When selecting a French press, there are several factors to take into account. In Which French Press Should I Buy?, we’ve previously discussed the different materials used for carafes and what to look for in a plunger. Here’s an in-depth guide on the different sizes that French presses come in.
French Presses Come in Many Sizes
French presses are available in a wide range of sizes.
As an example, consider Bodum, which is perhaps the most well-known maker of French presses. Bodum has presses in the following sizes:
- 3 cups (0.35 liters)
- 4 cups (0.5 liters)
- 8 cups (1 liter)
- 12 cups (1.5 liters)
Many other companies make French presses in similar sizes, and a few companies might offer smaller or larger presses.
Remember Cups Are Smaller Than Mugs
When comparing French press sizes, keep in mind that the “cups” listed are much smaller than the average coffee mug. Most companies (including Bodum) count 4-ounce cups, which is why a press that’s just 0.5 liters is listed as 4 cups.
For easy math, divide the number of cups listed on a press’ packaging by a factor of two. This will tell you how many 8-ounce mugs a press can fill. A 3-cup press will make about 1.5 mugs’ worth of coffee, which is good for one or two people. A 12-cup press will make enough coffee to fill about four people’s mugs. (Even if your mugs are 12 ounces, you can often get away with serving coffee in 8-ounce servings.)
Choosing a Travel French Press
When choosing a travel French press, you’ll be limited to presses that serve between 2 and 4 cups of coffee. Companies don’t generally make larger travel presses because people don’t want to tote around a huge container. Travel size isn’t king size, after all.
Many people are happy with a travel press that holds 3 to 4 (4-ounce) cups. This translates into about 1.5 to 2 normal cups of coffee, and the average American drinks around 3.13 normal cups per day. Thus, making coffee in a 3- to 4-cup travel press twice will satisfy most people’s daily coffee needs.
Choosing a French Press for One or Two People
When selecting a French press for one or two people, there are two ways to go.
You can get a smaller french press that’s 3 or 4 cups and make coffee each time you want another mug-full. Because French presses are easy to use, most people don’t mind making a few cups throughout the day. In fact, brewing a press can be a nice break in the workday.
Alternatively, you can get a larger French press and a carafe. An 8- or 12-cup press will let you brew once in the morning and enjoy a few mug-fulls throughout the day. If you’re going to go this route, we recommend getting a carafe because keeping coffee in an insulated press can lead to over-extraction.
Choosing a French Press for Entertaining
If you want a French press for when you entertain people, look for a model that’s at least 8 cups. We’d recommend even getting a 12-cup press, since you never know when an extra guest or two will show up.
With a 12-cup French press, you can get away with serving up to eight people from a single press. A 12-cup French press will yield about 48 ounces of coffee, which spread across eight people is 6 ounces per person. Even if you have 8-ounce mugs, they’ll look full enough with 6 ounces of coffee.
Getting the Right Amount of Coffee
No matter what size French press is right for you, we have a coffee subscription plan that meets your needs. Check out our options and see what plan will deliver the right amount of freshly roasted coffee to your door when you’re ready for it.