Despite its name, the French press is popular throughout the world, as it is a hassle-free and convenient way to make good coffee. Finding the best coffee for a cafetière, also known as a French press, can be tricky.
There are so many different roasts, grinds, and bean origins, that it can feel impossible to know the right brand to choose. But, fear not, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about brewing coffee this way.
We took a deep dive into French press brewing and came back with a list of the best coffee brands out there for that method. Before we share that with you, let us look at a few of the most common questions asked about this method for making coffee.
Is The French Press The Same As A Cafetière?
When discussing a French press and a cafetière, you are actually talking about the very same thing. In fact, the humble French press can also be referred to as a cafetière, carafe, cafetière à piston, caffettiera a stantuffo, press pot, coffee press, or a coffee plunger. It has many names, but they are all referring to the same item used to make a brewed cup of coffee.
For clarity, if someone mentions any of the above monikers, they are likely referring to a coffee pot used to brew coffee, where coffee dregs are pushed to the bottom using a plunger attached to the lid. It works slightly different from pour over and drip coffee, where plastic, metal, or paper filters are used in the brewing process and hot water is runs directly over the beans.
Cafetière Meaning And Origin
Cafetière is a French noun that directly translates to English as ‘coffeepot’ or ‘coffee maker’. With its connections to France, it’s somewhat ironic that the first patent that resembles the French Press came from Italians, Attilio Calimani and Giulio Moneta, in the late 1920s.
The most popular design came from Swissman Faliero Bondanni almost thirty years later. His design was manufactured in France, and is called ‘Chambord’. If you Google ‘Chambord’ today, you will see cafetiéres sold with the tagline ‘the original French Press coffee maker’.
How To Use A French Press
Using a French press coffee maker is pretty simple: grind the coffee, put it in the jug, and add boiled water. Leave it for a few minutes, and then, press down the plunger.
A good ratio of water to coffee is about 1.8 oz of ground coffee per 34 fl oz of hot water. However, you can adjust this ratio to your own taste. The ideal brew time to leave the coffee to bloom differs depending on who you ask, but we usually wait four minutes when using this specific brewing method.
Be careful of leaving it too long before plunging, as this can lead to an overly bitter cup of coffee. Anything over five minutes is probably too long and you won’t be getting the best from your brew.
Best Roast For A Cafetière: Medium to Dark
Technically, you can use any roast for coffee brewing in a cafetière. If you love light roasts, there’s no reason why you can’t brew it in a cafetière (in fact, we include a couple of lighter roasts on our list). With that said, you might notice that many of the pre-ground coffee in grocery stores designed for a cafetière are darker roasts like medium, medium-dark, and dark roast coffee.
There’s a good reason for this. These roasts tend to be quite bitter. However, they don’t taste as bitter in a french press because the beans extract less acid.
If you do notice that a darker roast is still bitter using this method, it could be over-extraction due to the grounds being too fine.
The Best Coffee For French Press Coffee Maker
I started my quest for the best coffee to use in a French press when I noticed different tastes in the various beans I purchased. Thus, I deep-dived into the world of French press brewing, looking at all the different types of coffee I could get my hands on.
We tasted an abundance of different brands, eventually choosing sixteen for our list. All of which make a delicious cup of coffee.
1. Lifeboost Coffee Medium Roast
These beans are grown in the mountains of Nicaragua. They are free of pesticides and chemicals. They are hand-selected for purity, hand-washed, sun-dried, and cooked to a balanced medium.
Lifeboost has a smooth taste and a pleasant aroma of chocolate and nuts. It also has low acidity. However, all of that wouldn’t be enough to make it onto this list unless these produced a brilliant cup of coffee and they absolutely do. It’s one of the best coffees for new coffee drinkers.
2. Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend
This blend is a darker roast. The company that makes it has an efficient online service that roasts and ships on the same day. In fact, we like Peet’s so much, we’ve put two of their coffees on our list.
Your coffee beans are guaranteed to be fresh when they arrive from this coffee roaster and this blend has a rich flavor profile, a full body, and a spicy after-taste. A morning cup from your French press brings out all those tastes and more.
Contains one (1) Box of 75 Peet's Major Dickason's Blend Dark Roast Coffee Keurig K-Cup Pods - 100% Arabica Coffee. Packaging may vary for a limited time.
3. Volcanica Coffee, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe
Coffee was first cultivated in Ethiopia, and it is still the home of some of the finest and most delicious beans. Ethiopian coffee tends to be fruity. The taste of blueberry is prominent in their coffee.
This particular brand of coffee is unique in that the bulk of each crop comes from wild coffee trees, which gives it a mixed fruit and floral taste. Strawberry, dark chocolate, and lavender are some of this blend’s aromas and flavors. If visiting a friend who is brewing this coffee, you will notice the beautiful aroma as soon as you walk in the door.
4. Joffrey’s Coffee Italian Espresso
Don’t let the name fool you; Joffrey’s Italian Espresso blend can still be used in a French Press. Since these are whole beans, you will need to grind them to the correct size first.
This blend has a mouthwatering aroma and goes down smoothly. Your senses will be delighted by notes of fruit and chocolate.
5. Stone Street Colombian Supremo
Colombian Supremo has a sweet, smooth, well-balanced flavor when put through a French press. Fruit, chocolate, and caramel are the dominant flavors in it. We loved it in our cafetière, but it’s a flexible blend.
One Amazon reviewer discussed this, stating: “It definitely was fresh and a smooth flavor. Roommate had some and said this was better than what he typically uses. If you are a cold brew person, this right here is optimal for you.”
