The French press is undoubtedly one of the most popular methods for making high quality coffee among home baristas. It’s unrivaled in both its simplicity and its ability to tease delicate and complex flavors from the coffee beans being used.
But beans aren’t everything when it comes to making delicious coffee. As anyone who has ever tried to make French press at home will know, the quality of the grind is second to none. And achieving the perfect grind starts with having the best coffee grinder for French press.
Coffee Grinders for French Press: A Quick Round-up
First, here’s a short roundup for you to skim through:
These are the coffee grinders we’ve selected – and further on in this article we’ll explain in detail our selection criteria. We’ve also included our own reviews for each grinder, and answers to all of your questions about coffee grounds for French Press.
French Press Coffee Grinder & Price
Pros, Cons & Caffeine Fiend Award
Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
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|+ Wide range of coarseness settings. |
+ Simple to operate
+ Produces consistent and uniform grinds
– Louder than hand grinders
– Quite basic and doesn’t contain any extra features
– Fairly expensive
Best Overall Coffee Grinder
JavaPress Manual Coffee Grinder
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|+ Extremely affordable|
+ Produces a consistent grind
+ Multiple grind settings that are easy to adjust
– Requires some effort in order to grind the beans
– Can be slightly inconvenient to hold
Best Budget Coffee Grinder
OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
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|+ Efficient and produces a consistent grind |
+ Easy to clean
+ Cheaper price tag than other electric grinders
– Fairly loud
– Draws quite a bit of electricity.
Best Value for Money
Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill
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|+ Attractive and sleek design |
+ Produces a relatively consistent grind
– Not as consistent as many of the other grinders on this list
Best Entry Level Electric Coffee Grinder
Khaw-Fee Manual Coffee Grinder
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|+ Attractive and sleek construction |
+ Very affordable
+ Very consistent and uniform grinds with many settings to choose from
– Glass grinds catcher can be quite fragile if dropped
Best Manual Coffee Grinder
Comandante C40 MK3 Hand Grinder
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|+ Extremely consistent grinding ability |
+ Beautiful and high quality design and construction
+ Perhaps the highest quality grinder on the market
– Fairly steep price tag
Best Premium Coffee Grinder
Respect the Grind(er)!
What about using pre-ground beans for French Press Coffee?
There’s nothing wrong with using pre-ground beans per se. In fact, many amateur coffee aficionados start out this way before they gain a deeper understanding of manual grinding and brewing techniques. However, it’s not perfect.
The main issue is the fineness of the grinds. The French press requires medium to coarse grinds for the best possible coffee, whereas store-bought pre-ground coffee tends to be extremely fine and suitable for other styles such as espresso or drip coffee. This type of grind is going to filter straight through the mesh filter of the French press, leaving a gritty residue in your mug.
We’re not bashing pre-ground beans. There are some excellent roasts made by extremely competent baristas out there. But if you want to extract the best, most delicate flavors when using the French press method, then grinding your own beans is definitely the way to go.
Down to grind—How to Get the Perfect Grind for French Press Coffee.
So by this point we should have convinced you that grinding your own beans is not only important, it’s crucial. The question is why? What makes home-ground beans so superior to their store-bought cousins?
As we mentioned above, one of the main parameters has to do with fineness, or particle size. The French press requires a medium to coarse grind in order to achieve the best results. This isn’t only because some of the particles will end up in your final product (although that’s one reason), it also has to do with taste and extraction.
The ideal range for French press uses about 100 to 300 particles of grinds. For comparison, espresso generally needs around 3500. On top of this you also want uniformity to your grinds to prevent over or under extraction.
Because maximum surface area is necessary for full-extraction, a medium to coarse grind will allow for more exposure when added to hot water. This allows for a more thorough and complete extraction. This also allows for a more efficient carbon dioxide release when the grinds are steeping, adding even greater nuance to the final flavor of your coffee.
