The French press: widely considered by aficionados as being one of the best types of coffee makers. But, if you’ve tried making coffee using this simple, mechanical device, you may well have experienced the sludge that can form if you don’t get the grind just right. You’re left chewing the last couple of mouthfuls down or faced with the prospect of leaving half a cup. This grit formation accrues when you use too fine a coffee grind: something better suited to Espresso machines. So, if you want to enjoy a well-rounded, full-bodied, grit-free cup of coffee, you not only need to ensure that you use high-quality beans but that you use the best coffee grinder for French press coffee.
French Press Coffee Grinder Reviews
We have compiled a list of the best coffee grinders for French press users. We’ve also provided a buyer’s guide to help you choose the best model, but burr grinders are preferred. If you want to experiment and find the best coarseness of grind, then you also need a grinder that offers variable settings. Finally, some people enjoy the process of using a manual grinder, and these are normally more compact so are easier to transport and take up less room in the kitchen unit.
So, without further ado, here are our reviews of the best coffee grinders for French press users.
1 – Javapresse Manual Coffee Grinder – Best Coffee Grinder For French Press
The Javapresse manual coffee grinder is a very popular, manual burr grinder. It’s easily one of the cheapest on our list but despite its low price point, it’s a high-quality product with some extremely useful features.
It is way more compact than electric alternatives and because there’s no motor, it’s also a lot quieter. It has 18 coarseness settings that enable you to grind beans for everything ranging from Espresso to French press.
Using a manual conical grinder does require some effort, and if you are preparing beans for an Espresso, you can expect to spend up to five minutes grinding enough beans for two shots. For a French Press, it should take between one and two minutes.
The Javapresse manual coffee grinder is suitable for grinding enough beans for one or two cups, and if you regularly make larger pots, you might want to consider looking at an electric alternative. As a manual grinder, there is less scope for broken parts, though, and considering the low cost, exceptional customer service, and top ratings this grinder gets, we have reviewed it as the best coffee grinder for French press coffee makers.
- Very affordable
- Conical grinder provides uniform results
- Manual grinder means less chance of broken parts
- 18 coarseness settings
- Compact and portable
- Exceptional customer service
- Takes a surprising amount of effort to grind
- Only really suitable for one or two cups
2 – Cuisinart DBM-8 Grinder
The Cuisinart DBM-8 burr mill is an electric grinder with a price tag that is a lot lower than most other electric models.
Like the Javapresse, it has 18 coarseness settings but, unlike the manual grinder, it doesn’t require a herculean effort to grind beans, even if you have an espresso maker that requires a fine ground. It is a burr grinder so it offers a uniform coarseness.
It has an 8 oz bean hopper and the grounds chamber will hold enough coffee for up to 32 cups, although the slide dial only goes up to 18 cups so you will have to perform a couple of runs to fill the chamber. However, this should be more than enough for your daily requirements, negating the need to grind a batch every time you want a cup.
A really useful feature of the mill is that it has an automatic shut-off which means that you can set it and leave it. One point of note is that this is a flat burr grinder. When used for grinding French press coffee, it should yield great results and a consistent grind, but if you also use your grinder for Espresso machines, you should look for a conical burr grinder.
Some buyers have also reported that this is an extremely loud unit, and there have been a reasonably small number of users that have criticized its longevity. However, considering it is electrical, it has the handy shutdown timer, a good range of coarseness settings, and it is a cheap electric option, it still warrants high praise and a high position in our list of reviews.
- Cheap for an electric grinder
- 18 coarseness settings
- Can grind a lot of coffee in one go
- Automatic shut-off timer
- Flat burr, rather than conical
3 – Khaw-Fee HGIB
The Khaw-Fee HGIB is another manual grinder with a conical burr mill. This means that it is quiet and portable, and it is the cheapest option on our list.
It has a variable coarseness setting, enabling you to vary from extra fine for espresso, to extra coarse for French press. Fortunately, extra coarse requires less grinding work so you don’t have to endure a full workout for a cup of morning coffee.
Unfortunately, though, there have been several reports of the grinder handle and the thread that connects it, breaking. This stops the grinder from working. Although the number of people reporting this problem is relatively low, there are enough complaints to justify caution.
- Variable settings
- Manual grinder is quieter than electric
- Really cheap
- Multiple reports of handle thread breaking
- Manual grinder takes more work
4 – Capresso 560.01 Infinity Conical Grinder
The Infinity conical grinder from Capresso is a professional grade grinder with 16 grinder settings from extra fine to coarse. The bean container holds more than 8 ounces of fresh beans and the coffee container will hold up to 4 ounces of ground beans.
The grinder uses conical burrs and the manufacturer claims that the gear reduction motor produces less friction and heat, ensuring that you get the full flavor of the beans. The unit is moderately priced compared to others on our list, but there are a number of complaints from buyers about the design.
