Best Coffee for French Press – 10 Top Picks

If coffee were music, I’d like to think of French press coffee as putting your favorite beans on full blast. As a result, if you enjoy releasing a complex set of flavors in your cup of joe, you likely enjoy using French coffee presses.

However, when it comes to French presses, some beans are just more suited to this method. It’s also essential to use the right coffee grind to avoid under or more commonly over-extraction. I mean, screw bitter coffee right?

There are coffee beans you’re better off not getting to know that well too. Poor quality coffee tends to have flavors that are better left..undiscovered.

On that note, let’s run through which beans deserve to be put on full blast. To start, If you’re in a rush here’s our favorite when it comes to the Best Coffee For French Press:

Top Pick
Koa Coffee Private Reserve Medium Roast

Koa's private reserve Kona coffee, is the best of the best. Grown on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, it's a real treat and pairs exceptionally well with a French Press.

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Alternatives At A Glance

Best Low Acid
Lifeboost Medium Roast

Certified organic and naturally low acid. With a chocolatey, sweet caramel flavor this one's a favorite! Get 50% off your first order and free shipping via the link below too!

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Best Dark Sumatran Roast
Sumatra Mandheling Coffee

Bold and earthy flavor, complimented by syrupy and chocolatey notes. Naturally low acid yet rich and dark. Use code SIP11 for 11% off this pick via the link below!

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Best Served Black
Organic Bali Blue Moon Coffee

Rich and chocolatey. What's not to like?

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Central American Pick
Organic Guatemala Huehuetenango Coffee

Well balanced with low acidity and a chocolate orange aftertaste!

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Best Artisan Blend
Organic Black Knight Coffee

The perfect balance of smokiness and bold flavor give these beans a real kick.

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Best Dessert Coffee
The Dark Side of the Moon - Creme Brûlée Coffee

Creme Brûlée Coffee - do we need to say any more?

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Coffee For Breakfast
Water Avenue Coffee Company Blue Creek Blend

With a body like Nutella topped off with an orange juice finish. Yum!

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Serve With Cream + Sugar
The Portofino blend

Nicknamed the French Press favorite by the roasters - we agree!

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The French Press Method

In a French press, your coffee grounds are in direct contact with hot water for the entire extraction. As a result, the oils on the ground rise to the top, and the brew has a more complex set of flavors than a filter or drip coffee would.

The paper filter used in other brewing methods usually soaks up this oil, keeping it from entering your coffee. But the French press uses a mesh filter instead, which allows the oils from the coffee to pass through.

But because you’re using a mesh filter, fine particles can also pass if you use a too fine grind. Yup, sediment in your mouth is often because of particle size. To avoid that from happening, you should always use medium-coarse ground coffee in a French press.

The French Press Grind Size

The grind size matters because French press brewing is a full immersion method of making a cup of joe. You extract flavor from your grounds by fully immersing them and letting them percolate. The brew is rich in coffee oils, acids, and flavors, much more so than with many other brewing methods.

The coarse grind used in French press brewing also lowers the surface area of the exposed coffee. This lowers the likelihood of you over-extracting your beans. Over-extracted French press coffee is bitter and has a shallow flavor profile. Not ideal, to say the least!

Best Coffee for French Press 2020

All of the coffee beans on this list are what we believe to be the best ones suited to make coffee in a French Press.

Of course, we have a favorite, so let’s start with that:

1. Koa Coffee Private Reserve Medium Roast Coffee

We talk a lot about Kona Coffee here at Sip and for a good reason too! Kona coffee beans are grown on or around the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii.

Top Pick
Koa Coffee Private Reserve Medium Roast

Koa's private reserve Kona coffee, is the best of the best. Grown on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, it's a real treat and pairs exceptionally well with a French Press.

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Prized for optimal growing conditions and accompanied by some of the strictest coffee grading techniques found in any country in the world. As a result, one coffee vs another will be subject to the same stringent grading system to ensure uniformity.

This bag of beans is sweet, nutty, fruity, and has hints of spice. Overall, they are a unique and interesting flavor profile for French press coffee, so it’s always a refreshing cup of joe.

