by Selmir Omic
If you have a French press in the kitchen, chances are you also have - or are in need of- a grinder for your beans. Making an excellent cup of coffee at home to rival the expensive coffee houses is an art form, but it can done. You can create an aromatic, robust cup of joe to start your day off right in the comfort of your own home with the right ingredients and tools - and you can do it on a budget.
The French press can make a fantastic cup of coffee, if it's made correctly. The downside of using a French press is that the coffee can taste bitter and even be oily if you're not using the right beans or grinder to make the coffee grinds. The secret to a great cup of coffee using a French press starts with using the right grinder.
You need a grinder that will make very coarse grinds, which are much different than the fine, silky grinds you would use in an automatic drip.
With a drip coffee, you're getting the flavor and oil removed due to the paper filter. The flavor in food is normally in the fats and oils. It's the same with coffee beans.
When they're crushed, the oil seeps out of the bean. It's there when you use the French Press. It's seeping into the water for your coffee. When the oil is removed, you're removing much of the flavor.
The grounds in a French Press will steep and soak to remove all the goodness from the grind. Instead of leaving flavor behind in the paper filter, you're getting them inside your coffee cup.
That makes for a better cup of coffee.
A coarse grind is best used with the French Press. If you use a grind that is too fine, it'll end up going through the mesh. Instead of a cup of coffee, you'll get a cup of mushy grounds.
That means most coffee already ground for you will be too fine. Drip grind used in most coffee machines is too fine for the French Press. Your regular bag of coffee won't work here. You'll have to buy coffee that's ground for the French Press specifically.
It has to be coarse, but not too coarse. A really coarse grind will actually give you weaker coffee. The water won't touch as many surfaces of the grind.
For this reason, it's usually best to use your own grinder. This way you'll have total control over the consistency of the grind. You'll know exactly how fresh it is because you'll have made it.
Once you grind your own beans, you'll be able to taste how different it is. Your morning cup of coffee has never tasted so good.
To get a really good cup of French Press coffee, it's important to have control over the grind. A coarse grind is vital to the process. There's a fine line between a good coarse and a bad coarse.
The best way to know that you have the right grind every time is to do it yourself. Like many other things, it's important to control the process from start to finish.
Otherwise, you could end up with a less-than-stellar cup of coffee.
With French Press, the grind really does matter. If it's too fine, the coffee will taste bitter. On the other hand, if the grind is too coarse, it'll taste weak.
The surface of the grind will dictate how much water touches it during the brewing process. When it's too fine, there's too much water seeping into it. It pulls too much from the grind, which makes it taste bitter.
The grind that is too coarse won't release enough to make a strong, good cup of coffee.
It's a delicate balance.
That's why you have to have control of the level of your grind. You can get it in the right grind at a grocery store. It's not a guarantee that you'll have the right grind, though.
Also, it won't last very long before the coffee starts to break down. Potentially, you could be purchasing grind that's already stale.
If you want full control over your coffee, a grinder is essential.
There are two types of grinders. There's a burr grinder or a blade grinder. The blade grinder actually slices coffee beans.
The blade works like the blades on a small airplane. You can't be sure that the beans will fly through the blades correctly.
With this kind of grinder, you can't be sure of the size of the grind. They tend to be uneven. You'll have big chunks and small pieces. All of that is unsuitable for your French Press coffee.
In a burr grinder, there are two surfaces that crush the coffee bean. With the burr grinder, the results tend to be more uniform and consistent.
For the best French Press coffee, you need a consistent grind.
A manual ceramic burr grinder is a machine that will give you a consistent grind. There won't be a surprise in your cup when you use a burr grinder. You'll know that the cup of coffee you're making will be perfect.
The way you love it.
There are electric and manual grinders as well as burr or blade ones. If you're grinding in the morning before making your coffee, then you want a grinder that won't wake the entire house.
The quietest grinder is a manual. It's also the way you'll get a more consistent grind. With a manual burr grinder, you're going to have peace and quiet in the morning. It's no louder than a pepper mill when grinding.
It's also a great way to get an arm workout before heading out for your day.
It's not a good idea to re-grind coffee. When you grind beans, they bounce around in there until they're the grind you've set. If you put already-ground coffee in there, the machine doesn't know the difference.
