French press is a classic in the world of coffee. It makes great coffee and the process is deceptively simple. I say deceptively simple because it’s very easy to never brew coffee to the full potential of your French press. There is a touch of technique involved and the coffee you choose is another important element.
Choosing the best coffee for French press is something of an abstract art. There aren’t any straight metrics to pick. However, conventional knowledge and our understanding of the brewing method can go a long way.
Editor’s Choice – Lifeboost Healthy Coffee
Being premium, single-origin beans could be recommendation enough. However, Lifeboost Healthy Coffee goes a step further to get quality coffee beans in the bag. These single-origin beans are grown on farms in Nicaragua, with elevation almost a mile above sea level.
This elevation and high-quality of beans results in premium coffee that’s flavorful and has a lovely aroma. Lifeboost beans are non-GMO, USDA certified organic, and shade-grown to ensure best quality. They also undergo third-party testing that checks for problems like mycotoxins and 200+ other toxins.
Lifeboost claims that their coffee is 27.7% less acidic than common store-bought coffees. And they have the test results to prove it! You could buy the coffee as whole beans or ground coffee in your choice of roast. A decaf version is also available.
- 100% Arabica single-origin coffee from Nicaragua
- High-elevation coffee (grown at 5500 feet)
- Shade grown and non-GMO
- Choice of roasts available
- Can be bought as whole beans, ground coffee, or decaf
- USDA certified organic
Top Of The Charts – The Right Coffee For French Press
- Primos Coffee Co. French Press Specialty Coffee
- illy Coffee, Drip Ground, Forte, Extra Dark Roast
- Volcanica Coffee Ethiopian Coffee, Yirgacheffe Region
- Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew Reserve
- Mayorga Organics Café Cubano
- Koffee Kult Colombian Huila Fresh Coffee Beans
- Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso
- Two Volcanoes Coffee – Gourmet Guatemala Whole Bean
- Gevalia Special Reserve Costa Rica Medium Roast Ground Coffee
- Wicked Joe Coffee Breakfast Blend
Best Coffee For French Press — Reviews
1. Primos Coffee Co. French Press Specialty Coffee
A splendid pick, Primos Coffee Co. French Press Specialty Coffee is a flavorful and deliciously mild coffee. It is purely arabica, high-grown coffee sourced from the company’s farm in Nicaragua.
Grown under the shade of trees – as high-quality coffee should be, the beans pick up plenty of flavor and taste characteristics. This is a mild coffee with a medium body, with low acidity and citrus notes. Its aroma is especially something to love and enjoy.
Generally, I’d recommend buying whole coffee beans. This is an exception and one that lives up well to expectations. Make it a point to store it well after you open the pack.
- Coarse ground for French press
- Single-source, high-grown coffee from Nicaragua
- Mild coffee with a medium body and smooth finish
- Sweet citrus taste notes
- Lovely aroma
- Medium/City roast
2. illy Coffee, Drip Ground, Forte Extra Dark Roast
illy is one of the big and dependable coffee brands. We can expect illy coffee to show good quality and taste. illy Forte Extra Dark Roast is no different. The extra dark roast gives it a bold, strong taste that is in a league by itself.
This is a medium-coarse grind meant for drip coffee makers. It works well for French press as well, though expect the coffee to be slightly muddier. That isn’t a negative – this coffee works wonderfully with French press and drip coffee makers. I prefer to pair it with the French press.
- Medium-coarse grind suitable for French press and drip coffee makers
- Blend of quality arabica coffee
- Taste notes of dark chocolate and aroma with hints of toasted bread
- Bold and intense flavor
- Extra dark roast
3. Volcanica Coffee Ethiopian Coffee, Yirgacheffe Region
If your taste buds demand a gourmet-coffee fix, satiate them with this coffee from the famed Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia. High-grown and well-prepared, the beans retain the natural, delicious notes that make Yirgacheffe such a celebrated coffee-producing area.
