Looking for a French press coffee maker? There are several options available in the market and choosing the right one can be tricky. We at Freshpresso have done all the hard work for and selected the top recommendations in different categories.
While buying a French Press there are not many things you need to consider. You basically need to pinpoint at one basic purpose of your French Press. If you need something durable and prefer a stronger cup of coffee, then getting a stainless steel French press is recommended but for aficionados, nothing beats the experience of brewing coffee on a glass French press.
Finally, if you are looking for something portable that you can carry on a small trip or your daily commute, then a Travel French Press is the right choice.
We have tested different machines in each of these categories, and the following score the highest scores all around –
Frieling French Press (Best Stainless Steel French press) – Made with heavy-duty stainless steel, this is the most durable French press out there. It is built to handle rough use and Dual Walls help in maximizing heat retention, resulting in a stronger coffee.
Bodum Chambord 8 Cup French Press Coffee Maker (Best Glass French press)– the use of metal in primary components gives you a more aromatic flavorful coffee and ensures that they stand the test of time. With features like Coffee Catcher, cleaning coffee grounds after the brew is a breeze.
Bodum Insulated Stainless-Steel Travel French Press (Best French Press for Travel)– Stainless Steel construction ensures that it is able to handle the occasional drop and keeps your coffee warm even after two hours. Prevents the grounds from mixing with the brewed coffee post plunging. (Hence the coffee tastes the same from the first sip to the last)
Aerobie AeroPress – If a milder tasting coffee isn’t a big problem, then the AeroPress with a brew time of about 30 seconds is the best alternative. With innovative design, it can brew multiple beverages from regular black coffee to even rich espressos.
Coffee brewed in a French Press has a distinct flavor and if you are a fan of stronger coffee, then getting a stainless steel variant makes complete sense. You then need to look into three factors – Brew Quality, Heat-Retention and Durability. Well, Frieling French Press ranks high in all of these metrics and here is why it is our top recommendation –
Best Heat Retention
We have tested multiple stainless steel French Presses and in regard to heat retention, the Frieling’s French Press throws competition out of the park. The combination of double wall and 18/10 stainless steel provide excellent insulation, and maximum heat is retained inside the press.
How does this help?
Better heat retention helps you in two ways. Firstly, while the coffee is being brewed it retains more heat inside the press and this helps in more flavorful extraction. The coffee brewed will be stronger compared to that brewed in a glass French press.
Secondly, the French press can be used as a carafe.
Coffee Brewed and Durability
The taste of the coffee is exactly what you expect from a French press. All the components are “Made in USA” and adhere to highest quality standards. If you have the right technique, it brews the perfect coffee which doesn’t taste bitter or overly acidic.
All the components are dishwasher friendly and can handle the occasional drop (thanks to rugged stainless steel). We recommend using filtered water as it reduces the risk of scaling.
Overall, this machine with proper cleaning will last you a lifetime and the taste remains the same even after hundreds of brews.
Overall, the Frieling French Press gets the perfect score, but there is one area which could have been the better.
The coffee grounds get stuck in the plunger, especially if you leave it in the press for longer durations. This makes cleaning slightly difficult and you have to manually rinse it out with water to make sure there are no leftover grounds.
There is little you can complain about the Frieling Double Wall French Press. You can choose from five different sizes and if you are looking for a durable stainless steel French press this is hands down the best choice. (We suggest getting the brushed version as it more durable.)
If you are looking for a glass French press, then there are currently two models which lead in this segment – The KONA French press and the Bodum Chambord French Press. They are both classic coffee makers in their own regard but we decided to compare them on different metrics to help you pick the right one. So here is the comparison between the two heavyweights –
There is little to separate between the two in terms of Brew quality. If you get the same coffee beans, grind them fresh and brew a pot, the coffee tastes almost identical. Coffee brewed by the Bodum tastes just a bit stronger compared to the one brewed by the KONA.
More importantly, we have no complaints with the flavour and both of them consistently brew delicious coffee day after day.
The Bodum Chambord uses stainless steel strips over the glass surface while the Kona uses a plastic shield. This is done to increase the durability of the glass carafe.
Both of these can handle tiny shocks, so if you are moving it on the countertop or take’em on a small trip, they wouldn’t break that easily.
If we had to pick one in terms of outer durability, it will be the KONA French Press because of a more protective and rounded housing.
But when it comes to individual components, the Bodum Chambord is the clear winner.
Bodum uses a thicker and durable lid as compared to plastic one used by the KONA and the former also has a better Filter Screen design with a reinforced center around the post.
So, Advantage Bodum?
Yes! The components of the Bodum Chambord will easily outlast the ones used in the KONA. They are better designed and the use of steel gives the Chambord a distinct advantage.
Long story short, the Bodum Chambord French press gets a better overall score with regard to durability and will last longer compared to the KONA.
Both of these require regular and thorough cleaning. You need to rinse out each component with water after each brew. But the Bodum Chambord has another trick up its sleeve which makes it a better choice for day to day use.
It has a coffee catcher which goes inside the glass carafe. So (before the brew), the coffee grounds go inside this catcher instead of hitting the bottom of the press. While plunging, once the lid reaches the bottom of the press, it automatically attaches itself to this catcher.
How does this help?
The coffee catcher collects 80% of the grounds post brewing and you can simply dump it up in the trash can. The remaining coffee grounds can be cleaned by simply rinsing the carafe with water.
The KONA press, however, has nothing like this and plus more coffee grounds get stuck in the screen filter of the KONA.
To sum it up, the Bodum Chambord is easier to maintain and clean and if you want a more hassle-free experience, we will recommend the Bodum French press.
We prefer the Bodum Chambord over the KONA French press (Link for KONA) because of better durability and easier maintenance. At the time of the review, they both cost nearly the same and if you are looking for your first French press or something that will last, you can’t go wrong with the Bodum Chambord.