The grind won't flow through the machine properly. It'll cause grind to get into the interior workings of the grinder. It could actually ruin the machine.
You'd have to pull it apart to clean it. If you don't clean it, you'll have old grind sprinkling into every cup of coffee you make. It'll be the stalest coffee you've ever tasted.
Plus, you're trying to get a coarse grind for your French Press cup of coffee. You don't need to re-grind for that.
For a great cup of coffee, it's essential that you grind as soon as possible before brewing. You could grind the night before, certainly, but you're not going to see as fresh of a cup.
It's best to grind moments prior to making your French Press brew. This will give you the best tasting cup of coffee.
For convenience's sake, you can grind the night before and set everything ready for your morning cup. It won't be as fresh, but it's a bargain you might have to make for a quicker start to your morning.
On the other hand, if you set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier than normal, you can get up early. Grinding your coffee can become a ritual that you love. It'll set you up for a peaceful day.
This question goes along with the previous one. After grinding, coffee immediately starts losing its freshness. That happens daily after grinding. Most coffee becomes stale after a week.
If you leave the bean alone, it'll last for a few weeks. Then you can grind immediately before brewing. This will give you a fresher cup of coffee. You'll have to decide the best method for yourself. It might take some experimentation, too.
Grinders are not that expensive for the purpose. In fact, you'll be trading expensive cups of coffee at the coffee shop for coffee you make yourself. Overall, it ends up being a money saver.
Plus, you'll never be angry over a coffee that tastes bitter or weak again.
Making an excellent cup of French Press-style coffee at home to rival the expensive coffee houses is its own art form, but with practice, it can be done.
There are some people who confess that once they've tried coffee made with a French Press, they'd never go back to regular drip coffee. Never!
For those of us with any French Press experience, coffee made in this way is definitely an art form.
In order to do it right, owning the best coffee grinder for making French Press coffee is crucial.
In order to make French Press coffee correctly, you will ideally need the following gear:
Odds are you already own some of this coffee equipment, but if not, you can do without it, although these things make the process a lot better and easier.
Now, just before we get to our list of the best coffee grinders for making French Press coffee, here is a quick video by New York barista Mike Jones that shows how to make a cup of French press coffee.
So, if you are totally new to the process, this should give you a rough idea how it's done.
The video above makes the process look fairly easy, and it is. Still, if made incorrectly, you run the risk of bitter and oily coffee.
This comes back to having the right coffee grinder, and grinding your beans in the appropriate manner.
To do it right, you will need a grinder that will make very coarse grinds, akin to the size of sea salt (as pictured).
If you prefer a more modern, sleek look over the antique design, the Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder is the perfect fit for you. The Porlex grinder sells for around $43.00 on Amazon. The unit actually resembles a silver travel coffee mug- with a handle attached. It's small and compact, and can be kept on the counter top or put away in a cupboard when not in use. The handle even comes off the unit for storage, making it one of the most compact, useful grinders on the market.
The silicon gives you a good grip on the model while grinding, and the inner springs help keep your grind consistent even for coarse brewing; which is perfect for the French press. The model is virtually indestructible due to the stainless steel body - so you don't have to worry if you drop it or knock it over. This grinder is not a delicate appliance; it can take a beating and will stand the wear and tear of use over time. Best of all, the conical burrs are easy to clean, making clean up a breeze.
This sturdy grinder is compact and great for travel. It is simple to use and very quiet- so if you're an early riser you don't have to worry about waking up the rest of your house while making your morning cup of coffee.
The Porlex grinder comes with instructions for use and cleaning.
Quite often, manual coffee grinders are used for French Press coffee, and that's simply because you can conveniently grind directly into your French Press. As far as that goes, there really are no manual coffee grinders that are better than the Porlex Mini here, which has a sleek, modern look and is made from stainless steel. It stands about 13 cm tall and 5 cm wide, so it's quite compact and makes enough coffee for about 2 cups max.
Basically, if you are someone who just wants to make a quick cup of coffee or two, using fresh ground beans, then this little grinder is perfect. Porlex is a Japanese company known for exclusively making grinders, and they take pride in their work.
Also, they have constructed their grinders to be perfect for the French Press process, which is another reason we love the Mini.
