And to get the best out of your French press, the grind is of paramount importance. We want to help you achieve perfection in your home barista endeavors, so we’ve taken time out to hunt down the very best coffee for use in a French press.
But before we get down to the nitty-gritty of what makes the best coffee for French press, we need to explain why the coffee you choose is so important.
Because the French press uses a stainless steel mesh filter to screen out the grounds, more of the delicious oils and solids from the coffee bean end up in your cup. Some coffee drinkers like the "chewy" texture produced by a French press, while others object to it. There are ways to minimize the mud, but essentially, steeping coffee grounds in water and then pressing them down with a mesh filter is going to leave a little bit of silt in your cup.
The traditional solution to this is to use coarse ground coffee. In addition to reducing the number of tiny particles that the mesh filter can't capture, a coarse grind tends to make French press coffee sweeter and less bitter.
When shopping for the right beans, most French press coffee lovers prefer a medium roast or a dark roast. The French press brew method reduces the perceived bitterness that some people object to with dark roasts. Mostly, though, it's for the simple reason that a smoky, dark brew just suits the character of the press pot.
The usual keys to getting great coffee with any brew method, of course, work for the French press:
- Stay away from pre-ground coffee - it loses its freshness too quickly.
- Buy good quality whole bean coffee and grind it immediately before brewing.
- Use a good coffee grinder (burr, not blade), and a good french press
- Purchase from reliable coffee roasters that roast their beans fresh
- Properly clean your french press often to ensure your brew tastes clean. here
PRO TIP: The French press needs a higher coffee-to-water ratio, with more coffee than the SCAA's "golden ratio" (55 grams per liter).
So with all that in mind, here are our five choices for the best beans to use in your French press:
The Bean and the Grind
Many people who routinely use a French press will automatically reach for a bag of ready-ground coffee.
Now don’t get us wrong here, there are some excellent quality and totally delicious ground coffees out there. But if you want to extract maximum flavor and enjoy the subtle nuances of your favorite coffee, you really want to grind your beans yourself if you’re using the French press brewing method.
The French press needs a medium to coarse grind. That’s because the flavor extraction process needs maximum water surface area to be fully effective. This also facilitates better carbon dioxide release from the coffee grounds during steeping, further enhancing the flavor of the finished brew.
The problem with pre-ground coffee is that, although it’s perfect for use in an espresso machine, the stuff you’ll find in your local grocery store is usually ground much too fine for a French press. French press works much better with a very coarse grind for several reasons:
- Finely ground coffee tends to pass through mesh filters, leaving gritty residue in your cup.
- Coarse ground coffee gives a much clearer, brighter flavor in a French press.
To get the best flavor from a French press, you’ll need to take the DIY route and grind your coffee beans yourself.
If you don’t already have one, invest in a good-quality electric or manual coffee grinder. Check out our helpful article on stainless steel versus ceramic coffee grinders and get yourself a good one.
Of course, it is possible to grind your coffee beans without having to splurge on a grinder. And once again, your resourceful coffee-loving friends here at Roasty have a detailed guide on exactly how to do that.
Another option is to buy your coffee beans at a really good local coffee shop and ask them to grind the beans for you. Most commercial grinders that are used in barista houses have a small icon with a French press on it that will give you the coarse grind you need.
Of course, grinding your coffee beans yourself at home means that you’re guaranteed a super-fresh cup of Java every morning. Nice.
Theoretically, you can use any bean in a French press. However, most baristas prefer to use a medium or dark-roasted bean. That’s because these roasts retain the most oils, leading to a better tasting and more flavorful brew.
So, without further ado, here’s what we consider to be the best coffee for French press.
Best Coffees For French Press
10Real Good Coffee French Roast Dark
This dark French roast coffee is great for grinding and using in a French press. It has an extra bold flavor that doesn’t become bitter like other types of coffee. It’s also responsibly grown and roasted responsibly in Seattle. These beans are 100% Arabica bean and contain no additives or preservatives. They’ve been grown using sustainable methods and are packed in a responsible manner. And while they’re good beans to grind for presses, they’re also good for making coffee grounds for Aeropress machines, espresso makers and even drip coffee machines, depending on how the user decides to grind them up for their morning coffee.
9Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend
Smoky and full of complex flavors, this dark roast coffee is designed to help the user get the most out of their mornings. This ground coffee will deliver the caffeine kick that a person needs with their coffee, but isn’t bitter like some other types of dark coffee. And this product is packaged in a way that ensures that when it arrives at your door it’s as fresh as it can possibly be. These grounds are manufactured by a company that’s been hand-selecting and roasting quality beans from around the world since 1966. Taking a closer look at this coffee, it seems like they’ve continued the trend.
