Buying Guides

Finding the Best Coffee for French Press: Roasty’s Reviews

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If you’re passionate about making perfect coffee at home, you’ll be happy to know there are plenty of brewing methods out there for you to try. The one we’re highlighting now, though, is the French press, a firm favorite in many households. Many die-hard coffee aficionados insist the classic French press makes a more flavorful cup of coffee than any other method.

Now, every home barista knows regardless of the brewing method you choose, the flavor of your finished brew varies based on whether or not you’re using quality coffee beans. Because we want to help you make the best batches of joe possible, we’ve taken the time to hunt down the very best coffee for use in a French press.

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But before we get into the buying guide, we need to explain why the type of beans you choose matters.

coffee for french press

The Bean and the Grind

Many French press users reach for a bag of pre-ground coffee. Don’t get us wrong here; some already-ground beans can make a quality brew. But if you want to fully experience the tasting notes and subtle nuances of your favorite coffee, you’ll want to invest in fresh coffee beans and grind them yourself before using the French press brewing method.

The ideal grind size for French pressing is medium to coarse because the extraction process needs maximum water surface area to be fully effective. This grind size also facilitates a better release of carbon dioxide from the coffee grounds during steeping and enhances the finished brew’s flavor. The best thing about coarse coffee grounds is that they won’t pass through the press’s mesh filters, so there won’t be any grit in your cup. 

Grind size makes using regular ground coffee with your French press somewhat risky. Though usually perfect for use in a drip machine, the stuff you find at your local grocery store is usually much too finely ground for a French press.

At A Glance: Best Coffees for French Press

The Bottom Line

The best way to ensure you get a batch of great-tasting, strong coffee from your French press is by taking the DIY route and grinding fresh beans yourself. If you haven’t already, invest in a high-quality electric or manual coffee grinder. We’ve got a list of our favorites for you to browse here

If you don’t want to spend your hard-earned cash on another coffee-related appliance, your resourceful fellow coffee lovers at Roasty have a detailed guide to breaking down your beans without a grinder. Check it out now, and thank us later. 

You can also buy your beans at a local coffee shop and ask a barista to grind the beans for you. Most commercial grinders used in coffeehouses have a French press setting that delivers the coarse grind you need.

Quick Summary: Best Coffees for French Press

rc2-table__imageLifeboost Coffee
  • 100% Arabica Bean
  • Hand Roasted
  • Hand Picked, Spring Water Washed, Sun Dried
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rc2-table__imageHUCKLEBERRY ROASTERS FLORES BELAS
  • Rich Chocolate Flavor
  • Orange Acidity Splash
  • Deep Caramel Sweetness
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rc2-table__imageCuvee Coffee West Pole Dark Roast
  • Rich, Full-Bodied Flavors
  • Formerly Known As Mezzanote
  • Comforting And Rich
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rc2-table__imageCAFFE VITA BISTRO BLEND
  • Classically Balanced Cup
  • Smooth Sweetness Of Milk Chocolate And Caramel
  • Supporting Taste Of Cashew Nuttiness
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rc2-table__imagePT’S COFFEE FLATLANDER SIGNATURE BLEND
  • Bittersweet Aroma
  • Balanced Nutty, Sweet Finish
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rc2-table__imageGOOD CITIZEN COFFEE CO. PAUBRASIL BLEND
  • Creamy Notes Of Milk Chocolate
  • Natural or Dry Processed
  • Sweet And Smooth
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rc2-table__imageJOE COFFEE BIG CITY FRENCH ROAST
  • Full-Bodied And Rich
  • Plenty Of Honeycomb Sweetness With All That Deep, Dark Chocolate
  • Roasty And Smoky
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rc2-table__imageMETHODICAL COFFEE LATE NIGHT
  • Smooth, Rich Body And Deep Chocolaty Sweetness
  • Notes Of Roasted Walnut And Hints Of Clove
  • Comforting And Rich
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rc2-table__imageMADCAP COFFEE FINCA DE DIOS
  • Smooth, Rich Body And Deep Chocolaty Sweetness
  • Notes Of Roasted Walnut And Hints Of Clove
  • Comforting And Rich
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rc2-table__imageGREATER GOODS COFFEE CO. KICKSTART
  • Dark Chocolate And Brown Sugar Sweetness
  • Medium Roast
  • Sweet And Smooth
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Roasty Rankings: Our Top Picks for the Best Coffee for French Press

Now, we must answer the burning question: what are the best coffee beans to use in a French press?

