Everyone who makes their own coffee at home using more than instant granules is typically looking for one thing: the perfect golden cup of coffee. The good news is that this is easy to achieve.
There is no blueprint to follow because everyone has different tastes. If you’re looking for a simple brewing method needing no machine and just five minutes of your time to execute, the French press is the best choice.
You can instantly enhance the results of your finished beverage by grinding your beans just before you brew up. Coffee beans degrade extremely quickly. The beans you receive from the shop pre-ground are already past their best. This is not to say they won’t make drinkable coffee, simply that the beans are not in their prime. Grinding your own is as simple as choosing a grinder – manual or electric – then blitzing up enough beans for your brew.
For French press coffee, you’ll need a coarse grind. All the grinder we highlight below are capable of grinding your beans to that size.
I. Our Top Pick for French Press Coffee Grinders
|Products & Features||Image & Price|
Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder Our #1 Pick
Best Manual Grinder for French Press: Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Grinder
Budget Pick: JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder
Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill
Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder
Cuisinart DBM-8 Automatic Burr Mill
- The 15 Best Burr Coffee Grinders
- The 9 Best Manual Coffee Grinders
- The 8 Best Coffee Grinders for Espresso
II. What Is The Right Grind Level for French Press Coffee?
Now, before you get started grinder shopping, we’ll clear up the consistency you need for French press: coarse grind.
The grind size you need depends on the style of brewing method you’re using. With an immersive style like the French press – you leave the water in contact with the coffee grinds for five minutes – a coarse grind responds best.
Also, finer grinds will get stuck in the filter and work their way through into your cup.
Here’s a simple breakdown of the most common grind sizes along with their corresponding brewing methods:
- Extra coarse: Cold brew and cowboy coffee
- Coarse: Percolated coffee, French press
- Medium-coarse: Dripper coffee like Chemex
- Medium: Pour-over, drip coffee, siphon coffee, AeroPress
- Medium-fine: Pour-over, AeroPress
- Fine: Espresso, moka pots
- Extra-fine: Turkish coffee
With that basic bedrock in place, it’s time for the main event. We’ll examine the leading grinders for French press coffee so you can assess for yourself whether any deserve a place in your kitchen.
III. The 7 Best Grinders for French Press Coffee
1. Our #1 Pick: Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder
Our overall favorite is the highly versatile Encore from Baratza. This brand is an established presence in the coffee space so you’re in safe hands with this beginner-friendly gem.
The on/off and pulse button front and center are all you need to grind your own beans directly before brewing. This is the key to that perfect golden cup of coffee.
A comprehensive choice of 40 grind settings gives you all the variety you need whatever your preferred brewing method. At the outer end, you can get a great coarse grind for your French press.
The steel burrs will give you plenty of mileage while delivering static-free grinding conducive to great coffee every time.
To ice the cake, this grinder is covered by a one-year limited warranty. Should you need it, customer care is responsive and helpful. If you’re looking for ease of use, rugged build, and affordability in one winning package, roll with the Baratza Encore.
2. Best Manual Grinder for French Press: Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Grinder
Portability is one of the key selling points of manual coffee grinders. Porlex takes this to new extremes with the Mini. Just 5 inches tall and light enough to pop in your luggage without noticing it, add your French press and you’re guaranteed great coffee on the go.
If you thought manual grinders were ineffective, the steel burrs in place on the Porlex might change your mind. With a steel chassis, you’ll get a grind not menaced by the static that mars cheaper grinders made from inferior materials.
We’ve included this model as we feel it makes the best overall buy from the Porlex line. There is, however, a newer version available. Whichever Porlex you decide upon, you’ll get a cost-effective grinder that needs no electricity and works just as well at home or when you’re traveling.
3. Budget Pick: JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
Slimline and sleek, the JavaPresse is found on most lists of the best coffee grinders for French press.
At one end of the 18-setting range, you can keep things coarse enough to ensure you get a great brew in your cafetière. If your tastes extend beyond the French press, you have all the freedom you need to dial it back to medium and then fine grind sizes ideal for all other brewing methods.
