Picking the best coffee for French press brewing can be a struggle given the wide variety of coffee brands available. Not to mention all the different kinds of light, medium, and medium-dark roast to choose from. We’re here to help you choose, and we do this by sifting through the pile to identify the perfect coffee for using with your French press method, one that your palate will like too.
We have reviewed 42 products to ensure that we gave you a comprehensive review. Of course, this took us months. We sat with various coffee aficionados, professional baristas and even reached out to coffee manufacturers. Our Editor’s Choice, Koffee Kult Medium Roast Coffee Beans, impressed us the most, its coarse grind size and delectable flavor serving up perfection. Read about this particular coffee and other top ones in our product review section.
Top 5 Coffees for French Press Review 2020
The best French press coffee is a combination of several things. The roast, flavors, and quality have to be right. The coffee origins, whether it’s a blend or not, and how well-packaged it is are other factors that matter. We explain why all these features are important and how to assess each coffee based on these factors. It’s a lot of information, but we’ve made it digestible by including a comparison table, in-detail reviews of each product, and a detailed buying guide. At the end of it, you’ll have all the information you need to identify and choose coffee that you can brew in your French press.
Koffee Kult – Medium Roast Coffee Beans – Editor’s Choice
- Origins: Colombia, Brazil blend
- Roast: medium
- Bag weight: 32 oz
- Flavor: mild cherry, caramel, dark chocolate and walnut
- Type: 100% Arabica
More features: roasted within 24 hours before shipment, smooth roast, whole bean
Koffee Kult Medium Roast Coffee Bean, easily the best coffee brand for French press, is most noticeable for its non-oily texture and rich aroma and flavor. As soon as you open the box, you’re hit by a sweet combination of caramel, dark chocolate, cherry, and walnut aromas, which grow stronger when you brew the coffee to yield a bold, rich flavor. Koffee Kult roasts the coffee 24 hours or less before shipment, which explains why the flavors and aromas are so richly preserved. As a show of transparency, they also indicate the date the coffee was roasted on the bag. Having this date visible on the pack can help you ensure that the coffee does not sit in your pantry for too long once you open it, as this could affect its freshness.
It’s made from 100% Arabica coffee and contains the fruity undertones that are a reserve of Arabica coffee, with Koffee Kult’s smooth roasting process lending it a medium body and balanced acidity and taste. Originating from some of the world’s best coffee beans for French press, it comes in whole bean format, putting you fully in charge of the grind size, so you can always grind the beans to a thickness that is right for your French press.
If yours is a coffee-drinking household, the 32 oz pack will keep your coffee mugs full for a long while, of course depending on the number of consumers.
- Freshly roasted
- Rich aroma and flavor
- Balanced acidity
- Large pack
- Expensive at $0.88 per ounce
Donut Shop Real Good Coffee Whole Bean Coffee – Best Whole Bean Coffee
- Origins: Central and South America blend
- Roast: medium
- Bag weight: 32 oz
- Flavor: brown sugar, hazelnut and plum
- Type: 100% Arabica
More features: roasted in Seattle, kosher, whole bean
Made from a blend of Central and South America Arabica coffee, Donut Shop Real Good Coffee Whole Bean Coffee has a brown sugar, hazelnut, and plum flavor. You get a hint of hazelnut and plum aroma as soon as you open the box, but it is when you brew the coffee that the aroma rises unhinged. While the acidity is balanced, the coffee taste is rather strong for a medium roast; it’s closer to what you’d expect from a dark roast. Nonetheless, it is pleasant-tasting coffee, especially when you brew it right as per the manufacturer’s recommendation, and sits at par with the best Trader Joe’s coffee for French press. Grind the beans coarsely, and use 9 tablespoons (equivalent to 55 grams) of the ground coffee for a 34 oz French press. With this ratio, you should get a taste that’s close to what the manufacturer sought to capture with these medium roast beans.