Volcanica Coffee Ethiopian Coffee, Yirgacheffe Region is organically grown and has a medium roast. Its roast is perfectly positioned to bring out the winey, fruity tones of the coffee. The thick body and brilliant acidity make this an affair to remember.
Sure, it’s a bit more expensive than regular coffee, but that’s a price we can expect to pay for gourmet goodness. And this one has it aplenty. The strong, sweet taste notes would impress themselves even on those who’ve barely started with black coffee.
- Whole bean coffee sourced from Yirgacheffe Region, Ethiopia
- Gourmet coffee with wonderful taste and aroma
- Winey, fruity tones with brilliant acidity
- Thick body and earthy aroma
- Medium roast coffee
4. Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew Reserve
Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew Reserve, like its name implies, is an excellent pick for cold brew coffee. It is also a remarkably delicious pick for French press awesomeness! The dark roast coffee is made from 100% Colombian Supremo beans. These are amongst the best coffee beans in the world and that definitely shows in the brew you make.
High-quality beans match well with the brewing method to deliver a sensational experience. It’s available as coarse ground beans and whole beans, so take your pick. The coarse ground works well, but these are very well the best coffee beans for French press.
- 100% Colombian Supremo Beans available as coarse grind and whole beans
- Smooth, low-acidity coffee with sweet taste notes
- Excellent aroma and body
- Dark roast coffee
5. Mayorga Organics Café Cubano
The distinctive, flavorful dark roast Mayorga Organics Café Cubano is a treat to behold. It’s remarkable how the taste notes and flavor shine through in this dark roast. The hint of vanilla and a syrupy smokiness make for a great combo.
Sourced from Latin American countries, the coffee maintains a taste profile almost good enough to be considered gourmet. Yet its pricing stays well-within reason and makes it a great value pick. Plus, there are a number of certifications to go along; including USDA organic, direct trade, fair value, Kosher, non-GMO verified, and shade-grown coffee.
- Whole bean coffee sourced from Latin America
- Vanilla and sweet taste notes with a syrupy body
- Excellent value for money
- Certifications: USDA Organic, Non-GMO, Kosher, Fair Trade
- Dark roast coffee
6. Koffee Kult Colombian Huila Fresh Coffee Beans
Aiming to go a cut above the rest, Koffee Kult’s offering is gourmet Colombian Coffee. Beans are sourced from the Huila region in southern Colombia, where the elevation and environment encourage flavorful coffee. Bold body and chocolaty aroma of this coffee pair well with the clean sugary finish on offer.
This fresh roasted gourmet coffee is available as whole beans and ground coffee. Although I’ll recommend you pick whole beans for this coffee. There seems to be a gap in flavor here – the expectations of gourmet coffee don’t fully translate their goodness into the coffee cup. This is still good coffee, I’m just not sure if it’s worth the price.
- Whole bean and ground coffee sourced from Huila, Colombia
- Clean sugary finish and a bold body
- Questionable value for money
- Enjoyable aroma
- Medium to dark roast
7. Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso
Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso is a blend of coffees sourced from all over the world. You have beans from Africa, Indonesia, Central & South America, put together in harmony that creates a smooth and silky blend. Enjoy the taste notes of wild berry syrup and a smooth cocoa finish.
This is a very carefully and well-crafted blend. I could almost see it as a gourmet single source for its taste. Well, it kinda does end up getting priced close to the gourmet range. I’m not sure how well it should rank on the value for money charts. Cliff Hanger Espresso whole bean coffee tastes pretty good, but the pricing sits higher than comparable competitors.
- Whole bean coffee sourced from various parts of the world
- Complex taste notes including wild berry and a smooth cocoa finish
- Excellent aroma
- Certifications: USDA Organic, Canada Organic, Kosher, Fair Trade
- Medium roast coffee
8. Two Volcanoes Coffee – Gourmet Guatemala Whole Bean
Two Volcanoes Coffee – Gourmet Guatemala Whole Bean has previously featured amongst our top list for top Guatemalan coffee. This coffee can go along well with most coffee brewing techniques and shines where French press coffee is concerned.
