French press coffee makers have been considered somewhat old-fashioned in recent years, but now they’re officially back in style. 

With a moderate amount of coffee potentially keeping strokes and dementia at bay, it pays to have a quick and easy way of brewing coffee and the French press fits the bill. 

Armed with more information about French press coffee, now’s the time to experiment with this classic brewing method. 

What is a French press coffee maker?

A French press, also known as a cafetiere or press pot, is a manual coffee maker. It consists of a carafe in which users mix coffee and water, a lid to keep heat in and a plunger that separates the grounds from the coffee once the brewing process is complete. While most French press coffee makers have glass carafes, you can also find models with stainless steel carafes that are often vacuum insulated to keep the coffee inside warm for longer.

Why do French presses make good coffee?

One of the main reasons French presses are back in style is because they make great coffee, but why? Using the French press method, ground coffee is steeped in water, rather than water simply passing through coffee, as it uses drip and pour-over brewing methods. Since the water is in contact with the ground coffee for a longer period and the grounds are completely saturated, you get more oils, terpenes, tannins and other compounds contributing to coffee’s rich flavor in your finished brew. Paper filters often absorb these oils and other compounds in drip brewers. In the French press, the mesh plunger filters the grounds from the coffee once brewing is complete, leaving them in the finished coffee, leading to the rich, oily quality.

How to use a French press

Despite being a manual process, it’s extremely easy to use a French press coffee maker. First, prepare the ground coffee to use in your French press. Ideally, you should grind whole beans yourself to medium-coarse grind size. Standard ground coffee is too fine for use in a French press and will result in bitter coffee and loose grounds left in your cup. 

Next, remove the plunger from the carafe and add the right amount of ground coffee to the carafe. The exact water to coffee ratio is up for debate by experts, and you may want to experiment over time. However, it’s recommended to start with 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every 6 ounces of water. 

Heat water to approximately 195-200 degrees, just a little below boiling point, and add roughly the same volume of water to the carafe as the volume of coffee already in there, mix and leave to bloom for 30 seconds. Then add the rest of the water, attach the lid and allow it to steep for 3-4 minutes. 

Finally, press down on the plunger slowly to filter out the grounds from the brewed coffee.

Best French press coffee makers

Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker

Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker

A high-quality French press that’s available in four sizes from 12-51 ounces. It’s durably made and the plunger does a great job of filtering out grounds. 

Sold by Amazon

Stanley French Press with Double Vacuum Insulation

Stanley French Press with Double Vacuum Insulation

The vacuum insulated stainless steel carafe keeps coffee warm for up to 4 hours, which is great if you want to drink your coffee through the day gradually. It has a large 48-ounce capacity and is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. 

Sold by Amazon

Mueller French Press

Mueller French Press

Not only does this French press have a double-walled vacuum insulated carafe, it features four layers of filtration in the plunger, so you aren’t left with any sediment in your cup. 

Sold by Amazon

OXO BREW Venture Shatter-Resistant Travel French Press

OXO BREW Venture Shatter-Resistant Travel French Press

Thanks to its shatter-resistant design, this French press is perfect for camping trips or traveling. 

Sold by Amazon

Primula Tempo French Press

Primula Tempo French Press

This compact, affordable French press is perfect for buyers on a budget. It filters out coffee grounds effectively and has a non-drip spout that pours nicely. 

Sold by Amazon

 

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