After several hours of research, I finally made my selection of the 6 best piston coffee makers among more than thirty models marketed at the moment.
My favorite is the VonShef, a model that is more economical than its competitors in the long run. Still with a huge crush on the Bodum Chambord, the modern version of the original piston coffee machine!
You will also find at the end of this article a buying guide to choose the piston coffee machine that suits you best.
The best cheap Piston Maker
It is possible to find excellent models at low prices. The must is a model signed Bodum, which has taken over the torch and commercializes the modern version of the legendary coffee Mimenter.
The entry-level models may have small defects – low impact resistance, medium filter – but they already allow you to enjoy an excellent coffee.
VonShef: the best cheap step
Little weakness in the piston
VonShef is a brand of small kitchen appliances specialist. It offers a very wide range of coffee makers, among which we find this model piston stainless steel very successful. Robust and powerful: it's all good!
The VonShef piston coffee machine comes in 4 models: 3, 6, 8 or 12 cups. Entirely made of stainless steel, it displays a simple and elegant design. It has a double wall: this prevents the outside from becoming too hot, which limits the risk of burns. This model is of course compatible with the dishwasher.
This coffee maker is equipped with an efficient filter, which promises a coffee full of aroma, without having to fight with the marc, provided however to remain on the medium to large caliber.
Being made of stainless steel, it also allows you to keep the coffee warm for a good hour (even if it is not recommended since it will continue to brew!). Note that the materials are of very good quality: it is not to be feared that your coffee has a metallic aftertaste.
The VonShef coffee maker has the important advantage of being virtually unbreakable. In the long run, this is the best choice if you use it on a daily basis. And even if its pretty design leaves her wanting to leave her in the kitchen, it is possible to take her camping.
Caution, however, with the piston: it is not as resistant, and it may be necessary to consider replacing it after a few years.
If this piston coffee maker is of classic design, it remains a mystery. This model is indeed delivered with a metering spoon with a clamp system: difficult to determine for what obscure reason!
This model, which does its job extremely well, you will avoid having to fear for the traditional glass container, which must be replaced from time to time. In the long run, this is the most relevant and economical choice.
Bodum Caffettiera: a classic of its kind
Available in small version
The original piston coffee maker? The Mimenter model, made in France by Martin SA. The company was bought in 1991 by Bodum, which now sells these reference coffee makers.
The Caffettiera is probably not the most successful model of the range, but with its small price and nice design, it is an excellent model to become familiar with the use of a piston coffee machine or for use moderate.
At first glance, connoisseurs will have recognized the almost iconic design of Bodum Chambord. This beautiful glass model has an elegant chrome frame, which serves as a support, and a solid and elegant handle, matt polypropylene, which allows handling without burning.
Not surprisingly, we find the "leg" Bodum: know-how and quality. Like its big sister, the Bodum Caffettiera infuses a coffee full of aromas in 4 to 5 minutes chrono.
Side materials, the quality is at the rendezvous. Borosilicate glass, which is able to withstand intense heat (350 ° C.), is particularly preferred, although it may have been desired to be a little thicker.
This small model weighs a little less than 600 g. With 12 cm diameter and 24.5 cm in height, the Caffettiera remains quite compact. It does not display less than 1L of capacity. It also comes in a small version of 350 cl.
Consumers attentive to their ecological footprint will undoubtedly appreciate that this model, made in Portugal, comes from an eco-responsible factory.
In use, the Caffettiera is quite practical, including when it comes to cleaning since it is dishwasher compatible. It is delivered with its dosing spoon to add the right dose of coffee (spoon that should not hesitate to load well, by the way).
This model has only one weak point: a filter a little less effective than that of Chambord. It is therefore important to grind the coffee very coarsely, otherwise it will be necessary to allow the coffee grounds to settle to the bottom of the cup.
Even if it does not equal the indestructible Chambord, this small piston coffee machine remains a safe bet, for who wants to afford a great coffee at a low price.