Technically, you can use any roast of coffee with this brewing method. However, most prefer using a medium or dark roast bean, as those two retain the most oils and produce a brew that boasts a full and delicious taste. That’s why most of the offerings on our list fall into the medium, medium-dark, or dark category. However, if you tend to steer clear of darker beans, feel free to choose one of our favorite light roasts instead.

Without further ado, allow us to introduce you to what we’ve deemed the best French press beans. 

Lifeboost Coffee

Lifeboost Coffee
Lifeboost Coffee
Our rating:

Enjoy delicious, healthy, single-origin, chemical-free, non-GMO coffee from small farms in the mountains of Nicaragua

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The first product on our list comes from Lifeboost Coffee, a brand that prioritizes high-quality coffee from bean to cup. Lifeboost’s intentionally grown, hand-selected, and hand-roasted coffee beans are an excellent choice for any French press enthusiast. 

The brand’s single-origin organic beans are among the two percent of the world’s shade-grown coffees, which means the sun’s harsh rays don’t interfere with the beans’ flavors as they grow. No pesticides are needed, either. To put it simply, shade-grown equals pure java. 

Another thing to love about Lifeboost coffee beans is that they’re easy on the stomach. Coffee with high acidity levels can cause heartburn and digestive issues, but thanks to how these beans are grown and processed, Lifeboost Coffee products boast low acidity. Sip this stuff to enjoy cup after cup of caffeinated goodness (or decaf, if that’s your jam) and experience no discomfort or pain later. 

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Huckleberry Roasters Flores Belas

Flores Belas
Huckleberry Roasters Flores Belas
Our rating:

This gorgeously balanced cup is a Trade exclusive! Rich chocolate flavors pair beautifully with just a splash of orange acidity, and a deep caramel sweetness that lingers past the last drop.

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Any batch of beans whose name translates to “beautiful flowers” has to be as lovely and sweet as fresh blooms in the springtime, so by name alone, Huckleberry Roasters’ Flores Belas blend is already off to a promising start. 

These medium roast coffee beans come from Latin America, and when brewed, they boast flavors of milk chocolate, sweet caramel, and a hint of dried fruit. If you’re a fan of drinking your morning coffee black (sans milk, sugar, or creamer), you’ll probably enjoy this brew. But even if you prefer adding a little something extra to your cup, you’ll still enjoy every sip of this smooth coffee. 

Cuvee Coffee West Pole Dark Roast

Cuvee Coffee West Pole Dark Roast
Cuvee Coffee West Pole Dark Roast
Our rating:

Dark roasted, but you won’t find any ash in this cup – only rich, full-bodied flavors that show off the hard work of the producers behind this blend. (Formerly known as Mezzanote.)

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Lighter roasts are often crisp and refreshing, but some days, nothing hits the spot better than a smoky dark roast. Take the Cuvee Coffee West Pole blend, for instance. This combination of Colombian and Brazilian beans is dark and strong without tasting burnt, allowing you to experience all of the brew’s earthy flavors. 

This unique-tasting coffee is perfect for slow sips on a lazy afternoon, thanks to its sweet and cozy notes of chocolate. It’s got a body that lingers, too, so the satisfying flavors of this brew will continue dancing on your taste buds even after your mug is empty.

Caffe Vita Bistro Blend

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Caffe Vita Bistro Blend
Our rating:

A classically balanced cup, with the smooth sweetness of milk chocolate and caramel supporting a cashew-nuttiness that keeps us coming back.

