The French press, also known as a piston or plunger coffee makers, is very popular because it is a simple way to prepare a delicious coffee with little effort.
It has a straightforward mechanism, consisting of a glass jar where the ground coffee and boiling water are poured and a piston or plunger that serves to press the residues at the end of the preparation. They are also known as “French coffee machines“, as a derivation of the name… although this is not to be confused with the country of origin of their manufacture (which can be any other country).
It is not the most popular method of production on the Internet, but it has a sufficient number of followers to give it a deserved place on our pages. It is a very simple method, which requires less preparation and skill than others, clean, and very economical. Neither the coffee nor the french press itself has to be expensive.
If you don’t know how brew coffee in french presses, or are just curious to learn more about them, this guide will help you.
- 1 French Press: Origin and basic concepts
- 2 Where to buy a french press?
- 3 The best brands of french presses 2021
- 4 Best french presses of 2021
- 5 What is the best french presses of 2021?
- 6 Components and parts of a French press
- 7 What do you need to brew coffee with a french press?
- 8 How to use a french press
- 9 What should coffee be like for a french press coffee machine?
- 10 What is French press coffee like?
- 11 French press or Italian coffee maker?
- 12 Spare parts for french press
- 13 The best cheap french press
- 14 Stainless steel french press
- 15 Small french press
- 16 Large french press (1 litre)
French Press: Origin and basic concepts
Piston coffee makers or French presses date from France (hence their name) in the mid-nineteenth century but were patented by the Italian Attilio Calimani in 1929. The french press coffee makers are sold in different sizes, so we can adapt our coffee maker to the preparation needs we have at home.
The only disadvantage of coffees with a french press is that they are not entirely instantaneous, as the product must be left to stand for 3-4 minutes before serving.
However, its preparation is 100% mechanical and requires little experience or special skills. Preparing coffee with the french press is very accessible to the general public, although other types of coffee makers are more widespread on the Internet.
Also, the preparation of coffee with french press must follow specific rules, at the risk of spoiling the drink. The most delicate is to serve the coffee just at the moment it is prepared. We cannot let it rest longer than it should because then the coffee will get a bitter aftertaste (on extraction).
If left for less time than it should be, the coffee will taste sourer (this is because the first thing that comes out of the coffee beans are the acids).
If you are interested in buying a french press online, you will be excited to take a look at some of the leading models on the market here:
Where to buy a french press?
In many supermarkets, you will be able to buy cheap french presses (generally the most sold models), but if you are looking for a specific brand or prestigious french presses, the best option is to buy your coffee maker online.
On Amazon, you’ll find a lot more variety and better prices than in physical stores, for the simple reason that these types of coffee makers are not in the majority with Internet consumers. If you try to buy a french press in a supermarket, the logical thing is that you only find fundamental models of poor quality.
The best brands of french presses 2021
The french press method of brewing coffee is a very particular one, and therefore, many of the best brands are not the classics or the best known in the Internet coffee sector. Even so, many people are familiar with the brands of french presses that we are going to highlight below. All of them, for one reason or another, constitute the avant-garde and reference in this segment of coffee makers. We begin:
Bodum french press
There’s no doubt about it: this is the best brand of french presses in the world. Both for the quality of its models and for the impressive variety of pieces that we find in its catalogue. Expensive, cheap, designer, large, small french presses. We assure you that you will find the french press coffee maker you are looking for in this brand.
Bodum can be described as one of the few European manufacturers specializing in french presses, and it is no coincidence that several of the best-selling and most popular french presses on the Internet belong to this firm.
We are not going to go any further because we have already talked about them on the dedicated page of your brand. If you want to learn more, read here: all Bodum french presses.
Renberg french press
Renberg is a Central European brand, which we also think is worth highlighting when it comes to french presses. The reason for this is the exceptional price-performance ratio of its models.
Renberg’s french press coffee makers are quite varied, although their catalogue is not as broad as Bodum’s one. But at least we can find in it both plastic coffee makers, very colourful, and pieces made of stainless steel or aluminium, more sober but also higher quality.
In short, when buying a Renberg piston coffee maker, you can be sure to take home one of the best quality-price coffee makers on the market.