Proprietary ceramic combo burrs deliver robust lifespan and impressive consistency. While you’ll always enjoy more accuracy with an electric grinder, as far as manual grinders are concerned, the JavaPresse is pretty precise.
As an added kicker, you’ll get a free bag of whole beans to grind up so what are you waiting for? All you’ll need is a French press and you’re ready to brew up.
4. OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder
If your household enjoys coffee using a variety of brewing methods, the OXO Brew is a nimble manual grinder that should satisfy most tastes.
You get 15 settings. Beyond this, you can adjust the wheel through micro-settings. Dial things in with every brewing method you use. Record the results. You can then easily replicate your preferred grinds without hanging around. You’ll also get your coffee just the way you like it.
The Oxo Brew is ideal if you drink a lot of coffee at home. The hopper is good for a full ¾ pound of beans. We only recommend grinding up what you need to brew but if you’re a coffee-loving household, you’ll appreciate this extra capacity.
Build quality is exceptional and the stainless steel aesthetic, punctuated with black, means this grinder won’t look out of place on the kitchen counter.
5. Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill
Hario’s design-driven manual grinder looks outstanding in matte black. Is it a case of form over function, though? Certainly not.
The Japanese maestro rolls out a tiny grinder that makes a wonderful travel companion. With the minimum of forethought, you need never go without great coffee on the road.
Twisting the stepped mechanism allows you to grind your beans finely enough for short shots of espresso. You can also give them a quick once-over leaving them coarsely ground for your French press. The choice is yours.
If you vigorously grind harder beans, you could find some issues with the handle disengaging. This minor niggle aside, you get a first-class grinder from an industry star.
6. Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder
The Capresso Infinity is a rock-solid manual grinder from a brand you can trust. What differentiates this mill, then?
This is certainly not a travel grinder like several of the models above. Quite bulky, the Infinity measures up at 5 x 7.75 x 10.5 inches and weighs 3 pounds. As long as you’re looking for a permanent grinding solution, this unit is a smart choice.
The motor is expressly designed to give you the slow grind you need to optimize consistency while minimizing noise and static. With no need for electricity, you get a stealth grinding solution that doesn’t cost a fortune. If you make no further adjustments to the brewing process, simply grinding fresh beans right before brewing will make a significant difference.
You can grind finely enough for Turkish – this is rare in regular commercial grinders – while you’re free to blitz things just coarsely enough to make lip-smacking French press. You can, of course, stop off anywhere between these two extremes. You’ll covered for everything from espresso through to drip coffee and cold brew.
7. Cuisinart DBM-8 Automatic Burr Mill
Cuisinart provides a truly spacious bean hopper allowing you to smash up enough beans for 32 cups. This should be more than sufficient for the coffee-hungriest household.
Using this grinder is a cinch, even if you’re a beginner. If you are just starting to grind your own beans, stick with it. For relatively little effort, you can save money by buying whole beans and enjoy a dramatic improvement in the coffee you drink.
One thing we’d like to see improved is the 34-inch cord. This can prove too tight in some workspaces, so think about where you plan to locate your grinder in relation to the power supply. The electric timer sounds when your grind is done then you can break out the French press and enjoy your beans at their finest.
IV. Things You Should Consider
Buying a grinder can seem like a minefield if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
Luckily, we’re here to give you five easily-digestible pointers so you can focus on what counts.
- Avoid Blade Grinders
- What Type of Burr Grinder Do You Want?
- Consistency Counts
- Manual or Electric?
- Keep Up With Cleaning and Maintenance
Avoid Blade Grinders
If you’re just starting on your coffee journey, it’s understandable if blade grinders jump out at you when you’re shopping. We can’t deny that these are the cheapest grinders at your disposal. The problem is, they just don’t do the job efficiently.
For starters, blade grinders don’t give you enough consistency. Part of the process of trying any new brewing method involves dialing in the variables until you can replicate your brew of choice with absolute ease. If you’re unable to recreate the same grind each time, you’re off to a bad start. Everything else will be out of kilter with this baseline skewed. Instead, opt for the costlier but vastly more effective burr grinder. The models we scope out today are all burr grinders.
