Plunging into Presses: What Should You Look For in a French Press?

Plunging into Presses: What Should You Look For in a French Press?

The French press is a classic way to brew coffee. With a simple design, it provides an easy way to brew coffee immersively.  Is there anything specific you should look for in a French press, though? Below are our thoughts on French presses, along with a couple of recommendations.

Look at the Plunger

Unlike electric coffee makers, French presses don’t have a lot of features.  The only feature you really need to look at before settling on a model is the plunger.  Cheaper presses have a rubber or plastic seal around the plunger.  Over time, this seal will degrade, especially if you put it in the dishwasher. The plunger on a higher-quality press will have metal mesh wrapped around a coil, which will not degrade with time and will stand up to a dishwasher.

Beyond the plunger, there aren’t many features to consider.  Some are insulated, but we’ll discuss these in a few paragraphs.

Choose a Style You Like

Instead of focusing on other features, look for a design that you like.  Do you prefer a tall, skinny press or a shorter, fatter one?  Would you like a black, red, stainless steel, or copper model?  How about a curved or square handle?  There’s a lot of options.  Have fun perusing them until you find a style you like.

Select an Appropriately Sized, Un-insulated French Press

With a style in mind, it’s time to select for a French press that’s the right size for you.  Most manufacturers make several differently sized presses in each style that they offer.

You want to find the press that will make the right amount of coffee for you so that you don’t leave coffee sitting in the press.  Because grounds remain in the bottom of the press, any coffee that stays in the press after it’s finished brewing can become over-extracted.  Instead of purchasing a press that will make all the coffee you go through in a day, find one that will make the right number of cups for you at one time.  This way, you won’t be sipping a bitter, over-extracted brew later in the day.

This is also why it doesn’t make sense to purchase an insulated French press.  Although they may keep your coffee warm, they also will make it bitter.  If you’re absolutely opposed to making a new brew each time you want another cup, look for a thermal carafe.  After you’re done brewing your coffee, it can be transferred to the carafe, which will safely keep it warm.

We Like Bodum and Espro

If you’re looking for a French press, try Bodum’s and Espro’s models.  They’re two brands that we like a lot, and they have lots of different styles to choose from.

Author Scott

Scott is a professional writer for Driftaway Coffee. He worked as a barista for eight years, but today prefers to enjoy his beverages from the other side of the counter. When not drinking Driftaway Coffee, Scott usually has a mug of his own roasted coffee nearby.

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