Because they are so cheap to make, there are thousands of different types to choose from. The very cheapest should be avoided because they will break and won’t last very long whereas the most expensive are not worth the money because they won’t make a better cup of coffee than something a lot cheaper.
We provide insight into the best cafetière and french press coffee maker UK reviews from both a quality and value perspective.
If you choose the right balance between the two then you will be rewarded with a coffee maker that looks great, will last for years, won’t cost a lot and most importantly makes a great cup of coffee.
We say rubbish and they say garbage. We say petrol and they say gas. We say nappy they say diaper. Americans have developed their own version of English for certain words and coffee makers are no different.
For coffee makers that you plunge down on they say french press and we say cafetière.
To set the record straight cafetière is a French word when translated into English means “coffee maker”.
The exact history of the cafetière is unclear but it seems that its origins are either French or Italian and the design was patented by a Frenchman so we will go with French and for that reason, we are going to go with cafetière rather than French press.
Because no electricity is required to make coffee with a cafetière we have grouped together the 9 best coffee makers that combine quality with value but they are not machines because coffee machines require electricity and these do not so we will call them coffee makers.
This is the cheapest and best value for money way to make your own coffee with ground coffee rather than freeze fried instant.
Here are the best 10 we could find from hundreds reviewed.
This is a premium-priced cafetiere but you know the first time you use it that it is worth every penny. Strong and sturdy but weighing just 1kg this coffee maker has been made to last.
Everything fits in place perfectly, nothing rattles or shakes and the stainless steel walls are double layered to ensure your coffee stays warmer much longer than any glass cafetiere.
If you have ever owned a glass cafetiere before you will probably have dropped it and smashed it or at the very least chipped it at some point.
That won’t happen with the Coffee Gator. If it accidentally drops to the floor it will bounce off without so much as a scratch let alone breaking.
From the lid to the outer body construction through to the double filter that has been designed to ensure you won’t get any coffee sediment in the bottom of your cup, this looks great and produces a great cup of coffee as well.
Finished in stunning stainless steel this has a very well designed spout amongst other things that ensures no spills or dripping even if you are pouring from an acute angle.
This Topelek cafetiere comes with 3 filter meshes whereas most only come with one because then they can charge less overall. Credit to this manufacturer for recognising that the metal mesh that filters the coffee is the one part that does need replacing over time and the fact you have 3 will ensure it is a good number of years before you need to worry about that.
There are a couple of extras as well which are a couple of long spoons for stirring the coffee before brewing and a coffee scoop as well to measure out the amount of coffee to add to the cafetiere.
If you like a more modern look but your preference is for glass then this cafetiere perfectly blends modern and traditional to create a hybrid that looks great and also allows you to instantly see how much coffee there is left without having to take the top off which is one of the downsides of the full stainless steel versions
You get 3 spare meshes with this french press so if you look after it well it should last you a good number of years making this an excellent value for money purchase which comes in a lot cheaper than the more well known branded equivalents.
Bodum is the worldwide leader in cafetieres and their pedigree and quality is unquestioned. The Chambord is one of their flagship products and if you want to buy this classic design then you know you are getting something that is made of high-quality materials.
The glass, in particular, is made of borosilicate glass which is tougher than standard glass that is more resistant to sudden changes in temperature and less likely to break or crack. A high-quality product from a top brand.
If you are not bothered about a brand and you don’t want to spend the money that the like of Bodum are asking then this budget cafetiere with a 1-litre coffee capacity is both functional and cheap.
It may not have the looks and design features of some of the others and it doesn’t come with any extras like a free scoop or spare mesh filter (it comes with on as standard) but it will brew you a good cup of coffee at a very good price.
If your taste in design leans more toward modern than traditional then this is going to be the look you will be drawn to. Really clean lines and an all-over shiny chrome finish makes this cafetiere look worth a lot more than the price it’s being sold at.
It will hold up to 1 litre of coffee which is plenty to satisfy even the largest of families in one sitting and the double insulated walls mean you could brew 4 or 5 cups for just two of you if you and it will keep the coffee warmer for longer than a traditional glass version would.
They also throw in a great little gadget which is a scoop to measure your coffee with which doubles up as a clip to keep any unused coffee fresh and you get 2 long spoons for stirring the coffee.
It also comes with a 2-year warranty. Brilliant value for money.
This is the modern take on cafetieres that has taken the world by storm over the last 15 to 20 years. Cafetieres have been around for well over 100 years and this operates the same “plunge” process to push the water through the coffee and into the cup below.
