Looking for a top of the range French press to buy? Read our guide from coffee expert Celeste Wong, then check out how to use an AeroPress, how to make pour over coffee, and how to use a moka pot. Looking for artisan beans to make your French press coffee? Try Celeste's tried-and-tested list of the best coffee beans.
Read our guide on the best cafetières from coffee expert Celeste Wong below.
What is a cafetière? Is it known by any other names?
A cafetière is often called a French press. Names can vary around the world – for example in New Zealand it’s often called a coffee plunger. Other descriptions for a cafetière depending where you’re from include: cafetière à piston, caffettiera a stantuffo, press pot or coffee press.
What are the different parts of a cafetière?
The main components of a cafetière are the base (like a regular jug), the lid, plunger and spiral plate with a filter plate and cross plate. Attached to the plunger is the metal filter that stops the coffee particles getting into your cup after extraction. It’s important that the mesh is nicely flush to the wall of the beaker so that the press is smooth and the ground coffee doesn't get through. There are different versions of materials used to make the base; glass, plastic, metal, ceramic.
What type of coffee does a cafetière use?
A cafetière uses ground coffee. The key with making coffee in a cafetière is to have the coffee ground not too fine and more on the coarser side of medium, so that it doesn’t all filter through the mesh. Unless you like a richer, stronger taste, don’t go for too dark a roast.
What different styles of cafetière are there?
Cafetières can be made from many different kinds of materials, and it mainly comes down to an aesthetic personal preference which will be best for you. Traditionally and commercially most cafetières are made from glass, usually borosilicate glass which is strong and heat retaining. You can see how much coffee you're making, plus glass is easy to clean, doesn’t stain and looks classically chic. However, glass cafetières are also easier to break than metal.
Cafetières that are double walled, made of stainless steel or stoneware tend to keep the heat in much better and for longer. However, with metal and stoneware models you don’t get to see the actual coffee inside, so can’t see when your cafetière is getting empty.
Cafetières come in many different sizes. The size really depends on how much coffee you want to drink in one sitting, or how many people you are serving. Usually one-litre cafetières are described as making five or eight cups (meaning small coffee cups, approximately three mugs) however there are also lots of smaller options available for individual coffee making.
What is a double-walled cafetière?
Double-walled refers to an extra layer of material (glass or metal), usually vacuumed, that acts as insulation to the hot coffee inside and keeps it warmer for longer.
Best cafetières at a glance
- Best small french press: Bodum, £34
- Best stylish cafetière: Bodum three-cup coffee maker, £59
- Best cafetière with a unique shape: Judge six-cup double-walled cafetière, £55
- Best practical cafetière: Stellar 900ml double-walled cafetière, £78
- Best luxury cafetière: Alessi Barkoffee French press coffee maker, £105
- Best travel cafetière: ProCook three-cup satin stainless steel double-walled cafetière, £21
- Best clear cafetière: Barista & Co eight-cup Core coffee press, £29.99
- Best affordable cafetière: VonShef 1-litre French press, £17.99
- Best for serving a larger group: Royal Doulton Coffee Studio 1.6 litre porcelain French press, £50
Best cafetières to buy in 2022
Bodum three-cup coffee maker
- Available from Bodum (£34)
Best small french press
This chic French press is in the classic Bodum Chambord design. This small size holds 350ml, which it claims equals three cups, although we would say that would be fairly small cups. It is made of borosilicate glass (which is taste neutral and heat resistant) with a plastic handle and stainless steel frame. The stainless steel 'feet' on the bottom protect the glass, so it still feels relatively sturdy. The lid comes with a protective rim to stop splashing as you pour. The mesh appears slightly reinforced with a more solid metal weave, which should ensure it is durable.
The small size makes this perfect for making one mug of coffee in the morning and doesn’t take up any room in the kitchen or in the cupboard. There’s nothing worse than trying to make only one cup of coffee in a really large French press! If you’re serving more people then there are larger sizes available in the same design.
