Which French press is the best?
When it comes to coffee, nothing beats the bold taste and complex aroma of a fresh brew pressed in France. If you’re looking for a delicious, low-maintenance addition to your morning routine, a French press is one of the best ways to brew your cup of coffee. Yet, for such a simple device, there are many different brands and models that can make choosing the right one all the more difficult.
The French press you choose will ultimately depend on considerations such as material and size. But if you just need your quick caffeine fix, the best overall option is the Mueller French Press Double Insulated Stainless Steel Coffee Maker.
What to know before buying a French press
What is a French press
french presses are coffee brewing devices consisting of an open cup-shaped carafe with a handle and plunge mechanism. This simple design allows you to brew coffee, tea and other beverages while manually controlling the brew time. When you’re done, the rotating top cap lets you pour or seal the contents to prevent them from cooling too quickly.
Unlike casting methods and coffee makers, the French presses are not filtered. They slowly infuse your coffee grounds instead, resulting in a richer flavor.
Benefits of a French Press
The best part of a French press is its portability. You can brew your coffee every morning and take the pot fresh to your desk or kitchen table for refills. Or if you’re in the mood to travel, take a French press on your backpacking trip or camping trip for a fragrant, refreshing coffee on the go.
Coffee lovers love French presses because you can manipulate brew times, water temperature, and other factors to achieve the perfect cup. And because you’re not using filters, they’re an eco-friendly alternative to dumping methods, especially if you’re composting the soil.
How to Use a French Press
To use a French press, all you need is some medium boiling water and some coffee grounds or loose tea leaves. Begin by filling the carafe with the desired ingredient. Then, after bringing your water to the desired temperature, pour it into the carafe and allow your ingredients to infuse. Once fully infused, slowly press the plunger to separate the contents from the water.
What to look for in a quality French press
French presses are made from a few different materials that affect their brewing process and durability. Which equipment is right for you depends on how you plan to use the press and your budget:
- Glass: The most common type of French press, glass carafes are designed to sit in a plastic or metal base and have a plastic plunger and cap. Brewers love glass because it doesn’t retain the heat of the water as soon as you pour it. You can also see the contents, which helps determine the strength of your brew. The one major drawback of glass, however, is that it tends to shatter in various ways. The biggest culprit will always be usage, but extreme changes in temperature and pressure can also cause the press to burst or crack.
- Metal: Stainless steel French presses are great if you’re looking for a durable, travel-friendly option. This material can significantly cool your water when pouring, so you may need to preheat the carafe. But it insulates fantastically, keeping your coffee hot longer than glass. The biggest trade-off is that you won’t be able to see your brew.
- Ceramic: Similar to metal, enamel or ceramic french presses use solid, opaque carafes. They are a little more fragile than stainless steel, but retain heat, are non-reactive and their non-stick surface is easy to clean.
The standard French press volume is 34 ounces, which is enough for about four 8-ounce cups or a little more than two 12- or 16-ounce cups of coffee or tea. You can also get your French press in smaller sizes such as the 21-ounce or the 12-ounce single-cup carafe. You can also go big for the office or family with a 50 ounce carafe.
Each French press comes with a plunger. Standard models feature a two-tier filtration system made up of layered wire mesh discs with a screw-in base that holds it all together. On top of that, more sophisticated models will have filtration pods or cartridges attached to the dip arm. Be on the lookout for carafes with additional cleaning and prep tools like wire brushes, spoons, and measuring cups.
How Much You Can Expect to Spend on a French Press
A usable glass French press can be purchased for around $20 to $30. Quality stainless steel and glass carafes cost up to $30 to $55, and high-end ceramic or large French press can cost up to $80 to $110.
French press FAQ
What else can you use a French press for besides coffee?
A. French presses are popular choices for brewing large batches of loose leaf tea. But you can also use the mesh piston of your press as a filter. Common culinary applications for this element include straining broths, rinsing grains like rice, or mixing alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
How do you prepare a cold brew with a French press?
A. One of the benefits of a French press is that you can cold brew it – all you have to do is extend the steeping time. Pour in your grounds as you would for making hot coffee. Then fill the carafe with cold or room temperature water and let stand overnight (12 to 16 hours). Beware! This will make a super concentrated infusion that is best washed down or diluted with milk.
What are the best French presses to buy?
Top French press
What do you want to know: Never worry about a mess of glass and coffee grounds again with this indestructible stainless steel French press from Mueller.
What you will love: With a 34 ounce capacity, it’s the perfect size for a single household. The Mueller press is durable, making it ideal for travel. It even comes with a mini grinder, and its superior insulation material lets you enjoy your coffee your way without heating it up. It’s dishwasher safe and rust proof, so you don’t have to worry about replacing it.
What you should consider: This carafe has no internal measurements, but aims to heat approximately 32 ounces of water.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
The best French press for the money
What do you want to know: Not only is this glass French press ideal for a budget, but its stand and trendy copper-finished plunger will look lovely in a contemporary setting.
What you will love: With a sturdy handle and carafe holder, you don’t have to worry about chips and cracks when you accidentally knock it against your counter. The carafe holds a standard 34 ounce amount of water and Bayka marks the side so you can brew different amounts without the guesswork. This modern French press is available in three other great finishes: pewter, stainless steel and matte black.
What you should consider: You cannot remove the glass from the holder.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What do you want to know: This sleek French press from a trusted brand uses shatterproof plastic.
What you will love: The Bodum press has the best of both worlds: visibility and durability. With crisp stainless steel detailing, the plastic carafe will look great on your counter. The SAN cup is BPA free. You can also get this model in glass if indestructibility isn’t a concern, and there are four sizes and six finishes to choose from.
What you should consider: Plastic does not insulate as well as glass or metal.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
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Karl Daum written for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.
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