First, despite the company’s claims of reduced static, a lot of buyers have reported a considerable static buildup. This causes the grounds to “stick” to the sides and bottom of the device. As well as potentially causing a loss in flavor, this leads to a loss of ground coffee: some users have reported losing as much as a tablespoon from each container. The static, combined with plastic parts, means that cleanup is a messy, time-consuming task, too.
- 16 grind settings
- Conical burr grinder
- Creates a uniform consistency
- Lots of leftover grounds
- Difficult and time-consuming to clean
- Plastic parts
5 – Porlex Coffee Grinder
Porlex actually produces a couple of different grinder models: the JP-30 and the Mini. In truth, there isn’t a huge difference in size, because both manual grinders are designed to be portable and convenient to store.
We prefer the JP-30 because it allows for the grinding and holding of up to 30 grams of coffee so, depending on your preferences, this should be enough to eke out three cups of coffee. The Mini holds 20g, enough for two cups.
Both sizes have a ceramic conical burr, and the stainless-steel body does a very good job of preventing static buildup.
You do need to ensure that you get the latest, updated model. Older models had an issue with the handle falling off and eventually breaking. The new model features an upgraded handle design that is more robust and will last longer.
The Porlex uses a click setting to determine the coarseness and lets you grind at any level from espresso fine to French press coarse. If you’re looking for portability and quality, then the Porlex JP-30 is a very solid choice indeed.
- Reasonable price
- Stainless steel housing is static-free
- Easy to clean
- Very portable and convenient
- Quality parts
- Older model had issues with the handle
- Limited storage space thanks to compact size
6 – Bodum Bistro Coffee Grinder
The Bodum Bistro coffee grinder benefits from a conical burr grinder mechanism. It has 12 settings from fine to coarse, and it produces a consistently coarse grind that makes it one of the best coffee grinders for French press users.
It also has a glass container, which is not only dishwasher safe but also helps prevent static buildup so you don’t lose as many beans during the grinding process. As well as a manual start/stop mechanism, there is also a timer setting so that you can set it and leave it.
It will hold just under 8 oz of beans and there is an 11oz bean catcher, so you can grind more than enough beans for a day, in most cases. However, to avoid the grinder running hot, which can ruin the flavor of the beans and cause static, you can only grind for 20 seconds before having to wait and let it cool for five minutes. This is less of a problem for French press users and more of an issue for those that use an Espresso machine, but it is still a notable problem.
As seems to be the case with all but the most expensive electric grinders, there are a number of reports of the unit breaking down after being used for several months.
- Static-free glass container
- Electric conical burr grinder
- Quiet for an electric model
- Very short operating time
- Some reports of this model breaking with moderate use
7 – Baratza Encore
The Baratza Encore is a medium-priced electric burr grinder. It uses hardened stainless-steel burr plates, and it has a massive 40 coarseness settings so you should have plenty of opportunity to experiment and find just the right grind settings to create the perfect French press coffee.
The Encore is designed to be user friendly: Baratza describes it as their entry-level model, and has a pulse grind button as well as pre-set grind times. It is also a reasonably compact design, so it will take up little room on the worktop and can be stored in the cupboard when not being used.
The Baratza Encore has an 8 oz hopper, which is comparable to other models, but it is a challenge to clean effectively and buyers have reported that it has a serious tendency to clog regardless of how frequently or rarely you use it.
- 40 coarseness settings
- Pulse and automatic settings
- Affordable enough for an electric grinder
- Conical burr grinder
- Difficult to clean
- Has a tendency to clog up
8 – OXO Brew Coffee Grinder
The OXO Brew coffee grinder is an electric conical burr grinder with 15 coarseness settings. Fortunately, it’s a good-looking machine, because it is one of the bigger grinders in our list and will spark some attention when it’s sat on the kitchen unit. The device also lacks cord storage, which is a minor niggle but a niggle, nonetheless.
The OXO Brew shouldn’t grab attention because of the noise, however, because this is a relatively quiet grinder. No electric machine will ever be as quiet as a manual hand grinder, but this one shouldn’t wake the whole family (unless they sleep in the kitchen).
It’s also reported to be easy to clean – you don’t have to, and shouldn’t use, water for the cleanup. The grounds container will hold enough for 12 cups of coffee and it produces a consistent consistency.
The OXO Brew coffee grinder gets generally very good reviews across the board, although some users have complained that it stopped working after a few months of use, which is obviously a problem if you’re unlucky enough to suffer a similar fate.
- 15 coarseness settings
- Quick grind button remembers your last setting
- Good looking design
- Quiet operation for an electric model
- Large design
- Some complaints of it breaking after a few months
9 – Breville Smartgrinder Pro
The Breville Smartgrinder Pro looks like a serious piece of kit, has the features of a serious machine, and it has the price tag to match. It is one of the most expensive on our list of the best coffee grinders for French press makers.
The stainless steel conical burrs make light work of grinding beans, and it has 60 precise grind settings as well as an electronic timer with 0.2-second increments. The range of settings does ensure that you get exactly the grind you want, but we have to be honest – is there really any need for this many settings? Does adding or removing 0.2 seconds from the grind time really make a difference? Fortunately, it also has an LCD screen that displays the settings, which does make it easier to control and use.
