It’s difficult enough to find the best all‐around coffee grinder in general. How much more difficult is it to find the best coffee grinder, specifically for the French press? Very. Producing uniform coarse grounds is one of the bigger challenges in the coffee industry. What models will be up to the test? We find out in this comprehensive review.
With the market saturated with a wealth of options, it does get a bit overwhelming. It’s a good thing you have this handy manual to pave the way. First, you can take a look at this helpful buying guide. Or, you can take the plunge and go right ahead to our list of the best coffee grinder for French press.
|Juicer||Type||Burr Set||Burr Speed||Bean Hopper Max Capacity||Grind Adjustment||Power||Price|
|Fiorenzato F4 Nano V2||Electric||58 mm Stainless Steel Flat Burrs||1400 RPM||1 pound or 454 grams||Stepless||250W|
|Rancilio HSD‐ROC‐SD||Electric||50 mm Tempered Steel Flat Burrs||1725 RPM||10.4 ounces or 300 grams||Stepped||166W|
|Baratza Virtuoso||Electric||40 mm Stainless Steel Conical Burrs||405‐495 RPM||8 ounces or 227 grams||Stepped||70W|
|Breville Smart Grinder Pro||Electric||58 mm Stainless Steel Conical Burrs||—||18 ounces or 510 grams||Stepped||165W|
|Bodum Bistro||Electric||35 mm Stainless Steel Conical Burrs||720 RPM||7.8 ounces or 221 grams||Stepped||160W|
|Porlex Mini||Manual||Ceramic Conical Burrs||N/A||20 grams||Stepped||Manual|
The Ultimate List of the Best
Fiorenzato F4 Nano V2 – Excellent and Expensive
First in our list is a Fiorenzato classic — a handsome, executive‐caliber, electric model that no professional barista will scoff at. You’re bound to feel like a pro in your own home with this top performer. The F4 Nano V2 is suitable for home and small‐time commercial use.
The F4 Nano V2 is a heavy, solid coffee grinder, encased in chrome and steel. It also costs more than just a few bucks — several times the price of the next most expensive product on this list. With such a hefty price tag, of course, it makes phenomenal coffee grounds for the French Press.
The Fiorenzato F4 Nano V2 Electronic Espresso Grinder produces exceptionally consistent grounds, from the finest grounds of Turkish coffee to the very coarse grounds of cold brew coffee, and everything in between. This machine is undoubtedly not just for espresso, despite the name.
Because of the F4 Nano V2’s stepless grind adjustment, you can choose an extremely precise coarseness for your French press coffee, depending on your taste preference. Add to that, its doserless design means that you can position your French press to receive the coffee directly. Your grounds won’t have to travel far, resulting in low retention and preserving the coffee’s flavor and aroma well.
Ultra Modern Electronics
The F4 Nano V2 is oh‐so‐quiet. A fantastic feat for electric coffee grinders — a kitchen gadget that is notorious for making loud rackets in the mornings.
This model is also programmable. You can input your preference, then sit down and relax. The intuitive touchscreen display will show you how long the F4 Nano V2’s been grinding, at what setting, how much coffee you have, and even save your adjustment.
Because of its wide and short hopper, the F4 Nano V2 can be conveniently placed under low hanging kitchen cabinets.
Don’t Break the Bank Just Yet
If you have the bucks to spare, this machine is definitely the way to go. It is quite frankly one of the best in its lofty price range. But if you can’t quite justify the price and you’re looking for a more affordable option that still delivers impressive results, then don’t fret. The Rancilio HSD‐ROC‐SD Rocky is a worthy choice at a lower price range.
One other thing, Fiorenzato seems to have fallen short when it comes to warranty. They only offer one year for the F4 Nano V2, which is actually acceptable for cheaper units. But considering how much you’ll have to pay for this product, one year is a bit disappointing.
Rancilio HSD‐ROC‐SD – For the Brew‐Hopper
Are you looking for a reliable and sturdy grinder worth its price? Rancilio’s got your back. The Rancilio Rocky is built like a tank and has the machinery to back it up. And not only is its metal casing for show, but the material also helps insulate the grinding mechanism which reduces noise to a great extent.
Not Just for Espresso, No
As the name suggests, the Rancilio Rocky was made primarily for espresso coffee so it’s exemplary with fine grinds. But don’t discount this machine yet, just like the Fiorenzato F4 Nano V2, the Rancilio HSD‐ROC‐SD Rocky Espresso Coffee Grinder makes amazingly uniform medium coarse to coarse grounds, perfect for the French press.
This machine isn’t cheap but neither is it astronomical in price. One thing’s for sure, the Rancilio Rocky is one of the best value for money in the market today.
