There are plenty of brewing techniques that people use nowadays in their never-ending quest to brew the most mouthwatering and rejuvenating cup of joe. However, the most popular and timeless one in the world is the French press — also known as cafetière.
The French press rewards you with an aromatic and full-bodied cup of coffee when used in conjunction with high-quality coffee grounds, leaving you satisfied and pumped up for the day. Plus, it only takes around four to 10 minutes to concoct the perfect brew. If you’re ready to create the perfect cup of coffee this 2021, be sure to check out our list of the best French presses for your brewing needs, whether you’re chilling at home or exploring the outdoors.
Best Overall: Bodum Chambord French Press
Bodum is a name you’ll see a lot when perusing French presses, as this brand has more or less set the standard for this coffeemaker style. Made in Portugal, the Bodum Chambord features a 34-ounce beaker made of borosilicate glass (a type of glass that resists expansion due to heat, meaning it won’t crack or shatter when hot water is poured into it) with a gorgeous chromed metal lid and frame.
The Chambord looks as great as the coffee it makes, and it’s easy to disassemble as the beaker pops right out of the base and the filter plunger comes completely apart for easy cleaning. It’s also a fantastic value for what you get and replacement mesh filters are readily available on the cheap if and when yours starts looking a little frayed. The standard 34-ounce model makes enough coffee for about three normal coffee mugs, but other sizes are available.
Best Value: Bodum Brazil French Press
If “form follows function” is your philosophy, then the Bodum Brazil offers the same coffee-making capabilities as the Chambord minus the elegant chrome styling. Brazil’s beaker, plunger, and filter are identical to that of the Chambord French press, but the lid, base, and handle are all plastic. If that doesn’t bother you, then for less than 20 bucks, the Bodum Brazil is by far the best value you’re going to find in a French press. And, like most Bodum presses, it’s made in Portugal.
Since the French press is so versatile, you might even consider grabbing a Bodum Brazil as a cheap backup if you frequently find yourself pushing your favorite press into service for making things like cold brew coffee, tea, and cocktails along with your regular cup of morning joe. There is also anwith a different handle shape; the two Brazil models are almost identical aside from the styling of the plastic parts, though, so pick whichever you prefer.
Best All-Stainless: Frieling Stainless Steel French Press
For those who prefer to ditch the glass and plastic altogether, the Frieling French press is an excellent all-stainless upgrade pick. By “all stainless,” we mean all stainless — there is not one piece of plastic on this thing (even the chromed Bodum Chambord has plastic parts on the lid and plunger). Its double-walled body is crafted entirely of 18/10 stainless steel, as is its dual-layered filter that keeps both grounds and fine sediment sludge out of your coffee.
Another advantage of this double-walled stainless steel is that it’s a much better insulator than glass, so it will retain the heat or coldness of its contents for considerably longer, not unlike a thermos (it’s not air-tight, though, so don’t try throwing it in your bag). It’s a little pricey at almost $100, but if you want an all-metal French press that will almost certainly never break, then the Frieling USA will keep you sipping coffee happily for a long, long time.
Best for Travel: Espro Travel Coffee Press
Whether you just want a good cup of French press Java when you’re out and about or you don’t want to be without your favorite brew during your extended trips out of town, a good travel press like this one from Espro has what you need for your on-the-go coffee fix. This handy travel French press can make 10 ounces of coffee with the plunger installed, or it can hold 15 ounces of liquid if you ditch the filter and just use it as a regular travel mug.
Fine grounds, or “fines,” aren’t a huge problem with a normal French press, as they’ll usually settle to the bottom of the beaker or your cup, allowing you to avoid drinking them. This is a luxury you obviously don’t have when you’re drinking right from the press, and what we really like about the Espro is its dual micro-filter that does a superb job of keeping those gritty fines out of your drink (and your mouth). Its double-walled stainless steel body also keeps whatever you’re drinking nicely insulated.
Best for Camping: Stanley Cook & Brew Set
Coffee is one of those simple pleasures that become immeasurably more satisfying when enjoyed on a crisp morning out in the wilderness, but you don’t need to settle for the mediocrity of instant coffee when you’re away from the comforts of civilization. Percolators and pour-over coffee makers are popular ways for campers to make Java on the trail, but if nothing beats a French press for your cup of morning glory, then the Stanley Cook & Brew set lets you enjoy your favorite roast just about anywhere.
The Cook & Brew set is more than a French press: Its double-walled 18/8 stainless steel body can sit right over an open flame or other heat sources by itself for cooking food and boiling water. Rather than a standard plunger (which might be too delicate for the field), the Stanley Cook & Brew features a heavy-duty melt-resistant nesting filter system which you press down into the steel “canteen” to push the grounds to the bottom — just like a French press. No external filters, pour-over devices, or anything else required.