What Type of Burr Grinder Do You Want?
With a static and movable burr in place of blades, you can expect much more efficiency and drastically improved accuracy with a burr grinder. Ceramic burrs are seriously hard wearing. They won’t rust either. As ceramic doesn’t conduct heat, you won’t interfere with those precious oils on the coffee beans. Ceramic burrs will also stay sharper for longer. Stainless steel burrs are equally long lasting. The drawback of steel burrs is the way they conduct heat along with a propensity to dull more rapidly than ceramic burrs. While not without merit, stainless steel burrs can’t compete with ceramic burrs.
You might think that because you’re looking for a coarse grind for French press, the grinder doesn’t need to be especially precise. You couldn’t be further from the truth. Consistency is key if you want to roll out the same results every time so look for a grinder with a reputation for precision. Examine plenty of user reviews. If there’s any repeated reference to inconsistency, you should abandon thoughts of that model. It’s just not worth it with so many strong grinders on the market.
Manual or Electric?
Put simply, there’s no right or wrong answer here. Do you travel frequently and often pine for coffee on the road made with freshly ground beans? If so, a manual grinder is the obvious answer. You can also use manual grinders on the campsite or out in the RV. They make wonderful travel solutions.
Are you hoping to craft a perfectly consistent grind every time so you can enjoy genuine French press coffee with a deliciously coarse grind? You’re best advised to consider an electric grinder. Not only will you need to put in no physical effort, you’ll get accuracy with each batch. You can then determine the number grind setting you used and recreate your optimum cup of joe with total ease.
Keep Up With Cleaning and Maintenance
You should also scour user reviews for any reference to difficulty cleaning. As with all your coffee paraphernalia, little and often makes a wise strategy when cleaning. Freshen up your grinder after every use and you’ll never be faced with much clean-up to take care of. Keep an eye on your blades to make sure they’re still sharp. Get a great coffee grinder and you should find they stay aggressively sharp for some time.
1) Which are best, electric or manual grinders?
If you want a quiet grinder that is easily portable and doesn’t cost too much, a great manual grinder is ideal. For anyone looking to dial in the precision of grind size, an electric model requires no effort and is likely the better option.
2) What grind size do I need for French press?
You need a coarse grind.
3) What’s the minimum number of grind settings I should look for in a coffee grinder?
There is no recommended minimum. All that counts is ensuring you can grind to the consistency you need for the brewing methods you use. Who cares if the grinder has 25 or 45 settings if you can get a coarse grind and enjoy French press? Beyond that, make certain any other brewing methods you use are covered with the grinder you’re considering. If you regularly drink Turkish coffee, you’ll struggle with many mainstream grinders.
4) What’s the point of grinding your own beans in the first place?
Coffee beans spoil so quickly after grinding that you get best results and the freshest coffee by grinding just before you brew up. The effort required will be more than repaid when you taste your finished drink.
5) Which are best, burr grinders or blade grinders?
Blade grinders are cheap but inconsistent. They also cause too much heat and static resulting in a grind that’s simply ineffective and unreliable. Burr grinders, whether manual or electric, deliver much crisper results without that damaging heat and static. If you’re going to the lengths of grinding your own whole coffee beans, why ruin it by skimping on the grinder?
6) How should I store my coffee beans?
Store the beans in an opaque and airtight container at room temperature. Do not fall for the mistake of grinding up large volumes of beans to use over a period of days or weeks. If you do this, you might as well buy pre-ground coffee. Instead, work out how much you’ll need for the batch you’re brewing and grind accordingly.
7) Is it true that medium grinds work well with the French press?
Some people like using a medium grind, but in our opinion, a coarse grind undoubtedly works best with a French press. Feel free to experiment, though. If medium works for you, don’t hesitate to use it.
Keep things coarse and you have all you need with your preferred fresh beans and a cafetière to produce top-notch coffee without spending a fortune and without any complicated machinery.