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Picture it: you’ve pulled out your faithful French press on a lazy Sunday morning. You’ve got nowhere to be and all the time in the world to sit and sip a delicious cup of coffee. And there are few better lazy day beans than Caffe Vita Roasting Co.’s Bistro Blend. 

These medium-roasted coffee beans from South America, East Africa, and Indonesia produce a smooth and balanced brew everyone can appreciate. As you wait for the flavors of dark chocolate, nougat, berry, and caramel to steep in your French press, close your eyes and enjoy the sweet smell of cocoa powder, nougat, and baking spice. So good!

PT’s Coffee Flatlander Signature Blend

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PT's Coffee Flatlander Signature Blend
Our rating:

Easy does it. And this coffee proves just that. A bittersweet aroma is balanced by a nutty, sweet finish. Here’s to one less complication.

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An immersion brewer like the French press has a way of bringing your coarse ground coffee’s robust flavors to the surface, guaranteeing delicious java every single time. That’s why we recommend pairing the Flatlander Signature blend from PT’s Coffee with your French press. 

The natural coffee oils from these beans produce sweet caramel flavors and bright, citrusy tangerine notes that create a perfect morning pick-me-up. This South American coffee is roasted with care in Topeka, Kansas, and no worries: you can trust PT’s Coffee wholeheartedly, as the company was the recipient of Roast Magazine’s “Roaster of the Year” award in 2009. 

Good Citizen Coffee Co. Paubrasil Blend

Good Citizen Coffee Co. Paubrasil Blend
Good Citizen Coffee Co. Paubrasil Blend
Our rating:

It’s not often we see such a full body in a coffee roasted this lightly, and with its creamy notes of milk chocolate, it really works.

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If the coffee’s name wasn’t a dead giveaway, the beans used in Good Citizen Coffee Co.’s Paubrasil blend come from Brazil — Cerrado Mineiro, to be exact — before being roasted to light-medium perfection in Nashville, Tennessee. 

This 100 percent traceable single-origin joe might become one of your favorite coffees for a French press coffee maker. These Brazilian beans boast the sweet taste and aroma of juicy cherries and creamy milk chocolate — delicious consumed black or with a splash of milk. 

Joe Coffee Big City French Roast

Joe Coffee Big City French Roast
Joe Coffee Big City French Roast
Our rating:

Full-bodied and rich, this roasty cup offers up plenty of honeycomb sweetness with all that deep, dark chocolate.

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As it turns out, the French press and French roast coffee beans are a match made in heaven. Don’t believe us? That’s okay; just pull out your Frieling French press and a batch of Joe Coffee’s Big City joe and get to brewing. 

French press enthusiasts love the brewing method because it preserves all of the coffee’s natural flavors, and fortunately, the Big City French roast is full of some good ones. Each sip of this joe boasts burnt sugar, roasted almond, and chocolate notes, creating a sweet and comforting coffee experience. These Brazilian beans can certainly hold their own, but don’t worry; they play well with milk, too. 

Methodical Coffee Late Night

Methodical Coffee Late Night
Methodical Coffee Late Night
Our rating:

This (caffeinated) cozy cup brings you all the comfort you need in your morning routine: a smooth, rich body and deep chocolaty sweetness envelop notes of roasted walnut and hints of clove.

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What do you get when you combine coffees from Costa Rica and Brazil? Why, you get Methodical Coffee’s Late Night blend, a.k.a., a roasty and toasty dark roast coffee that’s worthy of your French press. 

The Late Night blend with its notes of dark chocolate and roasted nuts is the darkest and boldest batch of beans on the South Carolina-based roaster’s product list. But don’t let its name fool you; this creamy brew is caffeinated, so unless you want to disrupt your sleep schedule or are a college student seeking fuel during a grueling all-night study session, we don’t recommend consuming the stuff too late at night. 