If you're looking for something that is a little bit bigger than the Mini, you can have a look at its cousin the Porlex JP-30. It has also garnered a lot of positive reviews and costs about the same price. But, it gives you a little more room and has the same basic features as the Porlex Mini. The Porlex Mini comes with a ceramic conical burr set, which is ideal for grinding coffee beans due to its low-heat output. (*too much heat is bad for grinding).
We recommend ceramic burrs over any other type of burr because they always yield the best results. If you are a fan of the Aeropress, the Porlex Mini works just as well with that device. With the Porlex Mini, you can adjust your burrs to grind for specific brews, with its coarse setting being ideal for French Press coffee. This is the big reason we love this grinder - because it excels at coarse ground French Press-style coffee. Oh, and it's quiet too, as most coffee mills are (just like grinding pepper).
Another great thing about the Porlex Mini is that it's very portable. Often times people who travel frequently like to take their home brewing coffee gear with them. The Porlex Mini makes that quite easy. With its stainless steel construction, you can take it anywhere and have no fear of it breaking. The Porlex Mini has a nice, easy-to-turn silicon-grip handle which attaches itself to the side of the grinder when not in use. There is a silicon ring around the grinder as well, so you can grip it easily when turning the handle. Very easy to clean as well. We feel that the Porlex Mini is the perfect companion coffee grinder for the French Press coffee maker.
Here's a customer video review of the Porlex Mini which shows you this little grinder in action.
I am a coffee lover and I use aero press brewer to make my coffee. This grinder is small enough to fit inside of the plunger of an aero press. The clear top makes it easier to see what you are doing if you have poor eyesight. It grinds pretty finely, so I can use this for both drip and French press. This coffee grinder is honestly my favorite! It's great for traveling as well, since it's so small and light.
The manual crank has a very smooth action, and is easy to use even with an arthritic wrist. The coffee grounds stay within the container, so they don't scatter all over the place. I have a tendency to be clumsy, so this is a big bonus for me. The grinder has a very sleek and clean design.
The grounds are easy to dispense with the press of one button at the bottom of the unit. There is also another button that allows you to choose how coarse or fine you want your coffee grounds. The stainless steel conical burrs seem to do a nice job of grinding the beans.
The unit is light weight, and can be easily stored when not in use. I like that it is made with high-quality materials, including non-slip feet for stability. This makes me feel confident that it will last through years of regular use.
The grinder is easy to put together and disassemble, so it's simple to clean. The only downside I have noticed with this grinder is that sometimes a few coffee grounds get stuck in the lid. This is an inconvenience though, rather than a deal breaker for me. Overall, I would highly recommend this product!
The Rosewood manual coffee grinder from Aztec is an attractive, highly decorative, old-fashioned model of manual coffee mill that exudes sophistication and old-world craftsmanship.
This coffee grinder is made from actual rosewood, which is quite beautiful. It provides the customer with a lot of aesthetic value for the price you'll pay for this grinder.
Here is a quick look at the main features of the Rosewood Manual coffee mill:
This coffee grinder almost seems like a real antique, as they have used both rosewood and iron to give it that classic and elegant appearance.
The adjustable screw gives you the ability to choose the setting for your grind, and, as we mentioned, the coarse grind setting is just perfect for a French Press.
Don't let the classy appearance fool you into thinking this coffee grinder doesn't do a mean French Press-style coarse grind - it most certainly does, which is one big reason we love it!
This model comes with instructions, but the Rosewood manual coffee mill here is so simple to use you'll hardly need them.
One thing that is great about the Rosewood grinder is it looks great on your kitchen counter; particularly if you have one of those older houses where it would match the surroundings.
This is a real eye-catching piece of coffee craftsmanship, and people who own this grinder have nothing but compliments on the grinder just for its workmanship.
Quiet and efficient, The Rosewood Manual coffee grinder is nearly silent and takes about the same amount of time to finish grinding your beans as it does to boil your water for your French Press.
Also, grinding the beans is nearly effortless with the way they've designed the handle and the housing of the grinder in general.
The fact that it's so quiet makes this grinder a whole lot different than some of those other screeching grinders you'll come across.
With the Rosewood Manual coffee grinder, one of the potential drawbacks is that you have to grind slowly with this machine. That's a drawback for all manual machines.
