espro press pouring into cup on minimalist table background

Voilà: My French Press Recommendations for the Connoisseur

It’s time to look at the coffee press: a classic brewing device. Here are some of the nices models on the market.

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Asser Christensen

Licensed Q Arabica Grader, M.A. Journalism

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The French press, or the cafetiere, as it’s known both in France and in the UK, has existed long before the specialty coffee trend took off.

It’s undeniably old-school at its core.

Like its close (but less fancy) cousin, Cowboy Coffee, this brewing method relies entirely on the extraction method coffee geeks know as immersion.

Fortunately, recent years have ushered in a few innovative companies reshaping this space with intriguing designs.

While the classic French press can craft exceptional coffee (given the right technique and recipe), today’s innovative models have raised the bar.

So, which stand out? Here are some of my favorites on the market.

Timemore U French Press450 mlMinimalist, unique filter, compact design.
Bodum ChambordMultiple
Classic design, borosilicate glass, steel frame.
The Espro Press0.5 l & 1 LDual micromesh, stainless steel, retains heat.

French Press: My current favorites

1: Timemore U Coffee Press

Timemore U French Press clean background

I’m pretty taken with Timemore’s compact, minimalist coffee press. It’s a modern version that addresses some common concerns with the traditional cafetiere.

It has a sleek design and you can get it in either a low-key matte black or a crisp white.

(I have the white one, and it looks great in person)

The plunger is different from the traditional mesh screen we usually see on French presses, it doesn’t entirely revolutionize the game like Espro’s double-screen version. However, I will say that it works really well in daily life, and you’re less likely to get silt in your brew with this of plunging mechanism. It uses a combination of silicone to get a snug fit at the sides and a laser cut steel screen instead of the simple mesh screens you see on traditional models.

Mesh screens tend to get wrinkly at the sides over time, resulting in a less snug fit around the edges.

The glass of this coffee press is protected by a plastic sleeve. This addresses a common problem with traditional designs like for example the Bodum Chambord, where the glass is much more exposed to accidents.

Timemore labels it a ‘travel French press,’ but I probably wouldn’t use a device with glass parts on the road. Nonetheless, it will definitely be a safer options compared to most rivals.

I find the plastic design is very clever; it’s easy to push the glass vessel from the plastic casing if you want to give it a good cleaning, but still fitting snugly.

It’s locked in place by a rubber ring at the top, but via a hole in the bottom you can push out the glass.

Its 450 ml capacity is not huge, but definitely enough for two people.

Amazon Aliexpress

2: The Classic: Bodum Chambord

Bodum is renowned for its exquisite coffee and tea glassware. But the Chambord? That’s the archetype; the first image that pops up when someone says “French press.”

The glass part boasts high-quality borosilicate, ensuring your brew remains warm for longer. And the frame? Sleek stainless steel.

The longevity of this design speaks volumes— a blend of craftsmanship and timeless design.

Even though this coffee press is a true classic, the design has been improved slightly over the years. Now, it features a safety lid to avoid coffee spills and dishwasher-safe materials for effortless cleaning.

In the most recent version of the Chambord, which is available in much of Europe, the ancient plunger design has also been swapped for a more modern version with a silicone seal around the edges (this is the same mechanism also available on Bodum’s more premium Colombia model) for less grit in the cup.

In daily use, it’s a no-frills device that does the job without standing out much from the competition.

Due to the exposed glass, it’s not built for adventures, but rather for the cozy corners of homes and offices.

Also, your coffee will not stay warm for long since there’s nothing to insulate the glass.

But as the French say: tant pis 🤷

Overall, the Chambord is a good-looking classic, similar to a pair of Levi’s 501s or Converse sneakers. While there are better and more modern options out there today, this model has been a solid yet somewhat mediocre performer in my testing period.

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3: Espro Press P7

espro press holding in hand white background

I’ll always have a soft spot for Bodum— it’s in the Danish DNA. However, regarding performance and innovation, the Espro Press is a cut above.

Unlike many coffee presses, which employ the common metal mesh filter, which was patented all the way back in 1936, Espro has completely reimagined the concept.

Their design features a two-part filter, each layer being 9 and 12 times finer than the usual metal counterpart. A silicone ring encircles the plunger, ensuring a tight seal with the jug and preventing coffee grounds from slipping through during pouring.

The outcome? Espro delivers a French press coffee that is exceptionally clean and smooth. At the same time, the Espro Press P7 allows coffee oils to permeate while halting the grounds.

