Looking for a French press and grinder.Any preferences or does it matter?
Press? Not so much.
Grinder? Absolutely totally 100%. It must be a burr grinder. No blade will do, especially not for the coarse grind you need for a French Press. After that, it’s a matter of how much you want to spend. The best ones cost a lot, and they do make a difference. Entry level is like $100, and you should not buy anything less than that if you care at all about your coffee.
Thanks Sarah, very helpful
Agree that presses all seem about the same. Using one now that I got from a restaurant supply store and it’s fine.
For grinders, I’ve been using a hand crank burr grinder (Hario) for the past few years and like it a lot but it’s only me that drinks coffee. It might be a bit much to hand ground for a group every day.
My post on grinders:
From this thread:
For a French press, I like ceramic or porcelain instead of glass.
Have you considered an Aeropress rather than a French Press? I just made the switch this year during lockdown and while I’m still figuring out my preferred coffee/water quantities I’m generally happy with it.
I’ll look into that Jay, thanks for the info everybody.
Question for you french press people: Would you recommend an insulated one? The technique seems to logically call for one, but I haven’t seen a lot of them in use. Usually I see just the standard glass, which is what have but rarely use because I have my drip system down to my liking. But, I would think that since you will be brewing it in the pot, then keeping it there while you drink several cups, an insulated press would be ideal. But, perhaps the lowering of temps combined with the extended contact with the grounds is actually better in this instance?
An AeroPress makes something akin to espresso, and while you can put lighter roasts in it, I think you would generally use an espresso very dark roast for the crema? I personally love light roasts so it’s almost always a French press or pour-over for me. I do have an Aeropress, but it very rarely sees the light of day. A pour-over is great–but I’m more of a pot in the morning than a glass in the morning, so it’s a French press for me. I did like the chorreador in Costa Rica.
I have a ceramic one that I fill with 200 degree water, dump that out, add the freshly ground beans, and then use 205 degree water to steep the coffee for three and a half minutes. I find this keeps it very close to the 201 degrees that is ideal for brewing.
I use my Aeropress for regular coffee all the time. If drinking it hot it needs a bit of extra water once in the cup. as the press only holds so much. It is excellent for iced coffee, press right into a tall glass full of ice.
I have an insulated Bodum (the biggest one) that’s going strong after six years of daily use. Highly recommended, and not sure why there aren’t more choices out there.
For a grinder, my Baratza is 13 years old now. It’s a workhorse, easy to clean and maintain. I can still buy parts for it, though I’ve only ever had to replace a $4 plastic part about six years ago.
Bodum eight cup glass press for me. Been a workhorse for 15 years. But doesn’t get used as much these days. Have replaced the mesh filter a couple times.
Use a Capresso grinder. Good QPR in my opinion. And, it fits nicely. The larger, pricier models don’t fit under the upper cabinets of the coffee bar in my kitchen.
take a look at the Espro P3 and P7
We had glass French presses for years. Then we bought an insulated one. Buy an insulated one. You’ll thank me later.
This French Press works well for me ;
I am using a Baratza Vario W with add on steel grinding burrs. It does cost a little but this makes a ton of difference for me. I had been using a Rancillio Rocky and getting nice results but it was basically manual all the way around the the dosing was not precise. Super heavy too. This one however is programable and I can get precise grinds and dosing. You can find them refurbished. Below $500. The ceramic burrs are FABULOUS for espresso but the grind is too fine for French Press. For coarse grinds without powder, you need the steel burrs. It is a disc burr which is the best to me. If you love coffee, the grinder investment is worth it. I really like this one for the money. The best below $750 to $1000 I could find. Anything in the $100 to $200 range will be functional but all you need to do is use one of these really good ones once. If you can spare the money, it is worth the investment.
I think Bodium makes a super french press.
As mentioned French presses are not that different but grinder make a big difference. The Baratza Encore is great basic grinder for non espresso use. Fort espresso you really need to pony up on your grinder. The Baratza Encore is about $130 new and $100 for a refurb which I have. Their customer service is fantastic and if anything stops working or wears out you just speak with them and get a replacement part which are all quite reasonable. If that is too much $$ (you will pony up later) get a hand grinder like Hario. Do not get a chopper or blade type grinder as they are awful and leave the coffees smashed into a myriad of sizes which is no good for a quality coffee. I just read about the Hoffman method for French press and will try it out soon. I use a drip for daily use.
On the French Press I would get a name brand and the insulated ones do hold the temps quite a bit better. However the glass one and being able to see the brew is cool as well. So that is personal preference. I have each type of press and a couple Baratza Encores. The Baratzas get used daily and the french presses are usually our backups.
I’ve read differing recommendations about adding more water in the press or adding water to the cup after brewing. I kept trying the former as my usual opinion is that Americanos are a bad idea with either espresso or brewed coffee being superior. But much to my surprise I prefer espresso strength coffee in the aeropress and then adding water in the mug. Go figure.