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.
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 will go through it, but this is a characteristic of French- pressed coffee, and a factor that has a lot of advocates.
The problem is, that this coarsely ground coffee is not as common as the finer grounds used for 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.
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. This is because though a coarser grind is recommended when it comes to French presses, truth is 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. 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.
After choosing the device you will be using, choosing a grinder and a subsequent grind size are the next steps to follow.
Here we have two 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.
The above units can be found in the grid below with a few decent alternatives.
Baratza Virtuoso – Conical Burr Coffee Grinder (with Bin)Capresso 560.01 Infinity Burr Grinder, BlackCuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr MillHario Ceramic Coffee Mill Skerton Storage Capacity (100g)DeLonghi Stainless Steel Burr Coffee Grinder with Grind Selector and Quantity Control