How To Choose Coffee For Your Cafetière

Take the plunge and try our recommendations for a better brew.

Coffee For Cafetière

by Natalie Knowles |
Updated on

There's nothing better than a lazy Sunday morning, relaxing with magazines, chilled music and the best coffee for your cafetière to decadently work one's way through. Coffee prepared with a cafetière (or French press) is a simple option for enjoying better quality coffee if you don't have a coffee machine.

Make your morning brew have a proper impact and choose quality whole-bean or coarse-ground coffee. For whole-bean coffee, you'll need to choose a grinder that uses burrs and select a coarse setting to produce a precise and uniform grind. Naturally, the fresher the better, for great-tasting coffee.

Ready ground coffee is well-sealed for freshness in the vast majority of products. All you need to do is spoon the grounds into your cafetière, fill with hot boiled water, give it a stir and leave it to infuse for four minutes. When you're ready to pour, press the plunger down to compact the grounds to the bottom of the pot, and serve a delicious full-bodied coffee.

Grind coffee and a French press in a retro kitchen.
©Photo credit: Natalie Knowles

How much coffee do I need?

The amount of ground coffee you add to your cafetière depends on its capacity. For example, the eight-cup cafetière in the photo takes four heaped tablespoons of coffee to brew a potful. As a guide, 10g of ground coffee per 180ml is a good place to start and you can tweak it to your taste.

Don't forget the milk - check out our picks of the best frothers.

Which is the best coffee for a cafetière?

There are a bewildering range of coffees out there - in essence, you can go around the world in a mug just googling them. We've selected a range that has impressed us with flavour, provenance, sustainability and the sheer gorgeousness of the packaging. Finally, it may not be as cheap as instant coffee, but the production of small-scale coffee gives people around the world a livelihood, and that's worth our support.

Know your beans - from roasting through to grinding, coffee beans start to deteriorate, so store them in a cool, dark place. They'll keep well for a month if you pop them in an airtight container and avoid moisture. Do not store them in the fridge because this can affect the flavours and potency.

Best coffee for cafetière

So simple and so good - coffee is one of life's great pleasures. Sitting in the kitchen on a sunny weekend morning with friends, enjoying a freshly brewed, aromatic coffee. So why not treat yourself and a friend to a good natter over a morning caffeine kick, while we spill the beans on the best ground coffee for a cafetière.

Best for fruity tasting notes

Pact Coffee Terras AltasPhoto credit: Natalie Knowles

Enjoy speciality-grade bagged coffee delivered to you as often as you like. Every coffee has a story and Pact give detailed information about its provenance and who farms it. All of the coffee is ethically sourced and there are lots of varieties to try, which makes subscribing a good idea. Coffee connoisseurs will love the level of information and range of coffees to try. Pact Coffee is also available in pods. Will Corby - Director of Coffee and Social impact describes the coffee, "The natural process behind the coffee has developed a delicate raspberry note, which beautifully complements the creamy chocolate flavours and mouthfeel."

Tried and Tested by Commercial Content Writer, Natalie Knowles: "Terra Altas is a Brazilian dark roast that promises hints of chocolate and raspberry brownie. It's coarse grind coffee for a cafetière, which I received through the post. I immediately noticed a distinctive fruity coffee smell just taking it out of the packaging. It came with a little card that gives information about the grower (Aurello Figueiredo Felizali) and the farm in Brazil. Upon opening the well-sealed (and quality resealable packet) the light brown grounds had an incredible chocolate aroma.

"I brewed 3-4 tablespoons in an eight-cup cafetière. The taste was clean, smooth and fresh. Terra Altas has a chocolatey taste with a fruity zing. The mouthfeel was silky. It reminded me of a chocolate bourbon biscuit… they'd pair very well together. The packaging perfectly contained and sealed the coffee. It tells you when it was roasted (13.01.23) and when it was packed (16.01.23). I received it one day later - that's really fresh coffee IMO."


  • Speciality-grade coffee
  • Quality resealable packaging
  • Excellent provenance
  • Distinct tasting notes
  • Fresh
  • Flexible subscription


  • Expensive
  • Will get through a 250g packet quickly

Best decaffeinated ground coffee

This is a full-bodied Peruvian coffee, made from Arabica beans that are handpicked by farmers who are supported by Cafédirect's charity: Producers Direct. Machu Picchu is a single-origin coffee that's rich, chocolatey and - surprisingly -decaffeinated. This popular coffee is widely available in supermarkets at a very reasonable price for premium coffee.