Doser or No Doser
Doser or doserless, which do you prefer? This won’t be a dilemma with the Rocky, though. because you can get a doser or doserless version. My particular model is doserless but the model with a doser includes a grounds catcher and a dispensing lever, in addition to a chute and portafilter holder for espresso. The holder is removable for when you’re brewing with a French press.
From One Brew to Another
The most notable attribute of the Rancilio Rocky is its flexibility. It’s not only one of the best coffee grinders for French press, but it’s also perfect for people who like a variety to their coffee. If you’re someone who likes to hop from one brewing method to another, you need not look further. There’s little need to calibrate each time you go from one coarseness/fineness to another. Although, I have to say that the adjustment itself can get quite tricky.
You’ll have to manipulate three controls when moving from a fine ground to a coarse one, and vice versa. One control is the grind/on button at the bottom and another is the hopper lock at the top. The third is rotating the hopper to adjust the grind setting itself. You’ll need three hands, some magic or a bit of creativity. Here’s a video showing a hack on doing it on your own, without extra limbs or hocus pocus.
40 And Some Change
The Rocky has 40 marked grind settings with about 15 more unmarked adjustments after that. I suggest setting the adjustment to 40 ar above for French press coarse grounds. That’s part of the unmarked settings. For espresso, the 0 to 10 settings are best; 10 to 20 for the pour over or Chemex, and 25 to 35 for drip. Again, these are just suggestions and it’s still best to try experimenting on your own.
Baratza Virtuoso – A Generous Mix of Value and Quality
Unlike the other two grinders discussed in the previous sections, the Virtuoso has a conical burr grinder, which arguably does a better job of churning out medium fine to coarse grinds. Let’s find out if its conical burrs make the Baratza Virtuoso a wonderful grinder for the coarser grinds of the French press.
One, Two, Three Grind
The Baratza Virtuoso ‐ Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is a no‐nonsense machine that only has three controls. That’s actually more than some lesser priced grinders have to offer but these controls are very simple and easy to use.
One is a pulse button you push when grinding coffee. The stepped grind adjustment setting is another. The Virtuoso has 40 levels of grind adjustment that will allow you to choose a precise grind, with each level just a teeny bit finer or coarser than the previous or the next.
Dial for the 60‐second timer is the third control. This will allow you to estimate how much coffee grounds you want. You’ll have to play around a bit to determine how much time it takes to ground coffee at a certain fineness or coarseness. But once you hit on the right one, it’s easy to just leave the Virtuoso on its own and do something else while waiting.
You’ll also be glad to know that the Baratza Virtuoso is a relatively quiet grinder.
Designed for Functionality
I have not experienced this next issue personally but some users have had the Virtuoso overheat, resulting in burned coffee beans. Be careful when using the grinder at a high rotation for a long grinding time.
Breville Smart Grinder Pro – Upgraded Features at a Modest Price
Breville Smart Grinder “Pro” Coffee Bean Grinder is an improvement on a previous version of Breville’s Smart Grinder. How is it different and how will it improve your grinding experience? Whether you’re looking to upgrade to the new Pro version or just thinking of trying it out for the first time, you’ll find the information you need below.
Where the old Smart Grinder only had 25 steps, the Pro now has 60 to allow you better control of your grind size. And if that’s not enough adjustment for you, find 10 more micro adjustments for each grind level when you lift the bottom burr. This gives you an outstanding 600 micro adjustment levels in total—more than any other stepped grinder on this list. That’s what I call a proper upgrade.
The Dosing iQ is the Breville Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder’s intuitive technology that allows users to adjust to the ideal dosing automatically. The Precision Digital Time will let you set the grind time in ⅕ second increments. The Pro’s smart LCD display will then show you your grind settings, the time, even the temperature, and so on. This makes it easy to adjust. Save and program your preferred dose and the Dosing iQ will keep it for you.
The Pro actually does not produce extra coarse grounds per se—more of medium coarse to coarse—but with the French press, just coarse enough not to go through the press’ mesh is just right. What really sells the Smart Grinder Pro is its consistency. All grinders suffer to some extent as the grinds become coarser. The uniform coarse grounds that the Pro produces make it ideal for brewing delectable coffee with the French press.
For those who like peace in the mornings or have family and housemates who do, you will be glad to know that the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is a quiet coffee grinder. It also has a magnetic grounds receiver so you won’t have a difficult time cleaning it.
Some Defects but Great Customer Service
They do, however, appear to have a very responsive and accommodating customer service. They provide speedy support, willing to send users free replacement parts or even replace the whole units themselves if need be.
Bodum is known for its quality French presses. One might wonder if the reputation extends to Bodum’s coffee grinders as well.
No bells and whistles on this one but you gotta admit, the Bodum Bistro Electronic Burr looks pretty fab. If there’s a coffee grinder beauty contest, this might just win first prize. Do the looks match the performance, though? We’re going to find out.
