For french press devotees, choosing the best coffee for french press brewing isn’t just a matter of buying the least expensive brand on the shelf at the supermarket. If you are using a french press, it’s a given that you are looking for more out of your coffee than just a quick pick-me-up.
Ready to buy now? Here are a few of our top picks:
- Black Rifle Coffee Company CAF – Our Top Pick
- Community Coffee Signature Blend
- Koffee Kult Thunder Bolt
When you’re avoiding the convenience of a drip coffee maker or a Keurig single-serve machine in favor of taking the additional time to use (and clean!) a french press, you are probably going to be among the most discerning of coffee buyers.
Today we provide you with our list of the top 5 best coffee for french press! Read on to learn more.
- 1 Overview of French Press Coffee
- 2 Best Coffee For French Press: Top Picks
- 3 French Press Brewing: 101
- 4 Cozy’s Bottom Line
Overview of French Press Coffee
Using a French Press is fairy simple: you measure the ingredients, grind the coffee, time the brew and press the plunger.
Fine to medium ground coffee can be problematic when using a French Press. This is due to the fact that smaller grounds can get lodged in the French Press’s fine mesh filter as well as pass through resulting in a lot of coffee grounds in your cup.
A coarse ground is ideal for a French Press as it will not clog or slip through the filter and will result in a robust cup of coffee that is free of coffee grounds.
Best Coffee For French Press: Top Picks
We put together this list of top picks for french press coffee to help you find one that is best for you and your french press. But to really achieve the goal of finding your ideal coffee, you’ll have to experiment a bit to find the perfect cup.
This list is a great starting point.
Black Rifle Coffee Company CAF – Top Pick
Black Rifle Coffee Company’s CAF is our pick for the best coffee for french press brewing.
It is a medium roast, but since the company is a bit aggressive regarding their flavors and marketing, it’s probably the darkest medium roast we have ever had. According to the Colombian bean-measuring system, it is sourced from 100% Arabica beans but using only the smaller ‘Excelso’ beans.
And while CAF is undoubtedly marketed as having very high caffeine content (there is even a warning on the package), it isn’t a one-trick pony. The coffee is bright and flavorful, with mild acidity, the sweet caramel aroma, fruity, citrus flavor, and medium body many coffee drinkers enjoy and expect. But since it’s from BRCC, it seems to be a bit ‘kicked-up.’
One of the most significant factors that make this coffee ideal for french press brewing is its high-octane nature. The caffeine, aroma, and flavor profile are all assertive, so you can easily fine-tune your french press technique to dial this coffee in and to make an ideal cup of coffee – for you.
And, when you inevitably have a guest who says, ‘Oh, I don’t like high caffeine blends,’ you can cut the ratio of coffee to water down and still deliver a flavorful cup of coffee.
A considerable side benefit is that the company is veteran-owned and managed by a former Green Beret who served in the US Military for 20 years. Their operations employ many other veterans, and they are known to be philanthropic and actively support patriotic causes in the USA.
- More versatile than other coffees
- Available in whole beans or ground
- Assertive flavor and aroma
- Supports veterans and other charities
- Some may consider the caffeine content to be too high
Community Coffee Signature Blend
This coffee is a dark-roasted blend featuring a medium to coarse ground. It is made from 100% Arabica beans roasted and then ground to a well-suited size for use in a drip machine or a french press. The Signature Blend is rich in flavor and has a pronounced dark chocolate flavor.
Out of all of the ground coffee you can buy, Community Coffee’s Signature Blend is one of the tastiest. It isn’t overly strong or acidic, so the flavor profile is subtle and something you can enjoy hot or cold.
However, for a serious coffee buff who is used to robust blends, this might seem a little bit too weak, as it lacks a bit of punch when compared to some other varieties.
- Full-bodied flavor
- A combination of acidity and strong flavor notes are complementary
- May be too mild for some
Koffee Kult Thunder Bolt
Koffee Kult is available both as a whole bean or ground coffee. It is sourced from 100% Arabica beans from Colombia and Brazil, and is then French roasted in Florida. The beans are not overly oily, but they tend to have a bit more acidity when compared with other Arabica coffees.
