Guide to the Best Coffees for French Press Brewing [2020]

The French Press, also known as a coffee plunger, cafetiere or press pot has been around for over 100 years.

It is a simple brewing method and one of the most popular ways to make great coffee at home. However to achieve a high quality flavor you need to know what is the best coffee for french press.

So here we review some of the best coffees for French Press brewing, plus we share the best french press coffee grind size and tips for making great tasting french press coffee.

white wall with beans in cup with text best beans for french press coffee

Best Coffees for French Press Brewing – Our Top 3 Picks

Short on time? You can’t go wrong with one of these french press coffee brands. We think they make some of the best french press coffee grounds.

Read on for our reviews of 10 of the best coffee to use in a french press.

Best Medium Roast

Kicking Horse Cliff Hanger

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Best Single Origin

Two Volcanoes Guatemala

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Best Organic Beans

Stone Street Organic Peru

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Best Roast for French Press Coffee

Each coffee brewing method benefits from a particular coffee roast and the French Press brewing method is no different. Here is a brief run down on the types of roasts considered the best coffee roast for French Press.

Light Roast

Light roast coffee beans tend to be light brown in colour with little bitterness or oil on the surface of the bean. 

They have a delicate flavor which doesn’t make them a great choice for brewing in the French Press. If you love light roast french press beans we suggest you skip the milk as it will overpower the subtle coffee flavor.

Medium Roast

Slightly darker in colour, medium roast coffee beans are dry with little oil on the surface. The longer roasting process brings out more flavor and aroma. 

They tend to be more balanced than light roasts and are one of the best roast for french press brewing. Many kona coffee brands offer medium roast beans and are the perfect gift idea for the french press coffee lover in your life.

Best coffees for french press - roast types

Medium Dark Roast

Medium dark coffee beans are slightly darker with more oil on the surface. Acidity levels are lower and the beans have more body and flavor. 

Tasting notes will typically include floral, chocolate and nutty flavors. They are the best beans for french press if you add milk to your coffee as the flavor still carries through the milk and below we share some of the top french press beans for you to try.

Dark Roast

On dark roast coffee beans there will be noticeable oil on the surface, usually almost black in colour. These beans have a robust flavor with smoky, bitter notes that come from the longer roasting time. 

Dark roast beans are a traditional favorite for espresso but are not ideal for French Press brewing unless you love strong coffee and add milk, in which case the stronger flavor will still carry through. 

Note: Dark roast coffee beans are sometimes labelled as French roast coffee beans, but this shouldn’t be confused with the French press coffee method. 

Best Coffee for French Press 2020

Okay, now that we know what factors influence the best brew for a French Press, let’s get down to it. Here are 10 of the best french press coffee beans available now.

Kicking Horse Cliff Hanger Coffee Review

Fantastic medium roast organic beans from a company with a strong following and one of the best coffee brands for French Press brewing.

The Cliff Hanger finish is silky smooth with a berry aroma and chocolatey finish. They are not only great for your french press, they are suitable other brewing methods including espresso.

The Arabica beans are 100% certified Organic, Fairtrade and Kosher and come whole in a 2.2lb bag.

We think it is not only the best Kicking Horse coffee for French Press, it is also the best medium roast coffee for french press.

Stone Street Fair Trade Organic Peru Review

Single origin bean sourced from Peru. This is a light to medium bean roasted by small-batch roasters in NYC.

These french press coffee beans have a sweet and nutty finish and they are 100% Arabica organic beans. The Organic Peru Medium roast is available whole or pre-ground in one or two pound bags.

Stone Street Organic coffee is a great choice for lovers of black coffee and are one of the best coffee for a French Press.

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe by Volcanica

Volcanica Coffee Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee Beans

Sourced predominately from wild coffee trees from a region renowned for fruity and floral toned coffee, this french press coffee is a medium roast, with lavender and chocolate aromas and a sweet structure.

Volcanica Coffee are premium roasters and make some of the best french press beans plus a huge range of other great coffees.

If you are looking for premium coffee beans, the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe by Volcanica are simply one of the best coffee grounds for french press and a delightful choice for your daily french coffee. 

Koffee Kult Sumatra Mandheling Coffee Review

The Sumatra Mandheling by Koffee Kult is a single origin, specialty grade, medium-dark bean from Indonesia, Asia.

The flavors have been well preserved with hints of chocolate and cedar. They come in 12 oz or 32 oz bags as either whole beans or pre-ground coffee.

