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Whats the Best Grinder for French Press? (here are 9 good options)

Heavenly french press coffee starts with the fragrance of freshly ground coffee, which begins with quality coffee beans and a quality burr grinder.

In this post, we focus on the best burr grinders for french press coffee. Get ready to dive into the details to find the best new “life partner” for your coffee press.

Two Fundamental Reasons for Using Coarse Grinds in a French Press 

Have you had French Press Coffee before? If yes, then you have probably noticed the lingering coffee sludge.

The difference between french press with an earth texture towards the bottom and one that is downright silty, is largely-based on the grind size.

a french press half full with coffee

This brings us to the first of our fundamental reasons for using a coarse grind to brew in a french press.

 Reason #1: Coarse Coffee Won’t Pass Through The Filter

The filter in a French Press is a fine mesh screen and pushes the ground coffee down to the bottom of the press. While this works like a charm with relatively large coffee particle sizes, finer grinds pass through the filter and end up in your cup.

So if the sediment left in your coffee cup looks thick enough to plant tomatoes, you probably (definitely) need a coarser grind. Capisce?

Reason #2: Coarse Coffee Reduces Risk Of Bitter Coffee

You may have read that the best steep time of coffee in a French Press is around 4 minutes, but the brew time also depends on the grind size. (1)

It’s generally agreed that a French press is best used with coarsely ground coffee and water just under boiling temperature. Allow three to five minutes of immersion time, and you have a decent cup of coffee.

As you may already know, the larger the grind size, the longer it takes to extract all the flavors. So if you use a fine grind, the same amount of steep time will produce an over-extracted cup of coffee.

a french press and its filter

Over-extracted coffee is really bitter and nothing like the nutty, delicate brew you were hoping for from your french press.

Now that you know the grind you need to brew delicious french press coffee, let’s go through the best burr grinders that can get you there.

The Best Manual Burr Coffee Grinders for French Press

If you don’t mind using some arm power, you get great grinding results with a manual hand coffee grinder. That being said, users definitely sacrifice grind speed in exchange for the hand-ground touch of a manual grinder.

Most hand burr grinders are quite affordable and grind beans with comparable precision and consistency as the expensive electric grinders.

If you have arthritis or a similar movement-related condition, a manual coffee grinder might not be the easiest option. In that case, scroll down to read our thoughts and recommendations on the best electric burr grinders.

A manual coffee grinder is your best choice if you…

  • Need to stick to a budget
  • Willing to dedicate a few minutes to grinding coffee beans
  • Travel and don’t have steady access to electricity
  • Enjoy grinding coffee the old-fashioned way

Hario Mini Coffee Mill Slim Grinder – Affordable And Good For French Press

This ‘mini’ grinder is the smallest mill produced by Hario and can hold up to 20 grams of coffee. Though that is not a lot of coffee, it is enough for 1-2 cups of coffee.

Hario Mini Coffee Mill Slim Grinder

This grinder uses high-quality ceramic burrs in the grind mechanism and plastic for the rest of the grinder. The sturdy plastic body and removable handle makes this grinder more resilient and portable.

The Hario Mini Slim produces a fairly consistent and precise grind given its size and price. While the fine grind settings are still a bit too coarse for fine espresso, it is definitely a solid coffee grinder for french press coffee.

The Hario Mini Coffee Mill Slim Grinder is perfect for you if… you want a portable grinder for brewing 1-2 cups of coffee at a time. Though it is not an ideal option for espresso, french press drinkers will be happy with the results of this small but mighty grinder.

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Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Grinder – Most Popular Hand Operated Coffee Grinder

The Hario Skerton is similar to the Hario Mini Mill but is wider and can handle up to 100 grams of coffee. It has ceramic burrs and a glass grinds catcher with a no-slip silicone grip.The glass elements as opposed to plastic in coffee grinders help to reduce static build up while grinding. (2)

Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Grinder

There have also been reports of inconsistent grinds on some of the coarser settings, like the ones you may use to make your french press coffee, yikes. 

Though the Skerton can handle more coffee than the Skerton Slim Mill, changing the grind size can be tedious, requiring you to remove the locking screw, handle, and stopper to adjust the nut. However, like the Slim Mill, the Skerton’s handle is removable for travel.

The good news is that Hario has come out with several updated versions of the Skerton, the newest being the Skerton Pro. This model has a spring-loaded stabilizer to keep the burrs from wobbling and therefore improve consistency.

The Skerton is perfect for you if…you want an inexpensive, high-capacity grinder that is durable enough to travel with from time to time.

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Porlex Hand Grinder – Stainless Steel In Small And Tall

The Porlex hand coffee mill is available in two sizes. The larger version of the Porlex mill, the Porlex JP-30, is similar in size to the Hario Mini Mill. The Porlex JP-30 can hold up to 30 grams of coffee and therefore, lets you brew about 2-3 cups at a time.