- Thickness: 0.4 mm
- Stainless steel handle and filter
- Heat resistant upto 120 degree Celsius
Quid french press
Finally, we would also like to highlight the Quid brand french presses in this sector. Why? For its price. Quid is the brand with the cheapest french presses. If you want to buy a french press online for little money, you will find two exciting options: Quid Ceylon and Quid Fiona.
These two french presses have in common, besides their low price, the fact that they are made of sturdy plastic, and the fact that they have daring designs with very cheerful and loud colours. Take a look:
SILBERTHAL french press
SILBERTHAL is a German manufacturer of top-of-the-range articles, which distinguishes itself by seeking excellence in all its compositions: SILBERTHAL’s french presses only use the best materials, the best finishes and the most exclusive designs.
All are made of stainless steel and are significant — the best choice without a doubt for regular users and die-hard amateurs of French press coffee.
Bialetti french press
The leading brand of Italian coffee machines could not be left out of this juicy segment of manual coffee-making utensils. They present us with several models, among which we highlight the Bialetti Preziosa and Bialetti Trendy french press, which follow the same parameters of quality and excellence that characterise their entire catalogue. Almost all of them are available in the 1-litre size and only a few in smaller sizes.
Best french presses of 2021
An inexperienced user will usually ask himself, “Which is the best piston coffee maker of 2021?” Before evaluating the different options offered by the market.
But, that’s not what it’s all about.
French presses are characterized by the fact that they all work with the same mechanism, which is entirely manual. So the differences when preparing French Press coffee are not determined by the brewer but by your expertise with the process and the raw material you use (ground coffee).
When buying a French press online, you will be able to determine the following three essential factors:
- Size: 0.35 litres, half a litre, 0.7 litres or even 1-litre french presses, which are the biggest french presses you will find. Naturally, no one is better than another. Choose the size that best suits the amount of coffee you’re brewing. If in doubt, grab a set of several french presses of different sizes.
- Material: The glass will always be made of borosilicate glass, but the body or the structure around it can be more or less dense and made of different materials (resin, plastic, stainless steel or aluminium). The material of the French press does not determine the quality of the coffee you are going to prepare, but it does help to prolong the useful life of the piece. And it has a significant influence on the final price.
- Price: Piston coffee makers are usually inexpensive, but the above two aspects can influence their final price. Larger or better material coffee makers will always be a little more expensive.
- French press coffeemaker serves 3 cups
- Made from heat resistant borosilicate glass
- Stainless Steel Frame and filter parts
- Patented safety lid prevents splashing of liquids while pressing
What is the best french presses of 2021?
When you are evaluating and choosing between several models, the usual thing is that you are assailed several doubts of the type Which french presses do I buy for a gift? Which french presses do you recommend for less than 30 pounds? Which french presses is better for my house and my coffee consumption?
Well, the best french press is the one that, combining the above three factors, best suits your needs. You should choose a French press of the right size for your consumption (press coffee should be consumed; it should not be overheated) and the best possible material without exceeding your allocated budget.
Luckily, most major french presses are manufactured and distributed in various sizes to choose from. So, once you select a model that suits you (based on price and design), then you can choose the format you prefer. As an example, here are several options for the Bodum Chambord:
Even so, several reference pieces are widely accepted as the best French presses on the market. Among the most sold french presses on the Internet are always models such as Bodum Brazil, Bodum Chambord, or Quid Ceylon.
Components and parts of a French press
Piston or French press coffee makers consist of two components: the container and the piston:
- A glass or plastic container. Where all the elements are poured, and the coffee is infused. The outer casing is usually made of stainless steel and also often incorporates a small handle that facilitates the manipulation of the coffee maker.
- The piston or plunger, which gives the pressurized plunger its name. It is a small plunger with the same circumference as the glass carafe, which is used to press the coffee beans once they have infused into the water. The plunger has a filter at the lower end so that, when it reaches the bottom of the coffee maker, the water can be filtered but not the coffee grounds, which are thus left at the bottom. In the upper end, we will find a small handle or knob, which allows us to raise and lower the plunger with comfort.