If you’re particular about how your food is grown and processed, you’ll be glad to note that this coffee is kosher and does not contain any additives or preservatives. Real Good Coffee indicates the “best by” date, but they don’t say when the coffee was roasted, so you have no way of knowing how fresh the roast is.
It comes in a large and well-sealed 32 ounce zip-lock bag (2 pounds), which is practical for heavy coffee drinkers and households with a huge coffee demand.
- Rich aroma and taste
- Large pack
- Comes in zip-lock bag
- Doesn't show roast date
Mayorga Organics Café Cubano – Best Dark Roast
- Origins: Latin America blend
- Roast: dark
- Bag weight: 5 lb
- Flavor: vanilla and sweet smokiness
- Type: 100% Arabica
More features: USDA Organic certified, non-GMO, kosher, whole bean
Mayorga Organics Café Cubano, arguably the best type of coffee for French press at its price point, is sweet and bold, with a strong vanilla flavor and smooth finish that the manufacturer attributes to the slow roasting process used. Sold as a specialty dark roast, this coffee does not have the oily finish or bitter, smoky taste that is common in most dark roast coffee brands. It comes from a Latin America Arabica blend and is roasted in Maryland. That means a shorter shipping time if you’re ordering from anywhere in the US, which translates to guaranteed freshness. The roast date is not indicated on the pack. However, there is a “best by” date, which should discourage you from keeping the coffee for too long to the point where it loses its freshness.
Mayorga coffee is organically-grown under shade, non-GMO, and kosher. The company partners with small scale farmers, so they know exactly where their coffee originates and can track the entire growing process, and in turn, so can you. It is thanks to this tight production process that the company was certified USDA Organic and meets the highest safe agricultural practices.
This coffee comes in a whole bean pack, which makes it easy for you to grind the beans to a size that is perfect for your French press. At 5 lbs, the pack itself is quite big and will last a long time, even in households with heavy coffee drinkers.
- Large bag
- Pleasant, non-burnt taste
- USDA Organic-certified
- Roast date not indicated
Marley Coffee One Love – Best Ground Coffee
- Origins: Ethiopia
- Roast: medium
- Bag weight: 10 oz
- Flavor: exotic with hints of berry
- Type: 100% Arabica
More features: ground coffee, Fair Trade Certified
Marley Coffee One Love, a medium roast coffee pack that is made from 100% Ethiopian Arabica coffee and one of the best pre-ground coffee for French press, will fill your mouth with a delightful and mildly acidic coffee taste that doesn’t hang on the tongue. Its exotic taste is punctuated by hints of berry and a light, fruity aroma that will fill your kitchen with freshness when you pour a cup.
It comes coarsely ground, saving you time and energy. Instead of grinding the coffee and then brewing it, you now only need to measure your coffee and proceed to brew it. Each pack includes six 10-ounce bags of the best ground coffee for French press from Marley. To get the best flavor from your One Love coffee, Marley advises that you use 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 oz of cold filtered water. That’s the equivalent of 1 oz coffee for every 6 oz of water.
Marley One Love is more than just premium coffee for folks with a refined taste for coffee. The manufacturer, a Fair Trade certified company, is big on values, and with inspiration from the legendary reggae artist Bob Marley, strives to promote respect for humanity and nature. In addition to ensuring that coffee farmers are fairly compensated for their produce, when you buy One Love coffee, you indirectly support One Tree Planted, a charity that is committed to boosting reforestation around the world.
- Ground coffee, French press ready
- Exotic smooth taste
- Large, 60oz pack
- Fair trade certified
Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend – Budget Pick
- Origins: Arabica from Brazil, Colombia, and India and Robusta from Indonesia and Vietnam
- Roast: medium
- Bag weight: 2.2 lb
- Flavor: honey, almonds, and dried fruit
- Type: 60% Arabica, 40% robusta
More features: whole beans
Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend, a medium roast Arabica and Robusta blended coffee, has a sweetly scented coffee aroma with honey, almonds, and dried fruit, and a thick, consistent crema.