The single-origin coffee is sourced from the Acatenango region near Antigua. Its name comes from the region’s dominant geographic feature – a volcano with two peaks. The valley between these two peaks provides rich soil, high altitude, and favorable conditions for coffee to grow.
No wonder, the result is an impressive specimen of Guatemalan gourmet coffee. Two Volcanoes Coffee shows off mild acidity, a unique aroma, and delightfully natural earthy flavors.
- Whole beans coffee from Acatenango region of Guatemala
- Earthy taste notes and wonderful aroma
- Mild acidity
- Medium roast coffee
9. Gevalia Special Reserve Costa Rica Medium Roast Ground Coffee
Gevalia Special Reserve Costa Rica Medium Roast Ground Coffee is one of our top choices for the best of Costa Rica Coffee. It’s a stunning pick for French press and drip coffee makers. The “special reserve” is an aromatic, medium-bodied brew with the taste notes of citrus and fruits.
The medium-dark roast, or as Gevalia calls it, the darker side of medium is refreshing and enjoyable. Gevalia says this special reserve is the union of Swedish coffee tradition with the taste of Costa Rican coffee. I’d say it’s a pretty holy union and anyone who thinks otherwise should hold their tongue.
Gevalia Costa Rica Special Reserve Coffee utilizes 100% arabica beans and is sourced exclusively from farms with Rainforest Alliance certification.
- Ground coffee sourced from Costa Rica
- Medium-bodied brew with taste notes of citrus and fruits
- Certifications: Rainforest Alliance
- Medium-dark roast coffee
10. Wicked Joe Coffee Breakfast Blend
A breakfast blend that’s an explosion of flavors, this wicked coffee is something to enjoy. Though my pick here is the medium roast, I will also recommend the Bella Marie/Light-medium roast of this coffee. More so, if you’re looking for a more conventional breakfast blend.
Wicked Joe Coffee Breakfast Blend is made from beans sourced from several parts of the world. However, they make it a point to pick the top of the crop, with organic beans, fair trade, and non-GMO. It’s a delightful blend, and though it gets slightly expensive, it feels like money well spent!
- Ground coffee, blend sourced from various parts of the world
- Flavorful with rich aroma
- Certifications: USDA Organic, Non-GMO, Fair Trade
- Medium roast coffee
Your Guide To Brewing A Wonderful Cup Of Coffee With French Press
About Artisan And Small Batch Coffee Roasters
As you may have noticed, many of the coffee brands listed here are small batch roasters, especially those selling whole beans. There’s a good reason to prefer small batch roasting. While coffee beans last a long time, they’re at the peak of their flavor for 4-6 weeks after roasting.
Small batch roasters generally ship out their coffee quickly after roasting. This means you get high-quality fresh-roasted coffee rather than something that has been sitting on a store shelf for weeks. If you value flavor over everything else, place a premium on small batch roasting.
What Are The Best Coffee Beans For French Press?
Choosing the right coffee beans is an exercise in personal taste and preferences. If you like to pick bolder flavors, consider going for a dark roast coffee. Perhaps avoid the very dark roast Italian roasts, but a French roast should work just fine. Of course, if you’re thoroughly into the darker side of coffee, the Italian roast isn’t a bad pick either!
Those who’d like to fully enjoy the taste notes and natural flavors should pick a medium roast. It’s especially fulfilling for gourmet coffee beans. And of course, light roasts have always been popular with breakfast blends. Make sure you pick something flavorful and don’t mind the bright acidity!
If you want a specific recommendation for the best beans, the list here has you covered. My personal pick would be the Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew Reserve.
What’s The Best Pre Ground Coffee For French Press?
If you’re getting ground coffee, make sure it’s on the coarser side of things. A coarse grind works great and a medium grind can work. Never pick a fine grind to go with your French press. It will clog the filter, or simply pass through and you’ll get a brew that’s more sludge than coffee.
Conventional wisdom is to grind your coffee right before you brew it. A burr grinder is a great tool and very useful for coffee aficionados. But that’s not always possible or preferable, so many of us pick pre ground coffee.