2. Lifeboost Medium Roast Coffee

Lifeboost is a relatively small, but an upcoming brand which focuses on growing high-quality coffee beans in the mountains of Nicaragua.

Best Low Acid
Lifeboost Medium Roast

Certified organic and naturally low acid. With a chocolatey, sweet caramel flavor this one's a favorite! Get 50% off your first order and free shipping via the link below too!

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This medium roast is an example of premium single-origin coffee which is mountain shade-grown and organic. So you know your beans are full of flavor and free of any potentially harmful pesticides.

They have a very balanced flavor, with a chocolatey body complemented by a nutty flavor and a strawberry finish.

Coffee usually has a pH of 4.5 to 5, but this clocks in with a pH of 6. So, it’s less likely than your typical coffee beans to cause stomach upsets, even when used for French press.

Brew it in your French press and let it blow your mind with an explosion of flavor!

Related read: Best low acid coffee

3. Fresh Roasted Organic Bali Blue Moon Coffee 

Freshly roasted beans in a French Press? Umm…Yes, please!

Best Served Black
Organic Bali Blue Moon Coffee

Rich and chocolatey. What's not to like?

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These organic Bali Blue Moon Coffee beans are from the Kintamani Highlands in Bali, Indonesia. If you enjoy your coffee black, you’ll likely enjoy this one brewed in a French Press.

One reason I enjoy drinking this coffee black is because of its naturally rich and creamy mouthfeel.

The medium roast brings out the deep dark chocolate flavor of these beans, it’s naturally rich yet balanced. Its pleasant vanilla bean aroma is punctuated by a nutmeg-like finish that pops when brewed in a French press.

It’s incredibly smooth, aromatic, and tasty. For me, it’s the best coffee to drink black on this list. These beans make a very balanced cup that I could drink from Monday all the way to Sunday!

4. Fresh Roasted Organic Guatemala Huehuetenango Coffee 

These organic Guatemala Huehuetenango beans (or as I like to call them, “Guatemala Superpower”) always hit the spot.

Central American Pick
Organic Guatemala Huehuetenango Coffee

Well balanced with low acidity and a chocolate orange aftertaste!

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Coffee brewed in a French press made with these has a velvety body and creamy milk chocolate flavor. All while being complemented by a distinct tangy orange finish…Yup, it tastes as great as it sounds!

It’s also a naturally low acid option. Consequently, there’s a higher chance a weak stomach won’t be rattled an encounter with this coffee for a French Press. You’ll be glad to know that Fresh Roasted Coffee practices fair trade and sustainable farming too.

Easy on the stomach and the environment..Double win!

5. Volcanica Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee

Ethiopia is known for arabica coffee that tends to be medium-bodied, with bright acidity and a fruity flavor.

Most Complex Flavor
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe by Volcanica Coffee

Originating from the Yirgacheffe region in Ethiopia, this is Volcanicas #1 best-seller. Versatile enough to brewed as a pour over for a brighter flavor, or even at the other end of the spectrum as a full bodied espresso!

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Yirgacheffe is a region in southern Ethiopia known for producing such coffee beans, and you’ll know why once you taste them. This coffee has a very complex flavor profile, with notes of strawberry, pineapple guava, and dark chocolate.

Complimented with a smooth mouthfeel and a pleasant bitterness that gives it its character.

All of these are tied together by the coffee’s sweetness, making it a great coffee for the French press.

You can have that cup guilt-free, too, as these beans are organically grown and certified fair trade. So you’re doing not only yourself but everyone involved in the chain of production a favor by giving these beans a shot!

Related read: Ethiopian coffee

6. Volcanica Organic Sumatra Mandheling

Indonesia is another coffee powerhouse, with Sumatra being one of the most abundant sources of high quality beans that side of the world.

Best Indonesian Coffee
Sumatra Mandheling Coffee

Bold and earthy flavor, complimented by syrupy and chocolatey notes. Naturally low acid yet rich and dark. Use code SIP11 for 11% off this pick via the link below!

