Choosing the best French press, also known as cafetiere, can be difficult. The market has slowly been invaded by poor quality no-name brands that promise grit-free brew, but rarely deliver on their promises.
Coffee connoisseurs praise the French press because it remains one of the truest and most authentic way to brew higher quality coffee grounds. If you are looking to switch from a regular coffee maker or a single serve machine, you are in for a treat!
We tested a total of 22 French presses in order to determine the best five. We reviewed their durability, filter capability, and plunger functionality in order to find out which one makes the most delicious grit-free cup of coffee.
BEST OVERALL – KONA FRENCH PRESS
This is by far the most reasonably priced French press on the market that consistently delivers great coffee. It is easy to maintain, it is made of much thicker borolisicate glass when compared to other brands, and it has a good filtration system. This is Coffee Dork’s recommended top choice, but you are welcome to keep reading and see all other presses that we have reviewed below!
In addition, we contacted the manufacturers directly in order to get some general information about warranty and replacement parts. So, rest assured, the French presses we recommend here are all from reputable brands. So, get your best ground coffee and get ready to brew delicious coffee.
RUNNER-UP – ESPRO PRESS P5
This is one of our favorite newcomers to the French press market in 2018. Espro is by no means a new brand, but their P5 model is a complete revamp of their older P3 version. It has a much improved and airtight filtration system that does not get clogged even when using the richest and darkest grounds. The P5 has a very elegant, but yet sturdy, glass design and we think it will fit nicely in most modern kitchens.
Even though, Espro ranked second, this is mainly because we still consider it a newcomer to the coffee world. Kona has been arond for several years, and it has proven to be very consistent with its brewing capabilities. Espro did perform excellent, but we only tested it for a week. Meaning, it is hard to determine how well the French press will perform after a year.
Meanwhile, Kona was first tested in the beginning of 2017, and to this date (March 20, 2018) it keeps outperfroming other brands.
Below are 3 more top of the line French presses that we recommend based on 3 categories: budget, travel needs, and people’s favorite. Enjoy!
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5 Best French Press Reviews
1. Kona French Press
The Kona coffee press is an impressive one. This simple French press can turn any ordinary coffee into gourmet coffee – or your money back (not by us, but by the manufacturer!). This is a bold claim and one we were eager to test out.The Kona didn’t disappoint.
Of all the different coffees we tried with this press, all of them tasted better than when made with a standard French press. Sure, they weren’t all elevated to gourmet status, but the taste difference was noticeable and if you are on a budget it will really bring a smile to your face.
The Kona French press is a glass carafe (extra thick borosilicate) with the protective plastic exterior shell that wraps around it. The plastic look is cheaper than the stainless-steel look, but on closer inspection, you’ll find the BPA-free plastic to actually be of a great quality like the Bodum travel French press. Furthermore, the plastic components don’t come into contact with the coffee at any point.
The usual worry with glass carafes is how easy they are to break or shatter with one drop – but with the protective plastic, this is never a worry. It’s easy to grip and won’t slide off the counter when you’re not looking.
It holds the standard 34oz which is plenty for most people and the infuser/filter system (yes, you can make a fantastic cup of tea too) is made entirely from durable stainless steel.
The fine mesh filters are nothing special, they get the job done and very few coffee grounds made their way into our cups. The filtration system did seem to get more from the coffee oils and drastically reduce the bitter aftertaste.
The only real problem we encountered was that the plastic outer-shell cannot be separated from the glass carafe. It is dishwasher safe, but we foresaw the plastic and glass slowly warping away from each other with the hot temperatures from multiple washes.
The Kona is very easy to clean, just make sure you disassemble the plunger before washing.
For the price, this is a fantastic French press carafe and the one we recommend you buy!
Outstanding Feature: Best overall French coffee press in terms of quality, functionality, filter system, materials, and coffee flavor produced.
2. Espro P5 Press
This sleek looking press is made with 40% thicker borosilicate glass and will keep your cup of coffee warm for around 25 minutes. You might think this is not a lot of time, but the average glass French press keeps coffee warm for no more than 20 minutes.
The first thing that stands out with this Espro model is the double mesh filtration system that they use. This is standard for most Espro presses, but we found that it performs exceptionally well on this model. Meaning, you will not get any grit in your coffee brew.
The P5 differs from its predecessors in that it comes with a new safety lock tab that helps to keep the carafe secured in its double wall stainless steel base. Previous Espro French presses, including the P3, did not have that features, and often times the decanter simply refused to sit in a straight position.
