Ground Down: 10 Best French Press Coffee Makers

Coffee from a French press is pure joy. Using the compression method of mashing the coffee to the bottom, while never removing the grounds from the water helps give it more potency and a stronger, richer, more full flavor. If you’re like many Americans and haven’t given this style of coffee a shot, you owe it to yourself to at least try it. When French press is done in the right pot with the proper grind, it’s a thing of beauty that will alter your morning routine forever. It can also mean less money wasted on filters and expensive pots where you’re paying for features you never use.

The reason for the better flavor and more natural tastes that come from using a French press are due to no oils being lost on paper filters as grounds are removed. Similarly, the oils aren’t caught on the plastic parts that are used in most coffee makers. They stay with the brew in a French press, which adds more to the mixture. In turn, it pops when it hits your palette. So that you can have this experience yourself without being led astray, we’ve found the 10 best French press coffee makers to be had.

KONA French Press Coffee Tea and Espresso Maker

KONA French Press Coffee Tea & Espresso Maker

Pro: HDPE (high density polyethylene) lid
Con: Screen frays with repeated uses and washings

Ever Vigilant: French presses are often inexpensive because they are broken so often when compared with their drippy counterparts. French presses are more exposed, which is why KONA decided to add an attractive wrap, handle, and base to the borosilicate glass body. The brew can still be seen through the side for proper immersion as it is mashed by the stainless infuser filter, but it’s harder to break than naked glass.

Purchase: $29

Grosche Madrid

Grosche Madrid

Pro: Secondary filter on lid removes finer grounds
Con: Parts are easily bent

Caged Beast: Rather than toss out the glass carafe altogether, Grosche made the Madrid with a roll cage so that there was some hope of it surviving an encounter with your kitchen floor. More to add striking accents than to truly protect the body, the steel wire frame is just the icing. The cake itself is the elegantly simple way the Madrid manages to steep teas and strain coffee with predictable richness each time.

Purchase: $30

AeroPress Coffee Maker

AeroPress Coffee Maker

Pro: Aerobie customer service is amazing
Con: Paper filter removes oils

Study Buddy: The AeroPress coffee maker should be handed out the moment you enroll in college. It’s as basic as coffee makers get with an approach that cuts frills to the quick. While the Aeropress looks more like a bike pump than a coffee pot, with the full immersion style and sealed cylinder, the potency of the coffee increases even as acidity drops. When all is said and done, you’ll get a smooth brew that will get you jolted to study for midterms.

Purchase: $30

SterlingPro French Coffee Press

SterlingPro French Coffee Press

Pro: Double screen
Con: Difficult to clean

Little Things: Given the simple nature of the device, many French presses are almost carbon copies of one another. It might be hard to tell them apart by look, but the SterlingPro is easily found by flavor. Plastic and metal components within the coffee maker itself touch the coffee as little as possible and are made to prevent adulterating the flavor. It’s this attention to the little things that will put this head and shoulders above any doppelgängers.

Purchase: $30

Bodum Chambord

Bodum Chambord

Pro: Works quickly on small pots
Con: Bleeds heat quickly

Understated: Like a 50’s diner, there’s a certain throwback sensibility inherent in the Chambord. It tends to blend in with any decor, disappearing like a good appliance and then bubbling up your favorite morning concoction when needed. It feels smaller than its 34 oz capacity, making it good for apartment living where space is hard to come by. The parts are all dishwasher safe for a faster cleanup to go along with it’s short-wait brew cycle, making it one of the most low-maintenance presses ever made.

Purchase: $33

Le Creuset Stoneware French Press

Le Creuset Stoneware French Press

Pro: Enamel is non-porous
Con: QC has dropped at Le Creuset recently

Like Mother Made: Don’t let the sweet stoneware exterior lead you astray. While the outside is a quaint, glazed, high-fired piece of crockery, the plunger and mesh are all stainless steel. Stonewear has most of the same flavor-resisting properties as glass, so it won’t taint your coffee after repeated use. What stoneware does that glass doesn’t is provide a thermal shield for keeping your coffee hot and protecting your skin when you handle it.

Purchase: $66

Hario Olive Wood Double Walled Coffee Press

Hario Olive Wood Double Walled Coffee Press

Pro: Wood is removable
Con: Easily broken

The Chalice: Poetry in glass and wood, the press is artistry in operation. The glass body doesn’t allow adulterants to enter your coffee, even as you are protected by the heatproof, double-walled construction that concentrates warmth away from your hands, or the hands of your family. The metal parts are completely stainless, and can be easily replaced years from now, rather than buying a whole new pot.

Purchase: $89

GSI Outdoors Java Press

GSI Outdoors Java Press

Pro: No glass canister
Con: Requires screwdriver to take apart

Exit Strategy: Coffee is imperative for camping or backpacking, but if you’re a French press drinker, your delicate instruments for brewing coffee are as liable to end up in pieces as you are to get a caffeine fix. The Java Press is the simple answer. It’s a mug, it’s a brewer, it’s BPA-Free and shatter-resistant so that it can live in your cup holder or make the trip up Olympus just to prove it can. A ring plunger avoids making your coffee into mud, so you can still sip happily, even when going mobile.

Purchase: $90

Frieling Polished

Frieling Polished

Pro: Retains heat longer than glass
Con: Sides are opaque

Shine Job: “Understated” is often the word used to describe the common French press machines. The Frieling is anything but “understated.” It bears a mirror finish that catches light whether you want it to or not, begging to be admired. The Polished line ranges from 8 to 36 ounces, with plenty of proper steps inbetween. Whatever size you decide on, the full-length handle makes pouring feel comfortable and free of strain.

Purchase: $100

Alessi Aldo Rossi Press

Alessi Aldo Rossi Press

Pro: Halts extraction simply
Con: Flat bottom transfers heat to surfaces

Conversation Piece: Alessi Aldo Rossi is a designer that is known for appealing to those that prefer ornamental items to those that actually get their hands dirty and work. Though he trends toward beauty, this coffee maker proves that he can also make magic. Its plunger goes clear to the bottom, allowing you to cease brewing whenever you choose, with no gaps that allow the grounds to bring bitterness to the brew. Striking in appearance, you’ll end up talking about it over dinner.

Purchase: $190

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