The best midrange piston coffee makers
In this category, we find first of all the modern version of the Mimenter, the original piston coffee machine: Bodum Chambord. It is also possible to find alternatives to the more worked design. We will check the quality of the filter, which is often their weak point.
Bodum Chambord: the best mid-range
Filter of very good quality
The piston coffee maker has been known throughout the world as the French Press since the 1960s, thanks to the Mirm. A model now proposed by Bodum, which remains one of the market leaders.
The Chambord is the iconic model of its catalog. And in this price range, this piston coffee machine continues to offer one of the best quality / price ratio of the market.
The design of Chambord has become legendary. With its glass container, chrome frame / support and handle, surmounted by its dome cover, this coffee maker is a real icon.
In terms of quality, we find high-end materials and perfect finishes. One downside: the glass.
As technological innovations help, Bodum has significantly improved the quality of its products. But the brand is stubbornly relying on a rather thin glass, which does not withstand shock very well. However, the Chambord is hyper functional, since it is compatible with the dishwasher.
What to say about its operation? The Chambord is the original piston coffee maker.
And almost half a century after its launch, it continues to produce a coffee full of aromas in less than 5 minutes. And we particularly appreciate the efficiency of its filter, which holds perfectly the coffee grounds. With a capacity of 1L, it can prepare 8 cups.
Like its little sister, the Caffettiera, it is made in Portugal, in an eco-friendly factory. In the event of an incident, spare parts are available: it is therefore possible to repair it instead of replacing it.
Certainly, the Bodum Chambord may seem basic, especially in the face of more versatile or coffee maker design trend such as the Bialetti Preziosa. But for coffee lovers, it's a legend.
And above all, a utensil that allows you to prepare an excellent coffee. In short! It's all good, especially since its price is reasonable!
Grosche Madrid: versatile faux … but powerful and deco!
Inadapted to the preparation of tea
Teapot, coffee maker or insulated bottle: Grosche is master on board! The brand develops products of very good quality, by taking a particular care to the design of its products.
Difficult not to be seduced by the beautiful pace of his coffee piston. Especially since it can also be used to prepare tea. But this taste of beauty can hinder performance …
With its minimalist rose gold frame enclosing a glass container, the Grosche Piston Coffee Maker looks great. It's even one of the most carefully crafted on the market.
It is also noted that unlike the competition, the manufacturer makes a point of honor that the entire mechanism is made of stainless steel. Plastic point, here: priority to quality. Small flat on the handle: if it is very elegant, it will not offer a perfect grip for everyone.
This piston coffee maker is all the more attractive as it can also be used to make tea. Unfortunately, this is an especially marketing argument. Because true tea lovers know it: although the glass teapot is very trendy, it is not at all recommended to prepare a tea worthy of the name.
You are not so fond of tea as to look so much? Be aware that this drink quickly deposits a bitter film on the walls. Certainly, the coffee maker Grosche is easy to wash, but it will empty and clean very quickly every time you prepare tea … or you resolve to drink a beverage to very average taste.
It is unfortunate that the Grosche brand felt obliged to go astray on this false track of the versatile coffee maker, because this model is really at the top to make coffee. We particularly note the beautiful efficiency of the filter.
Another very good point: the Pyrex glass container seems much stronger than those of Bodum. In the event of an incident, the brand offers replacement models anyway, sold individually.
The Puische piston coffee maker is without any doubt one of the most trendy of the moment. It also allows to prepare a coffee that will delight fans.
For tea, however, better to forget, even if it is versatile!
Bialetti Preziosa: a nice nod to another iconic coffee maker
Base not properly fitted to the container
Bialetti is a brand well known coffee lovers, since it markets the Moka Express. From the 1950s, she rivaled the famous Mummer, ancestor of Bodum Chambord. Today, Bialetti tries squarely at making its own piston coffee makers to stand up to Bodum. Without being exceptional, the Bialetti 3130 does its job. And she is pretty.
