A French press is one of three manual ways of brewing coffee, along with Chemex and Aeropress. Even though scientists debate on health benefits of the French press (1), it already has its devotees and fans.
For making the French press coffee at home, it’s best to use freshly ground beans, which means you will need a grinder.
And we’re here to help you choose among the best coffee grinders for the French press, and teach you how to pick the right one with our comprehensive buying guide right below!
|Best Overall – Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder||9.5||Check current price on Amazon|
|Best Manual Coffee Grinder for French Press – JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder||9||Check current price on Amazon|
|Best Affordable Grinder for French Press – Cuisinart DBM-8 Automatic Burr Mill||8.5||Check current price on Amazon|
|Best Flat Burr Coffee Grinder for French Press – Rancilio Rocky Espresso Coffee Grinder||8||Check current price on Amazon|
|Best Conical Burr Grinder for French Press – Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder||8||Check current price on Amazon|
Our Top 5 Grinders for the French Press
Best Overall — Editor’s Pick
Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
- 40 adjustable grind settings for every way of brewing coffee;
- awarded by Specialty Coffee Association;
- one-button grind;
- commercial-grade steel burrs;
- 8-oz bean hopper capacity.
Let’s start with one of the absolute best coffee grinders for French press, which is the Encore by Baratza. This is a conical burr grinder that has 40 different grind settings, from finest to very coarse. So you can regulate the grind and the flavor of your drink just by pressing a button.
The Encore is an entry-level grinder. It has only two control buttons: an On/Off button and the grinding button, which makes operating it an easy task.
An 8-oz coffee bean hopper and a 4-oz ground coffee container allow you to make a fresh cup of Joe for all your friends! Hardened steel burrs deliver a consistent and quality grind with little to no dust, so you can be sure that your French press drink will turn out awesome each time you make it.
Finally, the Encore is awarded by the Specialty Coffee Association, which means that you can use it for those fancy grounds and brew excellent coffee!
Best Manual Coffee Grinder for French Press
JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
- ceramic conical burr — more long-lasting than stainless steel mechanism;
- 2-cup ground coffee catcher;
- adjustable grind selector for most common coffee drinks;
- operates without electricity;
- easy to store thanks to a compact design and a detachable crank agitator.
Our runner-up pick is for those who need something more sustainable and eco-friendly without losing the versatility of an electric grinder. The JavaPress manual grinder will require a bit more effort from you, but it is still able to make a flavorful cup of coffee in any way you can think of — from an espresso machine to a French press.
The grinder has 18 settings, ranging from Coarse to Fine, which gives you some room for experiments, depending on the blend and the final taste you want to get. Moreover, the JavaPress has ceramic conical burrs that don’t alter the flavor of your beans and grind them more gently and precisely.
To adjust the grind setting, first turn the adjustment knob to the right. Then, turn it to the left for the desired number of clicks to get the grind you want: 1-3 clicks for Extra Fine, 4-6 clicks for Medium-Fine, 7-9 clicks for Medium, 10-12 clicks for Medium Coarse, and 13-18 clicks for Coarse grind.
Finally, the JavaPress is incredibly compact and fits right into your hands. Plus, you can screw the crank handle off, which makes it even smaller and more convenient for storage.
Best Affordable Coffee Grinder for French Press
Cuisinart DBM-8 Automatic Burr Mill
- 18 grind settings, from Fine to Coarse;
- can grind between 4 and 18 cups at a time;
- grind chamber holds the amount of coffee for making 32 cups;
- includes a scoop and a cleaning brush;
- automatically shuts off when the grind cycle is complete.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to buy the best coffee grinder for the French press, and this Cuisinart model proves it. It has various adjustable settings, a powerful motor, and long-lasting steel burrs, which will deliver you an even and quality grind for years.
So, the DSM-8 comes with 18 adjustable settings. The manufacturer doesn’t specify the exact number of clicks for every grind, but you can find the markings “Fine”, “Medium”, and “Coarse” on the slider and adjust it accordingly.
This Cuisinart grinder is great for making large batches of coffee grounds. It can grind from 4 to 18 cups of coffee at a time, and its grounds container can hold up to 32 cups, so you can use it for storage as well.
The DSM-8 has commercial-grade steel burrs that won’t burn or alter the taste of your beans while grinding. After you’ve done, just scoop the needed amount of coffee grinds and use them immediately, and enjoy your flavorful drink.
Best Flat Burr Coffee Grinder for French Press
Rancilio Rocky Espresso Coffee Grinder)
- commercial-grade steel burrs ensure quality grind every time;
- features a holder for a portafilter to grind the beans right in;
- 166W motor ensures fast operation;
- 300 g bean container capacity;
- easy to adjust grind settings.
We’re moving on to the pricier side here. But the Rocky espresso grinder deserves to be on our list thanks to its compact design, adjustable grind settings, and commercial-grade flat burrs that deliver a more consistent grind with rich flavor.
