Since its introduction in the late 20s, the French press has systematically retained its place as one of the most popular coffee brewing devices in the world.
Equipped with a mesh filter and a rod, this device has sustained several modifications to its mechanism but the original premise still remains.
Let the coffee steep and then push it out of the way!
Because the filter it uses is mesh made and not cloth or paper, the beans need to be ground in a coarse manner in order to be filtered properly. Smaller bits of grit will go through the mesh resulting in lotsof unwanted sediment in your cup and an over-extracted and bitter cup of coffee.
This is a characteristic of French- pressed coffee, however, and and the texture that has a lot of advocates – some people like it! See here for our comprehensive list of the best french press coffee makers.
The problem is, that this coarsely ground coffee is not as commonly sold in supermarkets as the medium grind which is used in automatic drip coffee makers, so it can come in handy to know what to look for in a coffee grinder in order to manually grind at home.
The Best Coffee Grinder for French Press
Before we get into the why’s and hows of making coarse grit coffee let me first introduce you to the three french press grinders we like to encourage our customers to buy. We recommend buying one of the three manual, entry level, or top-of the line grinders to dedicate to your coffee press.
The Hario Skerton Pro is the top manual grinder for french press in our opinion because it has a stablizer plate on the movable burr which helps the grinder make coarse grit without the fine particulate. We are also huge fans of the manual grinders because they basically make no noise especially compared to the electric burr grinders.
If you don’t want to deal with manually turning the crank every morning (which isn’t so bad for coarse grind) then we recommend you choose either the Bodum Bistro or the Baratza Encore. For people to new to grinding coffee at home the entry level grinder of choice tends to be the Bodum Bistro due to it’s glass (anti-static) bin and its lower price.
One of the main reasons the Bistro is an entry level model though has to do with it’s grind quality. It’s a little loud, it doesn’t have as many grind size options as some others, and it just doesn’t grind the beans to a level consistent enough for some pros as the Baratza Virtuoso.
Believe it or not the Virtuoso is still not the best now is it even close to the highest priced grinder on the market. It’s just the best value for the money in our opinion.
What Makes the French Press Coffee Grinder Good for Making Coarse Ground Coffee
Home grinding does not only solve the availability issue, but it also helps with providing freshly ground beans, meaning each cup will be extra flavorful and the aroma and scents will remain.
In our opinion, the perfect grinder is one with many settings, the more the merrier. Most grinders come with different grind settings ranging from espresso to french press coffee grind.
A coarser grind is recommended when it comes to French presses because the brewing process would really quickly overextract a fine grind size. Truth is though all palates are different and personal tastes may vary from one person to another and this also applies to these coffee makers.
The secret is to start with the coarser grind your grinder offers and brew a batch of coffee. After tasting it, you will know if you are happy with it or not and will make the changes necessary to achieve a better beverage: if the coffee tastes weak and watery, you will need to lower the settings and aim for a finer ground next time. You may also have to adjust your water to coffee ratio to get a good batch of coffee. If the new setting makes the cup taste acid or bitter, this means the beans were over extracted and a middle ground must be found.
Another fact to take into account is regarding the mesh filter. We can’t possibly stress this enough, but the finer the grind size, the more residue we will have in the final coffee. As it happens with coffee, it is not rocket science but it is science. A trial and error sequence must be followed in order to customize your coffee in all the ways possible that also make it the best one, compatible with your own taste and your needs.
Buy the Best Grinder You Can Afford
With all the various pieces of coffee brewing equipment we firmly believe the grinder is the most important piece. You can brew excellent coffee from either a sock or in a saucepan if the grind is good and the beans are fresh.
If you are going into invest in your coffee making routine choose the best grinder you can afford and then go from there.
After choosing the device you will be using, choosing the correct grind size is the next step to follow.
Here we have two additional recommendations for you which are, in our opinion, the ones that can potentially work best with several coffee brewing methods, especially French presses:
- The Baratza brand offers a wide range of high-end grinders that can fit several budgets. We have reviewed their products in the past, and are highly recommendable.
- Another brand we have talked about before, Capresso offers grinders and coffee related utensils for home use that feature several settings and are budget friendly.