With the P5 Espro was also clever enough to offer an 18 ounce as well as a 32-ounce carafe. Making this French press a perfect fit for one or more persons.
Lastly, the P5 simply looks good. The polished steel casing and the engraved Espro signature complement the glass design really well. You will have zero shame placing this press on your countertop!
3. Primula PCP-2306 DST Tempo 6 FP
Despite being our best budget option, Primula still use the same high-quality materials as the luxury coffee presses on our list. To start with, there is the borosilicate glass, which is thinner when compared to the other models, but it is still suitably sturdy and thermal.
There also is the design of the outer frame, which although is made from plastic, still has a very nice contemporary feel with crossing black bands. This material is heat resistant so the handle will always stay nice and cool unlike some of the stainless steel handles on more expensive models.
It holds about 30oz, which will fill 6 small coffee cups if you’re feeling frugal. It’s just a couple ounces short of most brands which sit at 32oz or 34oz, so it’s not noticeable.
Dimensions are average at around 8inches tall and honestly, if you just saw an image of the coffee press without the price tag and our “best budget” review, you would never know it was so cheap!
The single filter and plunger are made from stainless steel. The quality of coffee produced is still very good, although, you may find the bitter aftertaste lingers a while longer than it should.
For us, the Tempo French press was consistently good.
Outstanding Feature: best budget option! It works well and doesn’t look too shabby.
4. SterlingPro DoubleWall FP
SterlingPro claim to be the first ever press to use a double filtration system. I don’t know if that’s strictly true, but what I do know is that the filtration system in this bad boy is second only to our best overall winner.
Unlike many other brands, the smallest version of this model is 34oz (1 liter) with 51oz (1.5 liters) and 68oz (2 liters) versions also available. That’s a lot of coffee and it makes this the French press of choice for hotels, offices and large families of coffee lovers. Such a large amount of coffee will also stay hot for a very long time inside the stainless steel double walls carafe.
It weighs 2.2lb when empty and is quite large. So, make space on your kitchen worktop and remember that you’ll need to increase the coffee grounds and brewing period to suit.
Again, you’ve got the issue of not being able to tell how much water is in the carafe by eye, but really you wouldn’t be making just one cup in this press anyway. It’s designed for heavy use, being dishwasher safe (if you’ve got a dishwasher large enough) and very sturdy. It’s the most durable French coffee maker on this list.
The European style version is a curvy, voluptuous carafe that also holds 34oz but with a slightly different flip lid. For some reason, the rounded shape tends to hold heat marginally better. Both styles are very well made from high-quality stainless steel, easy to grip handles and a lovely, rust-resistant mirror finish.
The double filtration system is made of 2 stainless steel “screens” that ensure that no coffee grounds escape the filters around the edges. SterlingPro are marketing this technology a lot, and while we did find it to be effective, it wasn’t any more revolutionary than other filter systems we’d already reviewed.
Outstanding Feature: people’s choice for brewing a large volume of fantastic tasting coffee.
5. Bodum Travel French Press
I have been using this travel press for over a year now. I have also spent the last year convincing the rest of the folks at Coffee Dorks that this is the best travel coffee press on the market. Even though it is an ongoing battle, I think I have won the hearts of some baristas.
The heat retaining qualities are phenomenal – it will keep the coffee almost burning hot for hours. I would recommend carrying a small cup with you in order to pour the coffee in it. This way you don’t need to add milk or sugar to the flask and you can also let it cool a little before sipping.
Of course, that’s just my personal preference and you can easily drink coffee straight from the press via the small drinking hole.
It holds 15oz, which is one large cup of coffee – just 1oz short of a Starbucks Grande. The carafe is double wall stainless steel with a matching stainless steel plunger and single mesh filter. The rest of the press is made of sturdy plastic that’s easy to grip and won’t break in transit.
Some consumers report that their Bodum units have started leaking after heavier use. I have not noticed this, and I use mine 5 days a week.
Once you’ve pushed the filter down, it will hold the grains in the bottom of the cup throughout the day, putting strain on the filter. While it’s designed to cope with this pressure, I sometimes feel like I am tempting fate a bit by having it pushed down for long periods of time.
It’s dishwasher safe and will fit in most vehicle cup-holders. Plus, the anti-spill lid means you won’t get coffee on your legs with every bump on the road.
Minor issue with this Bodum is that the plunger prevents it to be completely leakproof and airtight.
Outstanding Feature: best design for travel! Hot coffee all day long.
How We Picked
Any good French press must have an airtight plunger with a steel double mesh filter. This way there is a far lesser possibility of grit ending up in your brew. Also, it should be compact and not take too much space like drip coffee makers.
