How to Choose the Best Coffee Bean Grinder for French Press Coffee
Like all brewing methods, the French press has its own set of requirements to ensure that you get the best possible cup from your beans. It can be easy to get swept away with grinders offering the latest tech or extra features, but what do you need in the best French press coffee grinders? Here are a few things to consider.
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|OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder||
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|Breville Smart Grinder Pro||
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|Fellow Ode Brew Grinder||
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|JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder||
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|1ZPresso JX Coffee Grinder||
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|Shardor Conical Burr Grinder||
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|Bodum Bistro Burr Coffee Grinder||
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- 4.7 x 6.3 x 13.8 inches
- 225 g
- 6.8 x 11.8 x 14.8 inches
- 8.5 x 12.5 x 16.3 inches
- 4.7 x 9.5 x 9.4 inches
- 1.8 x 7.5 x 1.8 inches
- 5.1 x 2.2 x 6.2 inches
- 7.9 x 4.7 x 11.8 inches
- 7.1 x 7.6 x 12.5 inches
- 1.8 x 2.3 x 6 inches
- 20 g
Why is grind size important for French Press Coffee Brewing?
The right grind size is important, if not vital, for all coffee brewing methods. But while coffee lovers are happy to spend the cash on a specialty espresso grinder, the French press doesn’t always get the same respect.
It may seem strange to buy an expensive burr grinder only to pair it with a French press. But if you want great coffee, you should consider it.Perfect Daily Grind
Without the right grind size, you’re not going to experience the rich, full-bodied flavor that great French press coffee is known for.
For brewing French press coffee, you need a coarse grind. If you want to get technical, you’re looking for a grind between 1000 and 1200 microns. A good coarse grind should have a chunky texture similar to sea salt, with a consistent grind size throughout. The best coffee grinder for the French press should also give you enough settings to adjust this depending on the coffee beans you use.
Using a finer grind will result in an over-extracted, bitter coffee. When brewing French press coffee, the hot water is in complete contact with the coffee grounds for around four minutes, much longer than pour-over or espresso. The larger grind size helps slow down extraction to account for this longer brew time. Using a finer grind also allows more small particles to slip through the filter, resulting in more sediment. You might find that with a finer grind, you’re not able to depress the plunger properly.
As you might use for cold brew, a coarser grind will take longer to extract. If you increase the steeping time, you’ll find that by the time your coffee is ready, it’s gone cold.
While most electric coffee grinders designed for home use perform well in the middle of the grind spectrum, even the best coffee bean grinders can be less consistent at either the finer or, the coarser end (or both). When shopping for a French press coffee grinder, make sure it can deliver a consistent grind size on coarse settings.
Size and capacity
One of the great things about a French press is that it’s handy for making large amounts of coffee. A single-serve cafetiere is not the norm, and you’ll find most kitchens have something like an 8-cup French press. With more servings, you will, of course, need more coffee grounds.
An espresso coffee grinder only needs to hold enough for a single or shot of coffee. If you’re making 8 or even 12 cups of French press coffee, you want to make sure that your coffee grinder can provide enough grounds without the need for refilling.
This shouldn’t be much of a problem with an electric coffee grinder, but it’s something you’ll have to take into account if you’re considering a manual grinder. These have a considerably smaller capacity, so make sure you can grind enough for your needs – even if it’s just for a single-serve French press.
Bean hopper capacity and machine size often go hand in hand, so be sure to check that your new bit of kit will fit beneath your kitchen cabinets. Bigger is not necessarily better in this case anyway. While you do want a coffee grinder that will hold enough for your batch brewing, we don’t recommend using the bean hopper as storage. The best freshly ground coffee needs fresh coffee beans.
If you’ve come here looking for cheap blade grinders, you’re out of luck. Due to the inconsistent way blades chop rather than grind coffee, we only consider burr grinders suitable for making good coffee.
Burr coffee grinders come in two varieties: flat burr grinders and conical burr grinders. In general terms, flat burrs are considered more consistent and more efficient, and you can only find them in electric grinders. Conical burrs produce less heat, less noise, and have less grind retention. Conical burrs are used in both electric coffee grinders and manual coffee grinders. However, these pros and cons will depend on the quality of the grinder.
For use in a home grinder, you’re probably not going to see much difference between the two, and you certainly shouldn’t let the shape put you off a particular grinder.
Burrs are generally made from stainless steel or ceramic, though occasionally, you’ll see cast iron burrs in some of the best hand coffee grinders. Ceramic burrs have a reputation for a longer lifespan, but they are brittle and can break if dropped. Stainless steel burrs are sharper than ceramic burrs when new, but they wear down over time and need replacing sooner. They’re not brittle but can still dent if they encounter a stone in your coffee beans.
