The Best Coffee For French Press in 2021 – 5 Of Our Favorites Reviewed

If you’re in a rush and just want to find out what the best coffee for French Press brewing is, then I recommend the Kicking Horse: Cliff Hanger as my top choice.

The classic French Press method of brewing coffee is one of the simplest you can explore, and it’s a consistently popular option. Grind your beans, add the water, push the plunger and enjoy!

As always though, there’s mastery to be had when it comes to even this most basic form of coffee brewing.

It’s also crucial that you pick the right beans – ground to the right size – before brewing up a pot.

In this guide, I’m going to take a closer look at some of the best French Press coffee beans you can buy today.

I’ve also got plenty of advice for getting the most out of those high quality beans, so your investment really pays off where it matters – your cup!

(My guide to brewing coffee at home contains plenty more tutorials and buying tips!)

In this article I’m going to review the following French Press coffee beans:

DEATH WISH COFFEE Whole Bean Coffee [16 oz.]…
  • WORLD’S STRONGEST COFFEE: Our whole coffee beans will transform your basic cup of joe into a delicious,…
  • QUALITY BREW: Hands down, the best whole coffee beans in the world. One sip of our best-selling coffee…
  • BOLD FLAVOR: Immerse yourself in a smooth, subtle, never bitter cherry and chocolate flavor profile….
Koffee Kult Coffee Beans Dark Roasted -…
  • ROASTING the coffee bean small batch dark roasted coffee, packaged immediately and shipped. Every bag is…
  • TASTE Strong but the smoothest, cleanest tasting coffee ever. Bold flavor but smooth. Not bitter. Best…
  • ORGIN Columbia, Guatemala and Sumatra. We use rich, organic smooth, full-bodied whole coffee beans. These…
Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew Reserve, Coarse…
  • CRAFTED FOR COLD BREWING – The perfect blend for making your own cold brew coffee
  • ROAST LEVEL – Dark Roasted for a bold, yet perfectly smooth cup of cold brew
  • COARSE GROUND – 100% Colombian Supremo beans are freshly roasted & coarsely ground for optimal cold brew…
Real Good Coffee Co Whole Bean Coffee, French…
  • French Roast Coffee: Our French Roast whole bean coffee is an extra bold, dark roast whole bean coffee…
  • Sustainable Coffee Beans Dark Roast: Our french roast coffee beans are made with premium quality Arabica…
  • Tasting Notes: Our whole bean French Roast coffee features rich undertones of raspberry and dark…

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What You Need to Know About Your French Press

Before sampling the beans for this review, it’s worth understanding what makes the French Press method tick.

This will, ultimately, help you pick the beans that are right for you.

How Does A French Press Work?

It’s very simple. Once you’ve added the beans and water to your cafetiere, you allow the mixture to steep for a few minutes before slowly pushing the plunger down.

The mesh filter inside this plunger screens the coffee grounds from the liquid, which remains above it as you push. At the same time, more of the flavor-rich oils and solids from the beans still make it through into the drink.

It is hard to avoid some silt getting through though, so if you really don’t like that texture in your drink it may not be the best brewing method.

Grind Size Is Everything For French Press Coffee

Because of the silt problem, it’s very important that you use coarse ground coffee for French Press brewing.

There’s less chance of gunk making its way into your drink this way, but crucially the coffee will also taste much better.

That’s because the flavor extraction is maximized when there’s a greater surface area for the water to come into contact with.

Although you can buy pre-ground coffee designed especially for the French Press method, you’ll be compromising on flavor to at least some degree.

That’s because once a coffee bean’s shell has been broken, it begins losing its aroma and flavor potential extremely quickly.

The more time that passes between grinding and brewing, the less impressive the final drink will be.

For best results you’ll want to grind your whole beans at home, using a dedicated grinder, as and when you need a fresh batch.

Alternatively, your local specialty coffee shop may be able to grind them for you. They may even be able to recommend some of their favorite coarse ground coffee brands.

If you really have no choice but to buy pre-ground coffee, just make sure it’s coarse and advertised as suitable for French Press brewing.

Getting the Roast Right For French Press Coffee

Before we move onto the best coffee beans for French Press brewing, it’s worth understanding just why the roasting level is so important.

Light Roast – These beans are light brown in color and aren’t bitter. They don’t have a particularly strong flavor profile though, and so aren’t great for French Press brewing – particularly if you like a splash of milk with your drink.

Medium Roast – You’ll find that these beans are quite a bit darker, with a little bit of oil present on the surface and a richer aroma. For those who like a milder drink, this is your entry point.

Medium-Dark Roast – As the name suggests, these beans sit somewhere between Medium and Dark Roast. The beans will be darker still, with even more oil present on the surface.

