It’s pretty popular to pick French press for achieving full-flavored coffee, but a common question when buying one is, “Which size to pick?”
The thing is, you don’t have to make it complicated.
In this article, I’ll discuss the different French press sizes to help you make your pick. I’ll also touch on factors like the materials used and some brewing tips to really get you started on your French press journey.
Table of Contents
Overview of Common French Press Sizes
French presses commonly come in 4 sizes:
|French Press Size||oz capacity||ml capacity|
|3 cups||12 oz||350 ml|
|4 cups||17 oz||500 ml|
|8 cups||34 oz||1000 ml|
|12 cups||51 oz||1500 ml|
Here’s a more detailed look at what each size has to offer:
3-Cup (0.35 l, 12 oz) French Press
The three-cup French Press typically has a capacity of about 0.35 liters or 11.8 ounces of coffee, which makes it suitable for single servings. If you seek the smallest option for portability or to cater to your solo coffee-drinking habits, then the 3 Cups French Press might be enough for you.
What I like about this small French press is that it delivers a delicious cup and no extra coffee goes to waste if you use it correctly for your own cup of joe.
4-Cup French Press (0.5 l, 17 oz)
The next step up from the 3-cup press is the four-cup French press with a typical volume ranging around 0.5 liters or 17 ounces. This French press size can yield two to three servings, depending on how strong you like your coffee.
If you have a partner that shares your love for coffee or one cup’s just not enough for you, then this 4-cup is probably the best pick for you because you can make a pair of delicious cups in one go. Click here to check out more 4-cup coffee makers.
8-Cup French Press (1 l, 34 oz)
Doubling the 4-cup size, 8-cup French presses typically hold around one liter or roughly 33.8 fluid ounces which can produce about 4 servings of coffee.
I really recommend this size if you often have coffee-drinking buddies over or you like making larger batches that are enough to get you through the day.
12-Cup French Press (1.5 l, 51 oz)
The largest French press available, the 12-cup size has a typical capacity of approximately 1.5 liters or about 50.7 fluid ounces. With this many cups of coffee you can make, you can serve bigger groups, producing about 8 servings of coffee in every brew.
Personally, this size isn’t for me but I see why people would pick this handy French press over the other sizes. Aside from making large batches that could cover the caffeine needs of a pair of coffee drinkers in a day, this many coffee servings can also be convenient if you’re often working with a team in one place.
This large size reminds me of the largest size Moka pot, which I can’t believe anybody would use either. But they do…
Remember that these sizes are just estimates based on average cup sizes so make sure that you review the dimensions and capacity of a specific product before clicking the “check out” button.
Which Size French Press Should You Get?
If you are still not sure which size fits your lifestyle, here are a few more things to think about:
- Consider how much coffee you drink regularly. If you’re a solo coffee drinker, then a small press such as a 3-cup size will suffice. On the other hand, if you love entertaining guests or making larger batches of coffee at once, then opt for an 8-cup or even bigger model.
- Think about how often you plan on using the French Press; frequent daily use might warrant a larger French press so that you don’t have to keep refilling it constantly.
- Consider the size of the French press when it comes to portability and space consumption. If you like traveling or have a small space on your kitchen countertop to allot for your coffee maker, then get a smaller brewer.
- You don’t have to fill the carafe to max capacity, you can make smaller amounts if you mind the coffee to water ratio.
Other Factors to Consider
Picking the right size of the French press coffee maker is pretty important, but it’s not the end of the conversation. Here are more factors to consider when choosing a French press:
French Press Carafe Materials
French presses are often made out of glass, but there are also stainless steel and plastic varieties. Check out this overview of what these materials can offer you:
|Glass||– See the brewing process|
– Elegant appearance
|– The material is fragile|
|Stainless steel||– Does not absorb the heat|
|– Hard to tell if your brew is done|
|Plastic||– Lightweight |
|– Hard to tell if your brew is done|
– Not environmentally-friendly
– Plastic retains coffee smell from steeping
Manual vs Electric
Electric French presses aren’t really all that special. They have a heating unit in their base, and will heat your brewing water for you. Other than that, the process is the same.
For me, opting for the manual French press is the best choice. After all, the process of brewing with a French press is simple enough, and I don’t really see the use for the heating part.
French Press Brewing Tips
Aside from getting the French press that’s fit for you and your needs, here are some additional tips to help you make coffee that you can enjoy at home.
But first, make sure to read my detailed recipe for brewing great French press coffee.
Use the right coffee-to-water ratio
The ratio for French press coffee is quite flexible to cater to different palates, but I recommend using 1:16 as the starting point. You can then tweak it according to your needs.
For each French press size, here are the recommended coffee-to-water ratio measurements:
- 3-cup French press – 22 g of coffee grounds with 350 g of (12 oz) water.
- 4-cup French press – 31g of coffee grounds with 500 g (17 oz) of water
- 8-cup French press – 62 g of coffee grounds with 1 kg (35 oz) of water.
- 12-cup French press – 94 g of coffee grounds with 1.5 kg (52 oz) of water.
Use a coarse grind size
Generally speaking, medium to coarser grinds work best when you brew coffee in French presses so I recommend that you pick medium coarse on your grind settings. Too fine a grind size results in muddier tastes while too coarse leads to under-extraction, leaving the beverage lacking in flavor.
Blooming describes the process where you initially pour enough near-boiling water over the ground coffee, allowing them to release CO2. Some people would pour 1/4 of the water first and wait about 30 seconds before pouring in the rest. This is said to improve the flavor absorption in your cup of coffee.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are answers to questions you might have regarding French press coffee:
What is the difference between mug size and cup size?
The cup size is often used as a unit of measurement that converts to 8 ounces of liquid. But when it is meant to mean the cups and mugs used to serve coffee, a cup can hold about 6 ounces while a coffee mug can hold about 8 ounces of liquid.
How do I clean my French press?
To easily clean your brewer, disassemble all of the removable parts and rinse them with hot water, followed by a dish soap plunge as described in this French press cleaning article. Avoid abrasive materials that might scratch surfaces causing damage. For deep cleaning, use a 1:1 vinegar and water mixture.
Is French press coffee bad for you?
Some people might say French press is bad because of the diterpenes present in its unfiltered coffee. However, consuming moderate amounts of this popular brew does not really pose any serious health threats. Click here to learn more about this.
Can you make less coffee in a French press than it’s capacity?
Yes, you can make as little or as much coffee in a French press as you like. You do not have to max out it’s capacity, just be mindful of the proper 1:16 coffee to water ratio.
There you have it, a guide to picking a French press size for you. The right choice really depends on your needs– whether you just need coffee for one or two people, a pot of coffee that can serve four, or even a lot of coffee for a gathering, there’s a size that suits you.
So go ahead and make that decision, and then discover the world of delicious and flavorful brews made with the French press.