Cleaning and maintenance
A good quality burr grinder should last you for years, but if you want those to be good years, you’ll need to clean your grinder regularly. Cleaning not only helps extend the life of your machine but also makes for a better-tasting cup of coffee. Stray grounds left in your grinder will go stale, and the flavor will taint the rest of your grind.
Even the best coffee grinder needs a deep clean once or twice a month, depending on how much use it gets. So when you’re looking at buying a burr grinder, consider how easy it is to take apart. Does it require tools? Will cleaning require you to rest your grind settings? And do you need to empty the bean hopper first?
Products like grinder cleaning pellets are a handy tool to help with regular cleaning, but they can’t replace a thorough manual cleaning of all the separate parts.
The Best Coffee Grinders for French Press in 2023
Now that you’re armed with the knowledge to select a great coffee grinder, here are some of the best burr coffee grinders for French press at a range of sizes and budgets.
When you buy a coffee grinder from Baratza, you’re buying a grinder that will stand the test of time. The brand has an impressive commitment to sustainability. They do this in two ways: making very durable products and ensuring that you can repair machines and replacement parts are available, even for older models.
The casing is plastic, which is expected at this price point, but nothing cheap or flimsy about it. It’s a high-quality plastic resin that provides solidity and durability and is resistant to fingerprints.
Operating the grinder is as simple as it gets. Simply turn the side-mounted switch to “on” to start the grinder, and turn it back when you’re done. There’s also a pulse button on the front that’s useful for grinding that little bit extra.
Of course, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The Encore features a powerful DC motor with an upgraded gearbox that limits the speed to 550 RPM. With the ability to grind coffee beans at up to 1.1g/second, it’s not the fastest electric grinder around, but the slower speed means less noise, less heat, and a reduction in the static build-up (1).
The 40mm stainless steel M3 burrs aren’t designed for espresso, but for anything coarser than that, the Baratza Encore provides a more consistent grind than other coffee grinders at this price point. The consistency and build quality make it our pick for the best coffee grinder for the French press.
We’re not going to lie, coffee-making can get pretty technical, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. If you’re a fan of using a French press because of how straightforward it is, you’ll appreciate a coffee grinder with one-touch operation like the Oxo Brew.
A large front-mounted timer allows you to set your grind amount, up to 30 seconds. The timer keeps your last used setting, so if you’re regular with your coffee habits, then your daily grind is as simple as pressing the start button.
The OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is the best one we’ve tried in its price range.Wirecutter
The 40mm stainless steel burrs are what you’d expect from a standard electric burr grinder, but they provide a grind consistency that makes the Oxo Brew good value for money. There are 38 grind settings, adjusted by twisting the beans hopper, coming close to rivaling the Baratza Encore.
The 16 oz bean hopper is made from tinted plastic to prevent UV rays, but the best bit is underneath. It has a locking feature that allows you to remove the hopper for cleaning, even when it’s full.
Ease of use isn’t just about simplicity either. Oxo products are designed to be used by everyone, regardless of hand size, left or right handed, or have limitations such as arthritis. This Universal Design philosophy was the inspiration for the company’s first product and has continued to be a foundation for every product since (2).
The design of the French press coffee maker hasn’t changed much since its invention in the 1920s, and to be fair it’s a very low-tech piece of equipment (3). But there’s no reason you can’t upgrade the grinding part of your coffee ritual with something a lot more modern coffee grinder for the French press. And when you want innovation from your appliances, Breville is the company to turn to, with world firsts across a range of kitchen appliances (4).
The new tech in the Breville Smart Grinder Pro (BCG820BKSXL) is the Dosing iQ system, which allows you to balance the number of cups with grind time to get the perfect amount of ground coffee. To start, press the button until it shows the desired number of cups. The display next to it will show you how long the machine will grind for. You can increase or decrease the time in 0.2-second increments and then save this as your preset whenever you grind that many cups.
On display, you’ll also see the grind setting number you’ve selected, plus a scale at the top to show you whether you’re getting coarser or finer as you turn the dial. The adjustment dial is on the side of the machine, so it’s convenient to see the setting at a glance.
Suppose you’re using this for other methods as well as the French press. In that case, you can take advantage of the adjustable portafilter holder or the ability to grind directly into a paper or gold-tone filter.
The Ode holds a special place in the hearts of any coffee lovers with a thing for minimalism, with a stripped-back look that stands out from everything else on the market. If you already own a Fellow brand kettle or French press brewer, this will be the perfect accompaniment to your designer coffee set-up.
Of course, the design is a plus, and we wouldn’t be recommending this coffee grinder if it didn’t perform well. The Fellow Ode doesn’t just do coarsely ground coffee by chance; it’s specifically made for manual brewing methods. The team at Fellow has made a conscious decision to skip the espresso grind and focus on the needs of homebrewers.
The great performance comes from professional-grade 64mm stainless steel flat burrs. This is much larger than you’ll see in most home coffee grinders and ensures a more consistent grind, better efficiency, and even a reduction in grind clumping (5).
