French presses take a little more effort than your standard K-Cup, but a few extra minutes translates into more flavor as well as satisfaction. Think of it as the manual transmission of the coffee world: While smart automation has reduced its performance edge, it can’t replicate the simple pleasure of doing something yourself. If you consider your coffee a source of pleasure as well as a source of caffeine, it may be time to invest in a French press coffee maker as well as top-shelf coffee beans.
Bodum Chambord 8-Cup French Press
Best for Everyday Use: If you plan on using your French press every day, it should be made of practical materials. The Bodum Chambord’s high-quality stainless steel design, heat-resistant handle and dishwasher-safe build ensure you can play barista every morning with minimal hassle (for a French press).
Best for Your (Contemporary) Kitchen: A combination of thoughtful minimalist design and earthy materials, including a wood knob, gives this Scandinavian coffee maker plenty of curb (or kitchen island) appeal. As an added bonus, it’s quite good at making coffee.
Hario Olive Wood Double-Walled Coffee Press
Best for Your (Modern Cabin’s) Kitchen: Hario’s French press has plenty of style, with a modern glass build, wooden handle and leather strap. However, two glass walls protect the pourer, and the high-quality mesh filter reliably makes great coffee (provided you know what you’re doing). The wood components are also easily removed, so it’s surprisingly easy to wash for such an ornate product.
GSI Outdoor Press Coffee Maker
Best for Backcountry Baristas: If you’re wondering if it’s excessive to bring a French press into the backcountry, don’t worry — it is. It also has many benefits. A good press, in short, allows you to make great coffee for large groups quickly. The filter in a French press also allows you to cut down on trail spice (dirt) in your morning cup. GSI’s press is easy to clean, well insulated and able to survive abuse, and it can make 50 ounces of coffee at a time. It also works with most ultralight stoves. If you’re solo backpacking, the GSI is definitely a luxury, but if you’re trying to perk up a large group at 5 a.m., it begins to feel like an essential.
La Cafetiere Lexi Cafetiere
Best for Entertaining Groups: The Lexi Cafetiere can make eight cups of coffee in one go — enough for a table full of people. A silicon lid and interior will ensure that your coffee stays free of sediment, while its porcelain exterior and ability to pour straight from the press ensures that you’ll be able to dispense coffee easily.
Le Creuset Stoneware 27-Ounce French Press
Best for Your (Traditional) Kitchen: The Le Creuset press looks like it belongs in a beloved corner cafe that’s done things the same way for generations, but behind its pleasing stoneware exterior is a stainless steel press and interior. It’s dishwasher safe as well as resistant to wear and tear. It’s charming, but its quirks aren’t annoying.
Frieling Polished Stainless Steel French Press
Best for Productive Saturdays: It’s Saturday morning, but you’re feeling inclined to brew some strong coffee or tea and catch up on some side projects. The Frieling’s design keeps coffee hot far longer than most French presses, and it makes 36 ounces of coffee at a time, so you can keep refilling all day.
Alessi Aldo Rossi Press Filter Coffee Maker
Best for Coffee Fanatics: If you lose sleep over making the perfect cup of joe, this Aldo Rossi-designed French press is for you. The 1986 design still makes great coffee and, like all great modern designs, still has something to offer aesthetically. The glass exterior is good-looking, and it also allows coffee perfectionists so see what they’re doing. It also doubles as a coffee pourer and a statement of devotion to coffee and good taste.
Nambe MT0719 Bulbo French Press
Best for Aesthetes: Each of these Lou Henry-designed pieces are handmade — no two are exactly alike. They’re designed as pieces of art with an emphasis on functionality. The design is stainless steel with Acacia wood, and a double-wall design keeps heat in. While they’re not as practical as some of the other French presses on this list, they’re certainly conversation starters.