The grind size of your beans is one of the most crucial elements to get right for a delicious cup of coffee, especially for pure brew methods like the French Press. But standard bags of pre-ground coffee typically come in a medium grind, which just isn’t suitable for plunging a French Press. Jump to Best Coffee Grinder for French Press!
If your favorite brewing method is French Press but you find that the store-bought pre-ground coffee beans aren’t doing this trick, this might be the time to look at getting your own grinder.
Finding the best grinder usually means finding the one with a significant number of features, both in grind size and quantity. The grind determines extraction, which is ultra-important for brewing using French Press, so having an even grind is undeniably crucial. But it’s not the only thing we have to think about when obtaining the perfect grinder for french press coffee.
Let’s take a closer look at what you should consider.
Before we get too deep into making this decision, let’s talk numbers. Since pre-ground coffee isn’t a good option for making French Press brew, you’ll need some type of grinder.
If you’re on a tight budget or just not quite ready to drop some serious dough on a habit you don’t know if you’ll keep up, a manual grinder will fit your needs quite nicely.
The ideal choice is usually an automatic model, though, since it requires significantly less effort. You can acquire some cheaper grinders, typically with stainless steel blades, but we’ll go through why that’s not your best option a bit later.
A good automatic burr grinder model will run a huge gamut between $30 or so, and up to $200—a steep but very real gap. So, step one: how much do you want to spend?
Choices are the spice of life. When you choose a grinder, you want to make sure it can grind at the varying sizes you need. French Press, for instance, needs a coarser grind, but not as coarse as a cold brew grind. A standard cup of brew in a percolator hovers around a medium grind, while an espresso needs something quite a bit finer.
Manual grinders will offer a solid handful of choices, but automatic grinders will typically give you a lot more to choose from. A “coarser” grind can roam anywhere between medium-coarse to a solid coarse, and the more options you have, the more you can tailor it to your personal likes.
You’re looking for a few key aspects when choosing the type of machine to grind your beans. One, you want consistency. If your grinds are inconsistent, you’ll have coffee with inconsistent flavor. Some will be under-extracted, some will be over-extracted, and there’s nothing good about it.
Two, you don’t want your grinder to create any extra heat because it’ll start cooking the beans—we don’t want that. It can result in that burnt taste that some people out there like, but it’s not ideal for most coffee drinkers! You’ll also want to take into consideration how quick the motor moves and the noise it generates, but low-speed motors with minimal noise can get pretty pricey pretty quick.
The big debate on the market is blade or burr. Blades create extra heat and have a tendency to yield inconsistent grinds, literally the last two things you want for a good cup of joe.
The only positive aspect of a blade grinder is that they’re cheaper.
Burr grinders are the ideal option — they don’t create excess heat and create a nice, consistent grind. Burr grinders come in two forms: conical and flat. There’s an endless supply of debating over whether conical or flat is better, but they both perform superbly.
Automatically, we tend to think that faster is better. In the case of coffee grinders, the opposite is actually true. While it doesn’t necessarily affect the consistency of the beans, it can make using them difficult. Depending on the setup of the machine, all of that extra speed can create static, sticking the prized grinds to collection container and making them difficult to get into the French Press.
Plus, the more speed, the noisier the grinder!
Cleaning up sucks, but some machines make it easier than others with easy-to-remove gears and well-designed machines.
The most affordable grinder on this list, the Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind is (unsurprisingly) a steel blade model that can grind up to 9 tablespoons of beans. Hamilton says that’s enough for a 12-cup pot of coffee, but that’s definitely up for debate.
It’s designed to be quiet, usable both early in the morning and at night, as well as easy to clean—both the bean holder and collector are removable.
There’s no way to definitively set it for a specific grind and it’s based entirely on how long you grind the beans. It’s not particularly how we like to roll, but if affordability is your top priority, this may be worth a look.
If you’re interested in using a manual grinder, the Aromory Coffee Grinder is a popular one. Using dots around the rim of its stainless steel body, you can definitively tell how many times to turn to reach the perfect grind.
Twelve dots later, this manual coffee bean grinder has used its conical burr grinders to create a consistent grind for your French Press brew. Portable and reliable, Aromory also stands by this model and provides a 100% money-back guarantee and a lifetime warranty. We’d say those are some great odds if you want to give it a shot!
The JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder has gotten a lot of publicity from some solid names in media, including Buzzfeed, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and more. It does have a lot of the stuff we tend to look for in a good grinder—ceramic combo burrs, multiple grind settings, and a removable hand-crank for easy storage and clean up.
Affordable and simple to use, the JavaPresse will do your French Press Right. Anywhere between 10 and 12 clicks will get this beaut at the right grinding level. Full review here.
Whether you want ultra-fine or ultra-coarse grounds, the Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill definitely has a setting for that. The most affordable burr grinder on our list, this Cuisinart model a straightforward setup.