The Rocky features a 166W motor that ensures fast grinding — about 20-25 seconds for a cup. Plus, it’s a direct drive motor, which means it also operates quieter than most similar models.
The Rocky comes with a sealed 300 g beans container, which you can use as a storage instead of filling the grinder every time.
Adjusting the grinder is also pretty easy. It has a special button for calibrating the burrs. Press it and, while holding, turn the container all the way clockwise. Then, turn it 6/7 notches counterclockwise and release the button. Start the motor, and if the burrs are scraping each other, turn it off, and adjust for ⅔ notches counterclockwise. This is your starting point: if you want a finer grind, turn the container clockwise from here, and for a coarser grind, do the opposite.
Finally, the Rocky has a portafilter holder, so you can grind your beans just before brewing it. Just slide the portafilter into a holder, grind the amount you need, and slide it into your coffee maker.
Best Conical Burr Coffee Grinder for French Press
Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder
- long-lasting commercial-grade steel burrs;
- gear reduction motor prevents static buildup and preserves flavor;
- removable upper burr for easy cleaning;
- 16 grind settings from Ultra-Fine to Coarse;
- removable 4-oz ground container.
Our final pick for this selection of French press grinders is this conical burr model by Capresso. It features 16 adjustable grind settings, spacious containers for whole and ground beans, and preserves maximum flavor in each cup.
The key to achieving a flavorful coffee is in using a gear reduction mechanism that prevents the motor from overheating and static buildup — the main things that can alter the flavor profile of your drink.
The ground container can hold up to 4 ounces of ground beans, which is about 18 standard coffee cups, so you can use this grinder for making ground coffee in bulk.
Also, the Capresso has a safety feature: it won’t run if the upper burr is lifted or isn’t properly secured. So you can remove the burr for cleaning and be sure that no one will accidentally turn the grinder on.
The grind settings of the Capresso are pretty straightforward: they change the grind every four clicks, from Ultra-Fine to Fine, Medium, and Coarse, so you won’t have problems setting the grind for every drink you need.
Side-to-Side Comparison of Different Coffee Grinder Types
There’s a lot of things to consider when you are choosing a coffee grinder, but let’s boil down to the very essential element — the type of grinding mechanism.
Today, you can count on two types of coffee grinders — blade or burr. Burr grinders can also be made of steel or ceramic or come in a flat and conical shape, which will have its impact on the results.
So, let’s bring down each type in a side-to-side comparison!
Burr Grinder vs. Blade Grinder
The main difference is the grinding element:
Blade grinders have a propeller blade, which is very similar to a food processor cutting blade, whereas burr grinders use two revolving elements with serrated surfaces. These elements can be made of steel alloys or ceramic, and have a flat or conical shape.
So, how does it impact your drink?
Honestly, if you want the best coffee grinder, it’s more advisable to go for a burr model, and here’s why:
- They are more energy-efficient. The burrs enclose coffee beans from all sides, which results in faster grinding and requires less electricity if you use an electric grinder, and less physical effort if you choose a manual model.
- They are resistant to heat and static. Heat can alter the taste of your coffee, and static electricity makes the coffee dust go into hard-to-reach places, which adds to the cleaning time. Burr grinders are more immune to these issues than blade grinders.
- They produce even grind. Of course, if you check the beans under the microscope, you’ll notice some inconsistency, but the overall quality is much higher than with the blade grinder.
As for the blade grinders, they are great for those who only enter the world of brewing because of their lower prices. Also, they are more powerful, which means quick grinding even for the large batches of coffee beans. However, the main problem is the inconsistency of the coffee grind, which may result in a bad tasting cup. They also are more prone to heating, so it’s recommended that you use a pulsing mode for grinding instead of just holding a button until it’s done.
Conical vs. Flat Burr Grinder
Now, let’s break down two different shapes of the burr grinders.
Flat burrs have a donut-like shape with very sharp edges and locate very close to one another in the coffee grinder. This allows getting ultra-fine and more even grind, which is suitable for espresso or Turkish coffee.
However, close placement also makes flat burrs more prone to heating up, which can alter the flavor of your cup, so be sure to use pulsing mode or grind small batches of coffee beans at once.
Conical burrs, on the other hand, are the industry standard: you will find them in most coffee machines and cafeterias that specialize in alternative methods of brewing.
Conical burrs consist of two elements: a center burr that is secured inside the grinder, and the outer serrated burr that moves around the central element. Such design makes the conical burrs less prone to heating and delivers a good quality grind for most beverages.
The finer the grind, the more energy should be put into it, which means that flat burrs are typically more expensive than conical burrs. They also require more maintenance and frequent cleanings to deliver the same quality.
The French press method requires a very coarse grind (2), so if you won’t plan to purchase an espresso machine, you will be perfectly fine with a conical burr grinder.
Ceramic vs. Steel Burr Grinder
Finally, let’s break down the main differences between stainless steel and ceramic burrs because they too can have an impact on your grind and even on the flavor of your cup!
