The Best French Press Coffee Makers: A Beginner's Guide

Some of the best French presses.
Some of the best French presses.

If you want fresh coffee, fast, there is nothing better than a French press coffeemaker.

As soon as the water is hot enough, it is simply a matter of pouring it into the carafe and waiting for three or four minutes. Compared to almost any other method, it is a near instant brewing process.

There is a guide below for people unfamiliar with the method.

The Quick Guide to Making French Press Coffee

How to Brew Coffee in a French Press.
How to Brew Coffee in a French Press.

Tips for Getting the Best From a French Press

The stainless, mesh filter makes the filtration process fast.
The stainless, mesh filter makes the filtration process fast.

Details matter if you want to make good coffee.

For the best results, you need to start with the right coffee that's stored in the right way and ground to the right size.

The stainless steel mesh of the filter (pictured above) is relatively coarse. This make filtration fast but fine coffee grounds will pass through and make your coffee muddy and foul tasting.

You can buy coffee ground to the right size for a French press, or use a grinder that allows good control of the resulting particle size.

Burr grinders are best. Blade grinders smash coffee beans into particles ranging from the very large to the very small. At least part of the grind will find its way into your beverage.

How to Store Fresh Ground Coffee

Whichever way you brew your coffee, it is important to store beans and ground coffee properly. Coffee flavors are easily be ruined by mistreatment.

Most of the flavors that we value come from the aromatic oils in the beans. Oils of all kinds spoil if they are exposed to air or to too much heat,. Bitter flavors can easily result.

Best Practice

It is best to roast your own beans or buy freshly roasted coffee in small quantities then store carefully and use quickly.

If you keep roast coffee in a glass jar on a sunny window shelf with a loose-fitting lid it will spoil in hours.

Vacuum-packed coffee of the kind specifically ground for a French press, should not be overlooked. If you are out of your home in a hurry every morning, this kind of coffee will brew fast in a French press and is a huge improvement over the instant kind. You can even brew directly in specially designed travel mugs!

Best Grinders?

Fine coffee grounds will pass through the filter in a French press, and an ordinary blade grinder is not recommended. Read why conical burr grinders are the best choice here.

The 10 Best French Press Coffee Makers

Presses With a Glass Carafe

Bodum Chambord

The iconic Chambord from Bodum.
The iconic Chambord from Bodum.

The venerable Bodum Chambord is one of the most famous designs in the world of coffee-making. I bought my first over thirty years ago, after being served fresh coffee in a Chambord during a visit to London. Never having seen one before, I asked the waiter how it worked. He explained in about thirty seconds and, after tasting the result, I was sold.

The Chambord is still one of the most popular designs of French press. It comes in every size, from the 12-cup down to the 3-cup.

Aside from being elegant and practical, the Bodum Chambord has some outstanding features:

  • The frame is chrome-plated brass, of a good enough quality to stand up to heavy use over many years.
  • The tempered glass carafe pulls out of the frame very easily for cleaning.
  • The stainless steel filter is replaceable.
  • It is dishwasher-proof in its entirety.

Note that none of the coffee makers on this page (including the Chambord) can be used on a stove top. The glass is tough, but not that tough!


The Bodum Chambord is available in three, four, eight, and twelve-cup sizes.

Keep in mind that "cup" here means one of those rather small cups that you find in many up-market restaurants. If you drink your coffee by the mugful, a three-cup press will only give you enough for one serving.

Sterling Pro

The Sterling Pro, remarkably similar to the Chambord.
The Sterling Pro, remarkably similar to the Chambord.

As you can see from the picture above, the makers of the Sterling Pro have cleverly based their design on the classic Bodum Chambord.

However, the Sterling Pro offers a double layer filter to reduce the amount of coffee grounds getting into the brew. This can help if you are grinding your own coffee and do not quite get the perfect particle size.

Having said that, in my experience, the Chambord filter only allows grounds through as it ages. When you start to notice this happening, it is time to get a new filter.

The eight-cup version of the Sterling Pro is now the most popular French press to source online. If you are not a traditionalist, and want to save a few dollars, it is certainly worth consideration.

Kona Press

The curvy and popular Kona.
The curvy and popular Kona.

I gave one of these to a niece for her birthday. She was living out of a suitcase at the time as she worked her way through college. She manged to break the glass carafe, but was so pleased with the French press as an idea, she invested in a stainless steel Freiling (you can find this down the page). Stainless steel is much harder to break!

It is similar in design to the Chambord above but the curvy design and tough plastic frame make it a good choice for less formal settings.

Grosche Rome

Grosche elegance
Grosche elegance

The Grosche Rome is one of the more recent French presses to arrive in the US.

If you like a glass pot (it certainly helps if you can check that no grounds are escaping the filter) the Rome is a worthy competitor to the Bodum above.

The design is striking. It is also well-made, with a snug fitting plunger in a sturdy metal frame.

Some parts are plastic but it is a tough kind of plastic that stands up well to hot water (including dishwashers). The use of plastic in the lid gives the advantage of superior heat retention. Your coffee stays hot longer.

