The Best Cafetière To Brew Better Coffee

Know your brew-how and discover a coffee maker that goes by many names.

A man brews coffee in a cafetiere

by Natalie Knowles |
Updated on

How we enjoy our coffee is so personal. In any shared kitchen, whether it's domestic or in an office, there's a staggering assortment of individual cafetières - and the odd Aeropress - in addition to individual mugs, jars of instant coffee with "Do Not Touch" written on them, and packets of ground coffee pegged with bulldog clips. When it comes to "how do you brew yours?" you have to factor in your time, budget and whether you care to know all about your beans.

For all connoisseurs of caffeine, a simple French press can give you multiple cups of coffee at once at significantly less cost than firing up a coffee machine. And you don't need to know your press pot from your coffee plunger or your cafetière a piston because they're all the same thing.

How Does A Cafetière Work?

A cafetière comes in two parts: the cylinder and the filter, which fits tightly inside. Most commonly, the cylinder is made of glass, but there are plastic, stoneware and stainless steel options. The plunger is comprised of a lid on a rod that attaches to the filter. The filter is generally made of stainless steel wire or nylon mesh. Traditionally the filter was made of cheesecloth. Plunging pushes the coffee grounds to the bottom, leaving you with fresh coffee.

Cafetières come in a range of materials and capacities. Look for double-walled options that will keep your coffee hot for a longer time. Stainless steel and stoneware tend to be easier to clean than glass and plastic, which can taint and smear. You'll be pleased to know most of the best cafetières are dishwasher safe.

Benefits Of Making Coffee With A Cafetière

In comparison to coffee pod machines, bean-to-cup machines and drip coffee, a cafetière or French press is cheaper. In addition, cafetière coffee can taste a lot better than filter coffee because there is no filter paper to stop the coffee oils from blending into the coffee. It's the oils that give coffee its distinct taste.

The process is manual. You can make the coffee exactly how you like it, as you add the water at your preferred temperature and experiment with the amount of ground coffee you add and the length of brewing time just don't forget the milk.

Additionally, a cafetière is portable, it can fit in a bag so you can make great coffee in any hotel, office or friend's home, plus travel mug versions also exist. It's even more personalised if you have your hand-held coffee grinder too.

With a bit of creativity a French press can be a versatile kitchen tool: use it to strain broth or brew tea - just be sure to decant your liquid into another vessel to prevent tea over-brewing or tainting the taste of the cylinder.

Cons Of Brewing With A Cafetière

Be prepared for trial and error as you get used to brewing with a cafetière. You'll be working out how much coffee to add and how long to brew it. Experiment with coffee varieties and steeping time (four to eight minutes) to find your preferred flavour.

It's not an instant process, you need to let the coffee stand for a few minutes. Then, slow plunging maximises the extraction of oils and flavonoids from the ground coffee beans. The plunger does not compress the beans, there is generally a gap between the plunger and the bottom of the cylinder. If the coffee grounds are left in the bottom too long the coffee becomes increasingly bitter.

The biggest bugbear is cleaning up. The grounds collect at the bottom of the cafetière; scoop them out and dispose of them as green waste. Inevitably coffee grounds will collect in the sink and can slip into your beverage too. The sediment isn't always perfectly contained by the plunger and sometimes grounds slip through the mesh filter.

Best Cafetière

Best traditional cafetière

BODUM Chambord French Press
Price: $24.99

The Chambord is marketed as "the original French press". Its design is the same as the classic 1950s, but Bodum has moved with the times and improved the production process to be more environmentally friendly. Bodum is a long-standing Danish brand that produces high-quality drinkware for tea and coffee.

Customer review: "Making coffee using the Bodum every morning has been a wonderful ritual - three scoops of my choice of ground coffee followed by the hot water pour, stir and lid on in the closed position. Four minutes brew time followed by a gentle push of the plunger, a turn of the lid into the open position and then I am done. Smart design that is a joy to use and easy to clean."