Porlex 345-12541 Jp-30 Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder, Silver

In contrast, the Porlex Mini is so small that it even fits inside the Aeropress Coffee Maker, can you say ‘portable!?’ It also has a removable handle that you can store in the rubber side casing on the grinder.

Though these two Porlex burr grinders differ in size, they are both equipped with ceramic conical burrs and function the same. 

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Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder

The Porlex Mini is an elegant little hand mill, well suited for beginners and travelers. With 20 grams of coffee capacity, you will get about 1-2 cups of coffee at a time. If you are concerned with grind speed, the Porlex or manual grinders in general may not best the best choice.

These Porlex hand mills have approximately 15 different grind settings which can be easily adjusted with the click mechanism on the grinder. Both of these are excellent manual coffee grinders for french press coffee.

The Porlex JP-30 or Porlex Mini is perfect for you if…you want a sleek, minimalist grinder perfect for travel, without sacrificing diverse and consistent grinds.

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Zassenhaus Santiago Mill – The German Made Coffee Grinder

Zassenhaus M040098 Santiago Coffee Mill Grinder Beech Wood, 5.5 x 3.5 x 7.8, Natural varnish

Rediscover the old-school way of grinding coffee with the Zassenhaus Coffee Mill.

A classic german design by Zassenhaus, the drawer can hold about 60 grams of coffee, which is quite a lot for a manual grinder, so invite friends over to show off your new hand mill!

The conical burrs are made from high-grade stainless steel and can be adjusted for a range of grind sizes. Though this grinder is a bit pricey, it comes with a 25-year warranty on the entire grinding mechanism.

The Zassenhaus Santiago Coffee Mill is perfect for you if…you want a classic, stylish grinder for your kitchen with top-quality burrs that are built to last.

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Top Rated Electric Coffee Burr Grinders for French Press

When it comes to finding the best electric coffee grinders for french press coffee, sometimes less is more. 

Let me explain.

While cheaper burr grinders often struggle with grinding finely, most of them still do a good job with coarse and medium grind sizes.

You don’t need a super expensive espresso coffee grinder like Baratza Forte, Rancilio MD40 or Mazzer Mini, in order to coarsely grind coffee for your french press.

Related: Best Coffee Grinders Under $200

An automatic/electric coffee grinder is your best option if you…

  • Want results within seconds
  • Prefer push-button convenience
  • Have arthritis or another movement-related condition
  • Have regular access to a power outlet

Cuisinart DBM-8 – Best Electric Burr Grinder On A Shoestring Budget

The Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill is one of the best budget-friendly electric coffee grinders for french press.

Cuisinart DBM-8

The low price tag on this machine comes at the cost of versatility in the grind size, so if you need a grinder that can do it all, look elsewhere. The finest grind we trust on this grinder is a medium-fine for drip coffee or a pour over, but the coarse grinds are great.

The Cuisinart DBM-8’s burrs are not conical and look more like disk burrs. And they’re made of plastic. In fact, everything is made of BPA-free plastic: the hopper, the receiving box, and even the housing. 

The Cuisinart DBM-8 Electric Burr Grinder is perfect for you if…you love french press and want to switch from buying pre-ground coffee from the store to grinding at home. 

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Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder – No Plastic, No Static, No Jumping Coffee Grinds

The Bodum Bistro coffee grinder is one of our favorite electric options for coarse grinds and here’s why: the pricetag, the no-static glass, and the wonderfully consistent grind, particularly on coarse settings.

Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder, Electronic Coffee Grinder with Continuously Adjustable Grind, Black

The grinding process is either controlled by a timer or can manually be started and stopped. The coarse grind it produces is precise and consistent, making it an ideal coffee grinder for french press coffee lovers.

The Bodum Bistro Grinder is perfect for you if…you want a bargain electric grinder made from high-quality materials and able to produce a consistent grind.

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Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder – Lasts A Lifetime

Just to make one thing clear: by saying that the Baratza Encore lasts a lifetime, we mean that, should any issue arise, Baratza individually sells every single part of the grinder so you can fix it yourself. (3)

Baratza are worldwide, they often have good support, and that is an important aspect of buying any piece of equipment.

Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder

With high-quality hardened steel conical burrs, the Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder is an affordable tool aimed at beginners, but sophisticated enough to please even the most expert brewers.

This grinder has 40 different grind settings, each selected by turning the hopper. The Baratza is remarkably user-friendly, with an on-demand button on the front for pre-set grind times and a basic on/off switch on the side.

The Baratza Encore is perfect for you if…you are willing to shell out a bit more dough to get a burr grinder that can provide the grinds for all kinds of brews and can stand the test of time.