The broad base means it is hard to knock over.

Stainless Steel Presses

Nissan's Vaccuum Flask Press Pot

Vacuum flask and press combined.
Vacuum flask and press combined.

For purely practical purposes, this is one of the most successful press pots available. It is not only hard to break, it is hard to scratch. The stainless steel container is well-protected within the tough plastic handle unit.

Best of all, the vacuum flask will keep coffee hot for a long while after it is made. The makers say two hours but one hour is closer to the truth (good enough for most people).

SterlingPro Double-Walled Stainless

Double-wall Sterling Pro keeps coffee hot longer.
Double-wall Sterling Pro keeps coffee hot longer.

Sterling products are not always the most innovative but they certainly learn from those who went before them and often take an idea one step further.

This model pictured above has the same double screen filter as the glass Sterling Pro with the benefit of an almost unbreakable stainless steel construction.

The double wall design has good insulating qualities that will keep your coffee warm for longer and save you from painful brushes with hot surfaces.

In the summer time, this kind of carafe can be a great way to keep iced coffee cool.

The top plunger button is big which makes it easy to depress without hurting your hand.

It is a genuinely elegant product and sits well in any modern kitchen.

Frieling's French Press

Tough stainless steel contruction, big comfortable handle from Freiling.
Tough stainless steel contruction, big comfortable handle from Freiling.

The Frieling French press is available in various sizes and offers some valuable features, including an insulating, double wall construction.

Some people will like the matching creamer and sugar bowl.

As with all stainless steel, the highly polished surface will need some care to keep free of tiny scratches.


Bold color from VonShef
Bold color from VonShef

The VonShef press gets on my list because of that gorgeous red color! It has:

  • a stainless steel body
  • double wall insulation
  • a very good price

It is new new to me right now, so I cannot give you much feedback except to say that VonShef is well known for quality kitchen appliances.

Drop me a line in the comments below if you are try it.

Stoneware Press Pots

Stoneware Press From Le Creuset

Stoneware press with stainless steel plunger.
Stoneware press with stainless steel plunger.

My family are big on gifting reliable presents that they know will last. I have had more French presses for birthdays and Xmas than I can probably use in a lifetime but I have been pleased with every single one.

The Stoneware Press from Le Creuset, pictured above, is a favorite for displaying in my kitchen and that wonderful color will never fade.

The ultra hard surface (your best kitchen knife will not scratch it) is easy to keep clean. It is also very difficult to chip.

The downside of stoneware is weight, but these French presses from Le Creuset are not much heavier than other similarly-sized stainless steel pots, and the big, well-designed handle makes it easy to use.

I was a little disappointed to see that the product is Chinese-made but then the Chinese have been making stoneware for nearly four thousand years. If they could produce masterpieces during the Shang Dynasty, I think a French press is well within their capacity.

There are three colors available presently, which you can see below. Matching coffee storage pots are also available.

Color from Le Creuset
Color from Le Creuset

Travel Mug French Presses

These are wonderful for those morning journeys. They are also useful in workplaces where the coffee is terrible!

Bodum Insulated Stainless

Double-wall stainless steel travel presses.
Double-wall stainless steel travel presses.

If you like to leave your home in the morning with coffee for the journey, a travel mug is a must. There are plenty to choose from these days. If you like bright, cheerful and, almost, indestructible, designs, the Bodum presses, pictured above, could suit you.

The double-wall construction keeps the coffee hot and your fingers safe.

Making the coffee directly in the mug/press saves time.

Stainless Steel Travel Mugs

Plenty of other colors available.
Plenty of other colors available.

The travel mug pictured above is from Planetary Design, and it will fit into most cup holders.

  • It is made from cuisine-grade stainless steel with an insulating double wall.
  • The lid helps stop spillages.
  • There is even room in the bottom to keep extra ground coffee which is a big plus if you need good coffee in an office with just instant.
  • The colors available are black, green tea, paprika (pictured), and pink.
  • The big handle helps you to drink the coffee, but it does take up a lot of room!

The Exhaustive How-To

If you need a really detailed guide to making French press coffee, the video below should fit the bill.

Need a Huge French Press for Iced Coffee?

Easy, full flavor, iced coffee
Easy, full flavor, iced coffee

I was initially skeptical about using a French press to make iced coffee. However, with practice, I've found that it delivers some of the best ice coffee I have ever tasted.

  • The huge, 1.5 liter Bodum Bean Ice pictured above, is an excellent way to have iced coffee ready to drink throughout the day.
  • Making the coffee is simple: follow the normal procedure for a press, but use cold water and leave it to steep overnight in a fridge before filtering.
  • An extra lid is supplied, meaning that less space is required in the fridge, since you will not have to find room for the plunger.

Make Sure Your Coffee is Hot (or cool!)

Double-walled Mug
Double-walled Mug

Iced coffee is fine in summer but a cold cup on a cold morning is a let down.

Warming your mug with hot water before pouring in the coffee will help. Another way is to use a double-walled coffee mug from a maker like Eparé or Bodum.