The bag contains whole beans, which you can grind to a suitable thickness for use with your French press. The manufacturer says this coffee yields the best results when used with an espresso machine, which means any recommended portions may not yield the same results on the French press. Experiment with different quantities of coffee and grind sizes to find the amount and size that give the best-tasting coffee for your palate.
Although no “roasted on” date is indicated, Super Crema has a 2-year validity, and what impressed us most is how well the product retains its original flavor. The company also uses vacuum-sealed bags to store the coffee, which serves to further preserve the freshness of the coffee beans.
- Sweet taste and aroma
- Consistent velvety crema
- Excellent shelf life
- Great pricing
- Needs some experimenting to find what quantities work best on French press
What type of coffee should you use in a French press?
The best roasts for use in a French press are light and medium to medium-dark because these give the best, non-bitter taste (dark roasts usually have a bitter taste). None is superior to the other; it all boils down to personal preference. Light roasts have a light body and a grainy, fruity taste. They also have pronounced acidity and contain the highest levels of caffeine. Medium roasts are slightly darker, with more body. They have balanced acidity and well-balanced flavors with just a tinge of after-taste. They also have less caffeine than light roasts.
Beans or pre-ground?
The secret to great-tasting French press coffee is in the grind. Your best bet for ending up with the perfect grind size is grinding the coffee yourself, meaning you should buy whole beans and grind them to the desired size. Make sure you grind them to a coarse or medium-coarse thickness, which is ideal for the French press. Any finer and they will only be good for espresso. If you don’t enjoy grinding coffee or can’t grind your coffee for whatever other reason, you can buy pre-ground coffee like Marley Coffee One Love. Just ensure that it comes in the right grind size.
How to make the perfect coffee with a French press
You can have French press coffee ready in 10 easy steps:
- Step 1: Preheat the coffee press by pouring a small amount of hot water into the press and swirling. Leave the water in the beaker for a few minutes. (Optional – it’s not a must for you to preheat the French press).
- Step 2: Grind your coffee beans to a coarse/medium-coarse size.
- Step 3: Measure the ground coffee in the right proportion for the amount of coffee you’re making.
- Most manufacturers indicate how much coffee to use. For example, with the Donut Shop Real Good Coffee Whole Bean Coffee, use 9 tablespoons of ground coffee for a 34 oz French press. For Marley Coffee One Love, use 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every 6 oz of water.
- Step 4: Boil water. Let it sit for 30-45 seconds.
- Step 5: Empty the warm water from Step 2 above. Not applicable if you skipped Step 2.
- Step 6: Add your measured ground coffee to the French press.
- Step 7: Add the recommended amount of water. Stir.
- Step 8: Cover with lid.
- Step 9: Wait 4 minutes.
- Step 10: Place one finger on the plunger and press slowly to push the filter to the bottom of the French press.
- Step 11: With your finger still on the plunger, pour your coffee. Enjoy!
The best coffee for French press can be found by the following features
So, what exactly makes for good French press coffee? We discuss this below.
Choose the beans’ roast
Choose medium or medium-dark roast coffee beans as these tend to have the best balance when it comes to flavor, aroma, and acidity. They also have a medium body (not too thin and not too bulky), and have a moderate amount of caffeine. The best quality about medium and medium-dark roast is the flavor. It’s rich with sugary undertones and doesn’t have the bitter taste you get from dark roast coffee, neither is it as fruity as light roast coffee. It’s perfectly balanced and leaves a tiny bit of coffee aftertaste that may not be noticeable in some brands.
Good coffee can be expensive, but the excellent taste makes it worth every cent. Prices for medium roast varieties range between $0.50 per ounce, which is approximately $18 for a 2-pound bag and $0.89 per ounce, which comes to about $31 for a 2-pound bag. The size of bag determines what you pay ultimately. For fair pricing you should consider Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend that comes in a 2-pound bag, and the 5-pound Mayorga Organics Café Cubano or the 3.7-pound Marley Coffee One Love.
Coffee originates from four major regions in the world: Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Each region produces coffee that is distinct in taste, owing to the different climatic conditions they experience.
