9 best cafetieres: Fool-proof French presses for the perfect coffee

Make the perfect cup of Joe with one of these top-performing brewers

Joanne Gould
Monday 14 December 2020 17:00
<p>Wake up and smell the coffee with one of these pots</p>

Wake up and smell the coffee with one of these pots

Coffee is the one thing that has helped us through this extended period of home working, and we’ve tested a lot of brewing equipment over the last six months to ensure you can create your own coffee-shop-style beverages at home.

While bean-to-cup machines, pod machines and fancy aeropress equipment are all nice to have, sometimes nothing beats a good old fashioned cafetiere.

The traditional French press is foolproof, inexpensive and allows for fresh, delicious fuss-free brewing; plus it has the added benefit of making enough steaming hot coffee for you to settle down and enjoy several cups uninterrupted.

We’ve tested a range of prices, styles and materials to find the best cafetieres to brew your barista-worthy beans in.

While sipping our coffees, we were looking for ease of pouring, heat-resistance, and something that looks good – with one beady eye on how much coffee sludge it manages to filter out before it makes it into your mug. Here’s our top pick of the coffee pots.

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Stellar double walled cafetiere

We have had this Stellar cafetiere for several years and its spot here is well earned. It’s a 900ml capacity jug, so keeps you in coffee for many cups, but the real beauty of this cafetiere is its ability to keep the coffee hot for several hours. The double walled construction is thermally insulated, which gives us a good three mug-fulls of hot coffee over the course of the morning – or serves several people, whichever you prefer – and it seems to be fairly indestructible, having survived far longer than other cafetieres we’ve had. It has a classic yet modern cylindrical stainless steel design that will be at home in most kitchens, pours without dribbling and doesn’t leave too many grounds in your cup: what more could you ask for in a coffee pot?

Denby brew halo cafetiere

This 1.5l capacity pot ticks both the beautiful and functional boxes, like most of Denby’s items. From the “brew” collection, designed in partnership with baristas, this ceramic French press is handmade in England from local Derbyshire clay and fired to a stunning black and grey glazed finish – there are three other styles available but this is our favourite. 

Naturally heat-proof, the handle is cool to the touch while the body stays warm enough for a few cups. The easy to clean pot is oven, microwave and dishwasher-proof without the plunger – which is fine and doesn’t leave lots of sediment. Invest in the matching cups, milk jug and sugar bowl to impress when entertaining.

Lakeland coffee for one ceramic cafetiere and matching cup

If you’re brewing up just for yourself, then may we draw your attention to this sweet set from Lakeland. Featuring a 500ml cafetiere that comes with a matching stackable 375ml cup, both items are made from vintage-looking shiny green ceramic, while the plunger is a standard stainless steel filter. The spout provides an easy no-spill pour, and the pot brews just enough for a cup and a bit. We like that it doesn’t take up much storage space and it feels very spoiling to be using matching drink ware just for one. It’s hand wash only, but we didn’t mind.

Nick Munro Domus cafetiere small

If you’re missing the glamour of an international hotel breakfast, this Domus cafetiere by British designer Nick Munro will go some way to scratching the itch. Inspired by the classical traditions of Britain’s industrial design heritage, the Domus cafetiere is made from high grade polished stainless steel, features a sleek domed top with keep-cool knob, an insulated stainless steel handle and is an extremely elegant looking – and heavy! – pot. No wonder, as Munro’s designs can be found on the tables of some of the most exclusive hotels and restaurants around the globe: this cafetiere makes working from home feel like an occasion. Available in small or large sizes, this is the small which holds 600ml of coffee, pours beautifully and makes about two mugs of hot, smooth coffee. It’s dishwasher safe too. 

VonShef 1.5L chrome glass cafetiere

If you’re a caffeine monster or are brewing up for a household then this 1.5l cafetiere from VonShef is the one. It’s a stylish, removable, clear glass cafetiere within a stainless steel frame and the top is finished in an on-trend brushed gold. The handle is made from a comfortable heat resistant black plastic – though the body is heat resistant too – and holds its contents sturdily. The coffee jug can be washed in the dishwasher, but the other bits and pieces need to be dismantled and washed by hand. While this pot doesn’t keep coffee boiling hot like some of the double walled jugs, this is improved if you warm the jug with boiling water before you get brewing. Overall a smart, effective and value for money cafetiere that doesn’t leave loads of sludge in your cup.

Barista & Co core coffee press

The team at Barista & Co know their coffee and this coffee press has been cleverly designed to make an exemplary cup. Sustainably made, plastic free and using only medical grade 18/8 stainless steel and thermal shock-proof borosilicate glass which won't taint your coffee, this pot has a removable clear glass beaker, steel frame and large ergonomic glass handle. It has a 360 degrees pour design – so there is no need to align the filter to the spout. The capacity of the jug is 1l, but the brand recommends adding just 45ml of water to your scoop of ground coffee first – this just happens to stand in line with the top of the metal base – in order to allow the coffee to bloom, de-gas and improve flavour, then add the rest of your hot water. Nifty. The jug is dishwasher safe and spare parts are available in case accidents happen.

Whittard copper 8-cup cafetiere

An attractive, eight cup cafetiere from the high street coffee and tea expert, Whittard, this 1l French press makes plenty of coffee to keep you going all morning. With a clear, heat-resistant borosilicate glass jug and a 18/8 stainless steel frame finished in bright, gleaming copper, this large pot is sure to look the part in many a modern kitchen. We like that the plunger has a non-slip cool grip top, and the handle is sturdy and comfortable with drip-proof pour. The fine stainless steel filter does the job well, filtering coarse grounds and allowing natural coffee oils to bloom, and a measuring scoop is provided for the brand’s recommended coffee experience. Hand washing is recommended.

Judge double walled cafetiere

Similar to the Stellar pot, this double walled insulated French press from the kitchenware experts at Judge will serve you well for a spot of uninterrupted home working where the steaming hot coffee just keeps a-coming. Another sleek, stainless steel affair, we like the traditional curved shape of this pot and particularly enjoy it being dishwasher safe. It’s not cheap, but the quality speaks for itself and we have no doubt this cafetiere will last well into its 25-year-guarantee. This is the 900ml jug, but there are smaller sizes available if you prefer to limit your caffeine intake. 

Royal Doulton coffee studio 1.5l French coffee press

Entertaining? You need this beauty from Royal Doulton. Holding an impressive 1.5 litres, this cafetiere is crafted in fine porcelain featuring a modern grey dip dye effect and a strong handle for comfortable hold. The pot is dishwasher proof and the volume and material means coffee stays warm enough for lingering over. It looks and feels more expensive than it is, and quality is assured with Royal Doulton. Get the set for best effect.

The verdict: Cafetieres

The Stellar double walled cafetiere has survived daily use in our house for years now and we love it as much as the first day – the fact it keeps coffee temperate is such a bonus – and we’ll always recommend this first. However, if you’re not a frequent cafetiere user, or are not in need of such quantities then there is no need to spend so much. The Barista & Co core coffee press is the perfect alternative. For entertaining, it’s a toss up between the Denby and Royal Doulton to impress guests with your coffee prowess.

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