Again, the specific choice depends on your preference. This list offers several pre ground coffee recommendations, including Primos Coffee Co. French Press Specialty Coffee, which is our editor’s choice for this category.
A Quick Guide To Brewing French Press Coffee
The key elements for the best French press coffee experience are:
- Fresh ground coffee (medium or coarse grind)
- Soft water with a low mineral content
- Clean equipment
Whether it’s French press or any other kind of coffee, it is generally recommended that you grind the beans right before brewing. Conventional wisdom says coarse ground coffee for French press is the best bet. And they’re right. It makes a wonderful brew and sediment doesn’t end up in your cup.
Those who prefer a bolder cup can pick medium ground coffee as well. You’ll have more sediment in the cup, but it’s likely to be a stronger, bolder brew. Besides, the increase in sediment is only marginal and won’t make much of a difference.
There is no specific recommendation on what kind of coffee for French press is best. So try and experiment around to get your best pick.
How Much Coffee For French Press
What is the best water to coffee ratio for French press? Well, you’ll have to be generous. French press brewing requires more coffee than SCA’s golden cup recommendation for drip coffee machines. SCA recommendation is 8.25 grams of coffee for 5 oz of water.
For a French press, you might want to go to 11-13 grams per 5 oz cup. Exactly how much coffee for French press is your choice to make, but the numbers here should lead you to a bold and beautiful cup.
Quick French Press Brewing Recipe
- Add coffee to French press carafe (medium or coarse grind).
- Pour hot (soft) water over the coffee. Ideally, the water temperature should be in the range of 195-205 Fahrenheit. Don’t use boiling water.
- Shake the solution gently so the coffee and water mix.
- Place the cap and plunger, but don’t plunge the coffee.
- Let it steep – 4-5 minutes is good for medium grind, 5-6 minutes for a coarse grind.
- Press the plunger slowly but firmly.
- Pour your coffee and enjoy!
Do note that these are recommendations and you should experiment a bit to find the brew that suits you best. The steeping time is important. If it’s too low, you get weak and bland coffee. Go too high, and your coffee runs the risk of over-extraction and getting bitter.
FAQs For French Press Coffee
Can You Use Regular Ground Coffee For French Press?
Yes, just make sure the coffee grind is medium or coarse. The steeping time will vary on the coffee grounds you choose. Medium ground coffee generally needs 4-5 minutes, while coarse grind will take 4-6 minutes. It’s not advisable to use a fine grind (like that used for espresso) in a French press.
So if you’re wondering where to buy French press coffee, the answer is it’s freely available everywhere. As long as it’s not fine ground, any store-bought coffee will work with French press.
What Temperature Should French Press Water Be?
The recommended water temperature for brewing coffee in a French press is 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, this is the temperature generally recommended for most coffee brewing methods. Never use boiling water, as it is likely to scald and burn the beans and give your coffee a bitter, unpleasant taste.
If you don’t have a thermometer to measure water temperature, bring the water to boil. Then turn off the heat, wait 30 seconds, and pour it over the coffee. In these few seconds we wait, water should have cooled down sufficiently to reach the right temperature.
Does French Press Coffee Have More Caffeine?
French press tends to have more caffeine than similar methods. An average 8oz cup of French press coffee can have 80-100mg of caffeine. Of course, the number is dependent on coffee to water ratio and steeping time.
By comparison, a similar cup of drip coffee can have 60-100 mg of caffeine. A shot of espresso has about 50 mg of caffeine per oz. So while an espresso does have more caffeine by volume, a cup of French press coffee is likely to have more caffeine overall.
Taking Your Pick Of Coffee
French press is a classic and remarkable technique for brewing coffee. Don’t hold yourself back and experiment with various coffee blends, origins, roasts available. The best coffee for French press also depends on the grind size and steep time.
There are several factors to pick and consider. If you’d like a quick recommendation, take a look at the list here and pick one of the products reviewed!