Dark Roast – No prizes for guessing that these beans are the darkest, and the oiliest! These beans tend to be quite bitter though, so only go down this route if you’re ready for a seriously strong cup of coffee.

Coffee To Water Ratios In French Press Brewing

How much coffee and water you add to the cafetiere is really down to your own personal preference.

This is a coffee brewing method that’s very customizable, but may take you a little while to get just right for your own preferences.

As well as the coffee / water ratio, the steeping time will also affect the final brew.

I recommend starting off with a 1:10 ratio of coffee to water. If you find the strength a little wanting, add more coffee to the next brew.

If it’s too strong for you, either add less coffee in the future, or steep the brew for less time.

French Press Bean Reviews

Here are five of the best coffee brands for French Press brewing I know of.

Each one of these will deliver an exceptional cup of coffee, but read the notes carefully to decide which is most likely to resonate with you.

Death Wish Organic USDA Certified Whole Bean Coffee

Death’s Wish reputation as a supplier of exceptional coffee has become well-deserved over the years. It’s no surprise, then, that they have a coffee brand that’s very popular with French Press enthusiasts – despite the dark roasting process.

DEATH WISH COFFEE Whole Bean Coffee [16 oz.]…
  • WORLD’S STRONGEST COFFEE: Our whole coffee beans will transform your basic cup of joe into a delicious,…
  • QUALITY BREW: Hands down, the best whole coffee beans in the world. One sip of our best-selling coffee…
  • BOLD FLAVOR: Immerse yourself in a smooth, subtle, never bitter cherry and chocolate flavor profile….

Although this stuff is super-strong, it has none of the bitterness you might expect as a result. Instead it makes for a surprisingly smooth brew, with hints of cherry and chocolate as you savor each cup.

It’s also USDA Certified Organic and Fair Trade, which means only the very best beans make it in – and they’re ethically sourced as well. There’s nothing but beans in the bag, so you don’t need to worry about artificial additives.

Koffee Kult Coffee Beans Dark Roasted

Koffee Kult takes bean freshness really, really seriously and aims to move from roasting to shipping within a matter of just a few hours.

Koffee Kult Coffee Beans Dark Roasted -…
  • ROASTING the coffee bean small batch dark roasted coffee, packaged immediately and shipped. Every bag is…
  • TASTE Strong but the smoothest, cleanest tasting coffee ever. Bold flavor but smooth. Not bitter. Best…
  • ORGIN Columbia, Guatemala and Sumatra. We use rich, organic smooth, full-bodied whole coffee beans. These…

This is another very strong bag of organically grown beans, one that consists of a unique blend of Columbian, Guatemalan and Sumatran produce.

As a dark roast bean, the resulting brew is strong – but not bitter – and smooth, with delicious cinnamon notes as well.

You can buy these beans in either a 32 or 64oz pack. Make sure you don’t over-commit on the bigger batch though, as you really don’t want to lose out on the freshness and flavor potential of these expertly prepared beans.

Kicking Horse Coffee: Cliff Hanger

If a dark roast French Press brew is too much for you, Kicking Horse’s Medium Roast is a fantastic alternative.

It’s a very versatile bag of beans as well. As well as being tailor-made for the French Press, they’re also very well suited to espresso and cold brew preparation.

That’s great if you like to dabble in a few different brewing methods, and not stock up on multiple bags of beans that will lose their freshness over time.

This a fruity, berry-like bean with a luxurious chocolatey finish. It’s also organic and grown to Fair Trade standards.

Stone Street Colombian Supremo

Stone Street’s Colombian Supremo is another dark roast batch of beans, and is very popular amongst French Press fans.

Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew Reserve, Coarse…
  • CRAFTED FOR COLD BREWING – The perfect blend for making your own cold brew coffee
  • ROAST LEVEL – Dark Roasted for a bold, yet perfectly smooth cup of cold brew
  • COARSE GROUND – 100% Colombian Supremo beans are freshly roasted & coarsely ground for optimal cold brew…

This offering consists of nothing but 100% Arabica coffee beans. There’s no blending of flavors here, just a dark bean that’s bitter yet smooth, and with a somewhat sweet taste.

Some feel that this is better suited for cold brew, but I think it’s a great French Press option too. If you like both of these brewing methods, you’ll find this an excellent addition to your collection.

Handily, it’s also available as pre-ground coffee if you don’t have a grinder of your own. Go for a smaller batch if you go down this route though.

The packaging’s pretty neatly designed to preserve freshness, but there’s only so long any pre-ground coffee can remain at its best. As always, buy only what you need, and buy it regularly.

Real Good French Roast Extra Dark Coffee Beans

Seattle-based Real Good Coffee Company have been sourcing and roasting top-notch coffee beans for more than 30 years now.

