Best Coffee Beans for French Press
Brewing coffee using a French Press is verifiably the most delightful way to enjoy your brew. On top of utilizing very affordable equipment, it also provides a totally unadulterated coffee experience.
What Makes French Press Better Than Other Methods?
We can all agree that most of the deliciousness in good foods is in the fats and oils. When using a percolator or even a pour over method, we use filters to prevent grinds from winding up in the carafe—this very thing that does so much good is actually the damning aspect of both methods.
Paper filters absorb up all of those fats and oils, preventing them from making it to the very place we all want them—into the mug we drink out of.
French Presses do away with the pesky paper filter problem, but they also utilize another coveted method of brewing: steeping. Regardless of how often you clean your brewing machine, there’s always the chance of calcium buildup and impurities.
Steeping keeps all of the goodness in one place without subjecting it to outside impurities, along with keeping in the oil and fats.
So, What Makes a Good French Press Coffee Bean?
If you’re familiar with our rant on espresso beans, you may remember that there’s no such thing as an espresso bean. In the same vein, there’s no such thing as a French Press bean. What there is however, are beans that are better suited for using in the French Press.
While you can use any beans you want, the most-liked range of roast is medium to dark, often times becomes the French Press process reduces bitterness and can result in a sweeter taste. Also, darker roasts tend to be oilier, so you get that extra oily goodness right in your cup of java.
If you’re a huge fan of light roasts, though, disregard any suggestions but the ones given to you by your taste buds. Honestly, the most important factor lies in the freshness of the beans and the grind size.
Fresh + Coarse Grind = Primo French Press Brew
Regardless of what roast you decide upon, there are two crucial factors that are non-negotiable. One, you want to buy your bag of beans fresh and whole. This is especially crucial for French Press — standard bags of ground coffee are sold as a medium ground, which is not going to jive for a French Press.
For use in a French Press, you need something closer to coarsely ground coffee beans, which offer the right extraction for longer brewing times. There’s a simple correlation you can use to figure out grind size, which is that the quicker the brew time, the finer the ground. Espresso shots use fine ground, while methods with longer brew times, like Cold Brew utilize very coarse grounds.
If you want to read more about grind size and extraction, we have a total breakdown for you. You’ll want to use a conical burr grinder to get the most even medium-coarse grind possible for even extraction, as well.
The Best Coffee Beans for French Press - Reviewed
Okay — now that we’ve tackled the setup portion of our show, it’s time to get on to the main event: the best coffee beans to use for French Press.
SF Bay’s dark roast is 100% Arabica and hails from Central and South America at elevations between 1,200 and 2,000 meters. Full-bodied and dark, there are distinct notes of chocolate and toasted cinnamon.
Roasted and packaged in the US, SF Bay is sustainably grown, kosher, and a Fair Trade company. You can also enjoy the smoky finish of this roast know that SF Bay offers a 100% money back guarantee if you don’t like it for any reason.
Mayorga Organics sources its beans from certified organic farmers in Latin America so you can enjoy the hints of vanilla and syrupy, smoky goodness in this Cubano dark roast. Non-GMO verified, 100% USDA organic, and kosher, this 100% arabica is a great option for using in a French Press.
Martin Mayorga, founder, gave Mayorga Organics a very distinctive purpose: to eliminate systemic poverty in rural Latin America through responsible trade of artisanal organic foods. On top of their primary purpose, they also strive to be as sustainable as possible, including through coffee chaff recycling and by using a thermal oxidizer to clean the air after the roasting process.
Featuring beans hailing from Colombia, Guatemala, and Sumatra, Koffee Kult’s dark roast is 100% arabica and known for its bold, not bitter, flavor in combination with low acidity. Smooth with flavor notes of cocoa and cinnamon, this bean is roasted in Hollyway, FL.
Koffee Kult feels strongly about supporting farms that respect the environment, but they also only work with farms that pay their women directly and equally. I think we can all rally behind that.
JO’s coffee cupping experts bring you WILD JO from Columbia for your pleasure. Featuring notes of dark cocoa and dark brown sugar, you can enjoy this roast in 12 oz., 2 lb., or even single-serve k-cups. Yes, this one comes pre-ground, but we’re letting it slide.
JO is USDA Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified, and Kosher Certified. They’re also a member of the Rainforest Alliance and created the first no-plastic cup single-serve, made right in the Midwest. Purchasing only from the top 2% of all organic raw arabica in the world, JO’s handcrafted artisan roast is worth a purchase.
This Nicaragua Segovia Dark Roast is described as “sultry,” and the notes of chocolate, fig, apricot, and spice certainly seem to back that up. It’s not only the flavor profile that’s unique, though, but also the way it’s roasted: using a vintage 90 kilo German-built Probat drum roaster retrofitted with modern fuel-efficient ribbon burners.
This shade grown arabica coffee is organic and 100% Fair Trade. Just as interestingly, Tiny Footprint Coffee is the world’s first carbon negative coffee. For every pound of coffee sold, Tiny Footprint donates a portion of the proceeds to fund reforestation in Ecuador’s Mindo cloud forest.
A combination of Sumatran, Nicaraguan, and Columbian beans, Nectar of Life’s Bushy Tailed dark roast coffee offers notes of dark cocoa, orange peel, and spiced aroma in the full-bodied brew. Made by small batch brewers, Bushy Tailed is 100% Fair Trade Certified and 100% USDA Certified Organic.
Nectar of Life coffees are bagged immediately, with their featuring one-way degassing valves to keep the coffee as fresh as possible. This wholesale coffee roaster was founded in 2003 and has had the guiding principles of ecological and social responsibility from the beginning.
This full-bodied, complex dark roast is 100% arabica. The beans are sustainably sourced Rainforest Alliance Certified farms and Kosher Certified by the Orthodox Union. Nine Miles Sunset is roasted in small batches and Verena Street guarantees no burnt or smokey taste.
Verena Street is family-owned and named after a memorable road in childhood, one that’s now been paved over for a highway. Founded in 2010, Verena Street calls Dubuque, Iowa, home and can be found all across the Midwest, as well as online. You can even take a tour of their facilities!
The Art of Using a French Press
- 1We’ve covered finding the French Press model for you, we’ve gone over using a conical burr grinder, we’ve gone over the grind size (medium to coarse), so the final thing we need to go over before we let you go is the actual act of using the French Press.
- 2Some of the best tips and tricks for making a great cup of French Press coffee have to do with just being as accurate as possible with your measurements. For a 17 ounce yield, you’ll want to use 1.1 oz. of coarsely ground coffee, which equates to roughly two tablespoons (and a pinch). Depending on how much your French Press can handle, you can fiddle one way or another, but that should give you a decent place to start at.
- 3The other area where you’ll want to be very precise is with the temperature of the water—don’t hesitate to whip out a thermometer and verify that you’re clocking in at an exact 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
- 4Set a timer for four minutes and when that bad boy dings you’re good to plunge! If you want the total breakdown, step by step, use our Ultimate Guide to Making French Press.
I’ve given you a lot to think about here, but any of the beans listed will make a great cup of French Press coffee. Using a bean you already know you like is never a bad idea, especially if you need legitimate proof the French Press makes a better cup than any percolator or brewer.
Happy brewing, coffee lovers!