Koffee Kult is a very popular coffee brand for French Press beans. These gourmet beans are also fair trade and 100% Arabica. The Sumatra is one of our favorite choices in this list.

Two Volcanoes Gourmet Guatemala Coffee Review

Organic, single origin medium roast bean with a distinct regional flavor grown at the base of, you guessed it, two volcanoes.

Two Volcanoes Coffee is small batch roasted in Guatemala to enhance the quality but note there is no roasted date on the packaging. They come in a 1 lb bag as whole beans.

These french press beans offer a well balanced flavor with medium acidity and delicate floral notes. They are one of the best french press medium roast coffees for lovers of black coffee. 

The Mentalist by Bulletproof Coffee Review

Bulletproof The Mentalist Medium Dark Coffee Beans

Sourced from Rainforest Alliance-certified organic farms in  Central America, this medium-dark roast is full bodied with cocoa aromatics and caramel undertones.

If you are a follower of the Bulletproof Diet, this is a great coffee bean for french press brewing.

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Coffee Beans Review

A popular single origin medium roast from Fresh Roasted Coffee, this Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is a good alternative to the Volcanica beans.

This is a well balanced brew with notes of lemon and honey and a sweet aftertaste. Perfect for french press brewing.

The beans are sustainably sourced and kosher certified and are available as whole beans in 2 lb and 5 lb nags.

Ethiopian beans are renowned for producing flavorful coffee and this is a great example from this region. One of the best coffee to use for french press brewing.

Valhalla Java By Death Wish Coffee Company Review

Death Wish Coffee are renowned for producing some of the strongest coffee around and the Valhalla Java dark roast french press coffee is no different.

The coffee is Fair Trade and USDA Certified Organic and has a bold, smooth flavor. The company is confident you will love it and offer a 100% refund guarantee.

This coffee is only for lovers of robust and very strong french press coffee!

Major Dickason’s Blend By Peet’s Coffee Review

One of the most popular coffee bean brands on Amazon, this french press dark roast blend is a full bodied, complex coffee with a loyal fan base.

Peet’s Coffee is also more affordable than most other options on our list, which makes them perfect for everyday drinking and one of the best pre ground coffee for french press on our list. 

The Major Dickason blend comes ground in 10, 18 and 20 oz bags.

Real Good Coffee Co Breakfast Blend Light Roast Review

If you are looking for a french press light roast these Real Good Coffee Co beans are a great choice.

Premium quality arabica beans from Central and South America, we think these are one of the best light roast coffee for french press brewing.

Best for black coffee drinkers, they have a light citrus flavor and a clean finish.

Where To Buy Coffee For French Press Brewing

If you are lucky enough to live close by to a coffee roaster or cafe, they are great places to buy freshly roasted coffee beans. 

For maximum convenience you can also buy coffee beans online. Amazon has a huge range of fresh coffee beans to choose from and many are delivered direct through the coffee roaster. 

This is a better option than buying coffee beans at the supermarket, where you are unlikely to find the best french press coffees.

Finally, another great option many people don’t know about is using a coffee subscription service. We outline how it works below.

Use A Coffee Subscription Service

To achieve maximum freshness, another great option to buy the best whole bean coffee for french press is to sign up for a coffee subscription box.  Each month fresh coffee beans are delivered direct to your door!

Not only is this a great way to have a regular supply of fresh beans, you also get to experiment with a variety of bean styles to find your favorite.

Atlas Coffee Club Subscription

Two subscription box options we recommend are:

  • Atlas Coffee Club: is a unique travel-themed coffee of the month club that explores the world’s best coffee. With more than 50+ countries producing unique and exquisite coffee offerings, a subscription to Atlas Coffee Club delivers the ultimate journey in delicious flavor discovery and culture from far off countries.  Click here to try the Club 
  • Trade Coffee: Complete the quick and fun online survey for a fully customized subscription box. Provide online feedback for each order and discover amazing new coffee brands every month! Click here to find your perfect match.

How to Make Good French Press Coffee

Ultimately, while there are many quality coffee beans that will make great coffee in a French Press, the quality of the brew will vary depending on:

  • The freshness of the coffee beans
  • The roast of the bean
  • The quality of the grind
  • The coffee to water ratio

1. It’s All About Fresh Beans

Why are fresh beans important? Well there is a whole lot of flavor wrapped up in each of those little coffee beans!

Once it is roasted and ground, everything changes, quickly. The coffee grounds oxidise, their aroma changes and the oils that give the coffee much of its flavor dry out and disappear.