6. French Roast Sumatran, Sleepy Monk Coffee
French roast Sumatra beans are perfect for a French press. However, this particular blend of coffee stands on its own merits. It has less acid and caffeine than lighter roasts, giving it a clean and subtle feel.
The way that this particular coffee is processed gives the beans an earthy flavor. The brew is dark, and it has a toasty aroma. It is the kind of coffee that is nice to have with a big breakfast, especially one that includes ham or bacon.
I have tried it and had a delicious morning meal as a result. (Not on Amazon, but available here).
7. Volcanica, Costa Rica Peaberry
Volcanica is appearing on this list for the second time because they simply make great coffee. When it comes to French press brews, this is another beautiful option.
It’s a coarsely-ground coffee that is incredibly fresh tasting, bringing out citrus and hazelnut notes. The coarse grind brings out the immense flavor of the coffee. Some people don’t like the fact that these beans arrive fully ground – but they taste great and you have the added bonus of not needing to whip out the coffee grinder after you buy them.
8. Kicking Horse – Grizzly Claw, Dark Roast
Kicking Horse is creating some beautiful coffee at the moment. These French roast coffee beans taste like they are designed for a French press, with idyllic chocolate notes, mixed with a sweet subtle aftertaste.
The brand has gained a reputation for only using the best coffee beans and that is definitely evident with this blend. Here’s what one Amazon review said: “I use this coffee when camping brewing with a french press. It has great flavor, filters well, and is the best stuff I’ve had out of the press.”
9. Death Wish Coffee
If you are looking for a super-caffeinated start to your day, then throw this stuff into your French press and get going! It’s known for its incredible caffeine level, but don’t let that fool you – this ground coffee is made from a mixture of Robusta and Arabica coffee beans sourced from India, Peru, and Guatemala and it’s absolutely delicious.
However, it should be enjoyed in moderation, because Death Wish Coffee is very, very strong. It has up to three times the amount of caffeine of a regular cup of coffee. If you have high blood pressure or issues with your nervous system, you should avoid this one altogether.
- DAY STARTER GROUND COFFEE: Get a pound of power & energy every morning with our dark roast coffee ground. This dark coffee is made of robust bold flavors.
- QUALITY BREW COFFEE GROUNDS DARK: Transform your basic cup into an intense & delicious coffee. One sip of this best coffee will make you say yes to more of our coffee grinds.
- STRONG COFFEE GROUND: Enjoy the best ground coffee you'll ever taste! Made with premium arabica & robusta beans that are roasted to perfection.
- SMOOTH DARK GROUND COFFEE: Brew our best coffees made with a slow batch roasting process. This coffee ground bold is low in acid. Great coffee for sensitive stomach!
10. Lavazza – Super Crema Medium Espresso Roast
Lavazza do medium roast coffee as well as anyone else and this Super Crema is a great example. It’s another blend, with beans from Brazil, Colombia, India, and Indonesia. There are very few coffees on this list as well balanced as this one.
Watching this pour through the mesh filter from your french press into your cup is almost as beautiful as tasting it. Pair it with a square or two of milk chocolate and you will be in flavor heaven. It’s also very reasonably priced when compared to some of the other coffees on our list.
11. Peet’s Coffee – Medium Roast (Whole Bean Coffee)
Peet’s coffee knows what they’re doing. Let’s just start with that fact. They make great coffee and that’s why they are making their second appearance on our list of the best coffees for French press coffee makers.
This blend, made from Arabica beans from Central and South America is a thing of beauty. It’s roasted in small batches to ensure freshness and is one of our favorite coffees to share with friends who prefer lighter roasts.
12. Doma Bella Luna (Trade Coffee)
When trying to reduce your caffeine intake, it doesn’t get much better than Doma Bella Luna’s decaf specialty coffee. If you’re looking for a decaf with bold flavor and one that you would be happy to get from a coffee shop, then this is your guy.
It has tasting notes of dark chocolate, caramel and a little bit of nutty goodness too. Serve this up to one of your coffee-lover friends and see do they notice that it is a decaf – we reckon they will have no idea!
14. Gevalia – House Blend Medium Roast
Gevalia produces a high-quality mix of Arabica and Robusta that will set your taste buds alight. This is a beautiful blend and ideal if you are looking for coarse ground coffee to start your day.
We were actually surprised at the perfection of the grind size, as it brings out the perfect flavor from the brew. Even as seasoned coffee lovers, we don’t think we could have done any better with our own grinder. It tastes super fresh when brewed and goes perfectly with a hearty breakfast, or midday snack.
15. Koffee Kult Dark Roast Ground Coffee
This Arabica single-origin coffee provides a booth, smooth flavor that is perfect for immersion brewing methods, such as the French press. What sets this one apart from competitors is the beautiful aromas it gives off; honestly, you might think you’ve smelled beautiful coffee, but even baristas are surprised at how gorgeous the scent of this is. The good news is that its taste is stunning too.
It’s a little on the pricey side and there are cheaper coffees on our list. However, if you want to treat yourself, it’s worth every penny.
- Dark Roast Whole Coffee Beans
- Small Batch Gourmet Aromatic Artisan Blend
- 100% Arabica Coffee Beans
- Organically Sourced Espresso Beans (32oz)
16. Fabula French Dark Roast Coffee
If you are looking for a low-acid coffee to go well with your French press, then coffee roaster Fabula could be your guy. They describe their beans as “specially sourced and roasted to be easy on your tummy, good for your body, and still delicious.”
It’s great to have a coffee option that is less likely to leave you with acid reflux or heartburn. We particularly like this roast because you get hints of caramel and coffee and who doesn’t like those delicious flavors!