We found that the acidity isn’t overwhelming, and that it complements the overall dark and full-bodied flavor profile of a cup brewed in a french press. There are notes of peat and molasses that conjure visions of the hillsides where these beans grow in South America.
Overall, this is an exceedingly refined coffee with a long finish and an aftertaste that continues to develop flavor well after it first touches your tongue.
- Offered in whole beans or ground
- Not overly oily
- Very refined, sophisticated flavor profile
- Some packaging issues
Lavazza Crema E Gusto
This coffee is a blend of Brazilian Arabica bean and Robusta beans from Indonesia and Africa. The result is a dark-roasted, slightly oily coffee with a deep and spicy aftertaste. It develops a velvety crema and is an excellent choice for espresso as well.
This coffee is available in a pre-ground offering for your convenience, but some buyers have reported an issue where the package had already passed the expiration date when they received it. We recommend buying and grinding your own beans for a french press anyway, so that shouldn’t be an issue.
- Beautifully creamy, rich crema
- Nuanced flavors
- Unique aftertaste
- Slightly oily
- Packaging issues have been reported
Subtle Earth Organic Coffee
This is a medium-dark roast coffee, available only as whole-bean or in single-serve cups. It is made from 100% Arabica beans sourced from the high-altitude Marcala region of Honduras. Subtle Earth is GMO-free and grown organically with no added chemicals.
This coffee is smooth, with low acidity, but it is packed with flavor and character. Overall there are some very assertive flavors, like vanilla and a touch of citrus fruit, but they are sort of just the high notes in a well-developed symphony that hits your tongue from the first sip.
Some long-term drinkers of this brand of coffee have reported that recent purchases were not as good as those in the past. They noted that the flavor was more bitter or even burnt than they were used to. So, beware of differing quality with this brand.
- Extremely smooth
- Low acid
- Well developed flavor
- Some reports of declining quality
- Not available ground
Death Wish Coffee – Whole Bean
This brand’s variety of whole bean coffee is a dark roast that is known to be quite strong. It is considered the most potent brew in the world in terms of caffeine content. It is also USDA-certified fair trade, sourced from organically grown Arabica and Robusta beans around the world.
It’s available pre-ground, but we recommend starting with the whole bean for the maximum extraction of flavor. The caffeine content does not diminish when ground, but some of the flavor notes become too subtle.
This coffee won’t leave you amped up but in search of flavor. On the contrary, it matches its high caffeine content with an equally assertive flavor profile that features chocolate, cherries, and subtle bitterness from the Robusta beans in the blend. When brewed, the combined effect is powerfully motivating and delicious.
However you brew this coffee, be wary of the caffeine punch!
- High caffeine content
- Forward flavors
- Distinctive but subtle bitterness for refined flavor
- Some may be put off by extremely high caffeine content
- Not drinkable in large quantities
- May cause jitters in those not used to the caffeine
French Press Brewing: 101
This tutorial video offers a perfect demonstration of how to use a french press to brew a perfect cup of coffee. Instead of just a demonstration, their presentation explains the theory behind each step of the process.
As a professional baristas, they have an in-depth understanding of the details. But, they also make it very clear that you don’t have to be a pro to make a delicious cup of coffee.
To Grind or Not To Grind
We believe that the key to unlocking a coffee bean’s secrets is to start as close to the source as possible. For us, that means always beginning with a whole bean.
However, we don’t turn our nose up at coffee that comes pre-ground. Busy lives don’t always afford the time to grind beans, and the convenience of ground coffee is undeniable.
But when we are using our french press, we aren’t focused on speed or running out the door. We are focused on enjoying our favorite morning beverage to the maximum extent. So, we always grind whole beans when the french press is in play.
What Size Grind to Use
Finding the right size grind is part science and part art. The common wisdom is to use a fairly coarse grind with a french press, But drifting a bit towards a medium grind is how you can easily fine-tune the final brew to your liking.
But, depending on the coffee you are using and how you like it to taste when brewed, you will have to experiment to find the right size grinds for you.
When we are brewing a subtle coffee, we sometimes grind the beans a bit smaller to expose less of the grinds to more water and infuse less intense flavor into the brew. But, other times, particularly when we’re dealing with a less assertively flavored coffee, we might increase the grind size to dial up the overall intensity.