So to sum it up – if your grind is too fine, you’ll end up with a slurry mess equivalent to sludge. If your grind is too coarse you’re not going to be able to get the most flavors or aromas from your beans.
The Best Coffee Grinder for French Press: Our Criteria For Quality
To really determine which are the best coffee grinders for French press, we’ve carefully reviewed a number of the top grinders on the market. It goes without saying that if you’re reading this guide then you’re serious about making a decent cup of coffee. You’re spending money on quality beans and you don’t want that compromised by a poor or mediocre grind.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the following qualities that we believe a good coffee grinder for French press coffee should have.
You’ll see this word used a lot in this guide and others, and for good reason. The ability of the grinder to produce consistently fine or coarse grinds is one, if not the, most telling quality of a good coffee grinder for French Press (or any other brewing device really) . A French press requires a coarse grind, and so you’re going to want a grinder that can deliver this every time without fail.
Coffee Grinders are generally divided into two categories – blade and burr. While blade grinders do have their uses, they generally lack the consistency and accuracy that burr grinders deliver. And since this guide is about achieving the best results, we’ve decided to focus entirely on burr grinders.
Manual, or Electric?
Another good way in which we’ve categorized our best grinders for French Press coffee is whether they’re manual or electric. Neither is particularly better than the other and it largely comes down to which one you prefer.
A manual coffee grinder has the benefit of being way quieter. Since it’s cranked by hand and doesn’t contain a motor, you can make coffee at all times of the day without worrying about noise. They’re also small and portable, meaning you can bring them with you on a camping or business trip and enjoy quality coffee wherever you go.
However, they’re also slow and laborious to use. Loading beans and grinding by hand is a time-consuming process that also requires you to break a slight sweat. Electric grinders, on the other hand, are great if you’re impatient for your morning cup of coffee and don’t want to work for it.
Range of Use
If you’re investing in the best coffee grinder for French press, then you’re going to want a device that can do more than simply deliver coarse grinds. Grinders are versatile machines, and while producing consistent grinds for French press might be your goal, it’s never a bad idea to pick up one with a broader range of settings.
If you’re someone who only drinks French press occasionally, then maybe you want a grinder that can produce finer grinds for a weekend espresso. We took this into account when reviewing our favorites so you can rest assured that the suggested grinders can be used for a variety of different coffee styles.
As mentioned above, hand grinders tend to be smaller and more portable. Electric grinders on the other hand, can take up a hefty amount of counter space in the kitchen.
If you’ve got the space and are more concerned with grind consistency, then this shouldn’t matter too much. However, this should always be a consideration when deciding on which grinder to purchase.
And of course the final aspect to consider is price. Grinders, both manual and electric, are available across a variety of different price ranges. Obviously not everyone can afford the highest-end product on the market, and so we’ve taken this into account when ranking the best coffee grinders for French press.
You can find a decent grinder that won’t break the bank, but it’s generally a safe bet that if you’re investing a fair amount into it then you’re going to get great, consistent returns. It all depends on your budget and how much you’re willing to pay.
The Best Coffee Grinders for French Press Coffee: A Detailed Breakdown
Best Overall French Press Coffee Grinder
With 40 different grind settings, the Baratza Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is a godsend for those looking for some variety and specificity when it comes to the coarseness of their grinds. It’s also why it’s made the top of the list as the overall best coffee grinder for French press. Compared to competitors, it’s able to deliver consistent and uniform coarseness and is perfect for creating the ultimate French press grinds.
The price tag, however, might scare away a few prospective buyers. The Baratza is a lot more expensive than some of the other grinders on this list – but it’s worth it. The fact that it’s electric and can grind continually and consistently sets it a league above many other grinders. And so the price is a relatively small fee to pay for the functionality present in this machine.
