Reviews You Can Rely On

How We Tested French Presses

By Jon Oleson ⋅ Review Editor
Tuesday November 28, 2023

We love coffee! Because of this, we took our testing seriously and heavily scrutinized what made it into our cup. We tested factors like filtration, ease of use and cleaning, insulation, and quality of construction and materials. We held public tastings to get a wide consensus on the top picks. And we got really buzzed in the process. Do we get frequent flyer miles for this? Below you'll find more specific information on each test that we performed.

french press - a lineup of top-tier french presses, ready to get brewing.
A lineup of top-tier French presses, ready to get brewing.
Credit: Laura Casner


This category was comprised of two sub-categories: particulate filtration and taste. For the filtration test, we brewed a full carafe and then poured the entire liquid contents through a paper coffee filter. This gave us a clear visual of how much and what type of material made it through the filtration system of the press. Since certain constituents are hard to judge visually, we relied on taste as a differentiation factor. We did the taste testing first to ensure that there was no bias based on particulate filtration. We found that the more filtered the brew, the more likely we were to taste subtle berry or floral notes. The less filtered, the more we picked up on bitter, nutty, and earthy flavors. Each press was different, however, and produced a different profile depending on the equation of unique factors. Surprisingly, the number of filtration discs or layers did not directly correlate to how filtered the final brew was. And a high amount of filtration did not always mean we could taste subtle flavors.

french press - preparing for the filtration test
Preparing for the filtration test
Credit: Jon Oleson

Ease of Use

This category also had two data subsets: ease of brewing and ease of cleaning. The brewing was easy to figure out — add ground coffee and water and press (though we did measure and weigh everything to create a standardized and repeatable test). Further differentiation came through in how well the lids and filters fit and lined up, how smoothly the plunger pressed, and how easily and cleanly the press poured. Ease of cleaning took into account whether or not the press was dishwasher safe, whether or not you need to disassemble the filtration system to clean, and any other factor that affected how easy the press was to clean time after time. The winners in this category were the presses that gave us the least hassle throughout the process.

french press - watching ground coffee bloom in the bodum chambord
Watching ground coffee bloom in the Bodum Chambord
Credit: Jon Oleson


This metric was born from online reviews criticizing presses for cooling down too quickly. We understand the frustration of returning for a refresher only to find your brew at room temperature or cooler. So we developed this test to determine which presses keep the coffee hot for longer. Using a laser thermometer, we measured the surface of the brew after 4 minutes. After pouring ourselves a cup, we set a timer and recorded the surface temp every 30 minutes for several hours. Once laid out in graph form, it was clear to see which contenders withstood the test of time in this category.

french press - a laser thermometer was used to measure the surface temperature of...
A laser thermometer was used to measure the surface temperature of the coffee at half our increments to determine which carafe stayed hot the longest. The non insulated glass pressed cooled the quickest.
Credit: Jon Oleson

Quality of Construction

Price is a determinate factor in this category, correlating to the quality of materials, but more expensive doesn't necessarily mean more durable or a better brew. We dissected, reassembled, analyzed, and scrutinized all the moving parts to get a holistic picture of the most well-constructed presses. The highest scoring were also the most durable, and the lowest scoring were more easily breakable and/or made with cheaper materials. While this metric isn't as important as filtration or ease of use, this category was a determining factor in the final lineup.

french press - fellow clara sports some fine details, like the 360 degree strainer...
Fellow Clara sports some fine details, like the 360 degree strainer and a silicone gasket around the one piece filter.
Credit: Jon Oleson