Going about mastering the French press for the finest mug of coffee is really a matter of getting a handful of things right – the temperature of the water, the right steeping time, and the coarseness of your coffee beans. In fact, if you’ve ever sipped a cup decanted from a French press to find lumps of coffee ground souring up your mouth, it’s usually because the grounds are too fine to have been caught by the press’ filter screen when you were pressing the plunger down. The best way to prevent your cup from getting all muddy and bitter is, essentially, getting yourself your choice of coffee in the form of whole, unground beans – whether you’re looking for something bold, rich and dark, or lighter, fruitier alternatives, whole beans can either be ground at home using a grinder set to give you the coarsest granules possible, or taken to a speciality shop or your local coffee shop to have them do it for you. But because the coffee beans you pick do make a difference in flavor, picking the right kind for your French press is also integral.
Are you looking for something with low acidity, with well-balanced, if not slightly sweet, exotic flavors underlying the distinct, rich taste? Or do you prefer your coffee to be a bit more on the stronger end, with more caffeine content than a milder Arabica blend? Since French press coffee is commended for retaining the natural oils of coffee and extracting more depth of flavor, we recommend those new to French press or to speciality coffees in general to start off with something on the milder end of the spectrum, rather than the more earthy, strong and at times bitter flavor profile of robusta beans. With this in mind, we’ve shortlisted our picks for the best coffee beans for French press coffee, especially for those who prefer their cup of joe to be smooth, bright and fruity.
Kopi Luwak Direct Wild Kopi Luwak Coffee
This coffee, known as Wild Kopi Luwak, is grown in the volcanic region of Mt. Matutum in the Philippines. The plantation follows sustainable cultivation practices and grows high-quality arabica coffee plants in the mountainous regions of the Philippines. The coffee is not treated with artificial fertilizers or chemicals to increase production. Instead, the perfect combination of soil, altitude, and climate at Mt. Matutum nurtures the plants, emphasizing quality over quantity.
In addition to being sustainable, the coffee is produced in partnership with the B’laan tribe, the traditional residents of the land. The tribe is paid well for their labor, exceeding the standards of “fair trade,” recognizing the effort involved in collecting and processing the beans.
KEN’S BUDGET PICK
Peet’s Whole Bean Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend
One of the brand’s bestsellers, this premium coffee blend is hand-roasted in small batches, shipped fresh to deliver its rich, full-bodied taste and aroma right to your doorstep. Grown and harvested at high altitudes in volcanic loam, the fruity smoothness of this coffee has made a fan out of even the pickiest coffee drinkers, perfect for a cup of French press or espresso. The milder, fruitier taste of this coffee compared to harsher and stronger flavors and blends makes this the perfect gift for the non-frequent coffee drinker, to let them experience a medley of rich, smooth flavors capable of turning anyone into a French press convert.
Stone Street Coffee Company Cold Brew Reserve
Crafted for the best cold brews and iced drinks, these dark roast beans are also perfect for a thoroughly satisfying cup of French press coffee. Slightly sweet, rich but smooth, the 100% Arabica, Colombian Supremo beans are reputed for their balance, their low acidity and bold, distinct taste. Packaged in re-sealable bags, whole beans are available either in 2 sizes, of 1 pound or 5 pound bags. Each package is a stand-up bag of 3 layers of Natural Kraft and foil, structured with a one-way de-gassing valve to keep the beans from going stale and losing their rich fragrance. The single origin beans are ethically sourced and handcrafted to ensure the best quality, the company using a roasting method perfected over several years and passed down to maintain an unwavering consistency in flavor for the most avid of coffee connoisseurs.
Chestbrew Whole Bean Moon Bear Coffee
A 20-ounce bag of premium, single origin, 100% Arabica coffee sourced from Vietnam, this dark roast blend is bold and strong without being too harsh or bitter. Delicious and exotic to taste, the beans are prepared to perfection by one of the few roasting facilities in Southeast Asia with USFDA approval thanks to its dedication to quality control, so you get a blend that has a distinct, multi-layered flavor profile without coming across as too bitter or overroasted, striking just the right balance to stay bold without being overwhelming. Delectable as both a cold drink – particularly a delicious mason jar of Vietnamese iced coffee – or as French press coffee, the blend has very low acidity and is smooth but distinct to the palate. The package, with a zip-lock seal, helps retain the freshness of the beans, and is also printed with instructions to help you experiment with different brewing styles for your coffee, in case you want to diversify and attempt a cold brew or some drip coffee rather than sticking exclusively to French press.