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French Press Sizes: What Are Your Options?

French press sizes

French presses are easy to use, affordable, and make rich, full-bodied coffee. But when you’re shopping for the perfect model, you’ll want to make sure you get the right size. What are the French press sizes and which should you choose?

Keep reading to learn about the available sizes, what exactly a cup is, and how to choose a size that will work for you and your family.

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Common French Press Sizes:

  • 3 cups (0.35 liters or 11.8 ounces)
  • 4 cups (0.5 liters or 17 ounces)
  • 8 cups (1 liter or 33.8 ounces)
  • 12 cups (1.5 liters or 50.7 ounces)

These are the most common French press sizes. Of course, these sizes depend on which brand you choose, but most French press makers sell a similar range of sizes. Not sure which size suits you? Scroll down to find out!

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When a Cup Isn’t a Cup

So what does that size actually mean? You may think you know what a cup size is, but there’s something tricky at work here. A cup is a measurement equivalent to 8 ounces, but that’s not the kind of cup we’re talking about here. Many coffee companies consider a cup to be just 4 ounces. That’s why a 3-cup French press only has an 11.8-ounce capacity.

Types of Coffee Cups and Mugs
Image: Sebra, Shutterstock

What does all this mean? A three-cup French press won’t necessarily brew what you think of as three full cups of coffee. Think about the mug you usually drink coffee out of. How many ounces can it hold? Many of us drink out of large mugs that can hold 12 to 16 ounces of coffee. If you do, too, you’ll probably want a French press that can brew at least a full mug at a time.

With that in mind, it’s time to pick a French press size! Keep reading to find our recommendations.


Brewing for a Few?

If you’re a very disciplined coffee drinker and limit yourself to a single small cup, you may prefer a three-cup French press. These compact brewers will make about 12 ounces of coffee at a time, plenty for a moderate coffee enthusiast.

French press espresso brewing

Our favorite three-cup French press is the classic Bodum Caffettiera.

If you usually brew one or two mugs’ worth of coffee at a time, we recommend buying a four- or eight-cup French press. The four-cup French press will brew 17 ounces, about the size of one large coffee mug or two medium-size mugs. The eight-cup French press will brew 33.8 ounces of coffee, enough to fill two large coffee mugs.

Veken French_Press

We recommend the four-cup Bodum Chambord French Press or the eight-cup Veken French Press.


Brewing for Many?

If you typically brew coffee for more than two people, or if you drink a lot of coffee yourself, you may want to consider buying a larger French press. A 12-cup French press will brew over 50 ounces of coffee — enough for a small crowd! That’s about four medium mugs of coffee.

large French press Bodum

Our favorite 12-cup French press is the Bodum Chambord French Press.

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French Press Sizes: The Bottom Line

Now you know the four most common French press sizes (3, 4, 8, and 12 cups). Keep in mind that these are small four-ounce cups, so you may want to size up if you drink more coffee. Most coffee lovers will probably be happy with four- or eight-cup French presses, but if you drink a lot of coffee or like to entertain, you may prefer a 12-cup model. With so many great options, you can hardly go wrong!

Looking for more French press guides?

Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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