These are tough mugs made of hardened glass that is hard to break or scratch. The double wall keeps your drink hotter, longer and also means the outside will not burn you.

They are useful for iced coffee too, preventing condensation and pools of water forming on a table top.

Why are you interested in a French Press?

  • Never tried French press coffee but I am curious.
  • Regular user looking for latest choices.
  • Tired of instant coffee.
  • Tired of stewed, stove-top coffee.
  • Looking for a gift.
  • Espresso is making me bug-eyed.
  • Other.
See results without voting

Alternative Names for a French Press

It can be useful to know the alternative names, especially if you are looking for reviews of makers or looking to buy the right kind of ground coffee. So, here are some of the most popular alternative names for French press coffee makers:

  • Cafetiere (or cafetière). This is French name used in Britain, Ireland, and Canada as well as many places in the US
  • Plunge pot or plunger pot
  • Coffee plunger

Comments 20 comments

ecogranny profile image

ecogranny 11 months ago from San Francisco

I'm downsizing, so need to get rid of my big ole' Cuisinart coffee maker and hoping the French press will serve my needs as well. Hoped to see comparisons in how the coffee turns out in each press, but appreciate the overview.

aesta1 profile image

aesta1 21 months ago from Ontario, Canada

I am always in the market for a coffee press. I just got one for our trip. I always give it away each time I leave one assignment. The Bodum is the one that works well. I was able once to get one that is not made of glass. This is the most practical for me.

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 23 months ago from Home Sweet Home

i have been hunting for coffee maker for a long time, too many brands in the market. Your recommendation are well written. Thanks. voted up

Dale 3 years ago

Your "Quick Guide to using a French Press" is completely wrong -- don't push down the plunger until the coffee has had time to brew!

Will Apse profile image

Will Apse 4 years ago Author

I had a chance to check out one of the new stoneware presses a couple of weeks ago and was impressed. Then, I delayed updating this page because, I couldn't get a quality picture (bad excuse I know). So thanks for putting the issue back in the forefront of my mind. You can see the result above.

They are still a very new product, of course, but as long no reports come in of flawed manufacture (the ones I saw were perfect), I reckon I will be buying one myself.

JP 4 years ago

My wife and I have a habit of breaking the glass ones and came across the newer Le Creuset stoneware French press - they are priced in between the stainless steel and glass, have you had/heard of any experience with them?

jelliott88 profile image

jelliott88 4 years ago

Nice hub. I just linked to it in my own hub about manual home-brewing methods! Great work.

Roman 4 years ago

Was just about to buy the Frieling one as I'm tired of spending money on broken glass but then I found this. As we all, already have much metallic intake from many other sources, i decided not to add another one to my diet.

Will Apse profile image

Will Apse 4 years ago Author

Thanks for pointing out that problem, Vanessa. I added a quick guide to the page above which should make things more clear even if the video glosses over that detail!

vanessa gabbiano 4 years ago

you know what i don't like about this video? you don't show the part where you add the coffee to the french press? i was under the assumption that you put in the coffee and then put the press in there and then add the water. see, you're not clear about this in your video which makes it hard to understand for people who never used a french press.

Will Apse profile image

Will Apse 5 years ago Author

I like real, hot coffee, so I warm the cups on a cold day!

Gary 5 years ago

One thing that helps the process is to put hot water into the press before everything else...after you grind the beans and heat up fresh filtered water ( best ) then pour out that water and put in your ground up beans and add fresh hot water...steep 4 minutes and you're good to go.

electricsky profile image

electricsky 5 years ago from North Georgia

I like the way the glass pots look. Thanks for sharing.

Will Apse profile image

Will Apse 6 years ago Author

Thanks for reminding me of the Bodum thermal pot, Jonsky. I went ahead and included it. I like the look of the Frieling better but I reckon plenty of people would choose the curvy beauty of the Bodum.

Jonsky profile image

Jonsky 6 years ago

I love the Bodum Thermal Press Pot; it keeps my coffee hot while I let it steep. Looks similar to the Freiling though.

Mike Chronos 6 years ago

French presses are so classic. The coffee seems to taste more flavorful with a press. I notice a difference from when I'm drinking my chronoscoffee blends from a press versus a coffee maker. I like how will says his impressed the ladies! Way to go.

iburahimu profile image

iburahimu 6 years ago

You certainly like coffee.

Me too!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

Ah ha! This explains why my son in his late 20's went out and bought a Bodum! Actually, even I was impressed with his coffee grinding and the press - I said wow (but I did wonder about this)! Now he and his new wife of 2 years have their own Bodum.

Will Apse profile image

Will Apse 6 years ago Author

Thx for dropping by Bk. I have a soft spot for the Bodum. It always impressed the ladies when I was younger. They thought it was sophisticated, which can tip the balance in those delicate coffee moments.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

Ah, the stainless steel one looks ideal, I've never seen it before. I have such an old coffee press and it may be time to replace it - and the idea of that steel one makes sense - I like coffee kind of hot.

Nice to meet you by the way. I'll follow you now so I can keep up!

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