One question that I get asked often, as my friends know that I’m a coffee aficionado, is what’s the best burr grinder for French press? While there isn’t one single answer to this question, as there are other factors involved, such as price and capacity, I do have several grinders that I like. I’ll go over them in some detail here, after starting at the beginning with some basic facts.
What Is a French Press?
Before you can narrow down the coffee pot candidates, you first need to know exactly what a French Press is. A French press is a particular type of coffee brewer that’s been around since 1929. Despite its name, the French press was invented by Attilio Calimani, an Italian designer. (Yes, some of the best coffee inventions have been created in Italy. You can find plenty of true coffee connoisseurs there.) French presses are simple devices that have four parts – the vessel, which is usually glass or metal (nowadays it can also be plastic), a plunger, a tight-fitting lid, and a filter that’s made of fine wire mesh. As you guessed, the filter holds the coffee grounds.
In order to use a French press to make coffee, you need to pour hot water into the vessel, and then put coffee grounds in the filter; the usual ratio is 17 fluid ounces of water to 1.1 ounces of coffee. The lid is then fitted onto the vessel, and the plunger is placed through it. The plunger, when depressed, pushes the grounds through the water, turning it into coffee. You do need to give it enough time to create the coffee (usually between four and ten minutes), in a manner similar to tea. Once the time has elapsed, you can pour the coffee out of the vessel, thanks to its spout. Because of the way that the grounds are pushed through the water, you can’t use finely ground coffee beans. They will seep out of the filter and end up in the coffee.
What is a Burr Grinder?
Next, while searching for a coffee grinder that meets your needs, you need to understand the ins and outs of a burr grinder and how it differs from a blade grinder. A burr grinder uses metal plates to grind coffee. In contrast to this, the blade grinder, true to its name, uses blades. The difference is stark, as a burr grinder is much more consistent and can create much finer coffee grounds. While you don’t want them to be too fine for a French press, you do want those grounds to be consistently sized, as this will produce better coffee. With a blade grinder, you’re going to end up with indiscriminately sized chunks of broken down coffee beans. It won’t look nearly as nice or work nearly as well. Burr grinders also tend to have multiple settings, making it more likely that you’ll be able to grind coffee for your French press. With blade grinders, you’re usually stuck with one or two setting options, limiting the types of coffee that you can make. This is why you need a burr grinder, not a blade grinder.
The Capresso 560 Infinity Burr Grinder
The first grinder on my list is the Capresso 560 Infinity Burr Grinder. This grinder is priced under $100, and has 16 grind settings. Its 100-watt motor can quickly grind up to four ounces of coffee at once (although the bean hopper holds 8.5 ounces, the grounds container only holds four.) The Capresso 560 Infinity Burr Grinder has a built-in timer, as well as a safety lock system, ensuring that you won’t send coffee flying around your kitchen while grinding is in process. It also comes with a coffee scoop and a brush to clean the inside of the machine. This is definitely a contender.
Next Up: The Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme
Another contender is the Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme. This burr grinder is priced under $100 and can make enough coffee grounds for 32 cups at once. It’s attractively designed and lightweight. It consists of a removable bean hopper, and even comes with a measuring scoop to ensure that you’re using just enough coffee beans for the amount of coffee that you want to brew. It also has a timer that shuts the machine off when it’s done grinding, which will help you save electricity. The Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme has 18 grind settings and is known for its longevity.
Another of My Favorites – The Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
The Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is another great one, in my opinion anyway. This lightweight coffee grinder has a hopper that holds up to eight ounces of beans and a ground container that can store five ounces at once. It is known for its cool and quiet motor, which prevents the beans from heating up while they are being ground. The Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder also has a whopping 40 different grind settings.
All three of these candidates are affordably priced and have multiple coffee-making uses. That is, they work for more than just making that perfect French press blend. This means that you’re not limited to just one single type of coffee per grinder.
Choosing a coffee grinder isn’t easy, but I hope that this article has helped you solve the mystery. The ones listed here are models that I like and have used, so I know that they’ll grind the coffee beans as required. There are others on the market that you might want to consider as well, but at least this provides you with a starting point. The whole idea here is that you go out and find the best burr grinder – not blade grinder – for your needs.