Best Coffee for French Press 2019 — Top Picks & Reviews

Last Updated: by: Amanda T

french press coffee

The simple elegance of a French press makes it one of the most popular brewing devices. With minimal requirements of water, coffee, and the French press itself, you’ll be able to steep your way to a rich cup of coffee.

If the appeal of a French press has led you to acquiring one for your home, be patient as you learn the process. The first cup or two may be full of coffee grounds, but practice makes progress! The key to a consistent result is learning your pot and finessing your technique. Once you’ve aced this step, you’ll wonder which coffee choice you’ll want to experiment with next.

Keep in mind that the essence of a satisfying result with this method — other than ideal coffee — is proper coarseness of the grind. You don’t want to use a finely ground coffee, as it will clog your pot and leave you frustrated. You’ll want a coarse, even grind. With so many options in coffee choices, from beans to pre-ground, we’ve composed a list of our top eight picks for the best coffee for a French press.


A Quick Glance at our Top Picks:

ModelPriceRoastEditor Rating
Driftaway Coffee Bean Subscription
Driftaway Coffee
(Top Pick)

Check Price
Light, Medium and Dark4.85/5
Primos Coffee Co. Specialty Coffee
Primos Coffee Co.
(Best Coarse Ground Coffee)

Check Price
Medium4.65/5
Sleepy Monk French Roast Sumatran
french press sleepy monk

Check Price
4.60/5
Verena Street Whole Bean Swiss Water Process
Verena Street 2 Pound Whole Bean
(Best Decaf Pick)

Check Price
Medium4.40/5
Peet's Coffee Major Dickason's Blend 
Peets Coffee Major Dickasons Blend

Check Price
Dark4.30/5

Best Coffee for French Press — Reviews 2019:

1. Driftaway Coffee Bean Subscription — Top Pick

Driftaway Coffee

If you have multiple coffee drinkers in your house or you’re keen on an indulgence, the Driftaway Coffee Bean subscription is a monthly service that brings you four new flavors every month. It starts with a tasting kit that includes four different profiles: fruity, classic, bold, and balanced. Once you’ve sipped and rated the choices, future shipments are based on your preferences.

There are a few unique touches with this service. Each coffee you receive comes with a story about the specific beans in your selection and the farmers who harvested them. Through the website or the available iPhone app, you can share feedback with those farmers. This communication is a wonderful way to connect coffee lovers with coffee farmers and build global relationships.

There are all-around good reviews of the coffee, though be prepared to lighten your piggy bank. This convenience is expensive, but if the coffee doesn’t suit your taste, it’s still yours. With your subscription, you can choose a size of either seven-ounce or 11-ounce bags. You can also gift a sampler of an eight-ounce or one-pound option. To top things off, for every pound of coffee roasted, this brand donates five cents to World Coffee Research, which contributes to sustainable lives for coffee farmers.

Whether you’re attracted to the experimentation or the ideas behind the brand, we believe these are among the best coffee beans for your French press.

Pros
  • Convenient service
  • Choice in profile/roast preference
  • Connection to farmers
Cons
  • Expensive

2. Primos Coffee Co. French Press Specialty Coffee — Best Coarse Ground Coffee

Primos coffee co

Primos Coffee Co. French Press Specialty Coffee is a pre-ground option with ideal coarseness for the French press. Every coffee geek knows that grinding your own beans is best for the freshest flavor in your cup, so while we don’t normally recommend buying ground coffee, this is our top choice for best coarse ground coffee. Some folks love the convenience of pre-ground coffee, while others simply like to keep it handy.

Although noted as a medium roast, this is more of a sipping coffee for pure pleasure. It has a mild profile with a subtle flavor. If you’re looking for that robust punch to start your day or kick up the afternoon pace, this is not the coffee for you. The noted mildness in delivery is what keeps this out of the number–one spot.

For the convenience of a pre-ground coffee, you’ll pay a bit more, as this is an expensive one. Nonetheless, if you enjoy a mild moment in the journey of your day, we believe this is one of the best pre-ground coffees for a French press.