The Espro P7 is a good looking device. The jug, crafted from double-insulated metal, is elegant and sturdy, surpassing classic thermo coffee press.

Its build quality is commendable. Crafted from robust stainless steel, it can handle its fair share of bumps. In hand, this model exudes quality and robustness.

Moreover, in my testing, coffee remains warm for up to two hours in an Espro.

Double filter espro on table
Here you can see Espro’s innovative double-mesh filter.

Overall, I like my coffee completely silt-free, including when I’m brewing with the coffee press. I know I might be in the minority here. But if you feel the same way, the Espro Press should be on your radar. The dual filter really cuts down on unwanted silt. However, you can also add an additional paper filter, which makes the cup even cleaner, since paper filtration also removes most coffee oils.

You can get similar results with my special French press paper filter hack technique, but it requires a bit more practice to get right.

The main downside to the Espro Press is that its price is slightly higher than its rivals. Also, the dual filter mesh is more cumbersome to take apart and clean, and you tend to “waste” more brewed coffee underneath the filter screen than other more mainstream models.

But if you’re looking for a thermo cafetière that brews silt-free coffee, this is my top recommendation.

PS: You can also get cheaper glass versions of the Espro that still offer the unique filter plunger.

Amazon Prima coffee

History and Development

Despite its name, the French press isn’t innately French. The design, in fact, was patented by an Italian in 1929.

In France and UK, the device is known as a ‘cafetière. ‘ I lived in France for almost a year and rarely saw it used. Most Frenchmen seem to prefer espresso.

However, the renowned ‘Melior’ French press is credited to the French firm Martin SA. But in 1991, the Danish company Bodum acquired the rights to the design and launched it as the “Chambord.”

Today, the design is almost as iconic as the striped French sailor shirt and a beret.

Through the years, French presses shared a standard design: a glass vessel with a mesh-filtered plunger. But the modern era brought fresh interpretations, like the innovative Espro Press.

Espro Press Vs Bodum Chambord
The classic Bodum vs the new kid in class, the Espro Press

Choosing the Right model

While most coffee presses may appear similar, they’re not all cut from the same cloth. Here’s a quick guide to finding the perfect one:

  • Stick to metal or glass models? If you opt for glass, ensure replacements are readily available. Accidents are inevitable.
  • A snug plunger and a finely woven mesh filter are crucial. Bargain models tend to skimp here, using subpar materials.
  • Lastly, consider aesthetics. You’ll spend countless mornings with it, so choose a looker.

What’s my experience?

Being a certified Q Grader I value coffee clarity and flavor separation. It always puzzled me that the cupping method and French press, while on the surface being similar, tasted so different. I love cupping as it’s one of the most ideal ways to get a full impression of the flavors notes without being distracted by small details in brewing technique. But in spite of cupping being so simple, it still tasted superior to me.

After spending a lot of time experimenting with the French press and testing different recipes, I finally understood, why the brew usually doesn’t taste as good as other full immersion brewing methods. But don’t worry! The good news is that you can actually get amazing coffee from the French press. It just requires that you unlearn some very prevalent dogmas. Check out, my video below if you want to learn the secret.

Even if you’re a seasoned coffee presser, I’d encourage you to check out this little video, where I share some key concepts and mistakes that you want to avoid when it comes to brewing technique 👇

Design: Aesthetics or Utility?

Though I appreciate a stylish model, my main question is still: “How functional is it?”

I’d lean towards glass models for a home kitchen. But can it handle a rugged camping trip? Likely not.

I like to brew French press in a rather unique way. Check out my video below and try this method for yourself 👇

Filter: Traditional Mesh or Contemporary?

While the discussion could revolve around mesh filter intricacies, we shouldn’t disregard innovations in filtering. Do you require minimal residue? Ensure the mesh is fine-tuned for clarity.

Yet, modern alternatives are edging in. The Espro Press, for instance, embraces a dual system—a paper filter alongside its mesh—for a pristine, pour-over-esque brew.

Looking for a suitable alternative to the French press? Check out my Review of the Hario Switch

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Asser Christensen

Hello, and welcome! I'm the editor & founder of this site.
I have been a coffee geek since I started home roasting more than a decade ago. Since then, coffee has taken me on countless adventures: From ancient coffee ceremonies in Ethiopia to the volcanos of Sumatra.
My background is in journalism, and today I'm also a licensed Q Grader under the Coffee Quality Institute.