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In particular, Sumatra Mandheling is known for its fuller body and low acidity. It makes an excellent choice if you wish to counter the French press’s oil-extracting ability while delivering a tasty lighter brew!

These medium roast beans have the aroma of brown spice and cocoa, a sweet chocolate caramel body, and a winey finish. They are so flavorful and balanced that it’s hard to limit yourself to just one cup. Especially when used as coffee for French press, so drink up and enjoy!

7. Fresh Roasted Coffee Black Knight Artisan Blend 

This is not your typical dark roast coffee. But this blend of single-origin coffees is my favorite “dangerously” dark roast coffee on this list.

Best Artisan Blend
Organic Black Knight Coffee

The perfect balance of smokiness and bold flavor give these beans a real kick.

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These beans have a bold tropical taste with a caramelized sweet finish. Accompanied by a thick body and is full of flavor that’s hard to get tired of…I would get out of bed for a cup of coffee this good!

Pull out all the stops and add this to your list to brew via a French Press!

8. Blossom Coffee Roasters Dark Side of the Moon 

Dark Side of the Moon is like creme brûlée in a cup. Yes, you didn’t misread that. Creme brûlée. In a cup. Need I repeat that?

Best Dessert Coffee
The Dark Side of the Moon - Creme Brûlée Coffee

Creme Brûlée Coffee - do we need to say any more?

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It has a smoky caramel taste, accented with dark chocolate. It’s smooth and flavorful, but not bitter at all.

These beans are a blend of American and African origins, roasted medium-dark, which explains where the coffee gets its toasty flavor notes from.

If you like rich desserts, it’s worth trying out this blend by Blossom Coffee Roasters as coffee for French press.

9. Water Avenue Coffee Company Blue Creek Blend 

This is a blend of Central and South American beans that takes me back to my childhood!

Coffee For Breakfast
Water Avenue Coffee Company Blue Creek Blend

With a body like Nutella topped off with an orange juice finish. Yum!

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Every morning, I used to have a Nutella sandwich and orange juice for breakfast. This coffee has the rich and creamy mouthfeel of Nutella chocolate and the mild sweetness of fresh orange juice. Unreal!

This coffee is also a medium roast. So if you want to appreciate the bean’s natural flavors as much as you can, unadulterated by a darker roast, this is an excellent option for you. It’s bright, sophisticated, creamy, and mouthwateringly good!

10. Fonte Coffee Roasters Portofino Blend 

The Portofino blend is Fonte Coffee’s ode to classic Italian style coffee.

Serve With Cream + Sugar
The Portofino blend

Nicknamed the French Press favorite by the roasters - we agree!

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Coffee is sometimes roasted dark in order to mask the flavors of inferior quality beans. Where they are roasted to the point that burnt flavors from the beans, start to overpower the natural flavors of the coffee. But that’s not the case with this blend of flavorful Indonesian beans.

Rather than make the coffee bitter, the roast’s darkness complements the flavor of hazelnut and spice. It’s also got a toasted dark chocolate kick for that perfect sweet dark roast.

If you like drinking extra strong coffee, you’ll especially enjoy this as French press coffee. It really brings out the richness in these excellent beans!

French Press Coffee – A Buyers Guide

If you want to learn more about how to brew with a French Press, and why the flavor is so unique via this method then keep on reading!

Buy Beans Not Grounds

As soon as coffee beans finish roasting, they begin a process called “degassing”, this is primarily the loss of carbon dioxide.

While it’s important to let this process finish before brewing a cup with them, beyond this you can assume the fresher the beans the better.

Consequently, it’s always best to buy fresh beans and grind them yourself. Beans are less subject to oxidation than grounds, meaning they retain a fuller flavor for longer if you keep them sealed and locked in a dark place before use.

In coffee grounds, air exposure ruins the quality of the coffee and unpleasant flavors are introduced in your French Press coffee.

So to maximize freshness, it’s better just to buy whole beans and use a burr grinder for French Press to turn the beans into grounds only when you need them.