Brew capacity – this will be defined by how much coffee you drink in a 20 minute period. Alternatively, you need to think about how many people you are going to be serving.
In my opinion, it is always better to have a bigger French press, so you can brew all of your coffee at once. The important thing to note is that quality of the brew is not affected by the size of the carafe.
Filtration – This will directly affect the type of coffee that you are going to get.
There are two different ways when it comes to filtering coffee in a French press. The classic way includes a wire mesh filter that is on the bottom of the press. When pressed down, that will separate the coffee grounds from the rest of the coffee into the decanter.
Unfortunately, if you use this filtration method you will likely get a little bit of grit. For this reason, some models come with 2 or 3 wire mesh filters.
The second method is often referred to as the Espro way (named after the brand). This filter also consists of two different wire mesh filters, but the design allows for better separation of the coffee grounds from the rest of the coffee.
Heat Retention – There is no competition here, as stainless steel presses will retain heat for up to 2 hours. In this regards, they are the definitive winner. Ceramic designs come in second place with 40 minutes of heat retention.
With most glass French presses you’ve got about 20 minutes before you will need to reheat the coffee again. Double thickness glass is one way that this time period can be extended, but not by much.
PRO TIP: Make sure you preheat your French press. Adding a little bit of hot water will make sure the press gets better heat retention.
Types Of French Press Carafes
Buying affordable products, doesn’t mean buying cheap products.
The original 20th-century carafe designs were strictly made out of metal or cheesecloth screen. Nowadays, most manufacturers choose high-resistance heat glass as their primary material for carafes. Latest trends and consumer demands, however, have resulted in the utilization of stainless steel, stoneware, and even plastic materials.
This is the same type of glass used to create bakeware that can withstand oven temperatures of 450 degrees or higher. Unlike regular glass, borosilicate consists at least 5% of a compound called boric oxide. When putting together with silica and boron trioxide, this glass becomes extremely resistant to thermal shock. In non-science and geeky words: your carafe will not explode into hundreds of tiny pieces when you pour hot water inside. It will, however, break should you drop it on a hard surface.
NOTE: There French presses that are all glass, with no caging material. They are a little bit more of a designer type items. The most common designs, however, include glass, metal and a little bit of plastic. The Bodum and Espro are good examples of such models.
Stoneware & Ceramic
The most aesthetically pleasing and expensive French presses are designed using ceramic or stoneware materials. Due to the original composition of these inorganic materials, they need to be additionally coated in order to become resistant to stains and odors.
Science aside, the nature of stoneware and ceramic allows for a variety of vibrant colors to be used in the design of French press carafes; hence, their widely acknowledged good-looks.
NOTE: Most ceramic presses also have a little bit of metal in their designs – mostly aluminum or stainless steel. Rubber seals are also becoming popular in stoneware and ceramic French presses.
This is by far the most durable carafes available. When double wall and vacuum sealed, they create a perfectly hospitable environment for your freshly brewed coffee, while assuring it stays hot for hours.
Even though there are some color options when it comes to stainless steel, most models come with a mirror finish.
This is what the cool kids on the block tend to use for their portable French presses. Made out of durable styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN) and BPA (bisphenol-A) free plastic, these carafes are perfectly capable of handling high temperatures.
NOTE: There are certain negative health effects associated with BPA when combined with boiling water (which you need in order to brew coffee). This is why it is essential that you look for BPA-free materials.
At Coffee Dorks we are separated when it comes to which carafe produces the best-tasting coffee, because, we all have different expectations. However, you will need to be quite the expert to notice any significant difference in taste between coffee brewed in a ceramic, stainless steel or glass carafes.
10 French Presses That Missed the Top 5
When you picture a French press in your mind, it is usually the Bodum CHAMBORD design that you are thinking of. It is a classic that dates to the 1950s. Bodum is a brand that many consumers trust, and we can see why. This model is a great example of a classic press pot.
Rather than the double walled stainless steel carafes that many leading brands now favor, Bodum have stuck with the classic glass carafe. It’s very sturdy, made from borosilicate that is happy to go in the dishwasher and is difficult to scratch or break (although shattering is possible if you’re heavy-handed).
It holds 34oz and is one of the tallest presses on this list, at 10 inches. Storing this in cupboards is, therefore, a little tricky. So, be prepared to wash it regularly since you will have to display it on the kitchen worktop.
As for the filter, it’s a single mesh layer with a stainless steel plunger (the handle on top is disappointingly plastic). It is better than paper filters but still can’t compare to the dual and even triple filter layers in other presses.