Adjust the grind size by swiveling the bean hopper. You’ll see three prominent grinds labeled there, FINE, MEDIUM, and COARSE, but there are 18 total increments you can choose from The 8 oz. hopper is removable for easy cleaning, as is the container for the ground version.
We’ve tested out this model before and while it gets the job done, there are aspects that we’re not keen on. Measured based on cups, you can slide the amount bar anywhere between 4 and as many as 18 cups by sliding the bare across the front of the machine, which is my first gripe. You can’t make less than 4 cups worth of grounds yet you can make as many as 18.
What the grinder considers four cups is definitely different than what the machine considers four cups, so there’s some significant playing around that has to be done. Once you find that balance, though, it gets the job done!
This model suffers from a certain amount of static, though, which seems to be prominent in cheaper models. Ultimately, this model can grind the beans with moderate competency, but because of its price point, it’s just not going to impress anyone that’s used a better model or expects smoother function.
The Chefman Coffee Grinder Electric Burr Mill offers 17 grind adjustments and 110-watt motor. The 8 oz. hopper holds a standard bag of fresh coffee beans and the machine can grind anywhere between 2 and 12 cups, which is what most of us need for even a full pot.
An easy-turn dial on the front of the machine allows you to determine how much you want to grind, the dial on the side determines the grind size, and then a single quick tap of the “ON” button and the Chefman Grinder gets to work!
The hopper and burr grinders are removable for easy cleaning, and the purchase includes a free cleaning brush. Chefman provides a 1-year warranty to top it all off, so you can feel comfortable purchasing it.
Still, within the cheaper range, it suffers from similar problems to the previous Cuisinart model—static and moderate grind competency.
We have to admit that we’re biased when talking about this grinder—it’s our favorite. The OXO BREW Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is a bit higher up on the cost scale, but every dollar is worth it.
[We didn’t receive a free version of this machine and they’re not paying Coffee or Bust to write this, so this is all 100% because we want to spread the joy of coffee.]
The 12 oz. hopper holds more than the average and the grounds container can handle 110 ounces (or 12 cups). There’s some nice symmetry there. The conical burr grinders on this machine are 40-millimeter stainless steel, ideal for uniform grounds. “Quiet” is subjective, but this model is certainly quieter than the Cuisinart and doesn’t make any sort of aggressive sounds.
When it comes to customizing the grind size, there are 15 numbered settings and then numerous micro settings, the OXO has everything covered. Each whole number has two tics between it so you can find the just-right grind size for whatever you’re doing, French Press, Cold Brew, the Moka Pot Method, Pour Over, whatever you want.
Now, unlike previous models on this list, the OXO doesn’t give you a dial with the number of cups to make. Instead, the OXO has a timer dial on it between 0 to 30 seconds. Personally, we recommend grinding at an 8 for 20 seconds. OXO recommends starting lower than that, at about 10 seconds, and weighing it, the preferred, more professional way to brew a pot.
For French Press, somewhere between a 4-6 grind for 5 to 10 seconds will get you a great cup of joe, but it’s still about weighing, testing, and adjusting, as it is with any model.
With a no static grinds container, a simple press-to-start function, a UV-blocking tint and no-mess removable hopper, the OXO BREW Conical Burr Grinder a great model that combines superb function at a reasonable price point.
The Ariete-Delonghi Electric Coffee Grinder is at the same price range at the OXO and offers more the smooth capability coffee lovers prefer. The Ariete-Delonghi offers 15 grind size options (no micro-options) but does offer an even larger hopper, capable of holding 13.33 ounces. In contrast, the grounds container can only hold 6.5 ounces, which, granted, is enough to make 2 full 12-cup pots.
When it comes to sound, this machine was certified by Quiet Mark in 2012. The heavy-duty conical burr discs can achieve an ultra-fine grind suitable for Turkish coffee, along with a great coarse grind for French Press!
Grind from anywhere between 10 to 50 seconds, or even utilize the “continually run” option to choose an in-between time. Hit start and the Ariete-Delonghi is well on its way!
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is a coffee grinder of the future. It’s definitely a splurge item, but it comes with a tantalizing amount of customization that you probably didn’t even know you needed.
With a whopping 60 precise grind options and the ability to customize grind time in minuscule increments of 0.2 seconds, there’s nothing stopping you from finding the exact perfect grind just for you. The Smart Grinder Pro allows you to choose between shots and cups, so there’s no math involved, which is music to my ears.
The hopper holds 16 oz. of beans so you don’t have to worry about refilling every time you want to make a pot or cup and it’s also easily removable for storage or transportation. Full review here.
Figure out your budget and what matters the most to you—nothing compares to freshly ground coffee for a delicious cup of French Press. Our personal recommendation is the OXO Brew, but if, if you can have the cash to put on the table, the Smart Grinder Pro is the bean grinder of the future.