Because you are simply pouring your fresh whole coffee beans into the metal hopper, which is open on the top, this means you ought not be grinding quickly, or you will probably spill some beans.You should also be aware that there is nothing underneath this grinder to keep it stuck to the counter, which means if you have a slippery counter, it's going slide if you're not holding it.
Similarly, the handle too is made of wood and not silicon like the Porlex (they are completely different designs, of course), but that means that the handle can potentially be a bit slippery as well.
Overall, we feel that the Rosewood Manual coffee grinder provides the perfect coarseness of grind for the French Press. Besides being a coffee mill, which looks great, it is the perfect choice for a French Press coffee grinder.
I've taken the liberty to do the research for you, and I've discovered three of the best grinders on the market for under $50, so they won't take a huge bite out of your wallet. Each of the models I will be going over are inexpensive, small and compact units that will look great in any kitchen. You don't have to spend a lot of money or sacrifice a ton of valuable counter space to have a great coffee grinder. Each of the models are available for purchase on Amazon, and all three have a rating of 4 stars or higher with excellent customer reviews.
The Baratza Encore has been called the espresso grinder that can make a casual coffee drinker an expert. With 40 individual settings for grind size, this grinder allows you to finely tune your grinds to suit a variety of preparation methods. The Encore is a great entry point for those looking to enter into grinding their own beans at home. The grinder is easy to use and maintain; more on that later.
The Encore uses conical burrs, which are industry standard for grinders in the $200-$500 range (for more on how this type of grinder works see next section). The Encore's 40 different settings give you a lot of control of your grind size. The machine is easy to use and clean, which leads to more consistent grinds. It has an understated matte black finish (I like this look better than the shiny metal of the Breville Smart Grinder). It also was awarded first place in Stumptown's 2014 Coffee Roasters Choice Award.
The first thing you will notice about this grinder is that it has a digital timer display mounted on the front, which means that you can set your grind time with ease. You can not only set the number of minutes but the number of seconds. This is perfect for accurate grinding, being able to grind the exact amount that you want by using a timer instead of just eyeballing it or using an old school quarter-turn grinder.
Another thing you will notice about this grinder is its sleek design which makes it one of the most stylish home coffee grinders out there! It has a nice stable base and the machine only weighs 11 pounds, making it perfect for an on-the-go coffee grinder.
Another great feature is that it has 40 different grind settings so you can choose the perfect one for your coffee! It also comes with a long lasting ceramic burr which means you will have a consistent grind every time and the best flavor and aroma.
With these great features, we can see why this is a favorite coffee grinder for many people! However, we will only truly know if it deserves that title after testing it out ourselves to get a real feel for what its like to own one. We will be giving you different parts of our experience below.
The Capresso 560.01 Infinity Conical Burr Grinder is a coffee mill that provides consistent grind particles, making it great for French press, drip coffee, and espresso! It's an exceptional grinder with 18 adjustable settings to meet your preferred coarseness, which can be adjusted using the grind fineness selector knob that lets you set the level of fineness from coarse to fine. This coffee grinder also has a built-in timer that automatically shuts the machine off after two minutes of inactivity, which is great for preserving the quality and taste of your beans! Additionally, this coffee maker has a patented safety stop button located on the front of its upper lid, which can be pressed to immediately shut off. In addition to these convenient features, its conical burr grinder minimizes heat buildup and preserves all flavor from your ground beans. It's even easy to clean because of removable parts that are dishwasher safe. Plus, it comes with a limited one year warranty that protects against defects in material or workmanship.
The Capresso 560 Conical Burr Grinder is a great grinder for anyone who wants to improve their at home or commercial brewing techniques. It provides consistent grinds that are perfect for drip coffee, French press, and espresso! Plus, it's even easy to clean because of the removable parts that are dishwasher safe. This Capresso coffee maker also has a safety stop button located on the front of the lid, which can be pressed to immediately shut off. In addition to this convenient feature, its conical burr grinder minimizes heat buildup and preserves all flavor from your beans! It even has a built-in timer that automatically shuts the machine off after two minutes of inactivity, which is great for preserving the quality and taste of your beans. It comes with a limited one year warranty that protects against defects in material or workmanship.