Here’s a video of how to grind coffee beans with the Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder by Workshop Coffee:
How to use the Baratze Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder:
Using the Baratze Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is quite straightforward. It’s simplicity does not mean it’s not effective, however, quite the opposite. By following a few easy steps, you can produce even and consistent coffee grinds every time. It looks something like this:
- Insert your beans into the hopper and choose your grind size.
- You can adjust the grind size by rotating the hopper. A lower number will give you a finer grind and a higher number will give you a coarser grind. For French press, we recommend setting the grind size to 26.
- To start grinding, you can either pulse grind with the little button on the front, or use the on/off switch for more continuous grinding.
- Once you’re finished grinding, you can clean the machine by turning the hopper to the coarsest setting and it will pop out.
- Remove the rubber gasket that you applied when you first unboxed the grinder, then lift out the burr set. Use the brush that came with the grinder to remove all of the trapped grinds in the burrs and space where the burrs sit.
- After that, reassemble everything and you’re good to go for another grind!
This grinder isn’t only suitable for French press; you can also use it for a variety of different grind settings. For Chemex, set the grind size to 32. And for drip coffee, set it to 18. We found that it’s also ideal for small kitchens, as it can be tucked away in a corner and forgotten about until you need to use it again. We also recommend cleaning it about once a month to keep it from getting clogged and to continue to deliver the best results.
Best Budget Grinder
Priced reasonably, the JavaPress Manual Coffee Grinder is a conical burr hand grinder that is small not only in price but in stature too. It’s the perfect entry level grinder for someone who’s testing the waters when it comes to home grinding, but doesn’t want to splash out on the most intricate tool.
Equipped with over 15 coarseness settings, the JavaPress gives you a level of grind control not seen on many other grinders within this price range. It’s got a solid, clean and attractive design and grinds relatively quietly, especially compared to its electric counterparts. It’s also sporting ceramic burrs, which means it’s going to last about five times longer than its stainless steel burr counterparts.
Here’s a video of how the JavaPress Manual Coffee Grinder works, put together by D Choplin on YouTube:
How to use the JavaPress Manual Coffee Grinder:
- Straight out of the box, the JavaPress Manual Coffee Grinder is easy to assemble. Just attach the handle to the fitting on the top of the grinder and you’re ready to go.
- Adjust your grind setting by separating the top half of the grinder from the catching chamber, then rotating the adjustment dial to the appropriate setting. Remember, since this is French press coffee, you’re going to want a coarse grind.
- Once you’re happy with your settings, put the grinder back together, remove the handle and lid, pour your beans into the hopper, then reattach the lid and handle.
- Start grinding by turning the handle clockwise. For a coarse grind we found that between 10 and 13 rotations was perfect. Hand grinding can be more of an art than a science sometimes, so you might have to play around with it until you find the preferences that work best for you.
- Once you’re finished, the grinds will gather in the catching chamber at the bottom. You might have to tap it vigorously to ensure that all of the grinds come out.
In terms of performance, this grinder works quite well and can produce consistent grinds every time. However, we found that while the JavaPresse is perfectly suited for creating grinds for a French press, if you want to use it for anything smaller such as espresso, it will take fifteen minutes or more of vigorous cranking. Capacity wise, it also leaves a bit to be desired. If you’re making coffee for you and your significant other – great. But if you’re making coffee for larger parties, you might want to invest in something automatic and with a larger capacity, like the Baratze Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder.
Best Value For Money
The OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is a smart and beautiful piece of equipment that delivers grind functionality without a huge price tag. It’s very moderately priced for what it delivers.
Whereas many other electric grinders rely on a timer in order to process the coffee beans, the OXO uses an integrated scale. This smart technology means that the grinder can accurately detect the precise amount of coffee being ground. This gives home baristas that additional specificity which so many love.
The interface of the OXO is also great. The entire machine is controlled with only one button and dial, making the grinding process fun and intuitive. If there’s criticism to lever it’s that the grinds sometimes tended towards being too coarse.