This piston coffee maker is quite surprising. It looks uncomplicated Bodum side, since it is equipped with a container of borosilicate glass almost identical. And in terms of design, it sports the iconic handle of the Moka Express, iconic product of the brand.
Could this be a way of remembering that Bialetti knows how to make coffee? The Italian brand makes very good coffee mocha, actually: it is not for nothing that his Moka Express is unbeatable. But what about coffee brewing … nothing exceptional, alas!
It must be said that the Bialetti 3130 suffers from a weakness still very embarrassing: its filter tends to lose efficiency over the months. If you want to punctually use your coffee maker, this can happen.
On the other hand, for everyday use, be careful! It is likely that you end up having to deal with coffee grounds to let settle at each service.
The Bialetti is compatible with the dishwasher. Careful Handling: If the handle provides a firm and secure grip, the stainless steel base is loose and the container tends to move.
It is also regrettable that the manufacturer has favored the aesthetic aspect to the practical aspect: a frame completely encircling the béchet would have been a good protection against shocks. Especially since the glass is not exceptionally resistant.
Like the Grosche Madrid, this piston coffee machine is versatile, promising to prepare tea and infusions. Like it, fans will reserve it for coffee, to avoid a bitter after taste.
The Bialetti 3130 piston coffee maker is a nice nod to the Moka Express. But she is painfully doing her job. Coffee lovers will opt for the original versions: Moka Express for a mocha or Bodum Chambord for a brewed coffee.
The best high-end piston coffee makers
The high-end models stand out above all for the quality of the materials. Frame and glass beaker are replaced by a structure entirely in stainless steel.
The high-end piston coffee makers therefore benefit from a good resistance and an extremely long service life. To choose, we will still try to check the quality of the mechanism and the filter.
Espro Press P7: the best high-end
Extremely fragile filter
Espro is an American brand specializing in the design of piston coffee makers. For coffee lovers who do not know it yet, know that it also offers many accessories, including making delicious homemade cappuccinos.
We could therefore expect the manufacturer to be at the top of our category. In spite of its excellent performance, the Espro piston coffee machine is not irreproachable. Given its price, we can (a little) blame him …
First of all, let's say it: the Espro coffee machine makes it possible to prepare a coffee of very good quality, which will delight the amateurs. This stainless steel model, robust and elegant, has a double wall: little risk of burning, therefore, and good chances of keeping your coffee hot for a long time.
The Espro coffee maker comes in different formats. Nothing to say about the smallest of them. On the other hand, on the biggest, there is a small problem in terms of capacity.
Difficult to say where the problem exactly (diameter or shape of the filter?) But the fact is that it is difficult to fully exploit the claimed 1L. At equal capacity, this model will therefore produce less coffee than the VonShef.
This may only be a detail if you live alone or in a relationship. On the other hand, if you want to offer coffee to your loved ones, it can become embarrassing.
In use, we are also disappointed with the filter. It is quite effective, but it is far from constituting the absolute impassable barrier that Espro promises us. And the cleaning stage is quite delicate: it is possible to damage the filter stupidly, washing it a little too vigorously.
Wear or unfortunate gesture: it will certainly replace it in the medium term …
The Espro piston coffee machine can probably prepare the best coffee possible … in a quantity too limited, and as long as the filter holds up. Given its high price, we would be entitled to expect more from the brand. A model to keep an eye on, hoping that Espro will improve over time.
The products of my selection on offer for the moment
In our English-speaking friends, the piston coffee machine is called "French press". It is indeed the French Mayer and Delforge who invented the first version of the piston coffee machine in 1852.
In 1929, the Milanese Attilio Calimani filed a first patent. The definitive patent was filed in 1958 by Faliero Bondanini, and the production will be launched in France in the Martin SA factories. In the 1960s, this coffee maker became a staple in French and European cuisine.