Overall, the Capresso 560 Infinity Conical Burr Grinder is an excellent grinder that provides consistent grinds for drip coffee, French press, and espresso! This Capresso grinder has 18 adjustable settings to meet your preferred coarseness, which can be adjusted using the grind fineness selector knob. Plus, the conical burr grinder minimizes heat buildup and preserves all flavor from your beans! This coffee maker has a built-in timer that automatically shuts the machine off after two minutes of inactivity, which is great for preserving the quality and taste of your beans. It even has a patented safety stop button located on the front of its upper lid, which can be pressed to immediately shut off. It comes with a limited one year warranty that protects against defects in material or workmanship.
The KitchenAid KCG0702CS Burr Coffee Grinder, Contour Silver is a burr coffee grinder that many people have found to be an excellent piece of kitchen equipment. With its sleek look and durable construction, it is easy to see why this product has been such a best seller on Amazon.com (link). This machine will not only give you the fresh, rich flavor that many coffee lovers crave, but it also has beautifully designed features that you are sure to appreciate.
One of the features that caught my eye was the design. I have seen other burr grinders before, and they all seemed to look alike. The KitchenAid Burr Coffee Grinder, Contour Silver has a sleek and unique design that makes it stand out from other coffee grinders. It is brushed metal, which not only ensures that the grinder is durable enough to last for years to come, but also gives it an elegant look. I also fell in love with its chrome handle and silver housing area because it brings together all of the best features of this product into one beautiful machine. If you are looking for a coffee grinder that will not only look great on your counters, but will produce fresh and rich grounds every time, then this may be the perfect model for you!
Another feature that caught my attention was the burr grinding mechanism. Burr grinders, in simple terms, consist of two revolving abrasive surfaces that pulverize the coffee beans into a low-density form. In comparison to other types of grinders, burr grinders do not produce heat during the grinding process. This keeps the natural oils low density that give you a rich flavor in your cup of coffee. The KitchenAid Burr Coffee Grinder, Contour Silver uses a conical burr grinder that is easy to use and efficient when grinding your coffee beans.
With its sleek look and durable construction, the KitchenAid KCG0702CS Burr Coffee Grinder is sure to make an excellent addition to any kitchen setting. From its chrome handle to its sleek housing, this grinder is truly a work of art that will last for years. Those who are looking for the freshest cup of coffee possible will truly appreciate all of the features offered by this product.
If you prefer an electric grinder to the old fashioned do it yourself types, the Braun Aromatic Coffee Grinder is the solution for you. It'll save you all of the manual work of turning the handle to grind and is a little more compact for the counter top with its sleek design. The Braun Aromatic Coffee Grinder will run you around $40 on Amazon. The model comes in black or white, both neutral colors sure to fit any kitchen décor scheme. With its size, you can always opt to keep the grinder out of site in a cupboard when not in use; the cord wraps right around the bottom of the unit for easy storage.
You can monitor your grind via the transparent lid, and it also features two down pointing ribs to guide the coffee beans towards the blades to ensure an even grind. The 150 watt motor, combined with the design of the stainless steel blades, means your beans will be ground quickly and efficiently with overheating or spoiling the coffee's taste.
The Braun also has a safety feature built right in; the unit will not work unless the lid is securely in place and locked down.
The only downside to this model is that it is fairly loud when in use. This is not the grinder for you if you're up early before everyone else in your house. You're just not going to get as quiet of a grind out of a motorized grinder as you would a manual handle turning unit. The upside is that it's fast, and in only seconds will grind the beans to the perfect coarse consistency for a French press, with no beans left in the mix.
Although the grinder is not dishwasher safe, it's a breeze to clean up. Simply rinse out the plastic cup and wipe down the interior of the grinder with a damp paper towel or cloth.
The Braun Aromatic Coffee Grinder comes with instructions right in the box and carries a one year warranty against manufacturer's defects.
About Selmir Omic
Selmir Omic is KYG's cannabis lifestyle writer. He currently resides in San Francisco and can often be found enjoying design-forward cannabis accessories, candles and seltzer simultaneously. When he's not writing about pot or waxing poetic about vape pens, Selmir can be counted on to offer sage advice about the best strains for anxiety or how to make cannabutter without a stovetop.