It doesn’t matter if you’re a French press veteran or you’ve just taken the plunge (pun intended) and bought one recently – we know that you’ve probably been wondering what the best coffee for French Press is.
Yes, it is technically true that any beans will work with your French press coffee maker, but they aren’t all equal. Certain beans simply pair well with the French press method and the type of brew that it produces.
The Best Coffee for French Press: Editor’s Pick – Two Volcanoes Guatemalan Dark Roast
Flavor – 4.5/5
Pricing – 4.5/5
Quality – 4/5
The Guatemalan Dark Roast from Two Volcanoes is perfect for French press users that want a great tasting, smooth and rich cup of coffee.
Why The French Press?
Does the way that someone makes their coffee say something about the type of person that they are? Maybe not but the fact still remains that the type of brewing method that you choose to make use of is going to affect the cup of coffee that you end up with.
You can easily test this theory for yourself if you are skeptical. Grind up a set amount of your favorite beans and then put half into a drip coffee maker and half into a French press. After brewing up a cup of coffee with each device you will find that although the same basic taste is present, there will be noticeable differences.
So, how does the French press compare to a standard drip coffee maker? Is the best coffee for French press also suitable for other brewing methods?
French Press vs Drip Coffee
There is no denying that drip coffee makers are extremely prevalent all across the world. This popularity is largely due to the fact that automatic drip coffee makers are straightforward, convenient, and easy to use. All you have to do is fill the filter with your coffee and then let the machine pour hot water over it.
The French press is also a relatively easy to use device as well; however, it is a manual coffee maker and not an automatic one. This means that you can definitely become better at using it (and get a better cup of coffee) as time goes by.
To use a French press coffee maker all you have to do is fill the cylindrical container with both coffee and hot water, stir it up a bit, and then leave it to brew for a while. Once enough time has passed, you should then press the plunger down. This sends the grounds to the bottom of the container while allowing the coffee that has been brewed to remain above.
Generally speaking, if you compare a cup of French press coffee to a cup of drip coffee, you will find that the latter is more full-bodied. Also, as we said previously, you would get the same general taste but a cup of French press coffee is going to have a richer flavor.
So, why does coffee that is brewed using a French press have a noticeably richer flavor?
It’s All in The Oils
During the brewing process, the natural oils that the coffee bean contains are drawn out into the water. These oils are directly responsible for giving your cup of coffee most of its flavor and overall taste.
The paper filter of a drip coffee maker is great when it comes to preventing sediment from passing through; however, it also does a good job of holding back those oils as well. Paper filters soak up and hold back a large portion of your coffee bean’s oils, allowing only a fraction to pass through – leaving you with a cup of coffee that has a comparatively weak flavor.
On the other hand, French press coffee makers don’t use paper filters. So, all of these flavor rich oils are extracted from the coffee beans and end up right in your cup. However, you are going to notice more sediment passing though compared to if you had used a paper filter.
The Best Coffee Beans for French Press
Two Volcanoes Guatemalan Dark Roast
($0.94 / Ounce)
|Smooth and rich cup of coffee.|
Smokey and woody flavor notes.
Dark roast coffee.
Primos Coffee Co. French Press Specialty
($1.00 / Ounce)
|Smooth and sweet cup of coffee.|
Citrus flavor notes.
Medium roast coffee.
Death Wish Organic Whole Bean Coffee
($1.25 / Ounce)
|High caffeine content.|
Cherry and chocolate flavor notes.
Dark roast coffee.
Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew Reserve
($0.94 / Ounce)
|Well balanced and smooth cup of coffee.|
Fruit, caramel, and chocolate flavor notes.
Dark roast coffee.
Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend
($0.57 / Ounce)
|Great tasting blend.|
Spicy flavor notes and full body.
Dark roast coffee.
Two Volcanoes Guatemalan Dark Roast – Overall Best Coffee for French Press
Two Volcanoes warns the number one spot on our list with their celebrated Guatemalan Dark Roast. Pop this in your French press and you’re going to get a smooth and rich cup of coffee that has noticeable smoky and woody notes.
It is worth noting that Two Volcanoes sells this particular coffee as whole bean and also in a pre-ground form as well. So, be sure to pay close attention to which one you’re ordering.
That being said, although we would normally wholeheartedly recommend buying whole beans for French press, getting the pre-ground Guatemalan Dark Roast would actually be okay. This is because Two Volcanoes has specifically made this a coarse grind with French press users in mind.
However, it is worth noting that although the whole bean version is single origin, the pre-ground one is a blend.
All in all, this is gourmet coffee at a reasonable price and it’s a single origin, dark roast – all of which we find perfect for French press.
Primos Coffee Co. French Press Specialty – Best Medium Roast Coffee for French Press
If dark roasts just simply aren’t your thing or you just want to try a medium roast with your French press, we would have to recommend Primos Coffee Co. French Press Specialty.
Primos Coffee Co. does also offer their French Press Specialty coffee as a dark roast (and it is great) but we find that we surprisingly prefer their medium roast. These are premium Arabica beans that will give you a relatively mild cup of coffee that is smooth and sweet with citrus notes.
Primos Coffee Co. has also pre-ground this coffee; however, this isn’t a big deal because the name says it all – French Press Specialty. This is a coarse grind that is perfect for French press coffee makers and their slow brewing process.
Death Wish Organic Whole Bean Coffee – Best Strong Coffee for French Press
We’re no stranger to Death Wish Coffee, in fact we’ve already talked about it and its contemporaries in detail in our review of the best high caffeine coffee brands.
