Best French press — CNET

A French Press is one of the best ways to brew a flavorful cup of coffee at home. There is a large selection of brewersbut don’t let that intimidate you — the best French press options for brewing your java are a lot easier to use than you might think.

One thing to consider is whether your coffee brewing process can be easily adapted to a specific French Press. Then think about the features – do you want a stainless steel mug or a glass mug? You might think you need a small French Press because you’re the only coffee drinker in your house, but what if you make iced coffee?

I have personally used and tested a group of the best selling top French press models. And after grinding pounds of beans and downing dozens of cups of joe, here’s what I’ve learned in my quest for the best French press a coffee lover can buy. I update this list regularly.

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The Bodum Chambord has a classic French press design that hasn’t changed much since it first appeared in the 1950’s. Despite this, this French press coffee maker model brews great coffee that is strong, balanced and rich in flavor. It has a three-piece stainless steel filter and glass carafe, and its steel parts are also available in different finishes. I especially like the bright red version shown here.

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For only around $20, the Bodum Brazil delivers hot coffee that’s every bit as good as that found in the company’s more expensive Chambord model. To keep the price down, Bodum uses plastic instead of steel for some parts of the coffee maker. However, its carafe is made of borosilicate glass. The coffee I brewed in Brazil was satisfyingly strong yet balanced.

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The Veken French Press is very well equipped considering its low price. Inside the French Press Coffee Maker Kit you’ll find several tools you don’t see bundled together on other coffee press models: a fancy wooden mixing spoon, a cleaning stick, and a battery-powered milk frother for whipping cafe-style drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.

I also like the elegant copper finish of this French Press. It really sets it apart from other models I’ve seen. Most importantly, the Veken brews exceptionally delicious cups of coffee.

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The most expensive model in this group, the Frieling stainless steel press, is not exactly cheap. What you get for its high price is a heavy-duty, stainless steel pressed construction that’s built to last. Of all the French press coffee makers I’ve used, this stainless steel French press felt the most durable by far. The stainless steel jug 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 obstacle, this is the French Press for you.

We tested a range of French press coffee makers to find out which are the best.

Brian Bennett/CNET

We tested others

How we tested them

I am testing French press brewers similar to standard drip coffee machines. I start by hand washing and drying each product. Then I grind enough coffee beans to achieve a specific brewing ratio. For French Press brewing, that’s 4 ounces of ground coffee to 32 ounces of water.

We test French press coffee makers the same way we test standard drip machines.

Brian Bennett/CNET

I add then hot water (203 degrees F, 95 degrees C) or near-boiling water into brew chamber, stir coffee grounds and allow to stand for 4 minutes. After that, I drop the coffee plunger for each squeeze and pour a sample cup. Next, I take 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 is brewed coffee should be in the range of 19% to 22%. While this number alone doesn’t guarantee a tasty joe, it’s a strong indicator of it. Ultimately, the truth lies in a proper taste test.

Percentage of coffee extraction

French Press by Bodum Chambord

French press from Bodum Brasil

Hamilton Beach French Press

Coffee Gator French Press

OXO Brew Venture French Press Coffee Maker


The ideal range is between 19% and 22%.

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