French Press, Press Pot, Coffee Press, Coffee Plunger, Cafetière, Bodum

French Press: Glass vs Stainless Steel vs Plastic

There are at least 3 different materials that a French press pot is made of: glass, steel, and plastic. How do they compare?

Glass is the most common, and what most French press connaisseurs use. There is a certain elegance to the look of glass. The Bodum Chambord is one of the most popular models, and quite stylish. The main downside of a glass French Press is that it will eventually break. Some pots are thicker than others, and some are made of higher quality glass. The glass thickness also affects how long it will retain heat. I’ve used my Bodum Chambord a few hundred times without it breaking. However, when they do break, replacement glass can be had for an average of $10-20.

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Stainless steel press pots, also known as Thermal, have a significant advantage in that it isn’t very easy to break steel. A good one, such as the Frieling, costs about $70, much more than the $20-30 cost of a glass press. Not all steel pots have the same quality, though the major brands, like Bodum and Frieling, are safe bets. The better press pots do a better job at maintaining a constant temperature for 4 minutes. Compared to a glass pot, a steel pot will also keep the coffee hot longer. While you wouldn’t want to leave coffee in the pot with grounds at the bottom, a steel pot would work well as a carafe as well. In my experience, a stainless steel French press produces a different flavor coffee than a glass pot would. Personally, I like the flavor, but keep this in mind if you go this direction.

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A plastic French press is the least common of the bunch, and will produce a different flavor coffee. Quality varies, and even the unbreakable ones are known to break eventually. It is, however, lite to carry, and harder to break than glass. As such, these presses are ideal for camping, backpacking, and traveling. My only experience with a plastic (in that case, Lexan) French press was on a camping trip where we backpacked in.

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If you have anything to add about any of these, or if your experience differs, feel free to share.

5 Responses to “French Press: Glass vs Stainless Steel vs Plastic”

  1. The main reason that I want to buy a French Press is because my current tassimo coffee maker is 75% plastic parts which leach BPAs, PCs, and DEHPs into the hot liquid. Not to mention the waste and inability to recycle the plastic pods or T-discs. I did not buy the Bodum press because of the #7 rated plastic in the lid which come into contact with the hot coffee. [#7 being teh worst rated and most carciogenic plastic on the planet]. I have decided to buy a stainless steel press and look forward to a long coffee loving relationship with it. The only other alternative to a coffee press for 100% non-plastic parts 7 assembly was a purcolator.

  2. Yup a real bummer I bought a Bodum and the ad said nothing of plastic only mentioning glass and chrome, I am sending it back refund or not. The first press I bought was from Spinnelli’s in San Fran years ago and had no brand name or markings of any kind, it was like the Bodum but all glass and steel. The lid was all steel it did not have a lid liner of plastic like the Bodum. Plastic to me has been an issue long before there were known health issues. Once you have had a properly roasted coffee (only Spinnelli ever did that as they roasted for flavor and not for commercial shelf life!) brew in a maker that has no plastic whatsoever will you truly enjoy the very finest that coffee can be.

  3. I like your article very much.. Thanks for sharing.. Keep your place cool

  4. So what option did you chose instead? I bought a percolator that I use but the plug at the bottom is made of aluminum and that leaches into your coffee and causes neurological problems. I have not found a press or percolator with no aluminum or plastic…still searching. Any luck with anyone else?

  5. Question. I bought a glass French press and it broker after around 30 uses.(Cracked)

    But now I’m addicted to the rich taste. You mentioned that there’s a difference in taste between the stainless steel and glass can you elaborate? Is the stainless steel better?