Pre-ground beans are convenient (and sometimes necessary), but the reality is it is really hard to achieve a full bodied flavor, particularly in your French Press. Which is why it is difficult to recommend the best ground coffee for french press as they can be so variable.

To achieve maximum freshness our top recommendations are to:

  • Purchase freshly roasted whole bean coffee (ideally roasted within the last 30 days).
  • Buy small quantities often to ensure the freshest beans.
  • Grind only when needed to ensure maximum freshness.

If you have to buy pre-ground beans, our best tip is to buy whole beans in small quantities each week.  Read more about coffee freshness here.

Ask the barista at your local coffee shop to grind them for you at the correct coarseness then store in an air tight container in a cool place.

close up of french press coffee beans in cup

2. Which Coffee Is Best For French Press Brewing?

If you are wondering what kind of coffee is best for french press brewing, we suggest you start with medium and medium-dark roasts. They have more oil on the surface of the bean and a more robust flavor without being bitter. 

They are some of the best french press roast options and will taste great regardless of whether you enjoy black coffee or add milk to your brew.

Our best tip to discover good coffee for french press brewing is to experiment with different styles of coffee roast to make your perfect French Press brew. 

Try single origin coffee brands from different regions, experiment with different medium roasts, even try a dark roast to compare the taste. 

Also do taste comparisons between a number of different roasts at the same time to easily compare and find the best type of coffee for french press brewing. 

3. The Best Grind for French Press

French Press brewing requires a much coarser grind than most other coffee makers.

Coarse ground coffee is needed as the coffee grounds are steeped in water, so more surface area means more flavor extraction.

Ideally the grind size should be between .75mm to 1mm and it will feel like rough sand in your hands.

A good way to test whether you have ground the beans to the right coarseness is the pressure you feel when pushing down on the plunger.

Too fine and you will struggle to get the plunger down to the bottom. Too coarse and you will fly straight to the bottom with little resistance.

flat lay of french press coffee maker and cups

4. The Ideal Coffee to Water Ratio

What is the ideal coffee water ratio for French Press? The “golden ratio” is 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every 6 oz of water.

For example, if your French Press is 34 oz, you would add 11 tablespoons of ground coffee to your pot (34/6 x 2).

It seems complicated but once you get the hang of it, it is much easier to make a consistently great brew. A coffee scale can also help achieve the right coffee to water ratio – see our coffee scale reviews here.

Best Coffee Grinder for French Press

If you decide to buy the best coffee beans for a french press we recommend you also buy a good coffee grinder.  It is a well established fact one of the secrets to a good quality brew is freshly ground beans.

The way to achieve this when making coffee at home is by purchasing a good quality burr coffee grinder.

Not all coffee grinders are able to produce coarse coffee grounds. See the top two grinders we recommend below or click here to read our detailed review of French Press Coffee Grinders.

Mid-Price Range

Baratza Encore

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Premium Range

Rancilio Rocky

Click to read the reviews

They aren’t cheap, but they will produce high quality grounds for years. 

It is possible to achieve great coffee from any machine, including a cheap espresso machine, if you use freshly ground beans from a quality burr grinder.

How to Use a French Press Coffee Maker

Finally, there is always a learning curve to make French Press coffee the right way. But once you understand the best way to make French Press coffee, you can make it at home or even when camping.

Learn how to make french press coffee here, or watch the video below for a visual lesson. If you are confused by any of the coffee jargon, head over to our Coffee Glossary.

In summary, here are a few tips for how to make the best coffee in a french press:

  • Use freshly ground beans (yes, we will say it again!).
  • Pre-warm the French Press to keep the water warm for longer.
  • Don’t use just boiled water. Let the water rest for a few minutes before pouring into the French Press. 195-205F is the perfect temperature range.
  • Get the coffee to water ratio right.
  • Don’t steep the coffee for too long. Whilst there is much debate, it is generally agreed the optimum steeping time is 4-6 minutes. 
  • Don’t leave any leftover coffee in your French Press. It will continue to brew and become bitter. Empty any remaining coffee into a cup for later. Iced coffee anyone?

Looking for something more than the best coffee brand for french press? See all our guides to the best coffee beans here. Making coffee for a crowd? Click here to read our coffee urn reviews.

Read our full French Press Coffee guide here or find out more about the best coffee brewing methods here.

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best coffee for french press
Best coffee for french press
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About Rachel

Creator and writer for Creators of Coffee, Rachel is an everyday coffee lover who also loves to research and share practical tips on everything to do with coffee. Favorite way to make coffee: With an Espresso Machine