That being said, the OXO is still a beautiful piece of equipment that is worth buying, especially if smart technology and precision are important to you.
Sur La Table have shared an insightful video about the OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder:
How to use the OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder:
- Start by setting your grind size. Slowly rotate the hopper in order to adjust your grind size. 1 is the finest, and 15 is the most coarse.
- Next, slight the grounds catcher into place on the base of the grinder until you hear it click into place.
- Add your beans to hopper then secure it by clicking the lid into place.
- Turn the dial to set the time that you would like to grind for – anywhere from 1 – 30 seconds.
- Press the OXO dial to start grinding. If you want to stop grinding for whatever reason, just press the dial again.
- And that’s it! You can also detach the hopper from the base to make it easier to tip the grinds out.
Another thing about the OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder that’s worth noting is that it’s easy to clean. The whole thing comes apart fairly easily, including the top burrs, so you can really do a deep cleaning without much issue. Something we noticed, however, is that you can’t remove the bottom burrs, which means a few particles of ground coffee are going to get stuck there. We don’t think it’s a deal breaker, but some people might be a bit particular about it.
This grinder is also available in another iteration with a few more features but also a bigger price tag. The OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder with Integrated Scale is essentially the exact same grinder, but it allows you to measure and grind your coffee all at the same time. It does cost almost double the original OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder, so it’s up to you to decide if this feature is worth it. We find that, functionality and price considered, this grinder is quite a bang for its buck, scale or no scale.
Best Entry Level Electric Coffee Grinder
If you’re keen to dabble in home grinding but aren’t comfortable with buying more expensive, sophisticated equipment, then the Cuisiniart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill is your answer. It delivers pretty good results without setting your wallet on fire.
A YouTube channel called ‘Gramer Tommy’ uploaded a tutorial video for the Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill:
How to use the Cuisiniart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill:
This grinder functions very similarly to other grinders on this list:
- Start by measuring out your beans and pouring them into the hopper. The DBM-8 advertises that it can hold up to half a pound of beans (“Up to 18 cups” is what it says on the packaging), but we recommend using about half that to ensure that the grind is even and consistent.
- Adjust the grind size by twisting the hopper to the left or right depending on if you want it fine or coarse (of course, for French press we want it coarse).
- You can also choose how much coffee to grind per session by using the small slider at the base of the hopper. The numbers – 1 – 18 – correspond to the amount of grinds needed per cup of coffee. So if you set it on 12, the DBM-8 will grind enough coffee for 12 cups.
- Once you’re happy with the settings, just press the start button and the grinder will take care of the rest.
When it comes to cleaning, the DBM-8 is fairly straightforward. You can get to the burrs by twisting the hopper a few times, and you can get pretty deep with the cleaning brush that comes with the grinder. The hopper and the grinds catcher are likewise pretty straightforward to clean and can even be chucked in the dishwasher.
The design is cute and it will never look off in any kitchen, but for this price point you’re definitely not going to get the most hard-hitting functionality. The grinds won’t always be consistent or uniform, but for a beginner home barista this should do the job adequately. It may not be the best coffee grinder for French press, but it certainly does a decent job.
Best Manual French Press Coffee Grinder
If you’re looking for something delivers consistent, uniform grinds, is small enough to keep at home as well as take travelling with you, then it’s hard to go wrong with the Khaw-Fee Manual Coffee Grinder. Going for a really low price, it’s an absolute steal as well.
The Khaw-Fee is not only ideal for producing grinds suitable for French press, but also for various other styles of coffee. Its easily adjustable settings means you have complete control of the coarseness of your grind. What’s more, since the Khaw-Fee is manual, it’s near silent, meaning you can grind coffee in the morning without ever having to wake your loved ones.
Featuring an attractive plastic and glass construction, the grinder also comes apart for easy and effortless cleaning. If you can fault the Khaw-Fee on something this would be it. While the design is beautiful, the glass grinds catcher is fragile and can break if dropped.
