10 best cafetières and French press coffee makers

25 May 2021

cafetiere and coffee cup

Who needs a coffee shop when you can brew it yourself? When it’s time for your caffeine fix, a cafetière or French press will provide maximum flavour with minimum repercussions on the planet – and your wallet.

The cafetière or French press – call it what you will – is the pot with the plunger that makes a lip-smacking cup of coffee. Easy to use and almost impossible to mess up, this brewing device will have you buzzing at the sound of your alarm clock, providing the morning pick-me-up that won’t cost the earth – in every sense.

Percolators, pods and takeaway coffees can be costly, with the environment paying the price too. Yet with a cafetière, there’s nominal waste and major taste, making it an oft-undervalued kitchen classic. Versatile and portable, it’s simple to master an aromatic and full-bodied beverage to rival that of the top coffeehouse chains.

It’s time to take the plunge. From glass and steel to ceramic and travel-size, we’ve rounded up the best cafetières and French press coffee makers to buy in 2021. And, like the brew itself, each has its particular strength.

1. Best overall cafetière: La Cafetière Monaco Cafetière

Price: From £10.53 | Buy now from Amazon

“It’s La Cafetière for me. I’ve had mine for 23 years and only had to replace the glass twice. I have the three-, eight- and 12-cup sizes.”

With a name like La Cafetière, it comes as no surprise that the brand makes some of the best coffee-related products available – and this elegant Monaco cafetière is no exception.

Its heat-resistant glass beaker is visible through the stainless steel frame, allowing you to watch your coffee brewing to perfection.

Available in six classic colours including cream, pistachio and blue, this durable coffee maker has a retro look that will add a delicate pop of colour to any kitchen worktop.

As with most three-cup cafetières, it will realistically make only one large mug of coffee, but it comes in an eight-cup version too. And while this stylish French press will need to be handwashed, it’s easy to disassemble and clean.

Pros

  • More durable than other glass alternatives
  • Sophisticated design

Cons

  • Handle could be more comfortable
  • May rust over time

Key specs

  • Material: Glass and stainless steel
  • Capacity: Three cups / 350ml (eight-cup size also available)
  • Dishwasher-safe: No

2. Best budget cafetière: M&S Vienna Three-cup Cafetière

Price: £6 | Buy now from M&S

“I have one that I bought in M&S years ago. It makes great coffee and is dead easy to clean.”

“My cheapie cafetière makes the nicest coffee.”

At just £6, this compact cafetière will set you back the equivalent of a couple of cups of coffee at your favourite café, meaning it’ll pay for itself in next to no time.

Plain yet practical, it comes with a handy scoop and a splashback feature to prevent spills from the spout while plunging.

While it’s not the best cafetière for multiple drinkers, it’s an ideal choice if you’re the household’s sole coffee connoisseur. This basic French press offers great value and, with such a small price tag, we say buy one. Or possibly two.

Pros

  • Easy-grip handle
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Handwash only
  • No good for sharing

Key specs

  • Material: Glass and stainless steel
  • Capacity: Three cups / 350ml
  • Dishwasher-safe: No

3. Best glass cafetière: Bialetti Preziosa French Coffee Press

Price: From £23 | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

“Bialetti are ace. The coffee tastes gorgeous, they are unbreakable and they’re fairly cheap. I use mine at least three times a day. Although I drink decaf, I am hooked.”

Bialetti is best known for its iconic stovetop moka coffee pot – and its cafetières receive widespread acclaim too. But why the brew-haha (sorry)?

Well, the Italian brand is respected on the caffeine scene even a century after its inception because its products do what they’re meant to do and pretty much guarantee a delectable cup of coffee. Simple as that.

The name of this Preziosa French press – meaning ‘precious’ – belies its quality and robustness, with a heat-resistant borosilicate glass jug, thermal-insulating plastic handle and sturdy stainless steel structure.

Suitable for the dishwasher, it’s also available in eight-cup form.

Pros

  • Comfortable handle
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons

  • Replacement parts are pricey
  • Small spout

Key specs

  • Material: Glass and stainless steel
  • Capacity: Three cups / 350ml (eight-cup size also available)
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes

4. Best stainless steel cafetière: Coffee Gator French Press

Price: From £34.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“I use a stainless steel cafetière. Perfect coffee every time.”

“The metal cafetière is great for taking away with us and just generally really good.”

“I use an insulated stainless steel cafetière, which is far superior to glass ones.”

Coffee enthusiasts who can relate in any way to Mr Clumsy will appreciate the toughness of this super-strong French press from Coffee Gator. Solidly made from layered stainless steel, it won’t break if dropped – and we wouldn’t like to bet on whether the cafetière or your floor would come off worse in this event.

Heavier and more expensive than some alternatives, it’s also more practical – and even comes with a mini canister for storing your coffee. Its double wall is designed to keep your brew hotter for longer, while it’s cool-touch handle and body, plus easy-pour spout, make it a pleasure to use.