However, what we failed to mention there is that Death Wish beans actually make a great cup of French press coffee. In fact, one of the things that we noticed when we popped Death Wish into our French press, is the fact that we got an even smoother brew compared to the last time we tried it.
Death Wish Coffee is great if you just aren’t getting enough caffeine from your regular cup of joe but you also don’t want to sacrifice taste just to get a bigger kick. Lastly, we found that the French press method was able to effectively draw out the cherry and chocolate flavor notes of the beans. Something that we weren’t able to fully appreciate the last time we tried Death Wish.
Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew Reserve – Great for French Press and Cold Brew
We know from personal experience that Stone Street Coffee makes a mean cup of cold brew – it’s what they recommend it be used for – but we find that it is great for French press as well.
The Stone Street Cold Brew Reserve is a dark roast coffee (a fact that also makes it great for cold brew) that has a well-balanced and smooth flavor. It also has noticeable sweet notes of fruit and caramel that help to give it a bold flavor profile when it is brewed with a French press.
The Stone Street Cold Brew Reserve is available pre-ground or as whole bean and either would be fine since their grind level is relatively coarse.
Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend – Honorable Mention
Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend may technically be the honorable mention of this list but it has definitely earned its spot and then some.
When we sampled the Major Dickason’s Blend, it was hard to not compare it to the Guatemalan Dark Roast Blend from Two Volcanoes. This is because it simply gives you an all around great tasting cup of coffee that has the iconic woody notes (which we love in a dark roast) alongside subtle spicy notes and a full body.
We did find that it lacked the strong smoky notes but could be a plus for some people since that is one of the most common complaints that we hear about dark roasts.
Making Coffee with the French Press: Important Factors to Consider
We’ve already got a detailed breakdown of how to make a perfect cup of coffee with a French press, which you can check out here. Here’s a quick overview of a couple of factors that you should definitely consider.
Best Coffee for French Press: What Grind Size Is Best?
If you ask any coffee aficionado, they will tell you that if you’re making coffee with a French press, you’re going to want to have a coarse grind. However, we find that you can fine tune this answer even further and safely go with a medium coarse grind.
This is definitely an important factor to keep in mind if you are seriously thinking about buying pre-ground coffee for your French press. We recommend that you buy whole coffee beans and grind them yourself with a good coffee grinder.
A regular medium grind, that you use with an AeroPress or a drip coffee maker, will have the consistency of sand. On the other hand a coarse grind will have a size similar to sea salt and a medium coarse grind will be somewhere between the two.
If you want to get really specific we can define this in terms of particle size – how many particles one bean should be ground up into. As we said in our review of the best coffee grinders for French press:
“The ideal range for French press uses about 100 to 300 particles of grinds. For comparison, espresso generally needs around 3500.”
What Is The Recommended Coffee To Water Ratio?
This is a value that is definitely going to vary from person to person because we all like our coffee at varying strengths. However, if you still haven’t found a coffee to water ratio that works, you can follow our recommendation.
Generally speaking, you can’t go wrong with a coffee to water ratio of 1:15 – so 15 grams of water for every gram of coffee. Another easy to follow guideline would be 1 cup of water for every 3 tablespoons of coffee. If you use this ratio as a baseline and find that your coffee isn’t strong enough, then you can easily tweak it to find your preferred values.
Best Coffee for French Press: What Is The Right Roast Level?
This is another factor that is ultimately going to depend on your personal preferences. However, the general consensus among coffee aficionados is that medium to dark roast coffee beans work best with the French press brewing method.
The reason why many people shy away from darker roasts is because there is oftentimes a noticeable bitterness that comes with it. The French press brewing method works well with darker roasts because it lowers this bitterness.
Manual or Automatic Grinders?
You may be worried about whether your grinder is suitable enough because we’ve gone on and on about the best coffee for French press and how important grind size can be. If you’re debating with yourself between burr grinders and blade grinders, then we can give you a clear answer – burr is better.
However, when it comes to manual grinders or automatic grinders, the correct answer isn’t as clear.
Anyone can use a manual grinder but if you are particularly skilled with it you can achieve extremely precise grind levels that perfectly suit your tastes, no matter how much of a snob you are. On the other hand, automatic grinders are easier and more convenient to use but they are not going to offer that precise level of control that manual grinders have.
If you’re a fan of manual grinders and French press coffee, we recommend the Khaw-Fee Manual Coffee Grinder. However, if automatic grinders are more your speed, then we recommend the Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder if you’re going to be brewing up a lot of French press coffee.
If you need more information, you can check out our detailed, side-by-side reviews of the best coffee grinders for French press.
Which is the Best French Press?
Are you still on the fence about which French press coffee maker you should buy? Now that you’ve got the best coffee for French press are you unsatisfied with your current coffee maker?
Whatever the case may be, if you need a recommendation then we’ve got you covered – pick up the Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker. It looks great, is easy to use, and is affordable compared to a lot of the competition.
Got A Craving For More French Press Info?
If you’re still not sure if French press is right for you, check out our other posts where we pit it against beloved brewing methods like AeroPress and pour over. We also have in depth guides where we definitively name our top French press coffee makers and grinders.
|French Press Guides & Reviews||French Press Compared|
|How to Use a French Press||to Drip Coffee|
|Best French Press Coffee Makers||to Pour-Over|
|Best Grinders for French Press||to AeroPress|