Tried and tasted by Natalie Knowles, Commercial Content Writer: "I tried this decaf Machu Picchu blend in an attempt to be virtuous and cut down my caffeine intake. I'd tried many of the Cafédirect ground coffees because of the reasonable price and they became part of the weekly supermarket shop. I can honestly say that I found this decaffeinated blend tasted equally as delicious as any of the others. So much so that having a full cafetière to work my way through over a leisurely weekend breakfast felt like an indulgent treat rather than a deprivation. Full marks too for Fairtrade credentials and 50 per cent investment of profits back into coffee farming communities."


  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to pick up at the supermarket
  • Superb deep and rich taste
  • Decaffeinated


  • Would benefit from resealable and recyclable packaging

Best for espresso

This is Union's most popular espresso coffee bean, bold with hints of chocolate and treacle. Offering a not-too-bitter flavour for morning or all-day drinking, Revelation Espresso is speciality-grade and made from 100 per cent Arabica beans. Please note, you'll need a grinder in order to prepare this coffee. As Union is a B-Corp company, its coffee is ethically sourced directly from smallholder farmers, for a fair, sustainable price.

Customer review: "These beans have great aroma, good flavour profile and offer good value for money. There are hints of milk chocolate and cinnamon, with a touch of sweetness and citrus. The flavour is relatively bold/full-bodied. I mostly brew this in an espresso machine but if anything I would say the flavours are enhanced when I use my Aeropress."


  • Good Value
  • Speciality Grade
  • Ethically Sourced


  • Lacks the complexity of some premium roasts

Best fresh coffee by subscription

Beans-Coffee-Club-Monsoon-EstatesPhoto Credit: Natalie Knowles

All the world's a stage... and this coffee is a global affair. The single origin beans hail from Brazil. They are washed in water from the coastal mountains of British Columbia, to naturally remove the caffeine. The Brazilian bean's distinctive flavour profile is preserved and absolutely no chemicals are used in the process. Then it's a hop across the Atlantic to Blighty, where the beans are hand roasted in Monsoon Estate's roastery in Stratford-upon-Avon. You can join the Beans Coffee Club or purchase gift vouchers. In addition to superb-tasting coffee, you'll have access to brewing guides, masterclasses, giveaways and more.

Tried and Tasted by Commercial Content Writer, Natalie Knowles: "I received this Swiss Water Decaf Brazil from Beans Coffee Club, which offers over 100 coffees from the UK's best roasters, delivered through your letterbox. The packet arrived just over a day after the coffee had been roasted. I was impressed by the speed and the economical brown paper bag envelope. Inside, there was a quality resealable packet of coffee which had a paper sleeve that gave some information about the coffee.

"I believe Beans Coffee Club focus on UK-based roasters, and so there was detailed information about Monsoon Estates. I loved that the QR code on the packet took me to a page that told me who roasted my beans (thank you, Probat). Beans Coffee Club has an original take on the concept of provenance and it's fantastic to be supporting artisan producers in the UK.

"Back to the coffee - it smelt intensely chocolatey - and on first taste, I found it smooth, satisfying and yes - yummy. This is one coffee that I would pair with milk and a wholemeal biscuit or brown sugar, to really enhance the natural sweetness of the beans. I rarely say this, but Swiss Water Decaf Brazil would make a lovely cappuccino - maybe I am picking up on the cocoa notes in the coffee. A treat without the caffeine - it's the stuff dreams are made of."

(Roasted: 24.01.23 and I received it 26.01.23 (I love that the packet was annotated by hand - a great personal touch.)


  • Very fresh
  • Very nice, palatable taste
  • Small batch
  • Quality, resealable and economical packaging
  • Lots of information about the Roasters


  • Couldn't find much information on the coffee beans or farmers

Best Premium Blend

Presto Coffee has a super detailed listing on Amazon that describes the provenance and process of this coffee. It's a popular pick and receives good reviews. Use a coarse setting on a grinder to prepare the whole beans for making French press coffee.

Customer review: "This coffee, straight out of the bag, lovely glistening beans, dark with a lovely 'pungent - chocolate-nutty' aroma and if you taste just the beans really excellent, not too acidic and a nice bitter aftertaste on the tongue. I use beans in my bean-to-coffee machine with a strong taste setting and can have espressos or with frothy milk. In either case, the coffee is nice and mellow with acidic overtones and there is this kind of dark chocolate/nutty taste on the tongue which persists for some time."