The Mimenter coffee maker is quickly becoming a reference. In 1991, the brand was bought by Bodum, which today markets the original "French Press". With elegant and high-performance models such as Bodum Caffettiera or Bodum Chambord, the brand remains a safe bet, despite the competition.
With its narrow cylindrical tank – glass, lid and piston equipped with a filter – the piston coffee maker makes it possible to prepare quality coffee in all circumstances, including camping.
To find the one that will make your coffee unforgettable, here are some criteria to take into account.
The advantages and disadvantages
The main advantage of the piston coffee machine is its ease of use. It allows you to prepare a very good coffee in just a few minutes. And since it does not consume electricity – and especially no pods! – it is economical and eco-friendly.
Only drawback: we do not use it with any ground coffee! It is best to buy coffee beans and grind it yourself.
Ideally, the coffee should be ground just before making the coffee. Because although it is kept several days in a hermetic box, it loses its aroma unfortunately.
The coffee maker with piston makes it possible to prepare the coffee manually in a few simple steps.
First, coarsely grind the coffee (too fine a grain would pass through the filter), then place the coffee at the bottom of the container (the container).
Add very hot water: between 92 and 96 ° C, but never boiling; cover and let steep for 2 to 4 minutes depending on the capacity. Finally, push the piston into the bottom of the container and serve the coffee.
Dosage and preparation of coffee
In theory, 1 dose of coffee is recommended for 15 doses of water. This can vary from one model to another: it is therefore essential to refer to the manufacturer's instructions. We will always avoid the traditional ground coffee, much too fine.
Choose a ground coffee just before making the coffee to fully enjoy the aroma. In case of surplus, keep it in an airtight box, away from light and moisture, and consume it quickly.
The container – in other words, the body of the piston coffee machine – is the most important. Its quality determines both the life of the coffee maker and the quality of the coffee.
This is the material traditionally used to make piston coffee makers. If one appreciates its transparency, it remains fragile. It is of course vulnerable to shocks.
It is especially subject to very high temperatures. In spite of the technological advances, it is therefore frequent that a container breaks "spontaneously" (a recurring defect in Bodum). A stainless steel frame will provide good protection provided it is fully enveloping and stable.
If it is opaque, it is also particularly robust. If a stainless steel piston coffee maker is more expensive to buy, it is also more economical in the long run.
Caution with the concept of double wall: if it is interesting to avoid burns, it is not recommended to leave the coffee warm in your stainless steel beaker, because it will continue to infuse!
It should be noted that there are still plastic models. Lighter, they can be more easily carried away in camping. It is nevertheless preferable to opt for a stainless model, certainly a little heavier, but also healthier.
The piston and the filter
The piston is put to the test each time the coffee maker is used. It must therefore be of excellent quality. The filter is another key element: ideally, it must be fine and resistant.
The quality of the mechanism is crucial when choosing a piston coffee maker: caution with models including plastic, which does not have a great strength in the medium term.
The handle of the coffee maker must offer you a safe and comfortable outlet: no way to burn yourself or pour coffee next to the cup! It is therefore an element not to be neglected when choosing your coffee maker.
The coffee maker comes in different formats, the most common being 3, 6, 8 and 12 cups. The 8-cup format is the most convenient because it allows you to prepare enough for a family breakfast or to offer a coffee when you receive.
The smaller sizes are reserved for special cases (for example, the desire to have a good coffee in the office).
Be careful however: the design of a cup can vary significantly from one manufacturer to another. Check also systematically the capacity in CL, ML or in L.
To make your coffee a success, the water temperature must be between 92 and 96 ° C. If you do not have a thermometer at home, bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool 30 seconds before pouring into the coffeemaker.
Serve coffee quickly when ready, to prevent it from becoming too bitter.
Whatever the manufacturers say, reserve your coffee maker to prepare … coffee! The tea deposits a film on the walls of the container, which is very difficult to eliminate completely. A film that could give an unpleasant aftertaste to your coffee!