Outstanding Feature: the classic coffee press – ideal for beginners and those that like a traditional looking press.
The first thing that jumped out at me was the volume. They claim it either holds 36oz or 1 liter. Which is odd, seeing as 1 liter is approximately 34oz. After testing we can confirm that it does, in fact, hold 36oz when filled to the top. Regardless of their poor maths skills, the guys at Ritual clearly know what they are doing when it comes to designing a French coffee press!
Can we just stop to admire the design for a few minutes? The thick Borosilicate glass carafe is very pretty, with the Ritual logo on the side.
The copper-colored stainless steel is sublime and really gives the carafe a warm, friendly feel compared to the cold colors of silver stainless steel. Topped off with the light, easy to grip bamboo handle, we feel that Ritual have created an exceptional design.
The dual mesh filters are great, nothing special though, and you’re going to get a hot cup of coffee every time. They also market the French press as being ideal for loose leaf and blooming tea as well, which is great for when you fancy tea instead of coffee.
Outstanding Feature: fantastic design is hard not to fall in love with.
Secura Stainless Steel FP
At first glance, this is identical to the other stainless steel French presses on this list. It does have many similar features including 34oz capacity, double walled 18/10 stainless steel carafe and even the handle is identical to several models already covered here.
The real, noticeable difference with this Secura model is the flavor of the coffee. Rather than having 2 filters as many top-of-the-range presses have, this unit has 3. There was no bitter aftertaste or coffee grounds in our cups! It’s completely dishwasher safe too, so cleaning those filters is as simple as tapping out the remaining grounds and putting them in the wash.
You can stack up the filters or, if you’re looking to create a different brew taste, only use one or two. This is a unique feature we learned to love. The only problem we had was that Secura only include one extra filter in the box so if multiple are damaged it can get costly replacing them.
Outstanding Feature: 3 filters, rather than one or two, are incredibly effective.
LINKYO French Press Coffee Maker
This is a sleek, sexy coffee press. It is tall (8inches) with a slim handle and a mirror finish to the stainless steel carafe. The 18/10 stainless steel is a very high grade and with the matte version is practically scratch resistant. It’s completely dishwasher safe and with no plastic parts, this has a luxurious feel.
The carafe is double walled for heat retention, as you would expect, and there is a double filtration system inside. Despite being a brand that few know of, LINKYO are keeping up with the big brands in terms of quality and functionality.
The model we tried held 34oz or 1 liter, but of course, you cannot measure how much water is going in or monitor brew strength through the carafe.
The 2 years warranty is a nice touch, but hopefully not necessary. This is a durable, strong carafe. We have had reports that this breaks easily and has plastic components. This is likely to be a rip-off version of this particular Linkyo press rather than the genuine product, so be careful where you buy this model from.
Outstanding Feature: unbeatable shine on the mirror finish – matte version also available.
Bodum Brazil FP
It is as cheap as it looks. A small glass carafe and removable plastic base and lid. There are no fancy features that give the wow-factor. It is simply a coffee press.
Considering the appearance of the other budget range French presses on this list, we were quite disappointed with the Bodum Brazil Coffee Maker. It’s a simple, heat-resistant carafe with a plastic base and lid – BPA-free, thankfully. It stands at just 7 inches tall and holds 2 or 3 small cups of coffee (12oz) so this is a compact, single serving type of coffee press for the individual.
The coffee was ok quality, with a few grounds making it through the spiral plate and filter mesh, which were not that easy to clean by hand. The pieces are all supposedly dishwasher safe. We did test them, and they came out alright. However, they do not look sturdy, and it is hard to say if they can withhold being washed this was every day.
Perhaps the best thing about the Bodum Brazil is that its plunger is made from stainless steel and has a good mesh filter.
Outstanding Feature: tiny size is ideal for single servings.
Frieling Double Wall FP
To make their coffee press look different to the many other stainless steel presses from other brands, Frieling have come up with a slightly odd looking design for the handle of their carafe. The company claims that it is more comfortable to grip, but frankly speaking, we felt it was just an eyesore.
Beyond that, this is a very decent French press. It holds 23oz (although you can get models that hold a massive 44oz if needed) when full within the double-walled, stainless steel carafe.
The double filtration system is very effective and Frieling have also gone to lengths to ensure no grounds get around the filters with tight-fitting steel rings.
All parts are durable and dishwasher proof. Our only quibble with the materials was the fact that they’re sourced and manufactured in China which throws up some quality issues. With many cheaper brands making their coffee presses from German glass and other US and EU steel, there are plenty of other great options if this is a deal breaker for you.