Call to Action for Bodum
French Presses were usually considered to be home coffee makers, but Bodum tried to change that that with their Travel Press. It works as your regular French Press, but you can also use it as a travel mug and carry it around. So how does it perform overall, we find that out in our review –
The Travel Press works like any regular press. You pop in your coffee grounds, add hot water, wait for 3-4 minutes and press down the plunger. With the travel press, the plunger is also attached to the lid and you can seal the lid once you are done. The screen (or filter) takes all the coffee grounds to the bottom of the mug, and you can enjoy your freshly brewed coffee.
Doesn’t it continue brewing coffee?
The Bodum Travel Press does an excellent job in separating the coffee grounds from the coffee. It completely seals the grounds at the bottom so they can’t interact with the water. This ensures that the coffee flavor doesn’t change even after hours of plunging the grounds.
The Travel Press also has double walled insulation which keeps your coffee hot. You get 2 separate lids with the travel Press, one with the plunger and the second without it. This helps you to use it as a regular travel mug too. (Pretty neat)
Stainless Steel Vs Acrylic
The Travel press by Bodum comes in two variants – Acrylic and Stainless Steel. The acrylic uses BPA plastic and is lighter in weight. However, the stainless steel version keeps your coffee warm for longer duration (about 2 hours) and is also more durable (can withstand mishandling and drops).
Both of them, come with ergonomic silicone grip which adds to the aesthetic appeal of the Travel press.
There is not much difference in the price of the two, but in the longer run the Stainless Steel variant is recommended because it is better suited for the wear and tear of a travel mug.
With the first 5-6 brews there is a tinge of plastic flavour in the coffee. To minimalize that, it is recommended to wash and rinse your travel press with water several times before you brew your 1st cup.
Secondly, it is not recommended to keep the coffee grounds in the mug for long durations. They get stuck in the filter and this affects the quality and longevity of the filter. Once you are done with your coffee, it is recommended to immediately rinse the travel press with water and clean the filter.
If you are in love with French Press taste and need something that you can carry around while you drive to work, then the Bodum Insulated Travel French Press should be your next purchase.
Hate tiny coffee grounds in your coffee? Well, this SterlingPro French press does a great job at filtering the grounds from the coffee. And with stainless steel construction, you get a stronger and rich coffee. Here is more –
With French Press coffee makers, you plunge the coffee grounds at the bottom, but 100% of them are not filtered. So when you pour your coffee into the cup, they settle at bottom of the cup and coffee sediments start to pop up in your last few sips.
The SterlingPro French Press introduced dual screen technology, which basically means that it used two filters instead of one. This reduces the concentration of sediments to the minimum and you have nothing but clean delicious coffee.
The SteringPro French Press is made using rugged stainless steel and dual wall construction leads to better heat retention and a stronger coffee. In terms of quality, it lags behind the Frieling Double Wall French Press but still manages to withstand the occasional drop.
We recommend cleaning it after every brew and with that this machine will last for years.
The only gripe we have is with the quality of the plunger. You need to use it carefully as is not the most durable part of the French press. It is prone to dents and that can affect the quality of the brew.
The SterlingPro French Press is perfect for those of you don’t like any sediments in their coffee. To add that you a get a stronger brew and decent durability at a relatively cheaper price.
The French Press takes about four to five minutes to brew coffee, right? But what if you can brew a cup in less than minutes with the same technique? Well, this is exactly what you get with theAeroPress. But is it worth making a switch from the regular French press to an AeroPress, we discuss that in our review –
With French Press coffee makers, immersion is at play as the coffee grounds immerse in hot water to give you delicious coffee. In an AeroPress, you bring pressure to the equation.
The process is quite similar. You add coarse coffee grounds to the plastic chamber, add hot water and after about 30 seconds, pull the coffee out using a plunger. With the design, more pressure is applied and that leads to faster extraction.
There are many techniques to extract coffee from the AeroPress and due to this, you can make different beverages too. You can make regular French press styled coffee, filter style coffee, and even an espresso.
It is all in the design and you can experiment with multiple extraction techniques with an AeroPress. It takes some time getting used to but once you get a hang of it, you can brew relatively faster.
It supports both metal and paper filters. So if you like the coffee without the oils then use regular paper filters (you get 350 with your purchase) but if you like to taste the true coffee flavour, then use metal filters (sold separately).
Cons – Does it Taste Differently?
When compared to regular French Presses, the coffee brewed tastes a little different. It is less strong and lacks the ‘smooth’ taste that comes with a French Press.
The AeroPress in no way is a substitute to a French Press. It is a more of an innovative alternative that can be used to brew different styles of drinks.
You can use it whenever you are in a hurry and if you have a knack for experimenting on the weekend then the AeroPress is a great buy (considering sub 50$ price). It is also recommended for travel as it almost indestructible and doesn’t require much care.
Getting a French Press is by far the easiest decision you have to make for your countertop. They are cheap, help you brew delicious coffee and are super easy to use. To be honest, there isn’t much that you need to look for while buying a French press and it basically boils down to the purpose.
They are basically three categories when it comes to French Press, and each category has its own buyer. Here is everything you need to know about it –
The French Press Essentials
Brewing a coffee on a French Press takes a bit of practice and patience, but to brew the perfect cup you need a few more things. We like to call them ‘The French Press Essentials’. You can make a regular cup without any of this but we at Freshpresso know you want nothing but the best so here it goes –
This is everything you need to know about a French Press. Choose from our recommendations and buy the one that perfectly fits your need. To make it a complete kit, add our ‘French Press Essentials’ to your cart too.
If you want to know how to make the perfect cup on a French Press, check out this post.