The Ode’s clever design even extends to some features we never knew we wanted on a grinder, like the magnetically aligned grounds chamber or the grinds knocker that flicks out the last of the grounds from the chute.
The Ode is designed for single-dose coffee grinding, so when you press the start button, it will keep grinding until the hopper is empty. We’d recommend weighing your whole coffee beans before you add them for the most accurate result, which is a tip that applies to any coffee grinder on this list.
Even if you’re on a really tight budget, there’s no reason to settle for a basic blade grinder. If you’re willing to put in the work, you can get a high-quality grind at a low price by using a manual grinder. It might be cheap, but the JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder has plenty to offer.
The stainless steel body is both durable and lightweight, making it a great travel companion. It’s sturdy enough to throw into a backpack without worrying you’ll cause some damage, which is what we’d want from any manual grinder we take camping.
What really sets the JavaPresse manual coffee grinder apart is the patented burr system. It features dual plates, which are designed to keep it more stable and improve the consistency of the grind. It also makes it quieter than even other manual burr coffee grinders.
To change the grind settings, you need to remove the grounds chamber and turn the adjustment knob underneath the burrs. There are no markings at all, so you need to start on the finest setting, then count the number of ‘clicks’ as you turn. The recommended French press coffee setting starts at 13 clicks, but you’ll probably want to experiment to find the perfect size.
Where you might notice the difference between this and a more expensive manual coffee grinder is the time it takes to grind. For a full hopper of coffee beans, you’re looking at around 5 minutes or ramping up the effort if you want it done quicker (6). On the plus side, you’ll get a bonus morning workout!
Hand crank coffee grinders are often cheaper than an electric burr grinder, but that doesn’t always mean a budget buy. The 1ZPresso JX manual grinder is a serious bit of kit that will satisfy even the fussiest home barista.
The 1Zpresso brand doesn’t have the decades of history that other grinder brands do, but it’s attracted attention with its focus on manual grinders made for coffee aficionados. The range constantly increases to include grinders for different needs such as espresso grinding, a larger capacity, or greater portability.
The 1ZPresso JX is designed for manual brewing styles rather than espresso. With 90 total grind settings, you can make excellent grind adjustments–especially useful if you want to use this for pour-over brewing as well.
Cleaning and caring for the JX is as simple as it gets. Like all of the brand’s grinders, you can disassemble it without any tools for easy access to the burrs. Better yet, taking it apart for cleaning won’t mess up your grind setting. This is a helpful feature on grinders with multiple rotations for the grind setting dial.
It’s not as portable as the Porelex or the JavaPress manual grinders, but still a fantastic coffee grinder for traveling in an RV, for brewing the perfect French press coffee at work, or just for grinding coffee at home if you want to keep noise to a minimum.
1ZPresso also makes an upgraded model of this grinder, the JX-Pro, which can also grind fine enough for espresso. However, if you’re only planning to brew coffee like a French press or pour-over, stick to the JX. It’s cheaper, lighter, and even grinds faster.
You might have chrome across the Shardor brand with their unique oval-shaped coffee grinder. While we do like a good bit of design, the Shardor Coffee Grinder is a better pick for anyone who wants a quality grind and more options for grind settings.
Shardor actually makes a large range of blade grinders and burr grinders, but this stands out for us because of the 35 grind settings. It also uses stainless steel conical burrs, compared to the block burrs on some of its cheaper burr grinder models. The grind settings are marked under the hopper as espresso, drip/pour over, and French press.
The front-mounted dial allows you to select how much coffee you want to grind. This is marked in cups, usually measuring for drip coffee machines, but it would be pretty close to French press coffee measures anyway.
Perhaps the biggest selling point is the anti-static grounds chamber, which the Shardor team spent three years developing. Static is a common issue when you’re using any kind of plastic, and it causes coffee grounds to stick to the sides of the grounds chamber, which makes transferring the grounds to your coffee maker a bit of a mess. It also means you need to clean it out to avoid those leftover particles going stale.
The Shardor Grinder also has a small cleaning brush that clips in underneath the lid, so you have no excuse for not giving those burrs a regular clean.
The Bodum brand is synonymous with the French press, so it makes sense that they should also make a good grinder for French press. It’s also very well priced. For any coffee newbies or casual drinkers who aren’t sure if they need a burr grinder for their humble cafetiere, the Bodum Bistro could be the thing to convince you.
First of all, let’s talk about the looks. In a market filled with black and silver appliances, this pop of color is a welcome addition. You can also choose from white and red, or red and black to suit your style.
For grinding, you have 12 grind settings, which makes it the least versatile on our list, but for an entry-level grinder for French press, this should be enough to play around with. Select the time you want to grind, then hit the start button next to the timer. The good news is that the timer keeps your setting for next time, but the 20-second maximum might be a little limiting when brewing coffee in large batches.