  • Great taste
  • Impressive sustainability credentials
  • Value for buying in a larger quantity
  • Recyclable packaging


  • None

Best coffee for gifting

Yorkshire may be famous for its tea, but it's also home to this iconic brand. Cartwright and Butler are famous for high-quality teatime biscuits, cakes and classic preserves. For anyone that's nostalgic for tiffin, this tin - containing a medium-bodied fine coffee - makes a wonderful gift. The fine blend is not to be confused with the size of the grounds; this is a coarse ground coffee that's suitable for cafetières.

Customer review: "Beautifully rich, well-rounded flavour, not too strong or overpowering. Rich aroma with chocolatey undertones. I think I can say the best coffee I've tasted. Very good indeed. And - added bonus - the canister's great."


  • Reusable tin
  • Taste will appeal to the majority


  • Nothing to suggest it's organic
  • No information about the provenance of the coffee

Best for Budget

This is a smooth all-rounder with a pleasant nutty taste. Though this 1kg bag of coffee seems not to be the highest quality, it's a good option if you're on a budget and love a milky coffee. Plus, with every purchase, you're helping hundreds of farmers and their families worldwide. This is a whole bean product, which requires a grinder to prepare.

Customer review: "After trying many different brands, I am now regularly using this brand on a repeat subscription as I can't think of a day without this coffee. It has a very subtle sweetness, the coffee strength is absolutely stunning yet not too bitter, has a very strong coffee smell (the whole house gets filled with the smell) and tastes extremely great."


  • Budget-Friendly
  • Rainforest Alliance Approved


  • Not high-quality

Best independent coffee brand

Grind coffeePhoto credit: Natalie Knowles

Grind's signature House Blend is described as having chocolate and hazelnut tasting notes that cuts through milk. It's roasted in Grind's London roastery and served in a number of their London-based cafes. Additionally, Grind sell compostable coffee pods, filled with Grind Organic coffee, that is compatible with Original-style Nespresso machines. Grind offer a no-fuss subscription service, where you receive a refillable tin and regular deliveries of whole bean, ground or coffee pods.

Tried and tasted by Natalie Knowles, Commercial Content Writer: "I received a sample of the House Blend, coarse ground coffee, through the post. The inside of the cardboard packaging was a lovely surprise because it was shell pink. Inside was a pleasing, soft pink paper packet of House Blend ground coffee from Grind, Shoreditch, London. It's minimalist packaging and design, but it's the colour that gives feel-good vibes and evokes memories of the EL&N café. Actually, I was pleased to discover that Grind has its own number of contemporary cafés in London that serve breakfast, brunch, dinner and cocktails.

"I cut the packet open with scissors (shame it's not resealable). It smelt absolutely amazing - like the coffee shop of your dreams. Coarse dark brown coffee grounds. The aroma is even more intense when you dig in with a spoon. I used four tablespoons in my eight-cup cafetière and gave it a stir, leaving it to brew for four minutes.

"On first taste, it's a lovely smooth coffee with bitter, acidic notes, woody - highly drinkable and not overly intense. Rich, sweet, rounded and full-bodied. I could easily kick back with a stack of travel magazines and a chilled playlist and work my way through a cafetière of Grind coffee... Maybe, I could invite my mum over for a cuppa, because I think this is a very accessible coffee that appeals to all tastes... but I kind of want to keep this one to myself!"

(The coffee I received was roasted on 16.01.23 and I received it on 24.01.23. Batch 110123.)


  • Tastes fantastic
  • Refillable Grind tin
  • Ethically sourced coffee
  • Fabulous branding


  • Would benefit from a resealable packet
  • Coffee enthusiasts would like to know more about the provenance of the coffee

Best for buying in bulk

Starbucks' first coffee house is in Pike Place, Seattle. This medium roast coffee nods to the heritage of its roots and means you can enjoy a classic Starbucks blend in the comfort of your home. Please note, you will need a grinder to prepare this whole-bean coffee.

Customer review: "I've tried lots of different beans but these are at another level, amazing flavour and definitely value for money."


  • Value for money
  • Starbucks consistent coffee taste


  • Make sure you like it before buying in bulk

Best for Strong coffee

Here at A Modern Kitchen, we love a good pun, and the Daily Grind did make us smile, as coffee is the fuel that gets us through the day. CafePod offer a good range of strong, decaf and flavoured coffees that are available in pods, ground or whole bean. The brand gives information about the provenance without being too overwhelming. The Daily Grind is a blend that combines Central and South American and Ethiopian beans. It has nutty and fruity flavours and a caramel base. CafePod is an independent London-based coffee brand, its range of strong coffees are not for the faint-hearted… the Supercharger Espresso is 12 on the intensity scale.

