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Coffee lovers, are you familiar with this magical cylindrical coffee maker? If not, you’re about to get schooled on the pros and cons of French press.
Using this method, which includes a plunger and a built-in screen, you essentially press hot water through coarsely ground coffee. The result? A rich cup of Joe with an earthy taste like nothing you've ever enjoyed before.
Today’s coffee scene
Can you remember the lyrics from that famous song by Dean Martin, which went, “How d’ya like your eggs in the morning? I like mine with a kiss”?
Well, if the very same song was remade for 2020, it would probably go something like: “How d’ya like your coffee in the morning? I like mine made with artisanal coffee beans and for the outcome to be aesthetically pleasing so I can post a picture of it to Instagram.”
Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
It just shows that, as a culture, we’ve become way more conscious of eating and drinking well. And that when it comes to all things gastronomic, we like what we’re about to digest to look great and taste good.
Nobody is more aware of this than coffee lovers who are, of course, constantly on the lookout for the freshest, most flavorful cup of coffee.
Why this article is for you
So even if
- Your kitchen is filled to the brim with brewing gear
- You have coffee subscription boxes arriving every other day
- You only drink coffee from your stovetop espresso maker
- You don’t yet own a coffee machine
- You only believe in cold brewing your coffee or
- You have your own, proprietary brewing process...
This article is for you, because you may think you’re enjoying coffee now, but wait to see what happens after you learn about the French press.
Pros and cons of French press
We’ll be explaining why using a French press is one of the best ways to make breathtakingly tasty, beautifully dark coffee from the comfort of your own kitchen.
However, there is a "dark side" so to speak to the French press and we’ll take a look at that too. If you can think of additional advantages and disadvantages to this little machine, feel free to share them in the comments.
We’ve even done the hard work for you and recommended some of our all-time favorite French presses, including budget-friendly and moderately priced options.
Now, pour yourself your last non-pressed cup of Joe and find somewhere comfortable to sit. It’s time for French press 101.
What's good about the French press
There are a lot of plus points when it comes to making coffee at home with a French press. We could’ve written a huge list, but we’ve condensed it down to three succinct points.
In an age where technology is used for absolutely everything, it feels good to actually do something physical, something manual, and get your hands a little dirty in the process.
Using a French press requires some handiwork as the brewer has to crunch down on the coffee beans using the presser. Luckily, it takes little effort, so it certainly won’t feel like strenuous labour. It’s actually a fun little exercise that can get your morning off to a great start.
Brew time is approximately 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the size of the press, which is the perfect amount of time to whip some jam on to toast, check your Facebook feed, or go for a quick jog around the block. Actually, scratch that. Save exercise for after the caffeine fix.
Incredible coffee, every time
The best thing about having a French press has to be that coffee tastes consistently ah-mah-zing.
Of course, using quality coffee beans (personally we prefer sustainable options) will mean the coffee will be flavourful, but the art of French press brewing makes every cup taste out of this world. Take our word for it.
Once you’ve used a French press for yourself, you can say goodbye to whatever method you used beforehand. Speaking of which, is it time for another cup yet?
Worried about having to shell out hundreds of dollars to have a state-of-the-art French press in your kitchen?
Have no fear.
They’re actually cheaper than most espresso makers and self-contained drip coffee makers, and in the grand scheme of things, getting yourself one certainly won’t break the bank.
Delicious coffee—you know, the kind that makes you exhale with a resounding “Aaaah…”— can even be made from the least expensive French press models.
The downside of the French press
Let’s face it: there’s not one, single perfect way of making a cup of coffee. There are multiple methods, and each one comes with advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few of the negative aspects of using this particular brewing method.
Earlier we mentioned that interaction can be a super fun way to get involved in the coffee making process, but the downside is that you really do need to keep an eye on the French press.
There’s the grind size to consider, water temperature, brewing time, etc. For this reason, it isn’t as easy as pressing the “start” button on a drip machine and letting it, well, drip.
Using a French press certainly isn’t as time efficient as instant coffee, which is definitely the quickest way to make a cup but certainly not the best tasting.
Therefore, a French press is perhaps best used for a relaxed Saturday or Sunday morning, where time is on your side and you don’t have to rush to the office because you’re running late yet again.
Coffee grounds are pretty messy, and having to scoop it out from the press may not be a wonderful way to start the day. Seeing as clumps of ground coffee aren’t particularly smooth either, we don’t recommend shoving it down the drain. Plan on making regular trips to the garbage as the coffee grounds accumulate fairly quickly.
Our top picks
Interested in getting your hands on your own French press to make some spectacular coffee? We don’t blame you!
We’re about to make your life a little easier by running through a selection of our favourite models.
Bodum Brazil French Press Coffee Maker
Bodum is renowned for their coffee makers, and their first model was made back in the 1980s.
This coffee press is best summed up in three simple words: affordable, attractive ad effective. The Bodum Brazil boasts a three-part stainless-steel plunger, which is easy to clean and easy to use and, when combined with the fine mesh filter, it means you’re going to be extracting every last drop of that amazing (and perhaps slightly addictive) coffee flavor.
The Brazil model also yields a unique patented safety lid which prevents liquids from splashing while pressing. That means you can make your morning coffee while half asleep and wearing your favourite white shirt as no spillage will occur with this safety feature. Just be careful when going outdoors, though. The outside world isn’t as safe.
