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The French Press coffee maker is one of the most popular ways to make coffee in America. It’s easy to use, and many people prefer it over drip machines or Keurigs because it provides you with a lot of control over the brewing process and makes it much easier to control the strength of your brew.
But, French Press coffee makers have been a popular way to brew coffee for decades. They produce a rich, flavorful cup of coffee that is just as delicious as any other method – and arguably more. The best part about French Press coffee makers is that they are pretty simple to use and require no electricity or batteries
This blog post will discuss what a French Press coffee maker is, how to use one, what features are important when buying one, and some product recommendations for different budgets & needs that are worth your time and money.
What Is a French Press Coffee Maker?
First, let’s talk about what a French press coffee maker is. A French Press can be used to make really high-quality coffee that tastes great. It’s also super easy to use and the brewing process gives you full control over how your coffee turns out.
It’s essentially a way to brew coffee that uses coarse ground beans and hot water. The coffee grounds are pressed down with the plunger, which removes the sediment from the bottom of the pot. There are many benefits to using this type of coffee maker, including making flavorful cups, not needing electricity or batteries for use, and being able to make multiple cups at once.
How Do French Press Coffee Makers Work?
To know how a French press coffee maker works, you should first know how it’s constructed. There are three main components that make up any kind of French press machine: The plunger, filter screens, and beaker. These pieces usually come apart easily for cleaning purposes but can get stuck if they aren’t cleaned properly after extended use.
The first part is the beaker, which holds all of your water and coffee grounds while they brew together. The lid fits over this pot and also contains a little plunger on the inside – when pushed down, this plunges any ground sediment out of the beaker.
The next two parts are also important – they’re simply filters that fit over the plunger and catch any coffee grounds as you push it down to separate them from your delicious brew. You can remove these for cleaning purposes, which is nice because otherwise, they might start clogging up with leftover debris after extended use.
There are also two other components: the plunger, and the filter screen.
A plunger is a part that you’ll push down in order to separate the coffee grounds from your drink. It sits inside of the beaker and has a filter screen attached to it, which separates ground beans from brewed coffee as you press it downwards.
A French Press needs two filters – one for outside of the plunger, and one on top so none of your delicious brews contains any coarse coffee bean debris!
Both pieces need to fit over their designated areas snugly without blocking too much space or slipping out when pressed into place. This will ensure that all of your coffee gets filtered properly and tastes just like what you want it to. You can also use fine mesh strainers instead if needed.
What Should You Look for in a French Press Coffee Maker?
Now that you know how it works, you need to understand what features are important. There are some key things to consider before purchasing your first or next French Press coffee maker.
The most important thing is the size of the pot itself – if you’re shopping online without seeing this in person, then make sure any measurements listed include both the beaker and lid together. A good rule of thumb is about eight cups worth of water capacity, but keep in mind that different brands may vary on their own terms.
You also want to find something with at least three filter screens included so they don’t clog up after extended use (if there aren’t enough filters, buy some additional ones). It’s also beneficial to find a French Press that has a good warranty included, as this will help ensure your satisfaction.
Cleaning is another important factor – if you can’t separate the filter screens from the beaker for cleaning purposes or re-use them after they’ve been through washing, then it may not be worth buying at all. Cleaning is such an important factor if you want to have continually good coffees. If you don’t like washing things by hand, make sure all pieces are dishwasher safe and won’t rust easily either.
If any of those things don’t work out well with your first purchase, make sure you choose something else instead as it might end up causing more problems than solutions later on down the road. Here are some of the most important things to look for when buying a French press coffee maker:
The size of the machine is vitally important as this will determine whether or not you’ll be able to store it in your kitchen. Make sure the beaker is around eight cups worth of water capacity (this can vary depending on the brand), and that you’re able to separate all pieces for cleaning purposes.
As well as the size of the press itself, you should also consider the capacity, and how much coffee it can actually fit inside it. Some French presses can make up to ten cups while others only do about four.
