The french press is one traditional alternative to brewing your coffee using an auto-drip coffee machine. Many french press users swear by their french press coffee, exalting a more refined taste than coffee that comes out of an auto-drip.
In addition, many eco-conscious people are also switching to french presses these days. Why? It’s zero waste! The french press does not use any disposable filter, like the auto-drip machine, or plastic cup, like the Keurig or other single-cup coffee machines.
With that said, there are a few caveats to brewing your coffee in a french press. First: you need coarse ground coffee. French presses include a fine mesh strainer, yet these strainers are not as fine as a paper filter you’d use in a traditional coffee machine. Therefore, using fine-ground coffee is a no-go in a french press, as it may leave you with gritty-tasting coffee.
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Second, french presses are not electrical appliances, so they won’t heat your water for you like a typical auto-drip machine will. So, you’ll need an additional method to boil the water before brewing your coffee. Tea kettles or electric kettles are ideal; if you don’t have a kettle, you may also boil water in a pot or in the microwave, with a microwave-safe container.
How do you brew coffee in a french press? Let’s get down to it!
First, you’ll need to grind your coffee.
As mentioned before, the coffee must be ground coarse for the best results. For this reason, manual coffee grinders are ideal for french press use, as they provide much higher precision in the consistency of your grind than electrical grinders do. Below, we’ll cover the best manual coffee grinders for french press use.
Once you’ve coarse-ground your beans, you’ll need to measure them out. The typical measurement is two tablespoons of ground coffee per eight fluid ounces of water, but you may adjust this to your taste: use more coffee if you prefer a bolder taste, and less coffee if you prefer a weaker taste.
Add the right measurement of coarse-ground coffee to your french press. Then, heat your water using a kettle, pot, or microwave. Bring the water to a boil, then add the desired amount of water to the french press with the ground coffee.
Next, you need to let the coffee steep. Set a timer for four minutes and wait. After four minutes have passed, place the plunger (the top part) on the french press, and slowly press all the way down.
All done! You can now enjoy a steaming hot cup of french press-brewed coffee.
What to look for in a manual coffee grinder
Next, let’s get into coffee grinders: why do you need one, and what should you look for when you’re buying a manual coffee grinder?
Coffee experts know that for the best, freshest cup of coffee, you must grind your own beans. Pre-ground coffee can easily become stale, and that makes for a flat-tasting cup of coffee.
As mentioned earlier, a manual coffee grinder provides the best precision when you need a specific grind– as you will when you use a french press. In addition, manual coffee grinders are more affordable than electric grinders.
So, how do you pick the best one? Let’s get into the different features you’ll choose from when buying a manual coffee grinder, and which style will best suit your needs.
Manual coffee grinders can be made with stainless steel, plastic, ceramic, or even vintage wood (if you buy a grinder in an antique shop).
First, let’s cover steel. Stainless steel coffee grinders are usually the most durable over time: they aren’t very susceptible to scratching and scoring, won’t chip, and won’t crack. High-quality stainless steel also looks particularly professional. The only drawback: stainless steel tends to pick up smudges and fingerprints.
Plastic coffee grinders are usually less expensive, but they can last quite a while, as well. However, plastic can be easily scratched, picks up fingerprints easily, and can easily look worn down over time.
The third option, ceramic coffee grinders, are the coffee grinders that look the most fantastic sitting on your kitchen counter. These are a great option for those who want the most stylish coffee grinder. On the other hand, though, one drop can shatter a ceramic coffee grinder; they’re easily breakable.
You may also come across wooden coffee grinders online or in antique shops. These are not widely made anymore, and so any wooden coffee grinders you find may be worn down and unable to properly function. If you’d like to take on an antique restoration project, though, go for it!
The size of your coffee grinder matters, especially so if you brew a large amount of coffee on a daily basis.
When choosing a manual coffee grinder, you’ll likely see two different sizes: grinders with a 20-30 gram capacity, and grinders with a 30-40 gram capacity. Do you and your family or housemates drink an entire 12-cup pot of coffee every day, or more? In that case, you’ll likely need to go with the larger option; if you drink less than that per day, the 20-30 gram capacity will work fine for your needs.
One last point: if you plan on traveling with your coffee grinder, huge grinders probably won’t work for you. If this applies to you, look for a slim, lightweight option that you can easily store in your suitcase.
The Best Manual Coffee Grinder for French Press
Now that you know what you need to look for in your manual coffee grinder, let’s get into reviewing the best manual coffee grinders on the market!
The Normcore manual coffee grinder features a fashionable, lightweight, travel-ready design, making it perfect for coffee lovers on the go.
This coffee grinder features 24 different coffee grind settings, so you can choose your grind with precision. This makes the Normcore grinder perfect for french press users who need coarse-ground coffee in order to produce the best cup possible.
The Normcore grinder’s stainless steel, conical Burr design provides long-lasting durability, so you can be sure to have a precise grind for your coffee for years to come. In addition, this design is drop-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about cracking and breaking.
The stainless steel Burr is worth noting, as well: stainless steel grinding provides a more efficient grind, so you won’t have to work as hard to achieve the perfect cup.
This grinder weighs only 1.5 pounds, and can fit right in the palm of your hand. It also comes with a complimentary carrying case, making it perfect for travelers. The capacity of this coffee grinder is 25 grams– so, this is a great selection for all but the heaviest coffee drinkers, who may need more grinding capacity.
There are only a few drawbacks which customers have noticed. First, some users found that the 24-setting grind adjuster took some time to get used to. In addition, although this grinder is made from slip-resistant material, the top of the grinder may fall off if you’re not careful.