Most Versatile: SterlingPro Double Wall French Press
The last thing you would want while sipping French press-brewed coffee is getting coffee grounds in your mouth. This French press has a neat two screens system. The first screen helps in brushing the wall evenly and firmly. While the second screen filters out any escaped grounds from the first screen. With the SterlingPro double wall French press, you get a cup free of coffee grounds.
SterlingPro’s double-wall stainless steel also keeps your coffee and tea warm for longer. It also has no plastic parts and is made of 18/10 stainless steel. You’ll be sure that the French press won’t get rusty as time passes by. This French press isn’t only meant to be used as a coffee maker. You can also brew tea, hot chocolate, frothed milk, and fruit infusions, among many others.
Easiest to Use: Kona Stainless Steel French Press
The outer shell of the Kona French press not only makes your kitchen countertop look stylish, but also serves as a protective layer. It helps prevent cracks or chips which can ruin your French press with frequent use. Aside from that, it won’t rust because it’s made of BPA-free plastic, glass, and stainless steel. It also has a durable and sturdy handle that is comfortable to hold. If you’re sharing brewed coffee or tea, this French press is perfect to own.
This space-saving French press is both easy to use and clean. It’s dishwasher safe and has a detachable stainless steel filter screen system for faster cleaning. On top of that, this French press is resistant to thermal shock. You can also bring this French press while traveling on an RV with its protective design.
Best Plastic-Free: Kitchen Supreme French Press
Complete your mornings with brewed coffee from this plastic-free French press by Kitchen Supreme. This German-made coffee maker comes with an encapsulated stainless steel double lid. It’s specially built to endure high temperatures while brewing. It also helps keep your fingers safe. Aside from that, the lid also fully seals so that it can trap the aroma and flavor of the brewed coffee or tea.
With its 4-level filtration system, you can guarantee pure and ground-free coffee. This filtration process also gives your drink a more delicate texture. The Kitchen Supreme French press is made of German Borosilicate Glass which makes it durable and thermal-shock resistant. Aside from the French press, it comes with a 28-page guide that will walk you through maintaining your French press.
Best Insulation: Coffee Gator French Press
Sometimes, you need more time for your brewed coffee to settle. This Coffee Gator French press can keep your coffee and tea warmer for up to 60 minutes longer than a glass French press. This thermal insulated brewer is made of double-walled, vacuum-layered stainless steel. It also has a double filter that gives your coffee or tea a fuller flavor. The filter also helps catch sediments or grounds so that you’re actually drinking your coffee instead of eating it.
This French press also comes with a travel-friendly coffee canister. The canister can help retain the freshness of your coffee beans or grounds with its stainless steel material. Get ready to bring the coffee house wherever you go with this portable, insulated French press.
Easiest to Clean: Secura French Press
Made from high-quality 18/10 stainless steel, the Secura French Press is easy to disassemble and clean, plus all the parts included are dishwasher safe. It also comes in different colors such as blue, gray, magenta, and green, among others to suit your preference. This french press has a three-layered stainless steel filter that can help contain even the smallest coffee grounds. The filter structure also gives your brewed coffee or tea a more full-bodied flavor.
The double-wall construction of this French press has great thermal retention that can keep your coffee hot for longer if needed. This stainless steel French press also comes with a comfortable cool-touch handle which makes serving easier. With a 34-ounce capacity, this French press by Secura makes it perfect for sharing.
What Makes French Press Coffee Stand Out?
The first French press came out in the 19th century thanks to French investors Mayer and Delfore. But it was Italian inventors Attilio Calimani and Giulio Moneta who patented the modern version of this brewing device in 1929.
Aside from modifications like steel mesh filters (the original filters were simple cheesecloth), the basic French press hasn’t really changed much in the decades since its conception. That’s owed to its dead-simple design that works beautifully, particularly for dark-roasted coffee – you’ll often see dark roasts marketed as “French roast” for a reason – and this ingenious and elegant brewing method is now enjoyed by millions of people all around the world. You can also make decaf coffee with your french press by pouring the water about 10 to 15°F lower than boiling.
The genius of the French press is that, despite its sheer simplicity, it gives the user complete control over almost the entire brewing process from the temperature of the water to the pouring method and, of course, that ever-important steeping time. Pair it with a good burr grinder for making fresh grounds and you can dial in your perfect home brewing regimen with relative ease. This is vital for developing the right process for different coffees; one roast might benefit from longer steeping, for instance, while another might end up over-extracted with that same steep time.
Along with making excellent coffee, the French press is a very versatile device. You can make cold brew coffee as well as hot or cold tea (including loose leaf tea, thanks to the filter plunger) right inside the beaker. A French press can even be used to whip up cocktails, from refreshing iced Moscow mules to hot drinks that are perfect in the fall and winter. This is a must-have tool in anyone’s kitchen arsenal, and there are a million of these things on Amazon — we did say they were very popular — but to make your life a little easier, we’ve rounded up only the best ones.
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