French press brewing is massively popular as it’s low waste and makes great coffee. And griding your own beans will take your brew to the next level, but you’ll need the best coffee grinder for French press brewing that works for you. It’s a personal choice thing, right? Not to worry, we’ll help you get started.
Our Top Picks for the Best Coffee Grinder for French Press
- Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder – our top pick
- OXO BREW Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
- Sboly Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
- Baratza Virtuoso+ Conical Burr
- Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder
For great coffee, you will also need great coffee beans. There are some incredible coffees perfect for the French press or you can go straight to a pack of Kona beans, a scarce and delicious coffee from Hawaii if you’ve not tried them, you should!
Do you Need a Grinder for French Press Coffee?
If you’re just starting on your brewing journey, you can use pre-ground French press coffee. However, once you have cut your teeth on pre-ground you’ll be ready to take your coffee to the next level with whole bean. Griding your own beans gives you more choice and the best flavour as coffee will start to lose its lustre once ground, the sooner you use coffee after it has been ground the better your coffee will be!
Another reason why grinding your own is better is that French press brewing needs a coarse, or at the very least medium-coarse grind for best results. This is because you need maximum water surface for the best extraction. A fine grind will often float through the filter in your French press, causing little bits of sediment to roam free in your cup. It can also make your coffee bitter as it’s been over-extracted.
When it comes to buying pre-ground coffee, the odds are stacked against you as most pre-ground coffee is too fine and made for espresso machines, a coarse grind is harder to come by. So, in the long run, it could be easier to just grind your own as you’ll have more choice when it comes to buying beans.
So Which Type of Grinder is Best?
When it comes to buying a grinder you have a few options to think about as there are a few variations when it comes to coffee grinders. You’ll have to choose between a Burr grinder or a Blade grinder. In our opinion, the best coffee grinder for your French press is a Burr grinder.
That’s because a good quality Burr grinder will give you a uniform grind, at the correct particles size, for the perfect brew. The rest is up to you of course.
When it comes to ground coffee, uniform grind size is extremely important as evenly ground coffee will lead to the best level of extraction helping you to avoid bitter or weak coffee.
There is a bit of science involved when it comes to making a great cup of coffee. The longer the coffee steeps the bigger grind size you’ll need as the grind size affects the surface area of the bean. A courser grind will give you better flavour overall as it will facilitate better carbon dioxide release from the grounds, further enhancing your brew.
A Burr grinder works by using two serrated metal or ceramic pieces that are a specific distance apart – depending on your grind setting. These rotate to crush the beans rather than slice them to the correct size. Burr grinders can either be flat/disc or conical and steel or ceramic.
Flat/disc vs Conical
These two options generally give you a similar result, so we wouldn’t fuss too much about the differences here. Flat/disc or conical Burr grinders work with either a disc or cone as the name suggests. These will crush the beans more evenly. To get technical flat/disc burrs work with two parallel rings while conical grinders use a cone inside a ring to grind and get the correct size.
Steel vs Ceramic vs Plastic
When it comes to steel vs ceramic you’ll notice that the steel versions are more common, the ceramic ones will last longer but this material is generally used in hand grinders. Plastic will break more quickly in general, so it’s best to avoid those. A similar principle applies when you’re buying pepper grinders, the ceramic ones will have a longer lifespan but is it worth the effort?
We’ve had great success with steel grinders and believe they’re a good choice.
Blade grinders are more affordable than Burr grinders. These machines use a blade to chop the beans, which then fall through into your container as ground coffee. These grinders can produce a coarse grind, but they won’t be as uniform as the particles that come out of a Burr grinder.
Some say you shouldn’t even consider buying a blade grinder, but the price might sway you.
What About Hand Grinders?
Manual griding takes time, we’re not going to sugar coat things here. Perhaps if you’ve decided to live a slow life, off the grid or similar, have retired or are prone to procrastination this might be a good choice. But in general, a hand grinder is not exactly practical. Likely, it will just frustrate you and it will end up in the bin. So for that reason, we’d urge you to think twice about a hand grinder.
Best Grind Size for a French Press
French press brewing works best with a quality coarse grind, medium-coarse can work but we believe coarse is best. If the grind is too fine you’ll end up with coffee particles escaping through the mesh of your press into your cup leaving a residue at the bottom. Fine ground coffee can also lead to over-extraction and bitterness. Which is just not ok!
Best Coffee Grinder for French Press: Our Top Picks
When it comes to picking the best grinder we considered price, quality and grind. Here are our top picks for the best grinder for the French press.