Cafe Concetto 680ml Aki Cafetière
- Available from Amazon (£59)
Best stylish cafetière
This Scandi/Japanese design from Cafe Concetto (who also make great thermal coffee cups for on-the-go) is beautiful. The rose-gold stainless steel, titanium-finished exterior gives it a unique elegant style, with a luxurious smooth walnut-wood handle. It is also double-walled insulated to keep the coffee warm for longer and this size is perfect for two large cups.
This is the only French press tested that has a double mesh filter layer to brew an even cleaner coffee. The filter can be removed for cleaning. The coffee produced still has body, but it has a cleaner taste, making it stand out from all other models. It’s an investment cafetière, but this higher price feels reasonable for such a good-quality model.
Judge six-cup double-walled cafetière
- Available from Horwood (£55)
Best cafetière with a unique shape
This striking double-walled polished stainless steel cafetière has a curved shape to its body which is unlike the other cafetières we tested. Not just elegant and sophisticated in design, this cafetière is practical too as it is handily dishwasher safe (although it is recommended to hand wash to extend the life). It also comes with an incredibly lengthy 25-year guarantee.
This cafetière uses no plastic and the double-walled stainless steel retains heat well, which is aided by a clever angled design of the lid covering the non-spilling spout. It has an easy-grip hollow handle which prevents this large model becoming too heavy, while still feeling sturdy and secure. With most metal stainless steel cafetières, the plunging motion doesn’t feel as smooth in comparison to glass options. However, this has a relatively smooth motion, though the knob on the lid is slightly hard to grip when you want to pull it up to empty out. The coffee stays hot for longer due to both the double-walled insulation and the gap stop lid.
Stellar 900ml double-walled cafetière
- Available from Amazon (£78)
Best practical cafetière
This extra-large cafetière feels pretty industrial in design, but would be good for modern, minimalist kitchens: it is simple and smooth, with a plain brushed stainless steel effect.
A clear advantage of this cafetière is it being fully dishwasher safe. This is handy if you like just popping the whole thing in the dishwasher (compared to glass French presses which usually require handwashing). However, one disadvantage of pure metal cafetières is that it is hard to tell how much coffee is left without pulling up the lid and re-agitating the coffee, which is not recommended.
The thick double-walled metal body feels super sturdy and retains heat really well. The coffee was good as the metal filter glides smoothly down the beaker to ensure minimal agitation. An added bonus to this model is a lifetime warranty for defects in material or workmanship.
Alessi Barkoffee French press coffee maker
- Available from Selfridges (£105)
Best luxury cafetière
Despite being made from glass, this cafetière (the most expensive on our list) could almost pass for plastic: it is lightweight (with no real protection of the base), yet feels very indestructible. The outer metal design comes in black or silver stainless steel. It is very eye-catching, elegant and stands out from the rest – making this a good housewarming or wedding gift, or perfect for bringing out at dinner parties. Designed by architect and product design duo Michel Boucquillon and Donia Maaoui, this cafetière was inspired by their Tuscan home and its synchronicity with nature – the metal pattern representing the bark of trees around the house.
The plunging motion is really smooth in use and it produced enjoyable coffee.
ProCook three-cup satin stainless steel double-walled cafetière
- Available from ProCook (£21)
Best travel cafetière
On first look, I thought this would be a perfect travel cafetière due to its smaller size. It's a 350ml double-walled stainless steel model: in testing, it felt like a mini version of the Stellar product mentioned earlier. It has a brushed satin stainless steel finish, is dishwasher safe and comes with a one-year guarantee.
This affordable model feels very durable and sturdy. I really like that while the mesh filter is still sitting on the top, and you are waiting for the coffee to brew, you can turn the lid to cover the jug lip which will keep the heat in. This is a discrete but very handy feature!
With smaller cafetières, you have to watch that you don’t overdose the jug, as it will take up a lot of the space in the cafetière. This makes strictly one cup so to make the most of the 350ml volume I’d start with a recipe of 15-20g of medium ground coffee and fill to the top. The coffee produced had good body and was pleasant to drink.