8Strong AF Rude Awakening Coffee
People who love a strong cup of coffee in the morning should get a real boost out of this brand. It’s designed with twice the standard amount of caffeine that competing coffee grounds provide. Designed to punch the drinker square in the face, this coffee is a true dark coffee that’s grown to be bold and strong. It’s good for not only French press applications but also for use in automatic coffee machines as well. These grounds are made from hand-selected beans from artisanal farms located in Vietnam and are grown without the use of pesticides. This creates a bold, flavorful bean that’s professionally ground into Rude Awakening Coffee.
7Gevalia Special Reserve Coarse Ground
This coarse ground coffee is made from specially sourced Arabica beans that have been grown in the rich volcanic soils of Costa Rica. This produces a bold and rich coffee that’s brimming with citrus and fruit undertones. It’s designed to be used in French presses and to not over-extract like many other kinds of ground coffees tend to do. This product produces an extremely interesting flavor and aroma profile that’s sure to help just about anyone start their day off. And if the user doesn’t want to make it in a press, it can also be used in an automatic coffee maker, too.
6Primos French Press Coffee
Sourced from high-quality Arabica beans that have been grown at high-altitudes, this medium body coffee grind is suitable for use in your favorite French press or drip coffee maker. This coarse grind starts off as beans that are hand-picked and washed before they are sun-dried and sent to be roasted. They are then given a proper city roast before they are ground to European standards. This results in a medium-body coffee that has subtle citrus notes and has a low acid profile. It’s smooth and easy to drink and is designed to not be overly harsh on the coffee drinker’s stomach.
5Chestbrew Moon Bear Coffee
Sourced from Arabica beans that are grown on progressive farms in Vietnam, these coffee beans are can be ground for a variety of different coffee applications including cold brew coffees, hot brews made in a French press or automatic drip machine, or for making tasty Vietnamese iced coffees. What’s really good about these coffee beans, however, is that they produce a coffee that’s both strong and delicious at the same time. They are designed to give the drinker a little bit of a kick but not to be harsh on the stomach. And they are designed to provide a flavor profile that’s different from the coffees produced by other coffee companies.
4Tiny Footprint Cold Press Organic Coffee
These cold press coffee grounds come from a unique company that sources its products in unique ways. The beans used to make this grind are sourced from the world’s best organic growers and are roasted using a vintage German-built Probat roaster. That isn’t the only thing unique about this company, however. They also promise to plant a tree for every bag of coffee that’s purchased them. Probably the most important thing about this coffee though is the fact that it has a silky body that has floral and fruit undertones and a rich texture to it. This makes this a good coffee for just about any preparation method.
3Bean Box Seattle Deluxe Sampler
Why settle for one particular type of coffee bean from one particular roaster when you can enjoy a different variety every day? That’s the idea behind this deluxe gourmet sampler pack. It contains 16 different coffees from different Seatle roasters. Some of the brands which can be found in this thoughtfully designed sample pack include Seattle Coffee Works, Lighthouse, Ladro, Zoka, Vita, and Herkimer. Each sampler contains about 1.8-pounds of fresh roasted whole coffee beans, along with tasting notes, brewing tips and profiles of the different roasters. Which makes it a great sample for the French press enthusiasts or to give as a gift to one.
2Stone Street Coarsely Ground Coffee
Packaged in a three-layer resealable bag that’s designed to keep the coffee grounds in it as fresh as possible, this dark roasted coffee for French press brewing methods is coarsely ground and is ready for immediate use. The coffee that’s inside of this bag has a sweet profile that’s not acidic at all and provides the drinker with a bold coffee taste. This grind is made from 100% Arabica beans that are sourced from Colombian growers. This dark roast coffee is not only suitable for French press coffees, however. It can also be used with cold brew methods and cold pressing methods, and can even be used in automatic drip machines.
1Death Wish Organic Whole Bean Coffee
This is a whole bean coffee that has labeled itself to be the strongest coffee in the world. While we aren’t sure if that’s the case or not, one thing is for certain. These coffee beans can be used to make a great cup of French press coffee. This product is made using Fair Trade sources beans that are certified organic by the USDA and is also considered to be a Kosher coffee as well. It’s a dark roast that has double the caffeine of average coffee roasts and is designed to deliver a taste profile that’s strong but also smooth as well. The drinker is sure to get a kick out of this bold flavor that’s manufactured in small batches to ensure product freshness.
6 Best Coffees for French Press 2019
Bulletproof Coffee French Kick
Bulletproof Coffee is sourced from passive-organic plantations where the beans are grown using traditional, chemical-free methods.
The beans are roasted in small batches in US roasting houses to produce a dark-roast that gives a smooth, sweet, smoky note with chocolate overtones. The finish on the palate is clean with a medium body.