The hopper will hold 18 ounces of beans and the machine lets you grind directly into any of a number of filter solutions. Again, there are some reports of the grinder giving up after a short time, but the proportion of these reviews is lower than with a lot of other models.
- A mass of settings and timings to perfect your grind
- LCD display screen
- Professional looking piece of coffee kit
- Conical burr grinder
- Very pricey
- Some complaints of it giving up after a few months
10 – Baratza Virtuoso
The Baratza Virtuoso is a high-grade coffee machine, as evidenced by its heavy price tag. It is the most expensive on this list. It does offer a better quality and more uniform grind than the Baratza Encore on this list, and it also has more settings. In fact, the Virtuoso has 40 coarseness settings that are dictated by rotating the click dial.
The Virtuoso also has a 60-second timer, and achieving the same results every time, using this combination, is easy. It’s a good-looking design, doesn’t take up too much room, and is relatively quiet when used, compared to other electric models anyway.
However, the price is difficult to ignore, even for the avid coffee lover, and it doesn’t really offer enough to warrant the additional investment, especially because there are numerous complaints about the mess caused by static build-up and complaints about how difficult the machine is to maintain and clean.
- Lots of settings
- Conical burr grinder
- Quiet for an electric grinder
- Very pricey
- Difficult to maintain
Buying The Best Coffee Grinder For A French Press
With the best French press grinder, you can experiment to find your preferred coarseness and grind level. You can opt for a model with a wide range of settings so that you can use it to make Espresso grounds too. You will also need to decide whether you want manual or electric: the choice might not be as clear cut as you think.
Which brings us to the question of which is better: manual or electric grinder?
- Manual Grinder – The manual grinder usually has a rotating handle on the top which turns a disc and cuts or crushes the beans. They are cheaper than electric models, take up less room even in a backpack, and have fewer parts to break down. They also give really good uniformity. However, they take a lot of turning, and if you have any kind of mobility issues or joint pain, this isn’t ideal. To save on space, and presumably because nobody wants to grind 100 grams of coffee, the hopper and the grind canister are usually quite small. You will have to make multiple grinds.
- Electric Grinder – Electric grinders work in a similar fashion to a manual grinder. However, rather than relying on brute strength, they have an electric powered motor. These tend to be larger and are heavier than manual grinders. They cost more, too, but they are more convenient, can produce consistent and uniform results, and they will have a greater grind capacity than most manual models. If possible, look for canonical burr grinders and consider whether cord storage is important to you.
The French Press requires a coarse grind. Some have described it as being similar to soil and much coarser than required for an Espresso maker or even a drip coffee machine. This ensures that the coffee doesn’t pass through the metal mesh of the French press filter, prevents a bitter-tasting coffee, and provides optimal coffee extraction from the grind.
Check the coarseness of the grinder before you use it and ensure that it offers some way of changing the size of the grind. This will also allow you to experiment to get optimal flavor and aroma from your coffee. We saw grinders with anywhere between 8 and 60 different settings. There won’t be many people that can taste or tell the difference enough to warrant 60 levels of coarseness, but between 10 to 12 is ideal.
Most of the grinders use a click dial, although there are some models that come with an LED screen so you can monitor settings.
A consistent grinder will provide grinds of the same size every time you grind using the same settings. Each batch of grinds will have a uniform shape, too. Manufacturers don’t advertise unreliable grind size, so look at customer reviews and ratings to determine consistency.
Static buildup can occur on plastic parts and is a problem because it causes the coffee grinds to stick to the bottom and sides. This can lead to an inconsistent grind. It can also make cleaning a lot more difficult because you have to get into the corners.
Check buyer reviews if you can’t get your hands on one of the grinders. It is good practice to clean the grinder after every use, so you want it to be a reasonably simple effort.
If you have a vast expanse of empty kitchen unit space, size won’t really matter. But some grinders take up a lot of room. The OXO Brew, for example, isn’t suitable for a cramped kitchen unit. The Porlex Mini, on the other hand, is small enough that you can easily take it camping, let alone find a home for it between uses.
Generally, electric grinders take up more room and motorless manual devices are smaller and lighter.
Can’t I Just Use Pre-Ground Coffee?
You can, of course, use pre-ground coffee, and there are some great tasting grinds out there. However, coffee starts to lose freshness as it is ground, so any ground coffee you buy will have lost some of its flavor and aroma.
Many coarse grinds still leave a layer of coffee sediment in the bottom of the cup, too, because they are not coarse enough or there is a lot of powder in the bag. Grinding your own ensures that you control the level of coarseness and provides you with freshly ground coffee whenever you want it.
Will Any Grinder Do?
As long as it produces a uniform and consistent, coarse grind, any grinder will basically do. However, some are less practical, some have shorter lives, and some are a nightmare to clean.