Barista & Co eight-cup Core coffee press
- Available from Barista & Co (£29.99)
Best clear cafetière
This elegant but large-volume cafetière is minimalist and classy. It comes in a range of colours to suit your kitchen, from bright teal and copper to classic silver or black.
This model is entirely plastic free: the body of the jug is borosilicate glass, plus an ergonomically designed glass handle that was comfortable to hold. Unfortunately though, you do need to be careful when placing the French press down as even though the base is made of stainless steel to protect the glass, it still sits flush with the glass and I managed to break it.
I tested the one-litre size (there’s also a 350ml option). The coffee was smooth and had good body and satisfying mouth feel, due to the micron filter. I like that the design enables you to see how much coffee you have right from the start to finish, and the price is reasonable.
Barista & Co (£29.99)
VonShef 1-litre French press
- Available from Amazon (£17.99)
Best affordable caffetière
This elegantly modern French press is made to look even more stylish with its sleek copper finishing. Despite being very affordable, it doesn’t look cheap. The three copper feet at the base help protect the glass which is a great design feature, similar to the Bodum range. The easy-grip heat-resistant black handle was comfortable to hold. It also comes with a two-year warranty which is potentially useful for a glass model.
Again, I enjoy a large surface area of glass to visually gauge and see the coffee volume as you drink it. The plunging motion was very smooth and the coffee had full body. This was the best-value cafetière that I tested.
Royal Doulton Coffee Studio 1.6 litre porcelain French press
- Available from Selfridges (£50)
Best for serving a larger group
Royal Doulton are most commonly known for their teaware, but their recently launched Coffee Studio collection introduced ceramic wares for coffee.
I really like this simple, modern range. This French press tested here is unusually large at 1.6L, but it also comes in a 500ml size. The design still feels elegant even at a larger volume with its long slender shape, although this bigger size does become quite heavy to lift when it’s full. Pushing down the filter is good, but did not feel quite as smooth as the others in this list. The coffee has lots of body and the ceramic body keeps the heat well. This one is great for serving three to four people.
How do you use a cafetière?
Cafetières are popular because they are so easy and convenient to use and you can make a small or large volume of coffee quickly. Follow these top tips to make the best cafetière coffee:
- The grind of your coffee should be medium to coarse: make sure it is not too fine because this can get through the mesh filter of the cafetière.
- Make sure your recipe or ratio of coffee to water is right. I usually use 30g of coffee with about 500ml of water, or 20g of coffee and 300-350ml of hot water for a large strong cup. As a general rule, a good coffee ratio to use for this method is 1:15 (one part coffee to 15 parts water). So to calculate, simply divide the volume of the cafetière (or of your desired end volume) by 15 to give you the coffee dose. For example, if you are using a large eight-cup French press that holds about 1 litre, use 67g coffee.
- Ideally you want your water to be just off the boil, around 93-96C. Using a thermometer or temperature-controlled kettle lets you set the temperature exactly, but if using a regular kettle, boil the water and open the lid for about 30 seconds to a minute to let it cool down before using.
- When you press the cafetière down, press it very slowly and gently so as not to agitate the coffee grounds. Don’t press right down to the bottom.
- When pressing the coffee, the resistance should be smooth. If it’s too high, your coffee might be too fine (and vice versa).
- Once your coffee has brewed for about four minutes, pour and drink straight away if you like it hot. Don’t leave the coffee to steep for too long beyond this, as this will make it bitter or too strong.
Read our full guide on how to use a cafetière for more tips and tricks.
Want to learn more about becoming an expert at-home barista? Read our guides here:
Celeste Wong's guide to becoming an overnight coffee expert
Celeste Wong's guide on how to make iced coffee
Celeste Wong's best moka pots
Celeste Wong's best coffee grinders
Celeste Wong's best gooseneck kettles to try
Celeste Wong's best decaf coffee to try
Celeste Wong's best reusable and compostable espresso pods
Celeste Wong's best coffee bags