Madcap Coffee Finca De Dios

Madcap Coffee Finca De Dios
Madcap Coffee Finca De Dios
Our rating:

This single origin provides a rich and fudgy body with sweetness reminiscent of toasted nuts and hints of lemon dancing in the background.

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We don’t know about you, but we think it’s pretty safe to assume anything grown on the “Farm of God” — or Finca de Dios — is probably worth drinking. The good folks at Madcap Coffee seem to agree with us, too, as seen by the Grand Rapids, Michigan, coffee roaster’s Finca de Dios beans. 

Finca de Dios has been in the Prentice family for generations and has partnered with Madcap since 2009. This Guatemalan single-origin comes from one of the highest elevation lots on the farm, and when brewed in your French press, it has rich flavors of chocolate, amaretto, and cola. Bring out a batch of this joe when you want to start your day on a sweet foot or cap off the evening with a dessert-like beverage. 

Greater Goods Coffee Co. Kickstart

Greater Goods Coffee Co. Kickstart
Greater Goods Coffee Co. Kickstart
Our rating:

Dark chocolate and brown sugar sweetness are front and center in this easy-drinking coffee, with a surprising (and delightful) note of rose throughout.

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Kickstart your day with bold flavor with the help of Greater Goods Coffee Co.’s Kickstart blend. It’s an espresso blend, so it’s on the darker side of the roast level spectrum, but no worries — these beans’ full-bodied flavors of dark chocolate and brown sugar come through just as well when brewed via French press.

Since each of the three single-origin coffees in this blend (from Colombia, Nicaragua, and Brazil, respectively) is an award-winner, you can have peace of mind knowing only the best made it into your cup. Enhancing the Kickstart blend’s reputation more is that Greater Goods Coffee Co. received Roast Magazine’s 2021 Micro Roaster of the Year award. That means the brand holds itself and its products to a high standard — all the more reason to believe these beans are worth putting in your press. 

Onyx Coffee Lab Geometry Blend

We’ll admit it: when we first read the name of this Onyx Coffee Lab blend, we were a little skeptical, as our prior encounters with the word “geometry” weren’t the most pleasant (Please excuse us while we shake off that flashback of high school math class…). However, using these beans is nothing like trying to make sense of all those complicated formulas we couldn’t figure out how to use. 

Brewing with Onyx’s Geometry blend is simple because the beans are versatile; they can go from espresso machine to pour-over to French press method with just a change in grind size. Onyx sources premium Colombian and Ethiopian beans to create this clean-tasting joe. Once brewed, you’ll notice traits from both origins, including fermented fruitiness from Colombia and depth and complexity from Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee

Primo’s Coffee Co. French Press Specialty Coffee

You might be stubborn with your coffee-making routine, insisting on using the same coffee beans in the same drip brewer every morning. But we think there’s value in branching out. Venture into the world of the French press brew method, and give new beans — like Primo’s Coffee Co. specialty coffee, for example — a fair shot. 

The Nicaraguan shade-grown beans are hand-picked before making their way to Texas to be medium-roasted. Then, they’re packaged and shipped to coffee enthusiasts everywhere. Brewing this mild, low acidity joe gives you a sweet-flavored cup of coffee with hints of citrus. Grab a burr grinder to turn these French press beans into coarse grounds, then use them with this immersion brew method. Your taste buds will thank you. 

Two Volcanoes Gourmet Guatemala Whole Bean

This Guatemalan medium roast by Two Volcanoes is a downright delicious option for French press coffee experts. The single-origin gourmet coffee is roasted in small batches to highlight every flavor present in the joe. Furthermore, the beans are packaged immediately following the roasting process to preserve freshness. 

Not only does Two Volcanoes roast these beans skillfully, but the brand also takes extra care to carefully sift through all of them to remove any mutations or imperfections. This care in production, combined with its evenly balanced acidity and caffeine content, makes a batch of these beans an excellent option for many coffee lovers. 

Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffee Beans

Colombian, Guatemalan, Brazilian, and Sumatran beans come together to create the perfect blend for French press brewing. Plus, they’re non-GMO and 100 percent arabica! 