A lot of ground coffees are also ground for espresso, which calls for a much finer grind size than what coffee for French press requires. Using coffee for espresso will result in a bitter, over-extracted cup of coffee.

How to Make French Press Coffee

Now you have everything you need to make delicious French press coffee. Next, I’ll teach you how to brew the best coffee in the world right in your kitchen!

  1. Heat some fresh and filtered water to 195 degrees F. A good starting ratio of ground coffee to water (grams to mL) for French press brewing is 1:13. So think about how much coffee you’re in the mood for!
  2. Grind your coffee (obviously, you can skip this step if you’re using pre-ground coffee). Use the ratio to determine how much coffee to grind in relation to your water. Remember to grind the beans to a medium-coarse level, as coarse ground coffee won’t pass through your French press’ filter. You also lessen the risk of over-extracting your coffee by doing this. You can perform this step while waiting for your water to heat up. 
  3. Pour your coffee into your French press, and disperse the hot water into the French Press carafe.
  4. Let your coffee sit in the water for 4 minutes…Do NOTHING!
  5. Use a teaspoon to stir the crust on top of the coffee water and stir slowly once or twice. Remove any remaining floaty bits with a spoon.
  6. Place the lid back on and do NOTHING for 5 minutes.
  7. Press down on the filter slowly but keep it above the grounds. If it’s too easy to press, your beans are too coarse. If it’s too firm, your beans are too fine.
  8. Serve your French press coffee! This is best served right after brewing. Leaving your coffee inside the French press can cause it to become over-extracted, so pour it into your cup ASAP!

Extraction Pitfalls

Don’t worry if you don’t get the best results on your first try.

Here are some common French press brewing problems that people tend to have, and what you can do should you encounter them.

Poor Grind Size

The best coffee for French press is medium-coarsely ground. More often than not, this grind size produces one balanced cup of joe.

One way to adjust when it becomes either sour (under-extracted) or bitter (over-extracted) is to change the grind size. If your coffee tastes under-extracted, grind your beans finer next time. If they taste over-extracted, grind them slightly coarser.

Of course, this assumes you’ve got the correct coffee water ratio too. It’s also only possible when you buy whole instead of pre-ground coffee beans, which is why I recommend buying your own grinder and going with the former.

Stewing the Brew for Too Long

People tend to make one other mistake when French press brewing at home is they leave their coffee inside the French press after brewing.

Remember that even the most high-quality coffee can taste unpleasant when it’s over-extracted. Pour out your coffee right away to avoid extracting the more bitter flavors in your coffee grounds.

If you want, you can use a separate carafe to pour it in before serving yourself and your family coffee from your French press.

The Final Verdict

The brew that gave me the best overall experience was the Koa medium roast Kona coffee, so I would say that’s the best coffee for French press on this list.

Best Overall
Koa Coffee Private Reserve Medium Roast

Koa's private reserve Kona coffee, is the best of the best. Grown on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, it's a real treat and pairs exceptionally well with a French Press.

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But if you’re looking for another place to start your French press journey, another coffee I’d recommend is Blossom Coffee Roaster’s Dark Side of the Moon, which has a medium-dark roast.

Great Alternative Pick
The Dark Side of the Moon - Creme Brûlée Coffee

Creme Brûlée Coffee - do we need to say any more?

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From there, you can decide whether a more medium or dark roast coffee would suit you. Light roasts are known for their more delicate flavors, so they’re not usually the favorite for use in French press brewing.

No matter which beans you decide to go with, the way to discover the best coffee for the French press is to learn how to get the best coffee cup out of every bag. It takes practice, but I promise it’s worth it!

Once you can do that, you can start trying out different brands that roast high-quality coffee beans to get a feel for which flavor notes you prefer. And eventually, what you feel are the best coffee beans will find their way to you!

Miguel Papa

Miguel Papa

Barista and coffee writer

Miguel Papa is a coffee fanatic with a passion for brewing. During the weekdays, you can find him experimenting with different drinks while he works as a barista. Otherwise, he’s likely writing here for Sip Coffee or enjoying the outdoors.