Real Good Coffee Co Whole Bean Coffee, French…
  • French Roast Coffee: Our French Roast whole bean coffee is an extra bold, dark roast whole bean coffee…
  • Sustainable Coffee Beans Dark Roast: Our french roast coffee beans are made with premium quality Arabica…
  • Tasting Notes: Our whole bean French Roast coffee features rich undertones of raspberry and dark…

These French Roast beans are very dark and very bold, and yet don’t have the bitterness we’d have expected from the brew.

Expect a rich drink regardless, with shades of dark chocolate and raspberry throughout. This extra level of sweetness makes for a very balanced brew, but have no doubt – this stuff is strong.

My Top Pick For French Press Beans

For the average coffee drinker, I think the Kicking Horse Cliff Hanger is going to be the best option when it comes to this brewing method.

As its medium roast bean, you won’t have to worry too much about tweaking the coffee/water ratio to get a very good brew. It’s also extremely versatile, and makes great espresso and cold brew as well.

If, on the other hand, you’re ready for a dark roast explosion, I highly recommend the Death Wish Organic Beans instead. This stuff’s guaranteed to get you going in the morning!

How To Brew The Best French Press Coffee

Those are the beans covered, then, but how do you get the most out of them once you’ve sourced them?

As a basic immersion brewing method, using the French Press is very simple – and especially so when compared to other methods.

Pay attention to each of these steps and you’ll have an incredible cup of coffee in no time:

  • Grind your beans to a coarse setting.
  • Pre-warm the French Press. Heating it up first with a little warm water will make a big difference to the final brew. Empty the cafetiere once it’s warmed up a little.
  • Add your ground beans, paying careful attention to the water / bean ratio you’re using. I’ve covered this already in our guide, but aim for a 1:10 ratio of coffee to water when starting out.
  • Once you’ve boiled your water, don’t add it to the cafetiere right away. Your coffee will brew much better if you allow the water to cool a little before adding it in. A temperature between 195-205F is ideal (and easier to achieve with a thermometer, of course), but don’t worry too much about precision. Just allow a little cooling time to take the edge off the boiling point.
  • Allow the brew to steep for around five minutes. You won’t find any agreement on the internet about how long to steep the contents for, but I think this is about right for a solid brew.
  • When the steeping process has finished, slowly push the plunger down through the liquid until it’s gone as far as it can.
  • Pour into cups – pre-warmed if possible – and enjoy!
  • Don’t forget to properly clean the coffee grounds from your grinder and your French Press once you’ve finished.

Final Thoughts

Here are some final tips that should help you take your French Press coffee maker skills to the next level!

Choose The Right Equipment

As with all things, you get what you pay for when you make French Press coffee – and this doesn’t just apply to the beans.

Although it’s a simple coffee-brewing method, I recommend investing in the best cafetiere available in your budget range.

Not only will you enjoy a superior cup of coffee, it’ll likely last longer. That makes it kinder on your wallet in the long-run, and better for the environment as well.

That advice also applies to the grinder that you choose. Take a look at my guide to the best coffee grinders for French Press brewing if you need inspiration.

When you’re using a French Press, a dedicated coarse-grind option is essential. Unless this is the only coffee you plan to enjoy though it’s worth buying a grinder that can accommodate other coffee types as well. That way you’ll save money, but also have access to a wide range of coffee-brewing methods.

Clean Your French Press Thoroughly & Regularly

It’s worth taking the time to properly clean your French Press equipment, and to do so after each use.

If you don’t clean your grinder and your cafetiere properly, you’ll end up with a load of gunk that will make for a seriously unpleasant brew down the line.

When cleaning, make sure you get in all the little crevices of each piece of equipment.

Pay particular attention to the mesh filter in the French Press, and make sure you’ve completely flushed out all of the residue.

Don’t Let Your French Press Coffee Stew

The best way to ruin great coffee is to leave it stewing in the pot for too long.

As it stews, the extra brewing time will cause the coffee to become unpleasantly bitter.

A better approach is to transfer the coffee to a carafe, for example, once the brewing has finished. A good thermal carafe should hold the heat for a few hours without impairing the flavor of the coffee.

Better Water Means Better Coffee

As important as the bean quality is, at the end of the day a large part of your brew consists of the water that comes from your faucet.

If you don’t find a glass of freshly poured water in the kitchen to be particularly pleasant, you shouldn’t expect your coffee to taste its best either!

If a plumbed-in water filter is beyond your financial means, consider buying a standalone filter jug that you can keep topped up, ready for your next brew.

Wrapping Up

As simple as the French Press method is, there’s most certainly mastery to be had here.

As the old magician’s saying goes, it’s better to be able to do a few easy tricks exceptionally well.

If you’re ready to start adding a new French Press trick to your repertoire, have a look at Kicking Horse’s Cliff Hanger, and read what other coffee lovers think.

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