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 that can produce great coffee. However to achieve a high quality flavor you need to know which beans are best.
Here we share some of the best coffees for French Press brewing, plus what grind will help you draw the most flavor from your beans.
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 are three of the best coffee beans for French Press brewing.
Best Roast for French Press Coffee
Each brewing method benefits from a particular roast and the French Press is no different. Here is a brief run down on the types of roasts and which are considered the best coffee roast for French Press.
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 flavour which doesn’t make them a great choice for brewing in the French Press. If you love this style of bean we suggest you skip the milk as it will overpower the delicate flavours.
Slightly darker in colour, medium roast coffee beans are dry with little oil on the surface. The roasting process brings out more flavour 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.
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 flavour.
Tasting notes will typically include floral, chocolate and nutty flavours. They are the best beans for french press if you add milk to your coffee.
On dark roast coffee beans there will be noticeable oil on the surface, usually almost black in colour. These beans have a robust flavour with smoky, bitter notes that come from the roast.
Dark roast beans are a traditional favorite for espresso and are not ideal for French Press brewing unless you strong coffee and add milk, in which case the stronger flavor will carry through.
Which Coffee Is Best For French Press Brewing?
We suggest you try medium and medium-dark roasts. They have more oil on the surface of the bean and a more robust flavour without being bitter. They are some of the best french press roast options. They will taste great whether you enjoy black coffee or add milk.
Our best tip is to experiment with different styles of coffee roast to make your perfect French Press brew.
Try single origin, try medium roast, even try a dark roast. Do taste comparisons between a number of different roasts at the same time to compare the taste. The quest for the perfect roast can be lifelong!
Best Coffee for French Press
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.
Real Good Coffee Co Breakfast Blend Light Roast: Premium quality arabica beans from Central and South America. This is a light roast so best for black coffee drinkers. It has a light citrus flavour and a clean finish.
Kicking Horse Cliff Hanger Espresso: Medium roast organic beans from a company with a strong following. One of the best coffee brands for French Press brewing. The finish is smooth with a berry aroma and chocolatey flavour.
Two Volcanoes Gourmet Guatemala: Organic, single origin medium roast bean with a distinct regional flavour grown at the base of, you guessed it, two volcanoes. Small batch roasted to enhance the quality and offers a well balanced flavour for your French Press coffee.
Ethiopia Yirgacheffe: A popular single origin medium roast from Fresh Roasted Coffee. Citrus and spice flavours with a sweet aftertaste. Ethiopian beans are renowned for producing flavourful coffee and this is a great example from this region. One of the best coffee to use for french press brewing.
Koffee Kult Sumatra Mandheling: A single origin, specialty grade, medium-dark bean from Sumatra. The flavours have been well preserved with hints of chocolate and cedar. A very popular coffee brand for French Press.
Stone Street Fair Trade Organic Peru: Single origin bean sourced from Peru. This is a light to medium bean roasted in NYC. It has a sweet and nutty finish and is 100% organic. It is a great choice and one of the best coffee for a French Press.
Valhalla Java by Death Wish Coffee Company: Renowned for producing some of the strongest coffee around, this is a dark roast with maximum flavour. Only for lovers of robust and very strong french press coffee!
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe by Volcanica: 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. A delightful choice for your daily french coffee.
Major Dickason’s Blend by Peet’s Coffee: One of the most popular coffee bean brands on Amazon, this dark roast blend is a full bodied, complex coffee with a loyal fan base. Great for your everyday coffee.
The Mentalist by Bulletproof: 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 choice.
It’s All About Fresh Beans
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 roast of the bean
- The quality of the grind
- The freshness of the bean
Why are fresh beans important? There is a whole lot of flavour wrapped up in each of those little coffee beans!
Once it is ground, everything changes, quickly. The coffee grounds oxidise, their aroma changes and the oils that give the coffee much of its flavour dry out and disappear.
Pre-ground beans are convenient but the reality is you will never achieve a full bodied flavour with them, particularly in your French Press.
To achieve maximum freshness our recommendations are to:
- Purchase freshly roasted whole beans (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.
Use a Coffee Subscription Service
To achieve maximum freshness, another great option 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 favourite.
Two subscription box options we recommend are:
- Driftaway Coffee: Receive 4 single origin coffees in the first order, then rate each one. The next order takes your tastes into account. Register your favorites and choose the frequency and size of your order. What could be easier? Click here to see the subscription options
- 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.
The Best Grind for French Press
French Press brewing requires a much coarser grind than most other coffee makers.
A coarser grind is needed as the coffee grounds are steeped in water, so more surface area means more flavour 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.
Best Coffee Grinder for French Press
Obviously if you want to use fresh beans you are going to need to get your hands on a 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, so two grinders we recommend are:
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 Make Coffee in a French Press
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:
- 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 (see below).
- 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?
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 help achieve the right coffee to water ratio – see our coffee scale reviews here.