Make sure you choose a size that will work best for your needs and consider buying a separate smaller press if the capacity of one is too overwhelming, or a larger one if the option you have doesn’t quite hold enough.
A good French press coffee maker should have a good filter. Your filter should be three layers thick, made from stainless steel mesh, and fit snugly on both the plunger and beaker. Too many holes in a filter will lead to grit getting through, while too little may prevent your coffee from brewing properly or at all.
Ease of cleaning
It’s essential to have a French press that is easy to clean as coffee makers that are dirty and full of limescale will definitely brew disgusting coffee! Dishwasher safe is nice, but definitely make sure that it won’t rust easily and has detachable parts. Also, look for something that includes three or more filter screens so they don’t clog up after extended use.
The materials used in the construction of your French press are also important. Look for something that is made out of strong, durable materials like glass or stainless steel. If it has any plastic parts, then check to make sure they’re BPA-free and won’t break easily.
Materials go hand in hand with durability. If a French press is made out of cheap materials, then it won’t last very long. Look for something that has a strong construction and will hold up well over time with repeated use.
Warranty or Guarantee
An important aspect to look into before buying any kind of kitchenware is the warranty or guarantee included. Some manufacturers only offer a one-year warranty, while others offer lifetime guarantees.
If your French press is made out of cheap materials or won’t last very long with regular use, then make sure you choose something else instead as it might end up causing more problems than solutions later on down the road.
Finally, another important thing to look into when buying a French press is the price. These machines can range anywhere between $20 to well over $100, depending on what brand you purchase and how much coffee it can brew at once. Make sure to read reviews for any appliances before purchasing them so that you know exactly what your money will be going towards.
What are French Press Coffee Makers Made Of?
So, we’ve covered how important it is to consider the material of your French press coffee maker. But what are they usually made from?
Most French press coffee makers are made out of glass, stainless steel, or plastic. This is because the components need to be durable enough for regular use and dishwasher safe so that they can be cleaned after every use.
If you choose a machine that isn’t made from strong materials like stainless steel, then it might end up breaking easily if it’s dropped or knocked over. Unfortunately, the same can also be said for many glass presses.
Here are some of the most popular materials that a French press is made from:
Glass is a good choice for French press coffee makers and you’ll find many that are made from this material. It’s durable and easy to clean, however is more prone to breakage than other materials. We recommend choosing a double-walled press if you do decide to opt for glass to prevent this. Plus, if you choose this material make sure that the carafe doesn’t have any lead in it.
In general, most high-quality presses will be made out of stainless steel. They may be a little more expensive, but they will last you much longer and won’t rust or break down as easily, and won’t shatter when they’re dropped.
You may also find French press coffee makers made out of stone or metal. These are usually very expensive and are also much heavier. They’re also not normally dishwasher safe. Nonetheless, they are very attractive and make it easy to keep the coffee at the optimal temperature for longer periods of time.
As well as stone, ceramic French press coffee makers are also an option to consider. While they’re not as durable as stone, they can be a good choice if you just want it for your home or office use. They also come in a range of very attractive designs.
Finally, you may also find French press coffee makers made out of plastic. These are usually the cheapest machines on the market and if you do buy a plastic French press, then make sure it’s BPA-free. They’re not as durable and can be harder to clean, but if you don’t plan on using the machine very often then something simple like this, might just work for your needs.
How do you Make French Press Coffee?
While a French press coffee maker is relatively simple to use, there are still some steps that you need to follow when making your morning cup of joe.
In general, you only have two main steps involved in the process: add hot water and coarsely ground beans into the carafe and then slowly push down on the plunger until the brewing process is complete.
Here’s a quick guide on how to use one:
- First, decide whether you want to grind your own beans or use pre-ground coffee. If you’re using pre-ground coffee then make sure it has been measured out correctly before adding it into the carafe (usually with every tablespoon of the ground making up for one cup). You can also add some extra spices like cinnamon or cocoa powder if desired too.