Today, most domestic coffee grinders feature ceramic burrs, and there are a few reasons for that:
- They remain sharp for longer. Ceramic burrs may feel less sharp than steel burrs, they retain their sharpness almost forever.
- They’re heat-resistant. Ceramic doesn’t conduct heat, which means that it won’t alter the flavor profile of your coffee, and you can enjoy a good cup every morning.
- They are more suitable for finer grinds. Ceramic burrs won’t accidentally scrape each other and get blunt, which means that they can grind the beans very finely.
However, ceramic burrs are also fragile, which means that if you drop your grinder, you will probably have to replace them, so be sure to handle it with caution.
Steel burrs contain chromium in most cases, which means they’re immune to corrosion and can retain their sharpness for a long time — although you will have to sharpen them eventually. As for the flavor profile, the coffee ground by steel blades will typically taste cleaner and with less mouthfeel, although that will depend on the beans.
Also, steel burrs are more prone to heating up, since all metals are perfect heat conductors, and may alter the flavor profile of your beans if you grind them for too long.
Things to Look for in a Quality Grinder for French Press
Now, choosing a proper coffee grinder based on a grinding element is a good place to start. After all, this is a thing you’ll use regularly, so it has to be quality-made.
However, there are a few more features that make a good coffee grinder, and we list them just below!
Adjustable Grind Settings
Different brewing methods require different grind. So if you plan to experiment with homemade coffee recipes, it’s better to choose a grinder with adjustable grinder settings. Most of the modern grinders — including the ones we reviewed here — allow you to make the finest grind for espresso or Turkish coffee and the very coarse grind for the French press and leave you with a lot of room for improvisation.
Ease of Cleaning
It’s recommended that you clean your grinder after every use and if you change blends, so they will have a clean flavor without stale or bitter notes.
This is a pretty frequent cleaning, so the grinder you choose should let you do it without taking too much time.
Some models include a cleaning brush that reaches deep crevices to remove coffee dust and scrub the residual oils. If your grinder doesn’t have a brush, you can just wipe it thoroughly with a paper towel and shake the dust off in the bin.
Coffee beans are pretty hard, and the grinders are equipped with a powerful motor to grind them properly. However, in most cases ‘powerful’ also means ‘noisy’, and if you or someone in your household is sensitive to noises, here’s how you can cut them:
- Choose a manual grinder. These grinders rely on your physical powers and are the quietest among the all.
- Choose the conical burr grinder. Conical burr grinders produce less noise compared to flat burrs or blade grinders because of their design.
Heat and Static Levels
Heat and static electricity not only make your user experience less comfortable but also may directly influence the taste of your coffee. Here’s how:
- Heat triggers the oil extraction and may warm the beans up unevenly, which results in the burnt notes in the flavor profile.
- Static electricity charges the coffee particles so that they begin to repel from the grinding mechanism, which results in an uneven grind and can make the flavors completely different from the advertised.
Generally, ceramic burr grinders are superior to steel blades and burrs when it comes to reducing heat and static. But if you’re looking for the cheaper alternative, choose the steel burr grinder with a pulsating mode, and don’t grind the beans for a long time.
Bean Container Capacity
There are too many factors that impact the flavors in your cup. Freshly ground coffee is usually the best, and you might feel a strong difference even after 24 hours (3).
The majority of grinders today come with an 8-oz container for the beans and a 4-oz container for the ground coffee. This amount will last you for 2-3 weeks and won’t lose all its flavor if you store it properly: in a cool dark place and inside an airtight container.
Final WordA good coffee grinder is essential for getting your flavorful cup of Joe’s every morning, and now you know how to choose one! Let’s recap the main things: if possible, always choose the ceramic burrs because they produce a more full-bodied cup of coffee. Also, look for the adjustable grind settings because it allows you to experiment with different drinks. Finally, get a coffee grinder that is easy to clean and store, so you won’t get coffee with stale flavors or clutter your kitchen space. We think that the Encore grinder by Baratza scores perfectly on all these checks. It has a compact design and won’t take too much counter space. Its adjustable grind settings pair well with most of the coffee drinks you can think of, and it grinds coffee quickly, quietly, and evenly. How often do you drink coffee at home? Have you tried a French press or another manual brewing method before? Answer in the comments!
- Heidi Godman (2016, April 29). Pressed coffee is going mainstream — but should you drink it? Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/pressed-coffee-going-mainstream-drink-201604299530
- Alexa Tucker (2018, October 24). The Way You Brew Your Coffee Affects Its Caffeine Levels—Here’s How. Retrieved from https://www.wellandgood.com/coffee-brewing-caffeine-connection/
- James Hoffmann (2021, January 9). How to make the perfect coffee at home? Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/jan/09/how-to-make-the-perfect-coffee-at-home
My name is Yurii Brown. I am a passionate coffee geek and, concurrently, a certified coffee specialist.
I’ve been learning about coffee for a long time, testing various devices and practicing in home coffee brewing. I like to share my experience and insights with fellow coffee lovers so that my readers could enjoy the real taste of quality-brewed beverages.