This is one of Amazon’s best-sellers and lends itself very well to the French press brewing method.
Two Volcanoes Ground Coffee – Dark Roast Espresso Blend
Okay, we did say that home-ground beans are best for French press, but Two Volcanoes makes it onto our list of favorites for several very good reasons.
The organically cultivated Arabica and Robusta beans that are used for this coffee originate in Guatemala. The beans are processed and packed there too, ensuring freshness and flavor preservation.
The coffee is coarse ground, specifically for French press. The final brew is smooth with woody, smoky notes.
Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffee Beans
Koffee Kult is based in Hollywood, Florida. The beans are roasted by hand in small batches at their US facility, before being packed for freshness. If you’re in the area, Koffee Kult actively encourages enthusiastic home brewers to call in and check out their facility.
The beans used in this coffee are non-GMO, 100% Arabica beans. The dark roast preserves the coffee’s natural flavors, which include sweet cinnamon and cocoa. The finished brew is smooth and bright with a long finish.
Stone Street Coffee
Stone Street Coffee is made with press brewers in mind and is especially suitable for making cold-brew in a French press. And yes, it’s another pre-ground coffee of exceptionally high quality.
This Colombian Supremo single origin coffee is made using 100% Arabica beans that are dark roasted. The result is a coarse grind of low acidity that gives a smooth, slightly sweet, well-balanced yet bold flavor.
Death Wish Organic USDA Certified Whole Bean Coffee
Those of you who need a serious caffeine kick to get you up and at ‘em every morning need look no further than Death Wish.
Death Wish prides themselves on being the producer of The World’s Strongest Coffee. A cup of Death Wish reputedly has double the amount of caffeine that you’ll find in your regular cup of Joe.
This brand of whole beans is also one of Amazon’s best sellers.
Premium coffee beans are sourced from USDA Organic and Fair Trade plantations and roasted to produce a surprisingly smooth brew that’s popular right around the world.
Peet’s Coffee, Major Dickason’s Blend
Specialty coffee roaster and retailer, Peet’s Coffee is based in San Francisco Bay. The company has been producing coffee since its foundation in California in 1966.
Major Dickason’s Blend combines the very best coffees from premier growing regions to produce a smooth, balanced cup of Java.
The brew you can look forward to making in your French press from this dark roast is rich, complex, and smooth with a full body and multi-layers. This is an interesting and sophisticated blend that lends itself perfectly to the French press method.
How to avoid disasters
So, now you’ve bought your coffee beans, and you have a means of producing a beautiful, coarse grind to use in your French press. What could possibly go wrong?
Everyone suffers an occasional caffeinating catastrophe once in a while, and brewing French press coffee is trickier than you might first think.
So, to spare your blushes, we thought you’d like to know how to avoid these common French press foul-ups. Don’t worry; we’ve all been there.
Using the wrong amount of grounds
One of the attractions of brewing French press coffee is that the process allows you to customize your drink. The amount of grounds you use and the length of steeping time are totally under your control.
However, a common error made by beginners is to get the balance wrong. Use too much coffee and the resulting brew is strong enough to keep you jittering all night. Use too little, and you could steep the brew for an hour or more and still end up with a watery drink that tastes like … well, not like coffee anyway.
Beginners should start off by using a 1:10 coffee to water ratio. That is one gram of coffee for every 10 grams of water. That will produce a mid-strength brew, which will suit most tastes.
If you prefer your coffee strong, increase the grounds to water ratio. If you prefer it on the lighter side, reduce the steeping time or use fewer grounds.
Stewing your brew
Stewing the brew is just about the most common calamity that befalls home baristas when they first begin using a French press. If you leave your coffee in the French press, it will continue to brew in hot water, resulting in an over-extracted, bitter brew that’s just not nice at all.
When the coffee has finished brewing, transfer it to a thermos or carafe. Or better still, drink it while it’s fresh!
Warm your cup before pouring to help with heat retention. Also, be sure to invest in a decent set of coffee cups with good thermal retention properties too.
Poor grind quality
As we’ve already mentioned (and it is worth saying it again), French press coffee needs a medium to coarse grind. Too fine a grind and you won’t be able to press it down properly, or it will run through the filter into your drink.
You can avoid the problems that can result from unsuitable or poor quality ground coffee. Buy whole beans and invest in a decent coffee grinder, or ask your local barista to do the job for you in their commercial machine.
Wrapping it up
French press coffee is perhaps the most reliable method of producing a customizable brew that’s true to the flavor of the bean.
Use a coarse grind to allow for maximum flavor extraction and if possible go for a home-ground coffee, rather than pre-ground for freshness and perfect grind texture.