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OXO BREW Conical Burr Coffee Grinder with Integrated Scale – Grinds By Weight, Not By Time

The OXO BREW Coffee Grinder is the only electric grinder on this list with a built-in scale rather than an integrated timer. 

OXO BREW Conical Burr Coffee Grinder with Integrated Scale

With the OXO BREW Coffee Grinder, you select how many grams of coffee you want and the grinder does the rest.

This grinder comes with stainless steel conical burrs and a plastic hopper that can hold up to 12oz of coffee, the same volume as a specialty coffee bag.

In terms of grind consistency, this grinder is up to even the pickiest coffee drinkers’ standards. The machine has manual strength adjustment settings and 15 different grind settings. Suffice to say, this is a fantastic coffee grinder for french press coffee.

The OXO BREW Coffee Grinder is perfect for you if… you are looking for a grinder that can provide plenty of sophisticated options for personalized grinding for all types of brewing.

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Breville BCG820BSSXL Smart Grinder Pro – Save Your Settings And Your Time

The Breville BCG820BSSXL Pro, also known as the Smart Grinder, takes the technology of grinding coffee to new heights.

Breville BCG820BSSXL The Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder, Brushed Stainless Steel

Top tier in consistency, user control, and speed, the Breville is no joke. Aside from selecting grind time and size, the Breville Grinder allows you to adjust the upper burr to select particle size options that are not available in the original range of options. 

While we love this state-of-the-art coffee grinder, if you are only looking to grind for french press coffee and/or are just getting started grinding your own beans, you really don’t need such a sophisticated grinder. 

The Breville Smart Grinder is perfect for you if… you want the cream-of-the-crop, best-in-the-biz, commercial grade, most innovative grinder on the market and are willing to foot the bill for it.

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Our Conclusion About The Best French Press Coffee Grinders

As we have just seen, there are abundant options to choose from when it comes to coarse, french press grinds. There is no one ‘best’ coffee grinder for french press brewing, but any of the grinders we discussed will grind the beans just right for your ideal cup, take your pick!

a small french press and a manual grinder

Related: Coffeeble’s Review Round-Up of The Best Coffee Makers with Built-In Grinders

FAQs

Yes, aside from french press, you can use coarsely ground coffee to make cold brew and even pour-over coffee, depending on your preferences.

The grind size for each brewing method is just one factor in the overarching equation of coffee extraction. While there are generally accepted truths about the best grind sizes for different brewing methods, remember that roast profile, bean age, and moisture also impact the brew. (4)

That being said, here are the basic grind categories and the brews they go best with:

Fine: Turkish coffee (super fine), Espresso
Medium Fine: Drip Coffee, Pour-Over, Aeropress
Medium: Pour-Over, Aeropress
Medium Coarse: Pour-Over, French Press
Coarse: French Press, Cold Brew (super coarse)

As you can see, several brewing methods appear in more than one category. Why, you ask? Well due to the characteristics of the coffee and your own personal taste, you can alter the grind to brew your perfect cup, so be creative!

Another great thing about manual burr grinders is that they are easy to disassemble to clean and take care of regular maintenance.

Use a soft brush to get any old coffee grounds off the burrs and then you can rinse with warm water–no soap needed–to make sure they are clean. Once you’ve done that, simply dry the burrs, reassemble, and make yourself a coffee as a reward for a chore well done.

Cleaning an electric burr grinder can be a bit of a chore, but if you give it some love from time to time, your grinder it will last you a while. In order to begin, make sure you have unplugged your machine. Then you can disassemble it according to the particular instructions included in the manual of your grinder.

Once disassembled, we recommend you use a soft brush, cotton swabs, and a toothpick to get lingering grounds and coffee dust off of the burrs and out of hard-to-reach nooks and crannies of the grinder. Depending on how deep a clean you are looking to give your grinder, you may want to use grinder cleaning pellets like these by Urnex.

Once you finish and reassemble your coffee grinder, it is a good idea to grind a small amount of coffee as a way of re-seasoning the burrs. Happy cleaning!

References
  1. Bodnariuc, D. (2018, November 26). Should You Grind Finer For Better French Press Coffee? Retrieved from https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2018/11/should-you-grind-finer-for-better-french-press-coffee/
  2. Guerrero, X. (n.d.). Static in your grinding – it’s complex! Retrieved From http://www.baratza.com/static-in-your-grinding-its-complex/
  3. Hoffmann, J. (2017, March 30). Grinder Showdown: Wilfa Svart vs Baratza Encore. Retrieved From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gm6UfD9qSc
  4. Koh, S. (2017, December 1). A Guide to Coffee Grind Size, Consistency, & Flavor. Retrieved From https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2017/12/guide-coffee-grind-size-consistency-flavor/

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Please share your choice of grinder in the comments below!