Customer review: "We tried the Brunch Blend and the Daily Grind blend in the whole beans and both were really delicious. They were smooth, not bitter at all and the perfect strength. Great coffee."


  • Good price
  • Great variety
  • Subscribe and save
  • Bridges the gap between an everyday coffee lover and a connoisseur
  • Range of coffee accessories available


  • Packaging on ground and whole bean coffee is not yet recyclable

OUR VERDICT: Which is the best coffee for a cafetière?

Coffee aficionados are going to love discovering the speciality grade coffees from Pact Coffee. Pact impresses with thorough information about provenance and flavour profiles. This is stylishly and succinctly designed on quality packaging. If flavour profiles and single-origin coffees are your bag, do visit the Pact Coffee website on your next coffee break. Kudos to Pact Coffees for its compellingly detailed Transparency Report on its product, packaging, planet and people.

Tasting the Brazilian Terras Altas is a wow experience of intense chocolate aroma and fruity tasting notes. It's strong, but if you love exploring the world through coffee, we recommend checking out Pact Coffee... have you got the beans for it?

But if you don't know your barista from your elbow and just want a delicious coffee experience, then Grind Coffee have most definitely got you covered with their smooth House Blend. Even unboxing it gave feel-good vibes - that shade of pink should be on prescription - full marks to Grind Coffee on the aesthetics. Fashionable, trending and relevant Grind Coffee is going places... and you don't have to live in London to enjoy it. On the packet, it says: "Good coffee, like, actually good coffee" and here at A Modern Kitchen, we heartily agree.

©Photo credit: Natalie Knowles


What types of coffee beans are there?

The most well-known type of coffee bean is Arabica, accounting for 70 per cent of global coffee production. The oval-shaped beans grow on mountain tops. Because of the high altitudes, with steady rainfall and shade, they take a long time to mature. This makes them develop a sweet, fruity taste and higher acidity. Arabica plants are easily affected by changes in the environment - impacting flavour and aroma.

Robusta beans rank second in worldwide coffee production. The circular-shaped Robusta bean is hardy, immune to various diseases and can thrive in a hot climate with irregular rainfall. Robusta beans have a higher amount of caffeine and a harsher flavour. Its strong taste makes it a good option for milky drinks as it stands up in flavour to sugar and lots of milk.

Liberica and Excelsa beans are less common. Liberica accounts for just two per cent of global coffee consumption. These are significantly larger beans that come from much bigger plants. The distinct flavour is characterised as smoky and fruity. It's not widely cultivated because it came close to extinction. Now there's a challenge for coffee creators.

How do I choose the best coffee beans?

Right at the top of the scale, there is single-origin coffee that uses beans from one location. Single-origin beans are of superior quality with unique flavours and subtleties. The pinnacle of single-origin coffee is speciality-grade beans that create the highest grade of coffee. These premium beans are grown at high altitudes by small-scale farms and require a lot of attention to cultivate.

Additionally, there are coffee blends that consist of two or more types of coffee. The coffee beans are selected and blended together for their complementary flavours. Blended coffees are consistent in flavour and make up the majority of coffees found in supermarkets.

Finally, choosing the "best" also means choosing coffee that is ethically and sustainably grown. Look for coffee that has Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and B-Corporation certifications.

What coffee roast do I choose?

Before roasting the coffee beans are green. The beans need to be roasted so that they can be consumed. They turn brown because the sugars in the bean caramelise. Also, like popcorn, the beans crack when they're cooked. The length of time they are roasted and how much the coffee beans crack to determine if the beans fall under light, medium or dark roast.

A light roast coffee does not get roasted for long enough to caramelise. Therefore, it retains more of the original flavour of the coffee bean. That's not to say it's better - as caramelisation helps to make coffee more palatable.

Between the first and second crack, a bean is classified as medium roast. Here, coffee develops its flavours. Single-origin coffees are generally medium roast as it brings out the flavour and preserves it.

After the second crack, coffee beans start to get dark and oily. The roast character comes through as darker, burnt and intense. However, dark-roast coffee is not stronger than light or medium coffees. Dark is more intense, generally cheaper to buy and accounts for the majority of coffee on the market.

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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