Pros
  • Pleasant aroma
  • Smooth finish
  • Conveniently pre-ground
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Mild for a medium roast

3. Sleepy Monk French Roast Sumatran

Sleepy Monk French Roast Sumatran

If just thinking about smoky and toasty coffee make your mouth water, Sleepy Monk French Roast Sumatran will not disappoint. A quaint little treasure, Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters is popular with the locals in Cannon Beach, Oregon, though it’s gaining a following outside the state lines. Even with no Wi-Fi, practically unheard of in the coffee shop world, a line of coffee drinkers still wraps around the building whenever it’s open.

With a velvety texture and a smooth profile, this coffee has deep tones with a full-body, highlighted when brewed in a French press. It serves up a blackish cup of coffee that is true to a French roast. The beans are roasted just shy of scorched and deliver a very dark and distinctive flavor. If you’re not a French roast connoisseur, the flavor may surprise you. If you gravitate to the light or medium roast side, the dark zest of this is not for you.

If you do love the French roast flavor, you may enjoy the deep caramelized flavor of our number–three choice. Although it’s a little on the pricey side, it has a taste not easily forgotten.

Pros
  • Full-bodied
  • Velvet finish
  • Deep flavor
  • Organic certified
Cons
  • Slightly pricey
  • Not for mild/medium roast lovers

4. Verena Street Whole Bean Swiss Water Process — Best Decaf Pick

Verena Street 2 Pound Whole Bean

Verena Street, Swiss Water Process, Sunday Drive comes to us from a family-owned operation in Iowa. The brand name is a nostalgic reference to the street where the owners grew up. This choice is naturally decaffeinated with the Swiss Water Process and sustainably sourced from Rainforest Alliance–certified coffee farms. These beans are medium roasted and convey a smooth profile without bitterness.

It’s noted as being acidic, so if you have a sensitive stomach, this option may not suit you. While on the mild side of a medium roast, this decaf will deliver a mellow comfort at any point during your day.

Even though it’s a little pricey, it’s our top pick as best decaf.

Pros
  • Not bitter
  • Smooth profile
  • Delicious aroma
  • Naturally decaffeinated
  • Sustainably sourced
Cons
  • Slightly pricey
  • Acidic
  • Mild side of medium

5. Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend

Peets Coffee Major Dickasons Blend

For half a century, Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend has epitomized this brand. With a fresh, luscious aroma, it’s a dark roast with a dedicated fan base. For the dark roast lovers on the side of “the stronger, the better,” this blend has a full-body flavor and a kick to match.

With its true-to-roast strength, there is nothing mild about this choice. If you need a morning wake-up boost or an afternoon pick-me-up, this rich blend will be the force you need. As a true coffee lover’s coffee, the deep, dark flavor retains its intensity with the addition of flavor enhancers.

If you desire a milder roast, the flavor of this dark roast may not be appealing.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Distinguished aroma
  • Full-bodied flavor
  • Rich, complex profile
Cons
  • Too bold for beginners
  • Slightly acidic

6. Koffee Kult Colombian Huila Fresh Coffee Beans

Koffee Kult Colombian

With a captivating aroma as soon as the bag is opened, Koffee Kult Colombian Huila will seduce the Colombian-loving coffeeholic throughout the day. These beans offer strong chocolatey notes with a sweet finish and no bitterness.

Unfortunately, for the coffee drinker who loves a balanced medium brew, this one is noted as imparting a light-roast flavor that is rather weak. As one of our most expensive picks, its price also keeps this one further down on our list. However, this coffee does come with a money-back guarantee, in case it doesn’t suit your taste.

Pros
  • Strong aroma
  • Smooth flavor
  • Money-back guarantee
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Acidic
  • Muted flavor

7. Stone Street Coffee Reserve Colombian Single Origin

Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew

Another pre-ground choice, Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew Reserve Colombian is coarsely ground and packaged specifically for cold or iced coffee. If you’re obsessed with a quenching cold brew coffee, you’ll have a company on the bandwagon heading down Stone Street. Fans have noted the rich, roasty–toasty flavor with dark chocolate undertones. With a penetrating aroma and a smooth surrender, this choice may be perfect for that long day when you need a fun drink with whipped cream — and chocolate chips too!