- After that, pour in most of the hot water and let it sit for about 30 seconds so that all of your grounds are fully soaked. Then stir everything together slowly but thoroughly – this will help remove any clumps which might otherwise end up causing problems later.
- Finally, put the plunger into place and slowly press it down until you reach the bottom of the carafe. Leave out any coffee beans that are leftover at this point because they will just end up making your drink bitter.
And voila – enjoy your fresh cup of fresh French pressed coffee.
French Press Coffee Maker Best Use Tips
Here are some top tips for using a French press coffee maker:
- To warm your French press carafe, rinse it with hot water before brewing your coffee.
- For each cup, use one tablespoon of coffee grinds and one cup of water. Balance is the key to great French press coffee. Use too much or not enough water, and your brew won’t taste good.
- Keep your French press clean so you don’t have old grounds clogging the filter next time you brew.
- Don’t leave your coffee in the French press after it’s finished brewing. Pour it into a carafe to stop it from continuing to brew and becoming bitter.
- For French press coffee, use coarse grinds. It allows you to get the most flavor out of your cup without having any grit in it.
- Pour the water in slowly so you don’t get any ground particles into your coffee.
- For a stronger cup of the French press, add more coffee grounds to make it thicker and richer. For a weaker one, use fewer grinds or pour off some before pressing down the plunger.
- Brewing too much? Use leftovers to make iced coffee or cold brew or even add it to a sponge mix to create a delicious coffee cake.
Our Top French Press Coffee Maker Recommendations
Frieling Stainless Steel French Press Coffee Maker
This beautiful stainless steel French press comes with a two-stage filter, including a pre-filter that strains out the larger coffee grains and a second fine mesh filter to remove the final residue.
This French press is made of 18/10 stainless steel and features a full-length handle for easy lifting and pouring. Its double-wall design keeps heat four times longer than glass French presses. This makes it suitable for use in commercial kitchens, or cafes as well as your kitchen table.
While glass beakers are breakable and shatter easily, this stainless steel carafe is durable and won’t shatter. The only disadvantage is that you can’t tell how much coffee remains until after you’ve finished serving it by looking through the carafe.
The product is simple to take apart and is dishwasher safe, and the plunger does not need to be removed before washing.
Eileen French Press
In its stylish and contemporary frame, the Eileen by Bodum brewed a consistently well-balanced cup of coffee that also helped to keep your coffee warmer for longer. The carafe is protected from breaking by the sturdy frame, which is a common complaint among owners of glass French presses.
The Eileen is made of hardy stainless steel which makes it lightweight, durable, and easy to clean. It’s also dishwasher safe (although hand washing will certainly extend its life).
The plunger has a stainless steel mesh filter that does an excellent job of separating the grounds from your coffee. The screen is sturdy, well-fitted, and easily pushes down, leaving barely any sediments. It’s also available in multiple colors including black, chrome, gold, copper, and white.
Kona French Press Coffee Maker
The Kona French Press Coffee Maker is encased in an inner sleeve that prevents chips, dents, and shattering. The press is on the lighter side due to the combination of a glass body and a plastic sleeve. It’s both portable and sturdy, but unfortunately, it’s also more prone to tipping over.
With hundreds of happy consumers, it’s an all-time favorite on the internet and has thousands of excellent evaluations. It’s well-designed and simple to maintain, with a low price tag that makes it easily accessible. It’s very inexpensive, so it’s ideal for tight budgets. This one is dishwasher safe as well, and available in a 10 or 34-ounce option, which makes it even more convenient for busy families.
P7 French Press
Although the price tag might seem a little daunting, the P7 French press has been dubbed “the king of all presses,” and, thankfully, it lives up to its reputation. Furthermore, unlike most stainless steel French press models, this one does not make a scraping sound when plunging.
The fine, double micro-filter has a silicone lip that fits snuggly inside the carafe. To guarantee that all of the residual oils and silt are removed, we recommend separating the two micro-filters each time they are cleaned.