If you’re not keen on vibrant colours, it also comes in muted tones such as silver, grey and green.

Pros

  • Built to last and rust-proof
  • Clear instructions

Cons

  • May not retain heat as well as expected
  • Coating may flake over time

Key specs

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Capacity: Eight cups / one litre
  • Dishwasher-safe: No

5. Best stoneware cafetière: Le Creuset Stoneware Cafetière

Price: From £58.72 | Buy now from Amazon

“I love, love, love Le Creuset.”

Le Creuset is renowned globally for producing premium cast iron cookware, but it also makes a world-class cuppa – albeit indirectly. Its eye-catching stoneware cafetière is both functional and beautiful, coming in a rainbow of colours.

As with all the brand’s products, this French press is rather weighty and isn’t the cheapest on the market, but it’s a quality piece that keeps beverages warmer than glass models do and it can withstand temperatures of up to 260°C.

With a scratch-resistant enamelled surface and a 10-year warranty, it could be a kitchen fixture for many years to come, so it might be worth sneaking a peek at the matching mugs too.

Pros

  • Holds heat well
  • Adds a touch of class to any kitchen

Cons

  • Lid could fit better
  • Heavy

Key specs

  • Material: Stoneware and enamel
  • Capacity: One litre
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes

6. Best insulated cafetière: Stellar Three-cup Matt Double Wall Insulated Cafetière

Price: £50.50 | Buy now from Amazon

“Look for a Stellar cafetière. They have a double stainless steel wall which keeps the coffee really hot and they are fab. We got the big one as a wedding present and then I bought a smaller one as well. It makes great coffee.”

“I bought a Stellar brand from my local kitchen shop – it's a joy to use. Plus it keeps the coffee hot for almost an hour. DH loves it.”

No one wants a cold cuppa. Fact. For a piping-hot brew every time, go for a thermally insulated cafetière like this stainless steel one from Stellar. Ideal for slower sippers, it will not only keep your coffee warm, it’s touted as unbreakable thanks to its heavy-duty construction.

Double-walled and dishwasher-safe, this French press will make a reliable travel companion that will hold up even when the airport baggage handlers are a bit heavy-handed with your luggage. And if you opt for this cafetière’s larger eight- or 12-cup variant, there’ll be no worries about subsequent cups being cold either.

With a lifetime guarantee, there’s every chance it could end up getting passed on to your grandkids.

Pros

  • Excellent heat retention
  • Long-life filter, with spares available

Cons

  • May dribble after pouring
  • Plain design may not appeal to all

Key specs

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Capacity: Three cups / 325ml
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes

7. Best large-capacity cafetière: VonShef 1.5L Chrome Finish Glass Cafetière

Price: £19.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“We’ve had our VonShef one for eight years. I'd definitely recommend it.”

Serving smooth, flavoursome coffee to a houseful of guests or a roomful of colleagues can be a tall order, so why not order a tall French press? This gold VonShef offering takes the top spot for oversized cafetières and is just the job for those times when multiple cups are required.

With a generous capacity of one-and-a-half litres, the elongated glass body makes it difficult to stir – even the longest spoon in the cutlery drawer won’t reach the bottom – and it may be too tall to fit in the kitchen cupboard.

There’ll be plenty of coffee to go around, however, which makes this large French press great for groups. It would also make a perfect present for any coffee lover, coming in sleek gift packaging.

Pros

  • Ideal for sharing
  • Great gift idea

Cons

  • Shape and size may be impractical
  • May become discoloured over time

Key specs

  • Material: Glass and stainless steel
  • Capacity: 12 cups / 1.5 litres
  • Dishwasher-safe: No

8. Best luxury cafetière: Alessi Press Filter Coffee Maker

Price: £82.90 | Buy now from Amazon

“I have a few Alessi products and they are beautiful quality and have lasted years.”

You only have to look to Alessi to find style and substance. This small cafetière is as pleasing to the peepers as its brews are pleasurable to the palate.

Those who simply adore rich coffee (or who are simply rich) will admire the timeless design of this pricey but plastic-free French press, which was designed decades ago, yet looks as fresh as the coffee it produces.

Also available as an eight-cup model, the heat-resistant jug can be popped in the dishwasher and it’s possible to buy spares of the glass and filter parts should you ever need them.

Pros

  • Understated, chic design
  • Spare parts available

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Press may be too close-fitting

Key specs

  • Material: Glass and stainless steel
  • Capacity: Three cups / 250ml (eight-cup size also available)
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes

9. Best French press for travel: Bodum Travel French Press

Price: From £21.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“Bodum travel cup – they’re the bee’s knees. I use mine every day. You can also get a plunger top so you can make ground coffee in it like a mini cafetière.”

“Bodum is a classic brand.”

Serious coffee drinkers will be delighted to see this unassuming travel companion for what it really is: a French press in disguise. The handy gadget from Bodum is designed for drinking on the go, whether you’re commuting, camping or backpacking.