On the flip side, if you don’t like a bite to your cup, you may not like this cold brew reserve. If you like accompaniments in your coffee, this choice will hold up with the additions, but if you prefer your coffee straight with a softer delivery, this one may be too bitter for you.

As a roaster straight out of Brooklyn, this brand is dedicated to its consumers. While this pick is slightly pricey, the customer service may make it worth the little extra.

Pros
  • Smooth profile
  • Sweet undertones
  • Aromatic
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Bitter
  • Acidic

8. Coffee Bean Direct Sulawesi Kalossi Whole Bean

Coffee Bean Direct Dark Sulawesi Kalossi

Coffee Bean Direct Sulawesi Kalossi originates in Indonesia and is dark roasted for a bold profile. Sulawesi is one of the islands of Indonesia, and the coffee is named after the city of Kalossi. Interesting fun fact: 90% of the coffee in Indonesia is Robusta, but 95% of the coffee grown in Sulawesi is Arabica.

This choice is a light and bright coffee with a creamy texture and a smooth finish. It also has low acidity with hints of berry. With the low acidity, this coffee may work well for a sensitive stomach. However, with a slightly pricey cost, it is only available in a five-pound package.

Pros
  • Creamy texture
  • Smooth finish
  • Low acidity
Cons
  • Slightly pricey
  • Five-pound package only

Buyer’s Guide

If you’re new to the French press game, you may be inclined to reach for a pre-ground coffee. Since you’re working on your technique to get it just right, a pre-ground coffee will work for this purpose. Ideally, however, in order to extract the maximum flavor of your coffee, you’ll want to experiment with grinding your own beans at some point.

When using a French press, there are a few things that can make or break the experience: grind, beans, and technique.

Beans and Grind

These two go hand-in-hand when talking about using a French press. For this method to be successful, the beans need to be a coarse grind. Finely ground coffee can clog the apparatus and make it difficult to use the plunger. If you find that it’s difficult to press the plunger down, the grounds are too fine and likely, too much. This will ultimately leave you eating your coffee with a spoon or at a minimum, you’ll have a gritty residue in your cup. If, however, it’s far too easy to press the plunger down, the beans are ground too coarse, which will leave you with flavorless coffee. There’s a balance to be struck to find what works right. It’s similar to learning how to drive a manual shift car: You have to do it on your own a few times to find the balance and nuance of what feels right in the follow-through of the technique.  Ultimately, to get the best flavor from the French press method, you’ll want to grind the beans yourself.

Beans

Of course, you’ll want to choose a coffee bean that you’ll love. As mentioned, pre-ground coffee is an option if that is what works for you. Be sure to choose a coarse pre-ground coffee, such as those we reviewed above. Many will say that you have to use dark roast or French roast, but it’s your cup of coffee, so get whatever beans you find appetizing. If you find that pre-ground doesn’t give you the flavor you’re seeking, get yourself a coffee grinder and start experimenting!

Conclusion

Using a French press is a trial-and-error process. Once you have the technique down, then you’ll want to use your favorite coffees to brew with this method. There are many choices, flavors, roasts, and regions. Coffee choice is a personal pick that coffee aficionados take seriously, and we’re here to help.

In our review list, the top pick is the Driftaway Coffee Bean subscription. It’s convenient, a little indulgent, and allows you to try something new, albeit with a high price tag. Obsessed coffee-lovers know no bounds when it comes to finding that next awesome choice. If you fall into this category, you may fall in love.

For those needing the convenience of a pre-ground coffee, we’ve chosen Primos Coffee Co. French Press Specialty Coffee as our favorite. If you’re seeking an afternoon delight, Primos may be your companion.

Rounding it out with our best decaf selection is Verena Street Whole Bean, Swiss Water Process, Sunday Drive. It’s a satisfyingly mellow choice as easy as a Sunday drive, because coffee isn’t just for mornings.

Go ahead and grab a French press, a delicious bag of beans that you’ve been wanting to try, and get to experimenting. Have fun and keep on brewing!


Featured imaged credit: I like Coffee in the Mornings by Don LaVange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.