Kona French Press Review: Quality Coffee Maker for an Affordable Price
The iconic French press is a timeless classic that’s been providing us with delicious and robust coffee for around a century (not to us personally… we’re not that old, we promise!). If you’ve only just decided to join the French press club and are after a budget model that won’t break the bank but will also give you some damn fine coffee, than we might have found one for you. Read our Kona French press coffee maker review to see if this quirky, affordable model would suit your coffee needs.
SUMMARY: The Kona French press coffee maker
- High-quality stainless steel filter and screen that keep your coffee residue-free
- Ergonomically designed handle to facilitate pouring and protect the borosilicate glass carafe
- It comes in a portable 12 oz model or a larger 34 oz
Its design may be fresh and modern, but the coffee maker produces the same great flavors as more classic models—and for a lower price.– The Spruce Eats
The Kona French Press Review
Construction – 3.5/5
At its essence, coffee is just hot water, ground beans and a method to take one away from the other. The French Press reflects this simplicity.
The humble straightforwardness of the French press is perfectly reflected by the practical design of this model, but the Kona adds an element that, other than being handy, is also rather aesthetically-pleasing. The ergonomically designed BPA-free plastic handle wraps around the sturdy glass carafe, preventing you from burning yourself whilst pouring coffee and creating an interesting pattern that doesn’t take away from the satisfying view of the extraction process. This insulated outer shell also helps prevent the glass body from cracking or being damaged, and is available in both black and red.
The carafe is made of borosilicate glass: thick and resistant to thermal shock, it’s perfect for frequent travelers, who won’t have to worry about pouring hot water into something that’s been in a cold car boot for hours. However, some users have still experienced unexpected cracks, so we recommend that you treat it delicately.
You’ll also be pleased to know that this model can be completely disassembled and all its components are dishwasher safe, which is always a plus.
Filter type – 5/5
The Kona French press comes with a 3 piece stainless steel filter: no plastic ever comes in contact with your brew while steeping and can’t therefore affect the coffee flavor.
Thanks to the tight fitting screen, it’s at keeping the smallest coffee residue out of your cup than some more expensive models.
This stainless steel filter is perfect for extracting essential oils or even for brewing tea or espresso (yep, the French press can be an espresso maker!) and we recommend investing in a grinder to grind your own coffee beans and achieve the very best coffee flavor (1).
This French press comes with a handy spare screen and, since the filter is reusable, the Kona (and French presses in general) is a very eco-friendly method to brew coffee, as it doesn’t rely on any paper filters nor K-Cups (2).
Starbucks french press
Plastic and glass
Brushed/Polished stainless steel
Water tank size
12, 34 fl oz
34 fl oz
8, 17, 23, 36, 44 fl oz
12, 34, 51 fl oz
34, 51, 60 fl oz
Number of cups
1, 8 cups
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 servings
3, 8, 12 cups
8, 12, 14
Rubber gasket-covered plunger
Double-walled stainless-steel lid
Ground coffee, tea
Ground coffee, tea
Ground coffee, tea
Ground coffee, Tea
Ground coffee, tea
4.2 x 5.2 x 9.3 inches
10.24 x 5.98 x 5.71 inches
4 x 4 x 9.5 inches
2.52 x 1.67 x 3.4 inches
4.4 x 6 x 9 inches
SCA certified home brewer
Size – 3.5/5
Whether you are a frequent traveler who only needs a large mug of java or someone who enjoys making a lot of coffee from home or the office, Kona has a model to suit you:
This French press is available in 2 sizes: 12 oz, which makes 3 cups, and 34 oz, for 8 cups of coffee.
It only loses points because, compared to the most popular French press coffee makers that offer 4 or even more sizes, there are only two. However, they are very popular sizes and both models come with a scoop to make it easier to measure the coffee-to-water ratio.
Value for Money – 4/5
Both models are very good value for money, especially considering the quality of the stainless steel filter, which is really impressive for such an affordable budget option. The only reason why it loses a point is because, while the outer plastic shell does a great job at preventing the borosilicate glass body from breaking, it can be the one that ends up being cracked, and, as we mentioned before, a few customers have experienced cracks in the glass too. However, it’s worth nothing that this is very common with glass french press coffee makers in general, not just the Kona.
Things we liked:
- Three-piece stainless steel filter
- Ergonomic handle
- Dishwasher safe
Things we didn’t like:
- Only two sizes
- Borosilicate glass body can break
Do NOT Buy if…
You’re not a fan of the plastic shell – We find the design of these Kona French presses rather interesting, but we know that it’s not for everyone. If that’s your case, we think you might prefer the Frieling French press. This stainless steel coffee maker even has a patented dual screen made of super-fine mesh, which means zero sediments in your coffee.
You want a super-resistant French press – Are you part of the clumsy club? Do you need some extra peace of mind? Then you might want to drop both the plastic and glass element altogether and go for a crack-proof coffee maker. The SterlingPro is made of durable stainless steel, which is also double-walled (aka perfect for maintaining your coffee piping hot!). Read our full review of this product to learn more.
Another great choice is the Coffee Gator French Press, which is made of premium stainless steel with 33.3% thicker sides.
Actually, you’re not too sure about French presses in general – We totally understand: there are so many coffee brewing methods that it’s hard to choose (that’s why we often end up with more than one coffee maker!). If you’re not convinced about this one we think you might be interested in the Chemex, a manual pour over method that is just as iconic and aesthetically pleasing as the classic French press (if not more!).
The Kona French press coffee maker is one of our favorite French press models and certainly our best-choice when it comes to budget picks. Its stainless steel filter and tight screen do an impressive job at providing you with a residue-free brew, and the two sizes make it easy to match different needs and priorities, from portability to “I need so much coffee RIGHT NOW, please!”. We also like the sturdy borosilicate glass body and the unique design created by the ergonomic handle, which makes this practical dishwasher safe French press a perfect gift for coffee lovers.
You should start with a 1:15 coffee to water ratio to achieve the best results with a French press, which means 15 grams of hot water for every gram of ground coffee. This roughly translates to 3 tablespoons of coffee per cup of hot water. If you feel that your brew is too weak, you can always add more ground coffee next time until you find your perfect ratio, but 1:15 is usually the sweet spot.
You should use a medium-coarse/coarse grind size to obtain the best extraction. Since French presses rely on an immersion extraction method, coarse coffee grounds are perfect for slowing down extraction to allow you to steep your coffee properly without incurring a bitter, over-extracted brew. At the same time, you don’t want your coffee grounds to be too coarse, or your coffee will be too weak.
The French press was patented by Italians Attilio Calimani and Giulio Moneta in 1929. However, more rudimentary French presses were already used in France: Mayer and Delforge had already patented a similar concept in 1852 (3), but it didn’t create a seal inside its body, so it was rather different from the coffee maker that we are used to.
- Jana, R. (n.d.). Why Your Grinder Is The Most Important Piece of Coffee Gear. Retrieved from https://www.javapresse.com/blogs/grinding-coffee/grinder-best-coffee-gear
- Fornero, L. (2019, May 27). How to Reduce The Environmental Impact of Your Coffee Habit. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2019/05/how-to-reduce-the-environmental-impact-of-your-coffee-habit/
- Kumstova, K. (2018, March 21). The History of French Press. Retrieved from https://europeancoffeetrip.com/the-history-of-french-press/