French press coffee doesn't pull any punches in terms of flavor, yielding a result that's nearly as concentrated asor . And if used properly, a French press can produce delicious coffee that's equivalent to what you'll drink from the best . But while using a French press to brew coffee is a simple process, picking one to replace your coffee pot can be a challenge for many a coffee lover.
These brewers come in all kinds of designs and shapes , so choosing the right one is tricky. One thing to consider is whether your coffee brewing process can be easily adapted to a particular French press. Another factor is the French press's features. Do you want a stainless steel plunger? Or a certain type of French press carafe or glass beaker? Do you need a small French press because you're the only coffee drinker in your house? What if you're making iced coffee?
I've personally used and tested a group of the top-selling best French press models. And after grinding pounds of beans in an entirely different coffee machine and drinking scores of cups of joe, here's what I learned on my quest to find the best French press a coffee lover can buy. I update this list periodically.
The Bodum Chambord has a classic French press design that hasn't changed much from when it first hit the scene in the 1950s. Despite that, this French press coffee maker model brews great coffee that's strong, well-balanced and richly flavored. It has a three-part stainless steel filter, glass carafe, and its steel parts also come in various finishes. I especially like the vibrant red version shown here.
For just $20, the Bodum Brazil delivers hot coffee every bit as good as that made with the company's more expensive Chambord model. To cut down the price, Bodum uses plastic instead of steel for some of the coffee maker's parts. Its carafe, however, is borosilicate glass. The coffee I brewed in the Brazil was satisfyingly strong, yet balanced.
The Veken French press is very well equipped considering its reasonable price. Inside the French press coffee maker kit you'll find various tools you won't see bundled with other coffee press models: a fancy wooden mixing spoon, a cleaning wand and a battery-powered milk frother for whipping up cafe-style drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.
I also like the elegant copper finish on this French press. It really sets it apart from other models I've seen. Most importantly, the Veken brews outstandingly delicious cups of coffee.
The most expensive model in this group, the Frieling stainless steel press, doesn't come cheap. What you get for its steep price is a heavy stainless-steel press construction that's designed to last. Out of all the French press coffee makers I used, this stainless steel French press felt the most durable by far. The stainless steel carafe also has an insulated double wall that keeps coffee hot for hours.
Coffee I brewed in the Frieling came out well extracted yet strong. So if money is no barrier, this is the French press for you.
Others we tested
How we evaluated them
I test French press brewers much like I test standard drip coffee makers. I begin by hand-washing and hand-drying each product. Then I grind enough coffee beans to meet a specific brewing ratio. For French press brewing, that's 4 ounces of ground coffee to 32 ounces of water.
I then add(203 degrees F, 95 degrees C), or nearly boiling water, to the brewing chamber, stir the grounds and let them sit for 4 minutes. After that I drop the coffee plunger for each press and pour a sample cup. Next I draw a sample of the brewed coffee and measure its percentage of total dissolved solids. I use a pocket reflectometer for this test. From there I can calculate the extraction percentage for each batch of coffee I brew.
Ideally, the extraction percentage ofshould be in the range of 19% to 22%. Though this number alone doesn't guarantee delicious joe, it's a strong indicator of it. Ultimately the truth lies in a proper taste test.