  • Classic design
  • Simple to use
  • Easy to clean


  • Customers have commented there are plastic parts
  • Not the most durable over time
©Photo credit: Natalie Knowles

Best stoneware cafetière

Brighter is better with Le Creuset's Cafetière con prensa in Shell Pink. Crafted from specialist clays, Le Creuset stoneware maintains an even temperature and is renowned for its strength and durability. The lid features Le Creuset's distinctive three-ring design that will perfectly complement other stoneware you may own in the Le Creuset collection. Discover a rainbow of colours, including the iconic Volcanic, Deep Teal, Bamboo Green and this fabulous Shell Pink that's one of this year's trending colours.

Tried and tested by Natalie Knowles, Commercial Content Writer: "Unboxing was an absolute pleasure, I can't help but feel a ripple of excitement at the reassuring weight of a piece of Le Creuset stoneware. It was well-packaged and perfect in form. I thoroughly washed the cafetière in warm, soapy water, rinsed and hand dried before its first use. All credit to Le Creuset, there is extensive information on their website about caring for your product.

"The weight felt reassuring and the tight fit of the metal plunger feels like it is going to last forever. It's flawless and robust, and the tactility of the stoneware makes it a treat to use. The plunger depresses with ease and is satisfying. Coffee pours cleanly from the spout - no drips and no excessive coffee grounds in my drink. Also, the heavy lid and tight fit mean no coffee leaks from the lid. However, it's heavy to pick up, especially when the one-litre stoneware pot is full of hot water.

"I found the stoneware a lot easier to clean than a plastic or glass cafetière, which can be prone to staining and smearing. This cafetière wiped clean with ease. In conclusion, this is an utterly exquisite piece of stoneware that fulfils its function and is aesthetically beautiful. It will be the talking point of many a brunchtime to come."


  • Made to last
  • Gorgeous range of colours
  • Iconic brand
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable
  • Ornamental


  • Heavy to use

Best small cafetière

Conjuring up images of an idyllic vacation on the French Riviera? Let your morning café take you there. This elegant pistachio cafetière from Harts of Stur is enough for one… and too gorgeous to share.

Tried and Tested by Commercial Content Writer Piper Huxley: "I needed a quick and good value replacement for my old cafetière, which finally packed in. I was really impressed by Hart of Stur's quick delivery time and I felt very informed - so, thank you! As for the cafetière, I love the colour, it's gorgeous. It's a great little coffee maker. It's easy to use and my coffees are well-brewed and smooth - no horrid grounds in my cup!"


  • Stylish
  • Portable


  • On the small side

Best cafetière for insulation

Heemburg claims that its cafetière is a coffee maker and a Thermos flask in one. The features and design of this cafetière elevate it into a high-functioning product. If textured black is to your taste, this could be the perfect French press for you.

Customer review: "This really exceeded my expectations. Keeps coffee piping hot for hours. Easy to clean, robust, and elegant. Well worth the money."


  • Keeps liquid hot or cold
  • Stylish design


  • The lid lock is difficult for people with hand or eyesight problems

Best stainless steel cafetière

Coffee Gator Cafetiere

Rrp: $44.99

Price: $30.99

The Coffee Gator cafetière is outstanding, and that's not just because it's bright orange. The features on this French press amount to a sizable list, but mainly it's the extra insulation the Coffee Gator offers in comparison to glass cafetières. Also, it's made of high-grade stainless steel that's - 33 per cent thicker sides than competitors - so it can withstand getting thrown around.

Customer review: "This is a beautiful coffee press that includes wonderful instructions on how to brew the best possible coffee. The instructions are simple to follow and really do make a wonderful cup of coffee. The press is a thermal vessel which keeps the coffee warm long enough for me to enjoy two large mugs. For a quality French press the price point is on the high end, but it seems worth the cost."