In the following image, from an empty French press, we can see the whole structure:
This is exactly the same configuration and components used in french press teapots (in this case, modified with the presence of an infuser to hydrate the tea leaves).
What do you need to brew coffee with a french press?
One of the significant advantages of making coffee with a french presses is its simplicity. You need:
- Piston coffee maker (logical)
- Hot water (not more than 95º C)
- Ground coffee (coarse grind)
How to use a french press
If you don’t know how french press coffee is made, don’t worry because we’ll explain it to you here. Preparing a coffee in a french press is very simple. There are no configurations or technology involved (for this reason, they are also usually cheaper than the average), and anyone can do it at home. It’s just a matter of learning all the steps well.
First of all, make sure that the pot is completely clean and dry. You should take it as your customers to clean it carefully after use, always. Remember that the liquid will be in contact with the brewer for several minutes, so any foreign residue will have a good chance of being transmitted to the final drink.
Well, let’s get started. The first thing to do is remove the lid and filter from the brewer. From then on, follow these instructions:
- Pour the ground coffee into the bottom of the brewer. The amount will depend on the proportion you like the most and the amount of water you are going to use. The standard recommendation is a spoonful of coffee (7 or 8 grams) per cup (150 ml of water), but this is best adapted to your tastes.
- Pour the water over the coffee. Ideally, the water should not be boiling or just boiled, but let it boil for about 20-30 seconds after bringing it to a boil to let it drop a little. If you have an electric heater handy, keep this reference: the ideal temperature is around 92º C. If you want to obtain the best result, pour the water with circular movements over the whole surface of the coffee maker. It will ensure that the beans soak evenly.
- Stir the coffee. It is time to stir all the preparation so that the coffee mixes with the water. Try not to use elements that could scratch the inside of the press.
- Rest for 4 minutes. Put the lid that you removed at the beginning, as well as the filter (so that the heat does not dissipate), and let the mixture rest for about 4 minutes. When you have finished, and before the next step (pressing), it is advisable to stir it again a little.
- It is the crucial moment in the preparation of coffee with the french press: don’t overdo it. It is usually recommended to have a clock to the side and take as a reference the mark of 4 minutes maximum. Keep in mind that the grains are dissolving minute by minute; if you go too far, the bitterness of the drink will increase exponentially.
- Press your coffee: Have you ever wondered why this system is called french press? In this step, we must lower the filter to press the sediments and deposit them at the bottom. Thanks to the filter, the residues will be separated from the liquid. Once this is done, we have to wait a few seconds for the coffee to settle. This step is also responsible for the name “pressurized french press”, as this type of coffee maker is also known.
- Serve it now: If you leave it resting, as we have already said, the dreaded over-extraction will occur, and you don’t want to try the result.
Now that you know how a french press works, you no longer have an excuse to try this interesting brewing method. In any case, if you still have doubts after this, don’t forget to watch these interesting videos where professionals tell you first-hand all the secrets about how to prepare coffee in a French press.
What should coffee be like for a french press coffee machine?
For the french press, we should use coarsely ground coffee, as we explain in this article: types of ground coffee. This thickness translates into a greater surface area of contact with water, and therefore (by work and grace of the infusion) in higher extraction of flavour.
If you use an excessively finely ground coffee, you will barely manage to infuse it in the 4 minutes required. You will get a brew with no colour or flavour.
What is French press coffee like?
With the french press, you get a very aromatic coffee, tasty and full-bodied, a product of the infusion time that is left for the beans to release all the oils and nuances to the drink. These oils, with other preparation methods, are not directly extracted or lost or are absorbed by paper filters in drip coffee machines.
In our case, because they are present in the beverage, they are responsible for the fact that coffee with a french press has a more consistent and thick appearance than other coffees.
Coffee prepared with a french press has nothing to do with other types of coffee. For example, espressos are much more concentrated and make it possible to distinguish less between flavours.
In a french press coffee maker, the whole liquid is soaked with aromas, nuances, oils, sugars, chemical components. All the essence of the coffee you are going to drink at the end. For this reason, french presses will always have a little more residue and caffeine than espresso. And consequently, it is recommended to use 100% Arabica coffee.