Devoted dark roast lovers will be especially pleased with this Koffee Kult offering, as the longer roasting time doesn’t eliminate the coffee’s natural flavors of spicy-sweet cinnamon and cocoa. The result is a smooth, bright-tasting brew with a long finish and pleasant aroma that’ll have your mouth watering before you’ve even pushed the plunger to the bottom of the French press. 

Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew Reserve Colombian Supremo

Did you know you can use an immersion brewing method like the French press to make cold brew coffee? Well, you can! And Stone Street Coffee’s Cold Brew Reserve is just the batch of beans to help you do it. 

This Colombian Supremo single-origin joe is made with 100 percent arabica beans, and after they’re roasted in Brooklyn, they’re ready to be coarsely ground and brewed at your house. These dark coffee beans make a cold brew that’s low in acidity and bitterness but high in smooth, slightly sweet, well-balanced, and bold flavors. Enjoy it black, or pour in your favorite milk, creamer, or flavored syrup. 

Death Wish Organic USDA Certified Whole Bean Coffee

If you’re anything like us, you’re only interested in brands and types of coffee beans that give a serious energy boost on those early mornings. That’s why we’ve included Death Wish Coffee on our list of French press-worthy beans. Death Wish is an Amazon bestseller, so we think it’s safe to assume the brand is doing something right to caffeinate its customers. 

Death Wish prides itself on producing the World’s Strongest Coffee, and a cup of this stuff supposedly has twice the caffeine of regular joe. Death Wish’s high caffeine level results from combining USDA-organic and Fair Trade arabica and robusta coffee beans. This pairing produces a surprisingly smooth cherry and chocolate-flavored brew.

Peet’s Coffee, Major Dickason’s Blend

Peet’s, a well-known specialty coffee roaster, is based in the San Francisco Bay area and has been slinging beans since 1966. One of the brand’s most beloved batches of beans, Major Dickason’s blend, combines the very best coffees from premier growing regions to produce a smooth and balanced cup of java. 

Should these become your French press coffee beans of choice, expect to sip a rich, complex, and smooth brew with a full body and multiple layers. This interesting and sophisticated darker roast lends itself perfectly to this brewing method. 

How to avoid disasters

So, now that you’ve bought yourself a bag of premium coffee beans from Amazon, a roaster, or a high-end coffee shop and have a burr grinder for producing a coarse or medium grind to use in your French press, what could go wrong? 

Actually, a few things could. Everyone suffers the occasional caffeinating catastrophe, whether they’re using an automatic drip machine or a more complicated espresso machine. It doesn’t help that brewing French press coffee can be trickier than you think, creating more opportunities for your brew time to go awry. 

However, with some patience — and maybe some trial and error — brewing with a French press is a piece of cake. Here are a few common French press mistakes to note, plus tricks for avoiding them as you brew your favorite coffee beans. 

Using the wrong amount of grounds

Most coffee enthusiasts find themselves drawn to French press coffee because the process lets you customize your drink more than you can with an automatic drip machine. Things like the measure of grounds you use and the length of steeping time are totally under your control.

Unfortunately, it’s easy for anyone, from a beginner barista to a seasoned coffee geek, to get the coffee to water ratio wrong. If you use too much coffee, the resulting brew may taste overpowering. Too little joe, though, and you could end up with a watery drink that tastes nothing like coffee no matter how long you steep the mixture.

Start by using a 1:10 ratio of coffee to water — one gram of coffee for every 10 grams of water. These measurements produce a mid-strength batch of hot coffee, which suits most people, from the average coffee drinker to the most dedicated java snob.

Those who prefer intensity over more subtle flavors should use a few more grams of coffee, but if you enjoy your beverage on the weaker side, experiment with shorter extraction times or smaller amounts of coffee. 

Stewing your brew

Stewing the brew, which is leaving your coffee in the French press too long, resulting in an over-extracted and bitter drink, is probably the most common calamity that befalls home baristas when they first start using this method. 

