Updated: June 8, 2015

French Press Reviews:

Do you like your coffee strong? Even thick? Then a french press is the way to go. French presses are used around the world and called many names such as press pot, coffee plunger, cafetiere, and coffee press. Some coffee experts claim the french press device may have started in Italy, but the people of France made it popular and hence the name stuck with them. The way they work is that a plunger is pressed down the cylinder shaped jug once the coffee grounds have brewed with the water. This style of "plunger coffee" uses a nylon mesh as the filter although you will often get sediment in your coffee adding to the stronger flavor. French press coffee doesn't last as long as traditional drip brewed coffees, so after about 20 minutes a typical 8-cup french press is done. Another important factor that we found on several coffee sites is that you should use a burr mill as your grinder and not the type with the blades. You want coarse coffee grinds for a french press so that the grinds don't get through the filter.
french press


Buying Guide - The vast majority of french presses were made of glass, but that is slowly changing as manufacturers are trying new materials. You can now find a press pot made from stainless steel, polycarbonate plastic, and even glass/steel combinations. When choosing a coffee press, you will need to decide on how much coffee you will be brewing much like a traditional coffee maker. They come in 4 cup, 8 cup, 12 ounce, 3 cup, and 34 ounce capacities. The top brand names are Bodum, Bonjour, Frieling, Nissan, Aerobie, and West Bend. Prices range from a low of about $10 for the BonJour Hugo 3-Cup Unbreakable French Press and up to about $150 for the Alessi Aldo Rossi Coffee or Tea Press Filter - 8 cup. We went in search of consumer reviews on french presses and found several informative opinions online and in the Wall Street Journal. Online, you will find fantastic customer feedback on sites like Amazon.com, Coffeegeek.com, Coffeereview.com. The Journal writes up on the leading brands as well with their opinions on styling, taste, and functionality. We found the best selection online at Amazon with all the top brands listed although you can find french presses in regular stores like Target, Williams Sonoma and Crate & Barrel. You can browse their top selling french presses online here.

Best French Press:

The Bodum Chambord 8 cup French Press ($40) is a top seller on Amazon.com and customer reviews are overwhelmingly positive on this model. Bodum french presses are reputable and produce some strong coffee. The Chambord press gives you 32 ounces of coffee and the glass carafe makes for easy cleaning. The stainless steel press mechanism is easy to use and the coffee brewed will provide plenty of flavor for you and your guests. Some owners complain that the serving capacity is too small (a cup is only 4 ounces in coffee terms). Most people who bought this unit, though, say the coffee is superior to your regular brews and once the water is heated you get your coffee in about 4 minutes. You can get the 12 cup model for $45 if you need more coffee.

AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker:

We found this model included in several reviews and although it's not a french press, it does a similar job and works well when camping or backpacking. It does use paper filters and makes espresso or coffee. The Aerobie AeroPress has a syringe like look to it and you press the plunger down after you have stirred the ground coffee and water together. At $25 it may not be the most sophisticated coffee maker, but reviews and owner opinions were very favorable (71of 77 users gave it 5 stars). You can find it on Amazon.com or go to the manufacturers website at Aerobie.com.

Stainless Steel French Press:

We found the Frieling Stainless-Steel 35-Ounce French Press ($58) listed on Amazon.com with superb customer reviews. You can also find similar models on Williams-Sonoma.com that are 20 ounces ($50) and 40 ounces ($70). The Frieling Thermal French Press is beautiful and consumers say it is "definitely worth the money" and "one of a kind". A few people decided to go with the Frieling over the Bodum and say they are not disappointed at all. Many owners say they like the insulated effect of the carafe which keeps the coffee hot for hours. Another top seller is the Thermos Nissan 1.0 L /34 oz. Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Gourmet Coffee Press ($30) which is hard to beat for price. See all the top rated stainless steel french presses here.


Electric French Press Coffee Maker:

The West Bend 57040 4 Cup Electric French Press ($40) has a start switch with an automatic shutoff for excellent temperature control. The carafe is cord free allowing you to serve your guests easily. Reviewers note that the french press makes for great coffee or tea. Overall reviews are mixed on this model, but many owners say they like the stainless steel plunger and filter. You can read more reviews online at Amazon.com and compare this West Bend press pot to others in this category.