The Baratza Encore is an all-round reliable and robust coffee grinder. It’s well priced and compact. These machines make quick work of grinding coffee beans evenly, perfect for French press brewing. It’s simple to adjust the grind size and it’s easy to clean.
This machine might not have all the bells and whistles or the gimmicky elements as some of the more expensive models, but it is an excellent grinder and perfect for most people’s needs. Too many dials and digital settings can get confusing, this machine doesn’t have a problem in that area.
Baratza has a great reputation for durability. Their machines are well made and will stand the test of time. They are also relatively cheap to fix, depending on what has broken of course. A repair should be straight forward on this model.
If you’re looking for a grinder under 100 dollars then this is a great machine. It’s a good budget pick as this machine is function-rich and very capable of a good and even coarse grind. The grounds container holds around 110 grams, which is enough for 12 cups. We won’t recommend griding it all in one go unless you’ve got family around.
The removable hopper is really handy as you can easily empty out the remainder of the beans if you’d like to change to another coffee. OXO designed a mechanism to help reduce static, which helps with a cleaner grind process.
This machine comes with a two-year warranty, so if your machine breaks down OXO will repair or replace it entirely. However, you can’t buy the burrs separately so if it breaks you’ll have to replace the machine.
You can also get a model with an integrated scale, at a higher price of course. An integrated scale is not essential but can be handy if your budget will stretch that far. See the integrated scale model here.
The Sboly is a good budget machine with 19 Precise Grind settings. The design is simple and the machine is easy to use. You can make up to 12 cups in one go. The burrs are made of stainless steel delivering a decent even and uniform grind.
You can adjust the griding amount to ensure you get just enough ground coffee for between 2 and 12 cups. This machine is sturdy, relatively quiet as well as compact, so won’t take up too much space on your kitchen counter or wake the family.
The upper conical burr is removable in theory, which makes the machine easy to clean. You might need to use a pair of pliers to help get the burr out. Static build-up doesn’t appear to be an issue on this model either, which is a plus.
The Virtuoso is another great model by Baratza. It has everything that the Encore has to offer plus a few extra features, but sells at a higher price. This machine is an efficient and speedy grinder with a durable burr that will give you a consistent and even grind.
It’s a solid machine that includes a digital timer, allowing you to grind the exact amount of coffee you need. The timer is adjustable to a tenth of a second, allowing precision timing.
The grind quality is very similar to that of the Encore. And the accuracy between fine to coarse is really good. In terms of the sustainability of the Baratza machines, you can find parts to repair these machines to make sure you won’t have to replace it entirely when it breaks down.
Static build-up is not a concern with the Virtuoso. It’s a quiet and smooth operator so won’t wake the family in the morning. Unless that’s what you’re hoping to do of course!
With the Infinity Capresso delivers a solid conical burr grinder. The gear reduction motor creates less friction and heat, making it a quiet machine that produces minimal static, preserving flavour and aroma.
The Infinity is easy to clean as the upper burr is removable and can be cleaned with the brush provided. It has a safety lock mechanism to ensure you don’t have any unfortunate mishaps after you’ve cleaned the machine.
This machine features a handy timer, allowing you to grind just the right amount of coffee for your cup. The timer ranges from between 5 and 60 seconds.
If you’re committed enough to use a hand grinder then this is a very good grinder. It has a good size range of evenly ground coffee from fine through to coarse, perfect for your French press needs. It also has half steps between the 8 settings so give you 15 coarseness options to choose from.
You can hold up to 100 grams of beans and the hopper is lockable to keep everything in securely while you grind. The handle is fairly easy to operate as it’s mounted to the side. It has an advantage to the grinders with a top-mounted handle for sure. The bottom is sticky so offers good stability while in operation.
Some parts are made of plastic, but the container is made of glass and the crank handle of cast iron. Cleaning this grinder is a bit painful when you do it the first time, as everything is factory fastened and super tight. But once it’s been done the next time will be easier.
This is another good and durable manual grinder that will help you control your grind size, delivering even grind particles. It comes with ceramic burrs and a silicon lid for the top chamber. Being a top-mounted handle machine and relatively big, operation is a bit more tricky than the Handground grinder further up the page. Especially if you have smaller hands.
The jar where the coffee drops into is sealed so will help with freshness if you don’t have the time to grind beans in the morning for example. In essence, this looks like a jam jar so be careful not to accidentally put it out with the recycling.
The washable parts are conveniently dishwasher safe, which is always helpful. It’s small and compact and even portable if you so choose! The Pro version is much better if you’d like to achieve a coarser grind.