Coffee from the South Americas is medium-bodied with a mild flavor. The one that originates from Africa and Middle East is considered to be full-bodied and flavorful, while Southeast Asian coffee is thought to be full-bodied with earthy flavors. The exception in the latter region is Vietnam, whose coffee is medium-bodied with a mild flavor.
The two main coffee varieties are Arabica and Robusta, with Arabica being the most popular (at 60% of total consumption) because of its airy, fruity flavors. Robusta coffee has a stronger, grainy taste and a distinct aftertaste.
The compounds within the coffee bean produce hundreds of flavors, and these range from floral, fruity, and sweet to vanilla, blueberry, buttery, caramel, cocoa, coconut, nutty, tobacco, spicy, woody, earthy, roasted, smoke, and even fermented. The strongest flavors in the beans are usually indicated on the coffee bag.
Manufacturers offer different sizes of coffee bags. These can be as small as 250g or as big as 5 pounds. Buy a bag that corresponds to your consumption rate. If you anticipate that you’ll be making dozens of coffee cups each week, you’ll be better served by a bigger pack. If you’re an occasional brewer, opt for a small bag as opposed to a big one which might take you months to exhaust, by which time the quality might be compromised.
Good quality coffee has a smooth flavor, where the unique coffee taste, sweetness, and acidity are balanced such that no single flavor is stronger than the others. If it tastes bitter or burned, it’s probably over-roasted. If it hardly has any discernible taste, it is probably under-roasted. You want coffee that hits the sweet middle ground and is rich in flavor.
Where possible, choose coffee that is roasted by a manufacturer with some type of quality certification. This could be non-GMO certified or USDA Organic certified like the Mayorga Organics Café Cubano or Fair Trade certified like the Marley Coffee One Love. Certificates indicate that the brand meets the specified standards for the applicable category as determined by an independent body and point to a quality and safe product.
Blend or not?
Coffee blends are created by mixing coffee beans from different regions. As a result, they have a much wider range of flavor notes and when roasted and mixed right, produce incredibly tasty coffee. It’s available year-long and affordable.
Non-blended coffee, or single origin coffee, refers to the type of coffee where the beans are sourced from the same region. It tends to have a distinguishable taste, its only drawback being that it’s seasonal since its availability is tied to the harvesting season of its originating location. This exclusivity also means it’s more expensive than blended coffee.
Yes. The best grind for French press use is regular or coarse. This size will not slip through the filter, messing up your coffee. Avoid finely ground coffee as it will go through the press filter, leaving you with a slurry mixture that won’t be enjoyable to drink.
Most ground coffee will keep well for 5-6 months when stored at room temperature. Ensure that you keep it in a sealed container to preserve as much of its flavor and aroma as possible. When stored in the freezer, it can last up to 2 years. Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend keeps well for up to 2 years even without refrigeration.
Coffee brewing experts recommend a ratio of 2 tablespoons (7-8 g) of ground coffee for every 6oz of water. A lot of manufacturers also indicate the ratios they recommend for their brand of coffee. Check the bag for this information. You can adjust this amount little by little to try out different results and see which one appeals to your taste buds the most and then stick to that.
Our Editor’s Choice is the Koffee Kult Medium Roast Coffee Beans, which stands out for its rich aroma and flavor. We especially like how the manufacturer roasts the beans within 24 hours of shipment, ensuring that the bag you receive is as fresh as possible. The large bag is perfect for heavy consumption.
Our second choice, the Kosher Donut Shop Real Good Coffee Whole Bean Coffee, stands out for its sugary and nutty flavor. It is well-balanced and strong, and we like that it comes in a large bag. The flavor-preserving zip-lock bag is thoughtful and quite appropriate.
Our third best coffee for French press is the Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend, a crema-rich, sweet-tasting, medium roast coffee with a 2-year shelf life. Careful packaging and an outstanding supply chain process all serve to deliver a superior product. And the price is decidedly attractive, too.