Like the JavaPresse, the Khaw-Fee Manual Coffee Grinder is not ideal if you need to grind beans for multiple people. It’s the perfect tool for when you want to make one or two cups of fresh coffee, but for anything bigger you’ll want to invest in a larger coffee grinder.
To show you how it works, French Press Coffee on YouTube:
How to use the Khaw-Fee Manual Coffee Grinder:
- First, set the size of your grind by removing the silicon lid from the hopper, then removing the locking screw from the top of the hopper, the handle and a small steel washer. Now, turn the adjustment mechanism left or right to set the grind. Turning the mechanism counterclockwise results in a coarser grind while turning it clockwise makes it finer. You’ll have to do some experimentation to find out precisely which grind works for you.
- Once you’ve set your grind, put the whole device back together.
- Add beans to the hopper. For optimal use you want to use about three or four tablespoons of beans, but don’t fill it to capacity. When you’re done, snap the silicon lid into place.
- Finally, apply some elbow grease and turn the crank in order to grind your beans. When there’s no more resistance, unscrew the grinding mechanism from the grinds catcher and your coffee is good to go.
- Once you’re finished grinding your beans or if you discover that you’re ground a bit too much, you can use the lid that comes with the grinder to seal off the grinds catcher. We actually love this little feature as it means your ground coffee will stay fresh for some time.
Best Premium Coffee Grinder
If quality is what you want and you’ve got the budget to match it, then the Comandante C40 MK3 is going to be your coffee grinder match made in heaven. It’s definitely an expensive piece of equipment, but the C40 MK3 isn’t just a grinder, it’s a work of art.
With a body constructed from high quality wood and burrs made of high-alloyed, nitrogen stainless steel, the C40 MK3 is not only pretty, but exceedingly functional too. Grinding coffee is a smooth and effortless experience, and beans are transformed into grinds with only moderate amounts of force.
This grinder blows competitors out of the water, thanks in large part to the steel drive axle which results in a very smooth grinding experience, and its concial, 39mm high-nitrogen steel burrs, which are extremely tough and wear down very slowly. Coupled with its portability, ease of use and fairly large grinding capacity, we find that there aren’t any hand grinders that can keep up.
And while the C40 MK3 is the best coffee grinder for French press, it can handle every other variety too, grinding fine enough even for espresso. This grinder just works on every level, and it’s workmanship is apparent in every aspect of its simple yet powerful design and functionality.
Seriously, if you can afford it and you’re serious about French press coffee, buy the Comandante C40 MK3.
Here’s a video about the Comandante C40 MK3 Hand Grinder by the manufacturer’s Youtube channel:
How to use the Comandante C40 MK3:
- We found that the Comandante C40 MK3 works very similarly to other manual grinders, just on a whole other level of quality.
- You can set the desired grind by separating the top module from the grinds catcher. On the bottom of the grinding section you’ll see an adjusting mechanism. Turn this left or right to adjust the coarseness of your grind (Comandante included a slick little diagram to help you know which way to go). For French press, you want to turn the mechanism about two and a half rotations, or 30 clicks (the sound it makes as you turn it).
- Next, load your beans into the grinder. When doing this, we recommend cupping the hopper near the top just to prevent the beans from spilling out over the sides. The maximum capacity of the grinder is 50g, but we found that a maximum of 40g made for a smoother experience.
- Crank the handle to start grinding and in about 40 to 60 seconds all of your beans should be the desired grind size.
One little drawback that we noticed when using this grinder is that it’s almost impossible to know what setting you’re on if you happen to forget what you set it to. But there is a way to zero in your grind size so that you can start from the beginning. To do this, remove the grinds catcher and hold the grinder horizontally. Next, keep adjusting the grind mechanism towards fine a few clicks at a time, then lift the handle and let it fall. When the handle stays in place, you’re back at zero and can set your grinder to a new setting.