As soon as you’ve finished brewing your coffee, pour it into a thermos or carafe. Better yet, drink it all while it’s still fresh!

Poor grind quality

We’ve already mentioned this, but it’s worth saying again: the French press is an immersion brew method that requires medium to coarse grinds. If the coffee is too fine, you won’t be able to press it down properly, or it will run through the mesh filter into your drink. 

The best way to ensure the correct grind size is to buy whole beans and invest in a decent coffee grinder (we suggest one with burrs instead of a blade grinder). If you don’t want to buy any more coffee tools, ask your local barista to use the commercial machine at the café to do the job for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Will French press coffee raise your cholesterol?

Wondering whether or not a brewing method can alter the healthiness of a drink seems silly at first, but this is a question worth asking. So, will French press coffee raise your cholesterol? Before we solve this mystery, we think you should know how this assumption emerged

Coffee brewed in a French press retains more of its natural, flavor-filled oils than regular drip joe does because there are no paper filters involved to absorb them. While they produce a better-tasting cup of coffee, these oils (called cafestol and kahweol) can be dangerous if consumed too frequently. However, if you limit your pressed coffee intake, you’ll be fine. 

Can I make anything else in my French press? 

Of course, you know French presses can make coffee. But you might be surprised to learn these neat little contraptions can be used for other things, too. 

Craving a latte but don’t have an automatic milk frother or steaming wand? No problem! You can use these handy coffee brewers to froth milk. Are you an avid tea drinker? Add loose tea leaves and hot water to the French press, let the mixture steep for five to 10 minutes, then press yourself a perfect spot of tea. You can even use a French press to rinse grains, like rice or quinoa!

Does French press coffee have more caffeine?

Roasty reader, when you drink as much coffee as you or we do, you must monitor your caffeine intake. Since there’s nothing worse than the post-coffee, wonder-if-I’ll-ever-sleep-again jitters, you should know if or how much your preferred brewing method (in this case, the French press) alters your drink’s caffeine levels. 

The short answer is yes, French press coffee has more caffeine than the standard cup of joe. A four-ounce cup of coffee made with this brewing method contains between 80 and 100 milligrams of caffeine, which is more than the amount of the stimulant present in a cup of regular drip brew. 

Of course, the brewing method is not the only thing that determines how much caffeine is in your cup. The type of coffee used, bean variety (arabica or robusta), water temperature, grind size, and extraction time also dictate how jittery you’ll be after your morning cup. So, if you’re seriously looking to cut back on caffeine, you’ll have to consider all of these factors. 

What is the best decaf for the French press? 

As long as it’s coarsely ground, you can use whatever decaf coffee you want with your French press. We recommend checking out Verena Street’s Sunday Drive blend if you don’t know what beans to try. 

Because these beans are decaffeinated via the Swiss Water Process, they don’t lose any of their robust flavor or sport a chemical aftertaste, making them a worthy contender for use in your French press. This medium roast is smooth, rich, and bold — everything you want from your caffeine-free French-pressed brew. 

What is the best pre-ground coffee for the French press?

We understand not every coffee lover cares about grinding fresh beans at home or has the means to do so. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy good French press coffee! Invest in a coarse pre-ground option, and you’ll be brewing with the best of them in no time.

The Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew Reserve blend we mentioned above also comes in a coarse, already-ground form. So, if you’re diving into French press brewing but don’t have a grinder handy, this dark roast comes to you ready for use. 

Wrapping it up

The French press is perhaps the most reliable method of producing a brew that maintains all of the beans’ robust flavors. Be sure to use a coarse grind for maximum flavor extraction, and if possible, grind the beans yourself instead of using pre-ground coffee. That is the best way to guarantee freshness and perfect grind texture. 

To find out which of these coffee makers we’re crazy about — and get a few tips on how to make the best French press coffee — check out our detailed French press buying guide here

Happy caffeinating!

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