Less is More
It’s a well‐known downfall of coffee grinders that the coarser the grind setting, the more performance deteriorates. Many pricier grinders work well for espresso and pour overs but their coarser settings have too many fine grinds. This makes a dirty, mucky French press coffee. On the other hand, the coarser settings on the Bistro churn a decent grind with fewer fines. This is more ideal for the French press. Less is more this time around.
The Bistro also has way fewer steps than other grinders, only 12. This would be very frustrating for those who like more control with their grinds. However, it’s perfect for beginners who won’t be too fussy about such things…yet. If you’re one of those who get frustrated, try stepless grinders like the Fiorenzato F4 Nano V2. If that’s pushing past the budget too much (understandably), try the next best thing, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro with 600 micro steps.
You have two controls to choose from, there’s a button you can push for on-demand grinding, or you can set the timer to grind for 5‐20 seconds. Twenty is the cap and the manual doesn’t suggest grinding again immediately after a 20-second grind. If you’re processing more than 7.8 oz or 221g of coffee, you may want to wait a good 5 minutes to keep the unit from overheating.
The Bodum Bistro has a glass grinds receiver that is naturally static‐free. But if your French press fits, you can directly replace the glass with the press. This way, you won’t have an extra container to clean.
I’ve always said that the length of a unit’s warranty reflects the company’s confidence in its products. Most coffee grinders come with a one year warranty. The two-year warranty of the Bistro is a nice touch.
Bodum Bistro is not the quietest grinder out there. If this is a deal breaker, then you may be better off with the pricier but quieter Breville Smart Grinder Pro.
Porlex Mini – The Traveler’s Best Coffee Grinder for French Press
A hardcore coffee snob can’t and won’t live without their specialty coffee. But what about the coffee fan who’s also a globetrotter or adventure seeker? Coffeeshop‐hopping all over the world isn’t too cost effective. And even if you can find a power source in the woods, it would be a tad difficult to lug around a 9-pound Baratza Virtuoso, let alone an 18-pound Rancilio Rocky.
Luckily, Porlex is serious about their traveling coffee game. They came up with a solution in the Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder.
Little Mean Machine
The Mini is equipped with a set of spring-loaded, ceramic conical burrs to give you consistent, static- and heat-free grounds. Dial the setting to medium coarse and you’ll get yourself excellently uniform grounds that’s truly impressive from such a small machine — perfect for a delicious cup of French press coffee on the go.
The best thing about manual coffee grinders —besides the pocket‐friendly price, the almost non‐existent noise and the unique experience of grinding your own coffee—is their portability. The Mini is small enough to fit in a French press, thereby saving more space in your backpack. Heck, it’ll fit in your pocket at just 6 inches tall.
The Mini is also ultra lightweight at just around 8 ounces. Plus the stainless steel housing won’t leave you worrying about the grinding mechanism being damaged. The sturdy hand crank also has a handy slot in the Mini’s rubber grip for safekeeping.
Some Muscle Required
Unlike electric models that will grind your beans with a click of a button or a turn of a dial, it takes a bit of effort to produce coffee grounds from hand coffee mills. You gotta be ready to exercise those arms with this grinder.
And forget about grinding for a pot. The Porlex Mini is a single‐serve device. Not only will grinding beans for 4 or more people take 30 minutes minimum, but the hopper can also only accommodate 20g of coffee beans at a time. You’ll have to refill and crank again and again. Your coffee grounds won’t be as fresh and your arms will be very tired.
The Types of Coffee Grinders and How They Differ
There are many types of grinders out there. In order to find the best, you’ll first have to learn how to identify them and know what you’re looking for. One type is further divided into other types so it can get confusing. This handy guide will help you wade your way in.
Manual and Electric Grinders
There are two main types of coffee grinders, manual and electric. Choose an electric gadget if you want to grind more beans faster. You can just sit back and watch your machine grind away automatically. Electric grinders produce way more volume than their manual counterparts. They are also usually bulky and produce more heat.
Manual coffee grinders are beloved for the unique experience of grinding your own coffee, as people did way back then. Some fans have even made manually grinding coffee part of their morning ritual. Choose a hand grinder if you want something cheaper, smaller or more hands-on.
Hand coffee grinders are also portable for when you’re traveling. Because they are usually small, they can easily fit in a cramped kitchen. Manual models do take a bit of effort. They are very slow but also produce negligible heat.
Blade and Burr Grinders
The first thing you’ll have to know is that blade grinders are cheap but are no good. Run away from these grinders as they are the enemy of the consistent grounds you are aiming for. Blade grinders have propellers that hack away at coffee beans at a high speed until coffee grounds reach the majority of whatever size you’re aiming for. This results in widely inconsistent grinds with bigger chunks, small particles, and coffee dust. You won’t be able to make any good coffee with that.