It’s been a worldwide hit because it is so easy to use and you can pretty much take it anywhere. You can only make one cup at a time so its great if you are sick of the instant coffee at work or even worse the dreaded coffee machine. With the Aeropress, you can make a high-quality coffee in just 60 seconds wherever you are.
This is more suited to you if you are making single cups of coffee throughout the day rather than multiple cups in one batch.
This is not officially a cafetiere or french press but you don’t need to plug it in so we are going to include this type of coffee maker because its a great low cost, super simple way to dip your toe in the water if you are considering brewing your own coffee for the first time.
This exact design has been in production for nearly 100 years. If something keeps getting bought for a century then you know there must be something good going on. There are lots of Chinese imitations that you can pick up for a few pounds less but why skimp on a couple of quid when you can brew your coffee the same way they did over many decades gone by. Bialeti is the original and the best.
Even though the original Bialeti moka pot has sold millions of units over the years even they recognise that times change and not everyone likes the old traditional look so they brought out the Venus which does exactly the same job but it has been updated to a beautiful modern design.
Available in multiple sizes we have featured the 6 cup here but always go a bit higher than the number of “cups” stated because it’s based on roughly a 125ml cup size and we do love our mug of coffee which is going to be about twice that size.
If you are not interested in the Bialeti branded stovetop espresso makers then this model from Godmorn is the best of the rest.
A lovely modern design not dissimilar to the Bialeti Venus but with a more rounded base, it is also available in multiple sizes according to the number of cups you need to brew at any one time. It works on exactly the same basis as the Bialeti branded coffee makers but you will be able to get hold of one for less.
What type of coffee is best for a cafetière?
Always use the freshest coffee you can find. All of the pre-ground stuff in the supermarkets could have been sitting in the packet for months before you buy it.
Coffee loses its freshness very quickly after grinding so the best type of coffee for a cafetière is coffee that has been freshly ground by you.
If you live in or around a large town or city you will probably have a speciality coffee roaster. Visit them and get some whole coffee beans that they have roasted in the last week.
If you don’t know a local speciality roaster then you can consider some of the most popular coffee beans that are tried and tested over many years by thousands of people.
The bottom line is that the best coffee for a cafetiere is coffee that you have ground yourself from whole coffee beans.
Try out different types from different countries and different roast types. Eventually, you will find one or two that you love and can stick with.
Glass or Stainless Steel?
There are pros and cons to both. It always feels better to use something that you like the look of so go for one that catches your eye.
If you stick to one of our recommendations above then whether it is stainless steel or glass, they will make a great coffee and last you for a very long time.
A glass cafetière is more traditional and will be less resistant to knocks and bumps and of course, if it falls to the floor then it will smash.
A stainless steel cafetière will be more resistant to clumsiness but the downside is that you can’t see how much coffee you have left without taking the lid off.
A stainless steel cafetière will also provide a little more insulation than a glass one and will, therefore, keep your coffee hotter for longer.
On balance, a stainless-steel version may be a little more practical but glass is the original and traditional method used so it really comes down to personal preference.
Grind the beans yourself
This is a common message throughout many of our articles as the importance cannot be underestimated. Use a coarse grind for cafetières as this will allow the water to absorb the coffee for maximum flavour.
Here is a detailed walkthrough of how to make coffee in a French press or cafetiere.
Water to coffee ratio
Depending on how strong or mild you like to take your coffee you can adjust the ratio to suit your own taste but as a general guide, you can use 15g of coffee for every 250ml of water.
If you can’t be bothered to get the scales out then 1 heaped tablespoon is going to be pretty close to 15g and then it will be easy to add the correct amount of water according to the size of the cafetière you are using.
We would recommend getting a cafetière with a one-litre capacity because then you can cater from anything to coffee for one up to coffee for ten and a larger one doesn’t cost that much more than a smaller one.
Cold or heated milk?
We believe that there is greater pleasure in drinking coffee made with a cafetière using hot milk rather than cold milk from the fridge.
The main reason is that most of the time when you pour yourself a cup from the cafetière you will almost always give yourself a top-up and that will most likely be 10 minutes or more from when you initially brewed the coffee and it will have cooled down at that point so adding cold milk will at best make it lukewarm or even worse it could be cold.
You could buy yourself an electric milk frother and use the milk heating setting which will warm the milk up rather than frothing it but there is nothing wrong with heating some milk up in the microwave for 60 seconds. It won’t affect the quality of the flavour one bit and in fact, it will enhance the flavour because your second cup will be as hot as the first even if you are having it 15 minutes later.