We need to credit James Hoffman, as his method is basically what we use. Check out his channel if you want an entertaining deep dive into all things coffee: gear, science, culture, methods, and just plain fun.
Looking for something a little more automated? Take a look at Our Favorite Automatic Coffee Makers. Or, if you want to try a more adventurous method, take a look at our No Fuss Guide to Beginning Pour Over.
French presses aren't complicated, so it's really hard to go wrong with any of them. We recommend Bodum's Chambord French Press. It's been used for a half-century, is reasonably priced, and isn't all that hard to get. You could buy a used press at a thrift store. Just make sure to check that the plunger's screen filter isn't broken or bent in any way.
Any kettle will work, but a gooseneck kettle might make things a little easier.
Any tablespoon will do. Note: when using metal spoons in a glass french press, take care to stir gently so you don't break the carafe.
A Small Bowl
You'll need to scoop some coffee out of the press at some point, and you'll want a place to discard those grounds. A small bowl or something similar will help you with this, and it's also a great place to rest your spoon while you wait for the coffee to brew and settle.
If you buy your coffee beans whole and aim for the highest freshness, a burr grinder will serve you well (over a blade grinder). We think you can’t go wrong with a Baratza Encore. We’ve used it at home for almost two years without any issues, and it grinds to all sorts of sizes. If you want a more detailed rundown on burr grinders, we recommend Wirecutter’s write-up.
Electric burr grinders don’t come cheap, so if you want to spend less and are fine with hand-grinding, try Hario’s Skerton Pro grinder. We like this one because it has more capacity than most others in its category, which is nice if you want to make a larger pot. If that isn't a factor, there are plenty of other great options out there.
A small and inexpensive scale can remove guesswork and improve consistency. It’s a small investment you won’t regret. Having said that, if you can always make do without one.
See our article and video for an easy method to clean your french press once your done. Whatever you do, if you have a glass press, don't knock it against the side of your trashcan to get the remaining grounds out. That's a surefire way to break the glass. Trust us, we know from experience!
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