  • Sturdy
  • Stays warm for a long time
  • Smooth press
  • Drop-proof


  • Heavy
  • Not suitable for a dishwasher

Best travel-sized cafetière

Whether you're staying in a hotel, hot desking or on a grand adventure - this coffee-making set from Bodum is going to be your new best friend. You can make your brew just the way you like it and keep it hotter for longer. In addition to the one-litre cafetière, the set includes a 350ml double-walled travel mug and electric coffee grinder. Made from high-quality materials, the set is stylish and practical. Also, the gorgeous nude is this season's trending colour.

Customer review: "The coffee press has a good design but it is not double walled and when tested next to a standard Bodum glass French press the heat is maintained for exactly the same amount of time."


  • Stylish
  • High quality
  • Portable


  • Cafetière is not double-walled

Best desk-top cafetière

Blue 3 Cup Cafetière
Price: £11.48 (was £26.49)

The relaxing blue hue will help you to breathe a huge sigh and say yes to a well-earned coffee break. Inspired by cosmopolitan café culture, this French press from Cook Serve Enjoy is stylish. It's robust too, with cool-to-touch borosilicate glass and a stainless steel filter. Any coffee lover would be delighted to receive this quality cafetière as a gift.

Customer review: "Very small… not sure how it's three cups."


  • Made from robust materials
  • Stylish


  • Small

Best cafetière for functional design

Espro Coffee Press

Rrp: $69.95

Price: $49.95

The filter is definitely a feature of this Espro coffee press. The dual micro-filters claim to perfectly trap grounds, so your coffee is clear of sediment and doesn't over-brew.

Customer review: "Enough for a couple to share a cup of coffee together. Not enough for any more than that. A lot of liquid waste at the bottom because the filter is so large in depth, that it doesn't go all the way down, and the liquid struggles to filter through and out. A shame really, I feel like there is a lot of liquid waste, otherwise, it's a lovely piece. Expensive though, so I wouldn't recommend simply for that reason."


  • Ultra-fine filter
  • Less grit in your coffee


  • A lot of liquid gets trapped by the filter

Best cafetière for style

Brew full-flavoured and full-bodied coffee with this exceptionally stylish French press. The cylinder is shaped like a carafe and has an elegant olive wood collar. The Hario CD-Cafe Press double-walled design means this cafetière retains heat.

Customer review: "Absolutely superb. The lines of the product, the perfect design with the touch of the olive tree parts, make the perfect French press device, that can stay on the most elegant table."


  • Elegant design


  • Small capacity

OUR VERDICT: Which Is The Best Cafetière To Buy?

The Coffee Gator Cafetière. It boasts a number of features that set it apart, including its ability to stay hotter 60 minutes longer than glass. The layered stainless steel that's 33 per cent thicker sides than competitors - makes it heavy - but it's also drop-proof and going to last a very long time. It comes with a cute coffee bean canister too which is a nice touch if you're travelling with your coffee maker. So now you can get on with tasting the exotic and travelling around the world in your mug.


What size cafetière do I need?

The capacity of a cafetière is measured in litres and cup size. A 350ml will make one mug-sized coffee or three cups. A 650ml capacity makes six cups. One-litre capacity makes eight cups and is good for entertaining. Cup size can be smaller than we're used to, so it's better to be on the safe side and buy a bigger cafetière.

How do I use a cafetière?

  1. Use fresh, coarse ground coffee

  2. Add a couple of heaped tablespoons (8-10g) of coffee for each cup. Eight heaped tablespoons for a full pot of coffee

  3. You can pre-warm the coffee press with hot water to keep the coffee hotter for longer

  4. Pour fresh boiled water over the coffee and stir

  5. Brew for four to eight minutes

  6. Slowly push the plunger down until the coffee compacts at the bottom of the cylinder

  7. Serve and enjoy rich, full-bodied coffee at home

Natalie Knowles is a Homes & Garden Product Writer for A Modern Kitchen, specialising in kitchen appliances. When she's not testing coffee machines, she flexes her creative flair as an artist.

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