Outstanding Feature: 2 mesh filters (a pre-filter and a super fine filter) are the most effective we’ve seen.
Le Creuset Stonewall FP
This is model is for anyone who values aesthetics just as highly as functionality. At first glance, this could be a brightly colored jug, but in fact, it is a great little French coffee press.
It only holds 27oz, which is about 4 cups of coffee and just like the above mentioned Bellemain brewer, you can’t really tell how much is in the press by eye, so you need to go to the trouble of measuring water before you pour in.
As for the bright, cheerful blue beaker, we were impressed at how well the stoneware really holds in the heat. We would recommend filling it with boiling water and pouring out before making your coffee. It really does help with heat retention.
The filter and press are made from stainless steel and you can also pop this press in the dishwasher rather than washing by hand. Very standard stuff.
The only downsides to this French press, that we could find, are the weight (nearing 3lb when full) and the lack of replacement filters included in the box.
Outstanding Feature: stoneware carafe with a delightfully glossy enamel finish.
Bellemain Stainless Steel French Press
This press pot has a presence, it has grandeur. It’s a tall, slim coffee beaker made from 2 insulating layers of sturdy 18/10 stainless steel. Standing at 9 inches tall with a sleek mirror finish, this was a statement that this press either works well or stands out like a sore thumb.
If you’re a coffee connoisseur with a modern or industrial style kitchen, this coffee press is most likely made with you in mind. With 2 years warranty and the excellent filter system inside, we decided that the Bellemain definitely works as brilliantly as it looks. The micro mesh filters really do guarantee no grounds in your cup.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s without faults. For example, you can’t measure how much water is in the press (holds 34oz). Not unless you pour water into a measuring jug first, and you can’t watch the coffee closely as you can in a glass press. Although the double-layered stainless steel does hold the heat well, it’s not a real vacuum thermos. Also, we had some minor issues operating the plunger in the beginning, it kept getting stuck.
But this is just nit-picking. Overall, we were positively im-press-ed!
Outstanding Feature: 2 micro mesh filters for incredible coffee with zero grounds (plus an extra filter included in the box).
GROSCHE Madrid FP
The first word that comes to mind with the GROSCHE French Press is efficiency. This is really no surprise seeing as it’s manufactured in Germany using Schott-Duran Borosilicate glass (which we found to be virtually indestructible).
We tested the 34oz model, but you can also purchase the same coffee press in 11.8oz and 51oz sizes depending on how much coffee you usually make.
The main features besides the ultra-strength glass include dual functions (coffee and loose-leaf tea) with a changeable filter to suit both, glossy chrome accents and a heat retaining lid.
We found it made a good cup of coffee and an OK cup of tea when using the finer grades of tea leaves. Cleaning it was a treat (the carafe can be separated from the chrome stand) and all of us at Coffee Dorks agreed that we would gladly display it on our kitchen countertops. The handle has an artsy look, and the plunger does a good enough job.
Another factor that may sway some people to try the Grosche is the Safe Water Project that gives clean, fresh water to those living without it for every unit sold.
Outstanding Feature: dual functions for both coffee and tea from loose leaves.
Hario Olivewood Cafepress
Holding just 2.5 cups (or 600ml) this French press focuses more on aesthetics than functionality. Yes, it does all that a French press needs to do, with heatproof durable glass and sleek metal stands, but honestly, we felt it was missing that extra bit.
The mesh was finer than most, capturing even the smallest of coffee granules and we found the quality of the brew to be good. But, regardless of the coffee we used, somehow it always ended up with a far bolder taste than anticipated.
The Hario is easy to wash. The wooden handle and lid make it non-machine washable unless you don’t mind ruining the wood. It will warp over time when putting in the washer.
Overall we felt that it was a very pretty French café press. But, besides that fine mesh and the wood accents, it wasn’t worth the price, especially when compared to similar brewers on this list.
The wooden elements of Hario make it stand out, including the wooden top of the plunger.
Outstanding Feature: luxurious olive wood handle and lid.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.
Is French press coffee bad for you?
According to the latest published research from Harvard, 6-7 cups of not well-filtered coffee (as is the case with French press) can raise your bad LDL cholesterol. This is so because the French press allows oily substances to go through. But, any coffee aficionado will tell you that this is why coffee tastes so much better this way!
Is a French press better than a coffee maker?
Ah, well, it all comes down to taste. A fine ground can produce a very delicious cup of coffee when using a French press because the natural oils are not suppressed through a filter. So, in a sense, more of the natural flavor of the coffee will be passed into your brew.