In contrast, burr grinders are the king (or queen) of specialty coffee. You can set the fineness or coarseness you want before grinding. The beans are then crushed and ground in between two abrasive burr surfaces until they come out in uniform sizes.
Flat and Conical Burrs
This is where I wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly what to choose. Both burr types produce the most precise, consistent grounds. Flat burrs are two identical discs, each with a serrated side that mirror each other, one is a bottom burr and the other is a top burr. The beans are fed between the burrs, and as they are ground further in, the beans get progressively smaller until they reach the size you set. Flat burrs tend to have more retention than conical burrs. They also dispense grounds through centrifugal force so they need a much higher RPM or rotations per minute to be effective.
Conical burrs are two different sized cone shapes with serrated sides facing each other, one is an inner burr and the other is an outer burr. The same concept of grinding applies, except the beans go further in and down because of the burrs’ deep shape. Conical burrs dispense grounds through gravity so they typically have lower RPM.
Steel and Ceramic Burrs
This is another distinction that’s down to user preference. Steel burrs are softer than ceramic burrs but they are also more resilient in that if stray pebbles or twigs accidentally get inside the grinder, steel burrs are less likely to need replacement.
Since steel is softer, it can get blunt with time. However, for a stainless steel grinder to show signs of wear and tear to this extent, you’ll probably have to be grinding tens of pounds of coffee every day for years. This is more a consideration for commercially used grinders than in-home use.
Ceramic burrs are stronger than steel but are more brittle. They won’t wear down from grinding big volumes of coffee beans but a stray stone or pebble will be their downfall. Ultimately, the decision is down to preference.
Important Details to Consider
There are a number of factors to take into consideration when choosing the best coffee grinder for French press, depending on your individual requirements. One model may be best for one person while a different model may be best for another. Determine your own by carefully weighing in these factors.
Coarseness and Consistency of Grounds
The most important determinants to consider when choosing a coffee grinder for the French press are coarseness and consistency. No other factor on this list will contribute to the taste of coffee more than the size and uniformity of grounds.
You will want a grinder that can churn coffee to the proper size for a French press. As it’s an infusion method of brewing coffee, the grind size is critical. You won’t want your grinds to be small enough to escape the mesh and make your coffee mucky, acidic and bitter. Neither would you want them too big, which will make a weak coffee.
The kind of mesh filter you have will also play a role. Larger grinds are usually needed for metal filters as they tend to have bigger holes. Coarse grounds are best for this. Nylon filters have finer holes so a medium coarse to coarse setting will do.
However high the quality of your beans, if the coffee grounds are composed of wildly uneven particles from pebbles to powder, you’ll be drinking crappy coffee, full of sediments. The over‐extraction of the finer grounds and under‐extraction of coarser grounds will also lead to an imbalanced‐tasting coffee that no one would want to drink.
Grind Size Adjustment
Stepped grinders are easier to use because you can choose among the predefined settings on the grinder. If you’re a beginner or simply prefers less hassle, stepped grinders are the likely choice. Some grinders have as little as 12 steps which are way easier to handle but don’t give you a lot of options. Some grinders have 60 or 600 so you have way more command over your coffee ground size.
Stepless grinders will give you the ultimate control. They are the pick of more experienced coffee aficionados who like to experiment with their coffee. Is your French press brew almost perfect but not just quite? There are limitless grind adjustments to stepless grinders so you can make the tiniest of tweaks.
Capacity and Intended Use
Think about how many people you’ll be making coffee for and for what setting. Whether you’re a casual homeowner or a professional coffee brewer, there’s a grinder for you.
On a budget and a coffee grinder for a home where four people like to drink copious amounts of French press coffee? The Bodum Bistro is a more affordable option that’s just right for smaller to medium batches.
Are there three people in the family who like to drink coffee in the mornings but two others who hate to be woken up by the sound of grinding beans? The Baratza Virtuoso is a good choice and is relatively quiet for an electric grinder.
Are you planning to travel or take your French press camping? The pocket‐sized Porlex Mini is your best bet.
If you like French press coffee but don’t really drink this brew 100% of the time, you may want a more versatile grinder that can go from espresso to French press, easy‐peasy. Take a look at the Rancilio Rocky.
Are you looking for a machine that can serve as a backup for your little coffee shop? Look no further than the Fiorenzato F4 Nano V2.
Top Pick: And the winner is…
The Rancilio HSD‐ROC‐SD Rocky Espresso Coffee Grinder is my the best coffee grinder for French press. The Rocky’s seamless transition between grind settings is praise‐worthy. I love the French Press but I also like a different brew every now and then.
For portability, nothing can beat our runner‐up, the Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder. It may be small and light but the Mini delivers great performance.
That said, all of the models featured in this review are the best in their own right. I made sure that there’d be a grinder suited for your individual need. What’s your top pick?