One unique feature of this grinder is that it includes a friction clutch. This causes the machine to shut down if it catches a stray stone in the coffee, rather than trying to grind through and damage the burrs.
French presses aren’t the most common coffee maker to take on the road, but if you do want to travel, you’ll probably want to keep the size and weight of your grinder to a minimum. And at just 6 inches long and weighing 8 ounces, you’re not going to get much more portable than this.
The Porlex Mini has a no-frills look that hides a long and reputable history. The brand has specialized in ceramic burr grinders since 1978 and still manufactures all its products in Japan to ensure the highest standards.
As you’d expect from a specialist, the Porlex ceramic conical burrs are of excellent quality, designed to last for years, and many pounds of coffee beans. The all-stainless steel body is not only durable, but it also eliminates the static cling of plastic grinders.
Porlex made some improvements to the Mini a few years back to improve the grinding experience (which is why you’ll sometimes see this sold as the Porlex Mini II). It now grinds 1.3 times more quickly, so you get more coffee with less effort, and the handle is now less likely to slip during the grinding process.
The capacity is your biggest trade-off with the Porlex Mini. With a bean hopper that holds 20g, you’ll only be able to grind enough for a single cup French press brewer. If you can spare an extra inch and 3 ounces in your bag, you’ll get 30g capacity with the Porlex Tall model.
When buying the best coffee grinder for French press, you should be just as discerning as for any other brewing method. We like the Baratza Encore for its ease of use, grind consistency and Baratza’s dedication to making long-lasting products. With 40 grind settings, it’s also versatile enough to suit a range of brewing methods.
The difference between French press coffee and regular coffee is the brewing method. French press is an immersion method of brewing, meaning the water is in full contact with the coffee grounds during the brew. Regular coffee is made using a filtration method, where hot water has only limited contact with the grounds. The French press method extracts more of the coffee’s oils resulting in a rich, full-bodied cup of coffee. Regular coffee has a lighter, cleaner taste due to the filter that is used.
No, you can’t make espresso in a French press, but you can make a strong concentrated coffee that might still satisfy your espresso cravings. You can’t achieve the pressure generated by an espresso machine with a French press, so you’ll need to add strength by double brewing your coffee. Start by making your French press coffee, as usual, using coarse grounds. Once you brew it, filter your coffee and make another pot using new grounds, only this time use your brewed coffee instead of water.
The best French press has a good filtration system, retains heat well, and is easy to use. When buying a French press, you should also consider what capacity you need and your budget. We like the Bodum Chambord French press for its classic design, user-friendliness, and build quality. One of the great things about French press coffee makers is that there are many models to choose from, and they are generally very affordable.
You clean your French press by emptying the grounds and rinsing all parts after each brew. Leaving used coffee grounds sit, especially on the filter, can create a build-up of residue that will add unpleasant flavors to your cup of coffee. Every 2-3 weeks, you should do a deeper clean to remove stubborn residue and maintain the longevity of your gear. This involves filling your coffee maker with soapy water or diluted vinegar and leaving it to sit for 4 hours with the plunger pushed down. Pump the plunger up and down several times, then rinse well. If any stains remain on the mesh filter, you can remove them with a baking soda paste and toothbrush.
The best beans for French press are traditionally medium or dark roast beans, though, in theory, you can use any beans that suit your taste. The darker roasts are usually chosen because the beans’ deep, sometimes smoky flavor profile is complemented by the richness of a French press brew. Medium and dark roast beans extract more quickly than light roasts, making it easier to get a full-bodied brew without your coffee getting cold. Regardless of the beans you choose, make sure they are freshly ground. Need more information? Check out our guide on how to choose the right coffee beans for French press brewing.
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- Kumstova, K. (2018, March 22). The History of French Press. European Coffee Trip. Retrieved From https://europeancoffeetrip.com/the-history-of-french-press/
- The Breville Story: A timeline of innovations. (2016, June 4). Breville. Retrieved From https://www.breville.com.ph/blog/242-the-breville-story-a-timeline-of-innovations
- Raper, A. (2018, December 23). How to Choose a Grinder. Clive Coffee. Retrieved From https://clivecoffee.com/blogs/learn/what-makes-a-grinder-great
- Mutter, M., & Tata, S. (2017, October 1). JavaPresse Coffee Company Manual. TechGearLab. Retrieved From https://www.techgearlab.com/reviews/kitchen/coffee-grinder/javapresse-coffee-company-manual
Coffee expert and industry insider, I’ve dedicated years to mastering the art and science of coffee making. From scrutinizing particle fineness to evaluating burr shapes, I delve into the minutiae that elevate coffee from good to exceptional. Whether it’s a complex pour-over or a robust espresso, my insights cater to those who don’t just drink coffee, but experience it.