French press coffee brewing is a rewarding experience from beginning to end, but choosing your first french press can be quite a challenge. There are dozens of options across multiple brands, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.
Some of the most awarded and prestigious french press makers are Bodum, Hario, and Espro. While you can’t go wrong with a press from any of these brands, there may be one that fits your lifestyle and preferences better than the rest.
The goal of this french press showdown is to guide you through some of the significant differences of the french presses from Bodum, Hario, and Espro so you can make an informed, confident decision. We want you to thrive with your french press, so we want to help you choose the best one for you.
Bodum French Presses
Bodum launched its first french press in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1974, nearly 50 years after the first press was patented in Italy. The company’s modern presses are visually stunning and nod back to the classic press design. Most knock-off french presses are based on the designs of Bodum, which tells you the business is doing something right.
Bodum’s glass carafe presses all feature high borosilicate, heat proof glass. It’s durable, capable of changing temperatures quickly without the risk of breaking, and is the envy of cheaper presses.
The Bodum Chambord is the iconic french press. It’s built with Bodum’s signature glass, features an eye-catching chrome plated frame and lid, and uses a standard double-filter. It’s a beautiful press that shines in any setting and is enjoyable to use, satisfying the romantic in all of us.
Bodum has a variety of french press designs, but their Columbia line is the most different. These presses are made with double walled stainless steel, which retains heat better than glass and is far less likely to become damaged. Though it performs well in cafes and restaurants because of its durability, it doesn’t reach into the romantic mind as passionately as the Chamboard.
Hario French Presses
Japan’s Hario is known around the world for its high quality glass and pour over coffee makers, but they’ve recently revealed themselves as a serious player in the french press realm as well.
All of Hario’s french presses feature the business’s award winning signature glass, which is quite durable and heatproof.
Hario distinguishes the majority of their presses by accenting them with olive wood. While it doesn’t shine like Bodum’s chrome, it’s just as stunning to behold. Hario’s presses also feature the standard double filter system at the bottom of the rod.
Most of Hario’s french presses are single walled, but the Cafe Press model features a double-walled carafe for improved heat retention without sacrificing visual appeal. Instead of a handle, this press has an olive wood collar wrapped around it for easy gripping.
Espro French Presses
Relatively new to the scene, Espro didn’t launch their first french press until 2004. Bodum and Hario were already established french press makers by that point, but that didn’t keep the Canadian brand from making a splash worldwide.
The original Espro Press has a capacity of 525 ml, is double walled with stainless steel, and features an innovative double microfilter that is 12-15 times finer than the average french press filter and produces less sludge than Bodum’s and Hario’s presses. It’s a sleek and durable device that gets the job done well.
Espro also has a glass carafe press which they claim is 40% thicker than the carafes of standard french presses. It also features Espro’s signature double microfilter, but is also compatible with the included paper filters.
Of all the travel french presses, Espro’s may perform the best. The double microfilter is so fine that it keeps the plunged grounds from further extracting as you take your coffee to go, distinguishing itself from most travel presses, which tend to make over extracted coffee.
Which Is Right For You?
You should already have an idea of what you’re looking for and which presses may suit your preferences, but let me offer some specific recommendations.
If you’re a romantic, it’s hard to beat the Bodum Chambord. It’s classic, idyllic, and gives you a crystal clear view of the brewing coffee from start to finish. This is the press of your Instagram feed and holiday dreams.
If you’re prone to clumsiness, you’ll probably want a steel walled press. Though glass carafes from these brands are not easily broken, they’re not indestructible either. The Bodum Colombia or Epsro Press will keep you from accidentally breaking a glass carafe and keeping you from your coffee.
If you’re on the road a lot, the Espro Travel Press will be a great companion. It’s slim, brews great coffee, keeps that great coffee from over extracting, and converts to a thermos.
If you like french press brewing but not the sludge, any of the Espro presses will satisfy. The double microfilter keeps even the smallest grounds out of your final cup. The P5 press’s ability to use paper filters may be the feature you’ve been looking for.
If you find yourself attracted to wood accented products, Hario’s presses are surely calling your name. Any one of these will fit in your wood-filled kitchen or cafe.
If you just want good coffee, you cannot go wrong. All three of these brands have established themselves as frontrunners in the french press market by creating great products, offering reliable customer service, and empowering people to make coffee they love.
The world of french press brewing is rich and rewarding, regardless of the specific french press model you have. Though one of these presses may suit your lifestyle more than another, the important thing is simply to enjoy every step of the process with whatever brewer you end up with.
Let the meditative process draw you in. Let the vibrant aromas soothe your mind. Let the full body and flavor satisfy your palate. Whether you choose Bodum, Hario, or Espro, enjoy and appreciate the experience they all provide.
Which french press are you going to choose?