There’s plenty of space above the maximum fill line to avoid spills, as well as double-walled insulation to keep your coffee hot. The pressurized coffee comes out consistently piping hot, smooth, and delicious, easily making it one of the best French presses on this list.
Le Creuset Stone French Press
This stone press by Le Creuset is a durable French press with an unsurprising weight and durability as well as being ideal for keeping your coffee nice and warm. The position of the handle not only makes it easier to pour but also reduces the risk of breakage and means you could pour it one-handed.
The carafe can be used for a variety of things because it’s heatproof, dishwasher-safe, and oven-safe. The mesh press mechanism is constructed of stainless steel and can be readily removed and cleaned. It’s also safe for usage in the freezer, microwave, and stovetop.
As it’s available in a variety of colors, you could personalize it to match your present Le Creuset cookware or to bring a pop of color to your kitchen and table, and the enamel finish protects against scratches and stains.
What Criteria Did We Use to Come Up With These Selections?
In order for a French Press coffee maker to be considered for our list, it had to meet certain criteria. First and foremost, the coffee press had to produce a wonderfully smooth cup of coffee. It should be able to produce the perfect blend of ground coffee, hot water, and time.
Second, the French Press had to have a durable design that would last for years without breaking or leaking. It had to be made out of durable materials that won’t chip, dent, or shatter. And all, or most of the materials used in its construction should be high-quality so as not to affect the taste of your beloved brews.
Lastly, it had to be safe and easy to use for those who are unfamiliar with how a French Press works. It should be easy to clean and maintain without too many complicated parts, or with no tricky parts either inside or outside of the carafe.
We also considered the overall value of the French press coffee maker based on its price tag versus what it offers consumers relative to other available models.
What Grind Should You Use With Your French Press Coffee Maker?
The most common grind size is coarse, but you can also find medium or fine options available too. If the beans are ground too finely then it may be harder to push down on the plunger and your drink will end up being weaker than desired.
Can You Use a Fine Grind?
It’s not advisable to use a fine grind with a French press coffee maker because the end result will come out rather gritty. A fine grind is better suited for an espresso instead.
When Should You Use Coarse Ground Beans?
Coarse grounds are best because they’re easier to press down on the plunger and provide a richer taste than other options. Coarse coffee will also make it easier for your French press machine to filter out any bits of bean or leaves that might otherwise end up in your drink later on.
What Types of Coffee Grind are There?
There are many different types of coffee grinds, but the most common ones include:
- Extra course – which has a similar consistency to rock salt,
- Course – which is slightly finer than kosher salt but not as fine as table salt,
- Medium course – which is slightly chunkier than sand,
- Medium-fine – this is a similar consistency to table salt. This type of coffee ground is best for espresso machines.
- Fine – even finer than table salt.
- Extra-fine – this will feel similar to flour.
As you can see, there are a lot of different options out there. But if you want to make your morning cup as delicious as possible then we recommend using coarse ground beans with your French press machine.
Do You Need to Grind Your Own Beans?
It’s not necessary to grind your own beans to use in a French press, and it’s definitely easier for beginners to use pre-ground coffee instead. However, grinding the beans yourself will give you better control over how strong or weak your drink turns out. It will also prevent any added preservatives that are sometimes found in pre-ground options – this is especially important if you’re on a specific diet.
How Does Drinking From a French Press Coffee Maker Affect Your Health?
There are a lot of speculations around drinking from a French press coffee maker and how it will affect your health. The truth is that it can actually be very beneficial for your health if you drink coffee in moderation.
However, some people recommend drinking from a French press machine instead of other types like an espresso maker because the end result has less caffeine and more antioxidants.
What are Some Benefits of Drinking From a French Press?
Drinking from a French press provides many different antioxidants which help boost your immune system. In addition, they also have powerful anti-aging effects due to their ability to protect cells against oxidative stress. They’re even known as “nature’s most potent antioxidant”.