As long as you’re not struggling to depress the plunger, and it doesn’t just go right to the bottom, you’re in the right neighborhood. Experiment a bit and see what you like.
If you use too fine of a grind, your coffee could end up tasting too bitter. If your grinds are too coarse, they will have trouble infusing their flavor into the water, and the resulting brew could taste a bit on the watery side.
You will have to experiment at least a little bit to find the strength that you prefer. Another indicator you can use to gauge your grinds’ coarseness is to get some feedback from the feel of the plunger when you depress it. If you push and there is a lot of resistance, the grinds were probably a little bit too fine. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you will feel much less resistance if your grinds are too thick.
How to Measure Your Coffee
For true coffee junkies, measuring the weight of your beans on a scale is the only way to portion out your coffee beans for grinding. This brings a level of accuracy to the process that you cannot achieve with inaccurate scoop-measuring.
But, for everyday coffee drinkers using a french press, measuring out your beans with a scoop is just fine.
The Best Ratio of Coffee to Water
The ‘standard’ suggested ratio of coffee to water for french press brewing is 1:14 (1 part of coffee to 14 parts of water). This will yield a final brew with a moderate concentration. To translate that ratio into the real world, just divide the total volume of your water (in ounces) by 14. The result equals the amount of coffee you need (in ounces).
Many french press aficionados use a scale to measure their water and coffee by weight, not volume. Unsurprisingly, they tend to be very particular about their coffee, and many prefer a slightly stronger brew. An easy-to-remember ratio for measuring by weight is about 30 grams of coffee to 500 grams of water. That’s about 1:16, somewhat stronger than the conventional wisdom.
The key remains experimenting to find the ideal ratio for you.
What Temperature Should the Water Be
The water you use to brew coffee in a french press should be between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not use boiling water in a french press. Two hundred degrees Fahrenheit is right in the middle, so if you’re working in Celsius, just aim for about 93 degrees.
If your water is too hot, the resulting brew will likely be bitter. And if it’s boiling, you will ruin your coffee by scorching it, guaranteeing a severely bitter brew.
Under-heated water won’t be as effective at extracting the deliciousness from the coffee grinds, and it will likely result in watery coffee that severely lacks flavor and caffeine content. No one wants that! Be sure to stir your brew. A chopstick is surprisingly useful, but a wooden spoon is fine. A metal spoon could break your press.
Some serious coffee drinkers use their heated water to preheat their french press. Why? If your french press is at room temperature, the water you pour in for brewing will lose some heat to the press itself. So, to maintain the ideal brewing temperature, preheat your press by adding a bit of hot water and tossing it out right before your brewing begins.
Another tip is to let your brew bloom before adding all your water. Pour in about 20% of the total water, and let your brew come up to temperature. Then add the rest.
How Long Should I Wait To Depress the Plunger?
The answer is somewhere between 3 and 10 minutes. Sorry, but it’s true. A rule of thumb is that 4 minutes is adequate for the brewing process. But, some people insist on a longer brewing time. And others think that less time delivers a better result.
This is another place where it is really up to you to decide what is best.
Cozy’s Bottom Line
Coffee drinkers come in all kinds of varieties, just like our favorite beverage. It might take a few tries to zero in on the best coffee for french press brewing for those with an extremely discerning palette or a particular preference.
There are so many aspects of the process to consider and tweak that choosing the best coffee is only part of the equation. That’s why the versatility of the Medium Roast Black Rifle Coffee Company’s CAF blend is the most appealing.
You can increase your ratios of coffee to water, extend the brew time, and adjust the size of the grounds to extract maximum flavor and caffeine. Or, you can reduce the brew time, the ratio, and maybe even the temperature of the water (slightly) to deliver a cup that is entirely bitter-less but still flavorful.
Still, telling someone that we know the best coffee for a french press is an exceedingly tricky mission for anyone to accomplish. Your perfect cup of coffee might not be the same as ours. Do you drink it black like us, or do you prefer some milk or sugar? Or both? Do you enjoy crema and some bitterness, or do you want a light, sweet brew? Are you trying to relax with a refined blend, or are you trying to make your heart skip beats and enter the matrix?
It’s all up to you. Now let’s get brewing!