French press or Italian coffee maker?
This question often arises because of the lack of knowledge among consumers about the different types of the coffee maker, brewing methods, and the coffees obtained with each one.
An Italian coffee maker, or Moka, is used to make espresso. It is a much more concentrated coffee. The coffee made with the French press is different. For the avoidance of doubt, we advise you to read our guide of Italian coffee makers and learn what type of coffee is prepared with them.
Which is better, a french press or an Italian coffee maker? Well, this is a question for which there is no answer. It doesn’t make sense. It depends on the type of coffee you like to drink. No more and no less.
Spare parts for french press
Buying spare parts for french presses is very common because these types of coffee makers have two elements that are essential for their operation and which are entirely independent of each other: the glass cup or receptacle and the plunger.
The glass container can fall, break, scratch; it is a very fragile element due to its own constitution, as it happens, for example, with the glass jars of filter coffee makers.
When buying a spare part for the glass of your French presses, you have to make sure that its size fits perfectly with your piece (and if it is the spare part of the same model and brand as the one that has been broken, so much the better).
On the other hand, the plunger or filter is responsible for pressing the coffee and filtering the coffee grounds so that they remain at the bottom of the glass. Without it, you cannot separate the drink itself from the ground coffee. It is an elongated handle with a mesh filter at one end. This filter is the one that can be broken most frequently, although fortunately, it is cheap and easy to replace. A very simple element, but that yes: it must have exactly the same diameter as the inside of your glass.
You can buy spare parts online for your french presses. Usually, all you have to do is look for the brand, and the manufacturer itself will offer you the options available. Here are some examples:
The best cheap french press
Well, this is perhaps a redundant paragraph when it comes to articles such as the french presses, which are in themselves quite cheap. Even so, we can always make distinctions and ask ourselves questions such as. Which is the cheapest french presses? Where do you buy the cheapest french presses?
As we’ve already mentioned in this guide, french presses are usually affordable, but there are expensive models that belong to prestigious brands, bear the signature of a designer, or use materials such as stainless steel in their casing. If we discard all of these, we are left with the cheapest french presses on the market.
They probably belong to brands you don’t know and are not built with steel but with plastic or resin, but their price does not exceed 10-15 pounds and allow you to try this attractive method of brewing without risking too much budget in the attempt.
Here is a list of the best cheap french presses you can find on the Internet:
Stainless steel french press
Fans of french press, who use their french presses daily, will typically have at home a set of 2 or 3 pieces of different sizes. And they won’t mind spending a little more to enjoy a top-of-the-range french press, with stainless steel casing, which in addition to presenting a more attractive design will always have more exceptional durability and resistance to shocks.
When we talk about buying a stainless steel french press, we are always referring to the structure that holds the glass cup inside and sometimes also to the material of the lid that closes the plunger. These are some of the best stainless steel french press you can find today:
Small french press
If you’re curious to try french press coffee, you may not want to involve your family and roommates, so you’ll need a coffee maker for yourself. Or maybe you live directly alone and don’t need to brew more than one or two cups of coffee at the same time.
The size of your french presses is no small matter since, as you have read in this guide, coffee prepared with the french press should not be overheated. Better at the moment.
Which are the smallest french press? Well, the smallest size you will find in the market is 0.3 or 0.35 litres. A third of a litre, to understand each other. If you know of any french press model that sells in a smaller size, do not hesitate to let us know in the comments.
If you want to buy a small french press (or a third of a litre, which is the same thing), here are some options:
Large french press (1 litre)
At the other extreme, we find the need to buy a large french press when we frequently attend visits or meetings of several people. We can’t prepare one or two coffees individually, because the process of making French Press coffee takes 4 or 5 minutes, so it’s a good idea to make all the coffee you need at once.
And for these occasions, you need to buy a large french press.
What are the biggest french press today? Well, the 1.5-litre ones. We don’t know of any larger pieces than these. If you want to buy a 1-litre french press, and you don’t know where the shots go in terms of price, or what models are made in this size -not everyone has it- then check out the list below: the best large French presses on the market.