- Available in 12, 24, and 51 oz.
- No paper filter, capsules or waste
- Filter and plunger are stainless steel
- Body, handle and lid made of BPA-free plastic
- Beaker is made of heat resistant borosilicate glass
- Easy to clean and dishwasher safe
Coffee Gator French Press Coffee Maker
Ever heard of Coffee Gator? Just like an alligator, you’ll be snapping up all the coffee this cafetière produces.
One of the best features about this particular French press coffee maker is the smooth, modern design. The cafetière itself comes in a charcoal grey and it curves in a way that reflects light, making it very aesthetically pleasing.
The mini coffee storage canisters that come free with this product are designed in a similar way but with a glass hole in the middle so you can see which coffee beans are inside.
Overall, the Coffee Gator French Press Coffee Maker is beautifully designed, so if you’re a sucker for pretty products, then this may be your bag. Also, the coffee it makes stays hot for a very long time thanks to the thick-walled pot, which is perfect for those of you who just can’t get enough coffee.
- Double-walled stainless steel insulation
- Keeps coffee and tea warm 60 minutes longer than glass
- Comes in 34 oz. silver or grey matte
- Made with professional grade, durable, rust proof parts
- Body, handle and lid made of BPA-free plastic
- Comes with mini canister to store coffee
- Double filter locks in flavor and removes sediment
SterlingPro French Press Coffee Maker
French presses are great, but as we discussed earlier, they have disadvantages too. A used, old, or poorly made French press may not remove all the grounds from the coffee beans, which means that those last few mouthfuls—which should be the tastiest—will be gritty instead.
This isn’t good.
Thankfully, quality French presses remove all the grounds when pressing, letting you pour the smoothest, silkiest cup of coffee. In the case of this model from SterlingPro, the French press benefits from a double screen system.
This essentially means that there’s double the chance for the tiny grounds to be filtered out of the liquid, as the secondary screen banishes any grit the primary screen doesn’t initially pick out.
For those who appreciate a silky texture to their coffee, then you’ll definitely want to consider this model. If you think it all sounds too good to be true, then check out their customer reviews.
- Available in 1L, 1.5L and 1.75L
- Innovative 2-screen system ensures coffee is granule-free
- Made from 18/10 surgical grade stainless steel
- Double wall keeps drink warmer for longer
- Dishwasher safe and rust free
- Can also be used for tea, herbal drinks, lemonade and fruit infusions
- 30-day money back guarantee
Kitchen Supreme’s French Press Coffee & Tea Maker
Kitchen Supreme’s take on the classic French press is fantastic all around. This coffee maker is capable of making coffee, espresso, tea, iced tea, hot chocolate, and frothed milk, so if you’re keen on variety, this is the model for you.
It isn’t as visually appealing as the Coffee Gator press, as this model is a little more understated, but what it lacks in beauty it certainly makes up for in functionality.
An added bonus is this French press is built with a double stainless steel encapsulated lid. It is plastic-free, ensuring that no part of this French press will get too hot to give your hands an unpleasant surprise.
In fact, when handling Kitchen Supreme’s coffee maker, you’ll be able to pour away knowing that no nasty burns are on the horizon.
- Unique encapsulated stainless steel double lid
- 4-level filtration system increases purity of coffee
- Made with German double borosilicate glass
- Strong and thermal shock resistant
- 3-year replacement guarantee
- No plastic parts
- Outstanding customer service
Secura’s Stainless Steel French Press Coffee Maker
This one is for all the minimalists out there.
Secura’s French press model is ergonomic, elegant, and robust. It’s available in 34-ounce and 50-ounce models so there’s a larger size available for those who want even more coffee, and really, who doesn’t want more amazing coffee? After all, there can never be enough coffee.
Secura’s French press is extremely easy to disassemble, so while all parts of it are safe in the dishwasher, it might be easier to wash it by hand. It’s super easy to reassemble, too, so there’s no need to worry about putting it back together when the time eventually comes to give the French press a good clean.
This particular model is extremely popular among coffee lovers because it’s easy to use and very affordable. Buyers seem to love Secura’s stainless steel model, and chances are you will too!
- Available in 17 oz, 34 oz and 50 oz and wide range of colors
- 3-layered filter structure traps the smallest coffee grounds
- Cool touch handle and knob makes it safe to pour
- Dishwasher safe
- Comes with bonus filter screen
All in all, a French press is a pretty great gadget to have in your kitchen. Not only does it make high-quality coffee, but the actual experience of pressing and being involved with the creative process is a lot of fun.
That being said, if this is a new brewing method for you it will take a little getting used to so don’t banish to the cupboard if you don’t get the hang of it straight away. Like all things, it takes practise. And once you master it, you’ll be whipping up a fresh brew of your favorite coffee flavor in no time.
All in all, it’s the perfect kitchen contraption for everyone from home cooks and students to SAHMs and dads and professional chefs.
So if we’ve successfully convinced you to buy a French press, the time is now.
It was 3 a.m. at a roadside diner when Jack took his first sip of coffee, a bottom-of-the-carafe brew he swigged black, without sugar. At the time, he was a junior in high school trying to impress a college girl. He has long forgotten the girl, but not the coffee. He currently lives in Seattle where the rain always smells like roasted beans.