A vacuum-insulated flask and cafetière in one, this portable mug has a plunger in the lid that allows you to prepare coffee anywhere and drink either straight from the product itself or pour its contents into a cup.

Available in red, black and off-white, the silicone band provides a comfortable grip and this versatile vessel’s double wall means it remains cool to the touch, while your coffee will stay hot for hours.

Pros

  • Convenient
  • All parts are dishwasher safe

Cons

  • Needs to be kept upright to avoid leakage
  • Lid may not be the best fit

Key specs

  • Material: Stainless steel and silicone
  • Capacity: Three cups / 350ml
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes

10. Best statement cafetière: Oliver Bonas Sol Ceramic Cafetière

Price: £42.50 | Buy now from Oliver Bonas

“Can I just rave for a moment about Oliver Bonas? Just such pretty things. And modern styles!”

“Love their home stuff – always my go-to for gifts.”

The palm trees and sunshine that decorate this unconventional cafetière from Oliver Bonas can’t help but brighten up coffee time, whatever the weather in Blighty.

Its laid-back vibe offers ambrosial escapism – whisking you away to tropical shores while you savour your beloved brew – and this gold-accented French press and is sure to be a talking point when visitors come a-calling.

Our only misgiving is that it’s so gorgeous, we’re loath to use it.

Pros

  • Unusual design
  • Plunger fits well

Cons

  • May drip when poured
  • Handwash only

Key specs

  • Material: Stoneware
  • Capacity: Three cups (approximately)
  • Dishwasher safe: No

Is a French press the same as a cafetière?

In a word: oui. Cafetière means ‘coffee maker’ in French, but both terms can be used interchangeably. Our coffee-drinking buddies across the pond tend to call it a French press.

Which is better – a glass or stainless steel French press?

Whether you opt for a glass or stainless steel cafetière depends on what tops your priority list. Glass versions are the most traditional type and tend to be aesthetically pleasing, but are more prone to breakages. Metal models offer the greatest hardiness and heat retention, yet can be costly. A stoneware French press is another option well worth considering.

How do I choose a French press?

Deciding which French press to choose can be a pressing issue (see what we did there?), but there are certain factors to keep at the forefront of your caffeine-motivated mind when picking one that’s perfect for your needs.

  • Size: It’s vital to understand that a French press’s capacity refers to espresso cups. A three-cup model will therefore make only one regular-sized mug, for example, and can hold a similar amount of liquid to a can of fizzy pop, making it ideal if you’re the only coffee drinker of the household. An eight-cup version will make roughly three mugs’ worth.
  • Material: The most prevalent cafetières are those that have a beaker made from glass or stainless steel, but plastic and ceramic models are also available. Your choice comes down to whether functionality, ease of use, insulation, durability, looks or affordability takes precedence.
  • Design: Choose a cafetière with a sturdy plunger and one for which you can buy spare parts, if possible. Many French press users prefer one that has a flat plunger handle that won’t dig into your palm as you press.
  • Maintenance: Ease of cleaning should be taken into consideration – especially if it will need taking apart – and, if relevant, note whether or not it can be placed in the dishwasher.
  • Price: Cafetières can cost anything from a few pounds to almost £100. There are plenty to choose from, so pick one to match your budget.

How do I make the perfect cafetière?

  • Ensure that your cafetière is clean to avoid stale-tasting coffee.
  • Boil the kettle and leave it to rest for a minute.
  • Pour in the coffee grounds – about one tablespoon for each serving.
  • Fill the cafetière with off-the-boil water and briefly stir gently.
  • Add the lid – leaving the plunger up – and let the grounds steep for four minutes.
  • Remove any floating grounds.
  • Plunge slowly to stop sediment escaping the filter and to prevent spillage.
  • Serve and savour.

How long should you brew coffee in a cafetière?

To ensure that your cafetière coffee is neither over-brewed nor under-flavoured, the optimum time for the grounds to steep in hot water is four minutes, during which you can give yourself a pat on the back for doing your bit for the planet. The small bit of waste from your French press can go straight in your green recycling bin or be added to your compost.

What is the best cafetière to buy?

La Cafetière’s Monaco Cafetière is the best cafetière to buy. It’s simple to use, has a price point that offers good value and it’s more durable than many of its glass counterparts, with quality on par with more expensive alternatives. It’s available in two sizes and, although it can’t go in the dishwasher, it’s easy to clean and will look delightful on the kitchen counter too.

How we chose our recommendations

We first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which cafetières and French press coffee makers discerning Mumsnetters recommended and had bought themselves, noting their feedback about these brands. We then drew up a shortlist of those that were repeatedly mentioned.

From there, we did some research across the wider web, consulting independent review sites and taking into account what customer reviews said about the products featured. Having collated all that information, we picked the cafetières we thought were worthy of taking the titles in an array of interest categories.

Why you should trust us

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Main image credit: Bialetti