one of the most stylish (and most expensive) press pots we've selected. Just like the Francois et Mimi, the Frieling is 100% stainless steel, but, unlike the Mimi, the Frieling holds 44 oz. instead of only 12 oz.

It also features a double-walled interior, which makes it very effective at retaining heat.In addition to that, the Frieling’s two-stage filter fits more snugly into the chamber. With two Italian fine mesh screens, it's excellent at keeping out sediment (while letting in those coffee oils)

All components of this French press coffee maker are machine washable, and the filter components don't even need to be disassembled for cleaning.

PROS

  • The minimalistic design is both utilitarian and eye-catching.
  • The two-stage metal filter is better at screening out sediment than other models.
  • The stainless steel is more durable than glass.

CONS

  • The most expensive on this list.
  • Can't see contents while brewing.

Bodum brazil french press in a cafe

The Bodum Brazil is rated as Amazon's #1 best seller, and the attractive price isn't the only reason. The carafe is borosilicate glass, but it's carried in a handle, base, and lid of BPA-free plastic, which serves as a combination shock absorber and design element. In addition to basic black, the plastic components are available in a brilliant apple-green and a cheerful red. 

Bodum's standard three-part filtration system is present here, with a stainless steel mesh held in place by a spiral plate on top and a cross plate below. These disassemble easily for cleaning and are dishwasher-safe, as is the borosilicate carafe.

PROS

  • Simple design plus eye-catching colors make this a standout on your kitchen counter.
  • The metal filter comes apart for easy cleaning.
  • Low price 

CONS

  • Plastic isn't everybody's idea of elegance.
  • Glass is inferior to stainless steel in heat retention (and more fragile).

Kuissential French Press

The Kuissential looks an awful lot like the Sterling Pro French Press (which we review below). It's made of stainless steel, it has double-wall construction for good insulation, and it has a similarly clean, cylindrical shape.

The difference? The Kuissential has a single screen in the filter. Yes, just like every other French press we talk about (except the Sterling Pro).

It's also noticeably less expensive than the Sterling. So if you like the look (and the double walls) and don't mind a little texture in your coffee, here's a way to get the look for a lower price. 

PROS

  • Crisp, clean lines look great in any kitchen decor.
  • Double-wall construction provides the best heat retention.
  • Reasonably priced.

CONS

  • The single screen allows a little grit to pass through.

Bodum Columbia

Distinct from the two Bodum coffee makers we've already reviewed, the Columbia has a charming rounded shape. The ergonomic handle reminds us of the handles on gooseneck kettles for pour over, which gives you more control when pouring the last of the coffee (important if you want to keep the worst of the sediment in the pot).

Available in 17 oz., 34 oz., and 51 oz. sizes, the Columbia uses double-wall insulation to keep your coffee hot for a claimed two hours. 

PROS

  • Design echoes the classic teapot shape but with a modern twist.
  • All components are dishwasher safe.
  • Thermal insulation helps keep coffee hot.

CONS

  • More expensive than many on this list.
  • Some plastic components in construction.

Sterling Pro French Press

The stainless steel Sterling Pro will have you seeing double. First, its simple, clean design - a number of cylinders of different sizes assembled into a pitcher, a handle, and a knob for the plunger - has a huge number of imitators. Second, one of its key features, the SterlingPro Double Wall Construction, uses a double wall of stainless steel to provide maximum heat retention.

But the last double is a fairly exclusive feature: its double screen filter. On the face of it, this simple, second mesh screen traps more sediment than a single. It's still not going to give you a completely grit-free cup like a pour over or drip coffee machine will, but the coffee is less chewy than what you get from the usual French press, yet still retains all the oils and solids that make French press coffee so flavorful.

PROS

  • Double-wall construction provides the longest heat retention.
  • The double screen filter makes a cleaner cup of coffee.
  • Stainless steel is more durable than glass.

CONS

  • Two filter screens mean more cleanup.

Coffee Gator French Press

Like the idea of double-wall stainless construction but don't want a silver cylinder like everyone else? The Coffee Gator has the construction you need with the range of visual appeal you want. Choose from gray, green, pink, or brushed stainless to bring a pop of color to your morning cuppa. 

It's only available in 34 oz. capacity, but that's a good all-around size, especially if you share your morning coffee - for example, it's just shy of three 12-oz. cups or two 18-oz. travel mugs. And like the Sterling Pro, the Gator has a double filter to remove more sediment, without removing the oils that make the French press provide such delicious coffee.

It even comes with an airtight mini container that holds enough coffee for two pots, if you plan on traveling. 

PROS

  • Stainless steel construction plus eye-catching color make this unique.
  • Double screen filter produces a cleaner cup.
  • Double wall construction provides superior heat retention.

CONS

  • Canister not recommended for dishwasher. 
  • Double screen filter requires a little more effort to clean.

FAQs

How do I choose a French press?

You choose a French press by considering a few simple scenarios. First, consider capacity; are you brewing for 1-2 cups, or more? Go for a large French press if you brew more than 2 coffees each time. Then, consider material. Glass for home, plastic for travel, and stainless steel for large home brews.

Why French press coffee is bad for you?

French press coffee can be considered bad for you because it does not filter out 'Cafestol' - a sediment that may cause bad cholesterol levels to rise (3). However, in moderation; the risk of health complications is minimal.

"Keep an eye on your cholesterol levels, to make sure your LDL levels don’t rise over time. And keep your pressed coffee habit in check: stick to no more than four cups per day" - Heidi Godman, Harvard Medical School

Which is better glass or stainless steel French press?

Stainless steel French presses are better than glass models for a few reasons. They are shatter proof, and retain heat for longer. Glass models look more 'authentic', and are best suited for home use with smaller capacity models.

What size French press should I get?

You should choose a French press size thats a little bigger than what you would expect. It's common to leave a little bit of coffee in the French press while serving to avoid the sediment in your cup. Common sizes are 3,6,8 and 12 cup.


THE VERDICT - Which French Press Do Most Coffee Lovers Prefer?

For today’s review roundup, I have chosen the Frieling Stainless Steel French Press as the winner. Although it was a close race, the Frieling offered the highest quality (though admittedly at a price to match).

Frieling French Press

The mirror-finished stainless steel construction makes the Frieling a thing of beauty, and the double-wall carafe keeps your coffee hot four times as long as a glass carafe. Dishwasher safe, 5-year warranty, and a two-stage filter round out the winning characteristics.

If the price is a little steep, consider our runner-up: the Kona French Press. Good ergonomics and an effective and dishwasher-safe filter make this attractive pot a popular seller.


References:

  1. Buchanan, M. (2013, June 18). Chasing the Perfect Cup of Coffee with Science. Retrieved June 2, 2019, from https://gizmodo.com/5642561/seeking-mojo-chasing-the-perfect-cup-of-coffee-through-science
  2. Hoffmann, J. (2016, October 04). Cupping Vs French Press. Retrieved June 2, 2019, from https://jimseven.com/2010/11/04/cupping-vs-french-press/
  3. Godman, H. (2016, April 30). Pressed coffee is going mainstream - but should you drink it? Retrieved June 2, 2019, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/pressed-coffee-going-mainstream-drink-201604299530
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Alex
 

Alex is the Founder and Editor of Homegrounds.co. He is passionate about brewing amazing coffee at home, and teaching others to do the same.