In conclusion, this manual coffee grinder is a sleek, stylish, and portable choice for coffee enthusiasts, especially those on the go. Its efficiency and durability makes it a valuable choice for your first manual coffee grinder.
The Handground Precision Manual Coffee Grinder features a stylish ceramic design that will look sleek and glossy on your kitchen countertop.
The first point worth noting is that this coffee grinder features a large capacity: you can load up to 100 grams into this grinder. For this reason, heavy coffee drinkers or large families or households with several coffee enthusiasts will love this manual grinder.
This manual grinder comes with 15 different grind settings– not quite as precise as the Normcore grinder mentioned above, but still precise enough to churn out coarse-ground coffee for your french press.
Although this grinder is a bit bulkier than the Normcore grinder, it’s still small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and is fine to take camping or traveling with you. However, it is made of breakable ceramic and does not come with a carrying case, so use extra caution when taking this grinder on the road.
Reviewers noted that this coffee grinder is particularly easy to disassemble, making it hassle-free to clean.
This coffee grinder has notably few drawbacks, but some users noted that it seemed to wear out rather quickly. In addition, it is made from ceramic, so if you’re clumsy and tend to drop things often, you may want to stay away from this grinder.
The Handground coffee grinder is precise, easy to clean, and boasts a large capacity. Unless you’re worried about breakability, this grinder is perfect for those coffee drinkers who brew multiple cups on a daily basis.
A well-rounded, large capacity coffee grinder with a stainless steel exterior and ceramic grinder, this grinder also features a slip-resistant grip on the bottom, so that it stays put on your countertop while grinding.
While not quite as large as the Handground grinder above, the Eparé grinder holds up to 60 grams of coffee beans– which is plenty for the average or even moderately heavy coffee drinker.
This grinder, unlike the two grinders reviewed above, actually features a ceramic burr. Ceramic grinders tend to be more easily breakable and susceptible to wear and tear, and may provide a less precise grind. However, for this grinder’s price, you can still expect to walk away with an exceptional value.
Similar to the Handground grinder, the Eparé grinder features 15 grind settings, for a precise finish.
Perhaps this grinder’s most notable feature is its slip-resistant grip on the bottom. This means that you can place the grinder on the kitchen counter and grind your coffee beans, without having to hold the grinder in your hand, and you won’t have to worry about the grinder sliding around as you turn the crank.
Some users mentioned that the Eparé grinder occasionally seizes up while grinding– this may be due to its ceramic Burr (rather than a smoother stainless steel Burr). In addition, while the slip-resistant bottom is a lovely feature, some have found that it tends to collect dirt quite quickly. Finally, some reviewers noticed that the crank handle is a little loose.
A decent design for what you pay, the Eparé grinder is a well-rounded option for any coffee drinker searching the market for a manual coffee grinder.
A fine option for coffee drinkers on a budget, the Bretani grinder boasts a sleek exterior, which makes it appear far more expensive than it actually is.
With 18 different grind settings, the precision of the Bretani manual coffee grinder is actually slightly higher than the Handground and the Eparé, which are more expensive. This makes for an exquisite cup of coffee using the exact grind you prefer.
The Bretani grinder features a stainless steel exterior, which looks notably sleek on a kitchen counter. It is exceptionally slim and portable– and even comes with a stylish drawstring bag for travel!
This grinder, unlike any of the above grinders, comes with a complimentary cleaning brush. The brush is especially handy for cleaning the small, hard-to-reach places inside of the Burr, to ensure that the grinder does not seize up or take on any unnecessary wear and tear.
The capacity of the Bretani grinder is slightly smaller than the Handground and the Eparé, but still works perfectly for those who only drink a few cups of coffee a day.
Some reviewers mentioned that the grinder’s crank breaks off easily, so use caution and be gentle.
You may receive more durability from the more expensive manual coffee grinders. However, for those looking for a manual coffee grinder on a budget, the Bretani grinder is a great starter product!
Another inexpensive manual coffee grinder, the Silva grinder boasts an incredibly sleek yet low-frills design, perfect for those looking for a basic coffee grinder with no need for preppy and overly stylish exteriors.
Similar to the Bretani grinder, the Silva grinder features 18 grind settings for more-than-adequate grind precision.
This small coffee grinder is only about six inches tall, and two inches in circumference; it fits easily into the palm of your hand, or into a suitcase or backpack for travel. There are no glass components, meaning that you can take this grinder anywhere without worrying about breakage.
Users of the Silva grinder noticed that, unlike the Bretani grinder, this affordable product lasts for years.
Stainless Steel Exterior with Ceramic Burr
The stainless steel exterior provides a sleek, dirt-resistant design, which makes it perfect for camping or outdoor use. The ceramic Burr is susceptible to breaking, but most reviewers found that it holds up over years of use.
The only drawback which users noted for this coffee grinder is that the ground coffee may not come out as uniform as it will when using more high-end manual coffee grinders.
Overall, the Silva grinder is a choice product for those looking for an affordable manual coffee grinder: durable, portable, sleek, smooth, and precise.
French press users, we hope that you’ve been able to find the perfect manual coffee grinder for your needs! Whether you’re taking your coffee along camping, on a trip, on a hike, or to the office, or you’re simply using it every day at home, there are manual coffee grinders available for everybody’s needs. Even though it takes a little more time and effort to grind your coffee manually, if you use a french press, it is certainly more than worth the elbow grease!