Drinking from this type of coffee machine will also raise your metabolism, decrease the risk of depression, increase brain function, and even reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 7%.
However, as with anything, there are two sides to this coin.
Too Much Caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it’s possible for it to cause heart palpitations or high blood pressure. It’s also possible to overdose on it, or for caffeine to become addictive which can make you mentally dependant on your French press machine in the future.
In general, the level of caffeine you’ll need to consume to overdose is around 600mg. But one cup of French press coffee generally contains about 100mg or less – so you’d need to be drinking more than 6 cups of coffee to overdose.
Plus, this isn’t specific to French press coffee – consuming more than 6 cups of any particularly strong coffee or caffeinated drink will have similar risks.
Too High Cholesterol
Because French press coffee doesn’t use paper filters, it leaves a substance called cafestol in the drink after brewing.
While cafestol can be good for your health in small quantities, too much of it has been shown to raise bad cholesterol levels over time – especially if you’re also consuming a lot of foods that are high in saturated fat or trans fats like butter and cheese.
However, once again, this study has been shown to only be relevant if you’re drinking more than 5 cups of coffee per day. This is much higher than the average of 3, and therefore, most people using a French press coffee maker should be comfortably below the limit.
Answer: There are a lot of different options out there, and they each have their own unique benefits. If you’re going to be using your French press machine frequently then we recommend investing in a more durable option like the Eileen of the Frieling models listed in this article. Both will last for a long time if properly taken care of.
Answer: A stainless steel French press is typically the most durable but if you’re going to be using it a lot, we recommend looking into the double-walled models listed in this article that will keep your drink hot for twice as long.
Answer: To properly care for your French press machine, rinsing out immediately after use is definitely important – but if you’re going to be using it daily, then we recommend also cleaning your French press machine thoroughly at least once a week by taking it apart and disinfecting and sanitizing all surfaces.
Answer: Just like ground vs whole bean coffee, it will be a bit of trial and error to figure out what you like best. If you have access to a coffee shop that sells both whole beans and ground coffee then we recommend going with the whole bean option and then grinding them yourself into a coarse grind. However, regardless of what beans you choose, be sure to use a coarse grind with a French press coffee maker.
Answer: It certainly takes a bit more time to make French press coffee – but if you’re willing to put in the extra effort, it’s definitely worth it. The taste of French press coffee is typically richer and fuller than what you would get from an automatic drip machine or Keurig-style single-serve unit.
Answer: There is no exact time you should steep your French press coffee. If the plunger isn’t going up and down a lot, then it’s probably safe to drink – but if it takes too long for the plunger to go back down, consider steeping for an additional 30 seconds or so before drinking.
Answer: You can – but the resulting flavor will typically be more bitter and weaker than if you were to use a coarsely ground coffee option.
Answer: Yes – you can make cold coffee in a French press, but it may not be the best option because the machine is designed for making a hot brew.
Answer: While both types of brewing will produce hot coffee, that’s where the similarities end. A French press coffee maker uses a plunger and mesh filter to separate the ground beans from the hot water, while an automatic drip machine will use paper filters – which can affect the taste in some cases.
Answer: While it’s certainly possible to spend over $100 on a French press coffee maker, there are also some options around the $20 mark. While you get what you pay for with any type of product, we’ve found that if your budget is around $50 then you will be able to find a high-quality press.
Answer: It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how long a French press coffee maker will last. If you’re someone who uses their machine on a daily basis, then it could be around 2 years of usage before the unit starts to show some signs of wear and tear that cannot be fixed with simple cleaning and care. But, if taken care of, your press will last 6 years or longer.
Many people are in the market for a new French press coffee maker. This can be challenging when there are so many different types on the market to choose from, but don’t worry – we have your back. We hope this article has helped you learn what makes up a good French Press Coffee Maker and how to find one that works best for your needs. Happy pressing!