French Press Sizes Explained: For One Or Many! – BaristaHQ

If you want to enjoy freshly brewed coffee at home but don't want to spend much money on brewing devices, a french press is a perfect solution.

But looking for the right one can be too challenging, given all the available options. So, how do you find the best french press size for you?

In this article, we will discuss different french press sizes; we will also provide tips on choosing the right one and other important details you should know about french press coffee makers.

French press coffee makers come in different sizes. Here are sizes you should be familiar with:

Important note: French presses don't use a paper filter. This means that you're getting unfiltered coffee, which doesn't have much difference from a filtered one. In fact, most people can't tell the difference between the two.

3 Cups French Press (0.35 liters or 11.8 ounces)

The three-cup french press is perfect for a single serving. But if you don't drink a lot of coffee, this french press size can serve two people. It can generally make up to three standard cups of coffee (1 cup = 115ml).

It is recommended for people who live alone or don't want to brew a whole pot of coffee every time. This is also perfect as a travel press, as this is the smallest french press coffee maker on the market.

If you want to know how many ounces of coffee you should add to every cup, coffee experts from Specialty Coffee Association (SCAA) recommend 0.36 ounces of coffee per 6 ounces of hot water to make a strong cup. That's the standard coffee grounds-to-water ratio.[1

4 Cups French Press (0.5 liters or 17 ounces)

The four-cup french press is the most common one you can find. It is also the standard French press size, no wonder everyone uses this size. It can make up to 4 standard cups of coffee or two full coffee mugs.

We recommend this size for those who enjoy drinking a few cups of coffee or love sharing their morning coffee experience with someone else. 

If you're unsure which French press size is perfect for you, this is the safest one to buy. It's not too much if you're just making a cup for yourself. And if you have a guest over, this can serve at least four people using a standard cup.

8 Cups French Press (1 liter or 33.8 ounces)

If you're looking for a coffee press perfect for a small crowd, the eight-cup French press is an ideal choice.

However, it's pretty uncommon to find this size in regular stores, but leading brands like Bodum Chambord usually offer this size. Le Creuset French press and Starbucks French press also come in this size. 

This is perfect if you need to make coffee for a group or just love to drink a lot of coffee all day. Another thing you should note is it's a bit more expensive than standard sizes, so if you're not ready to spend much on a coffee press, consider getting a smaller size.

12 Cups Size French Press (1.5 liters or 50.7 ounces)

The largest French press available right now is the 12-cup size French press, ideal for larger groups or individuals who drink a lot of coffee (no judgment!). 

It is also the most expensive of all French presses, so be ready to shed a little bit more if you think this is the right size.

Like the 8-cup French press, it is more challenging to find this size than smaller sizes. But it's a pretty good investment for people who make many cups of coffee daily.

French Press Coffee Being Poured Into Mug

What Size Should I Get? (Tips For Choosing)

Here's a buying and size guide for your reference, so you can easily find the correct size for you:

Brewing For One

If you're brewing coffee for yourself, a simple coffee maker like a French press is perfect for you. And since you're just making a cup for yourself, it's natural to assume that the smallest size is the best choice. However, deciding the right size for you is not as straightforward as you think.

First, you need to understand your coffee habits. How much coffee do you drink in a day? Do you use a standard-sized cup, or are you using a large coffee mug?

Once you know your drinking habits, you can easily choose the right size. If you're good with one to two full coffee mugs daily, a 3-4 cups French press is a good choice.

But if you drink a lot of coffee in a day (more than 3 cups), a bigger-sized press is for you. But make sure to buy a carafe to keep your coffee hot. Otherwise, it will be over-brewed.

But if you want a fresh cup every time, a small-sized coffee press is a better option. However, you will need to brew your coffee whenever you want a cup.

Brewing For A Few

Are you in a household with more than four people? Or maybe you like having guests over for coffee? Well, you'll need a larger french press to brew enough coffee for everyone.

If you know how many servings you need, you can easily choose from the 8-cup or 12 cups French press.

But if you don't know how many servings you need, it's safe to get the biggest one you can find. This will save brewing time since smaller french presses will require you to brew a new batch if the cups are not enough to accommodate your guests.

Brewing For Many

If you plan on throwing a coffee party, it's best to get the 12-cup French press right away. Bodum French press has sizes that are perfect for a large group.

It's also best to pair it with a carafe, as it will allow you to store more brewed coffee in case you have more people than what your brewing device can serve.

Mug Size Vs Cup Size: What You Need To Know

One important thing you should note is that mug size and cup size are two different things. Many coffee companies measure cups instead of mugs (including Bodum Chambord), which are much smaller than the coffee mugs we know.

This means that your favorite mug may not be the same size as a standard cup of coffee. That's why a 0.5 liters french press is advertised as a four-cup french press.

If you want to know how many mugs a french press can make, you can divide the number of cups listed on its packaging by two.

This means that a three-cup french press can make 1.5 mugs worth of fresh coffee, which is enough for one or two people. On the other hand, an eight-cup french press can produce about four mugs of coffee.

Coffee Getting Made Into A Glass Cup

More About The French Press Coffee Maker

Origins & Popularity

This coffee maker was initially introduced in 1852 and designed by Frenchmen Mayer and Delforge. However, the original design doesn't have a seal inside the carafe, which is why it looks different from the current French press coffee makers in the market today.

The design that resembles the recent French presses was patented in 1929 by Italians Attilio Calimani and Giulio Moneta.

Another patent was made by Swiss Faliero Bondanini in 1958 and became the most popular design. He became very popular in France, where his coffee maker design was manufactured as a "Chambord."

The popularity of this device in the country gave birth to its French identity, although many would argue that it was the Italians who first made this coffee maker.

Later on, Bondanini started marketing this brewing process to the UK market, calling it "La Cafetiere Classic." Years later, Danish-brand Bodum became a distributor of Chambord. They also bought the rights to the Chambord, hence the Bodum Chambord brand. 

Other Uses For A French Press

In addition to brewing hot coffee, you can also use this device to create a cold brew. All you need is ground coffee, preferably full-bodied coffee, to make delicious coffee. Don't worry if you don't have coffee grounds; you can use a coffee grinder for your coffee beans.

Once your coffee ground is ready, pour it into the device, add room temperature water, and brew for 14 to 16 hours.

Apart from making coffee, most French presses can be used to brew tea and froth milk. You can also use it to infuse water with herbs and fruits. It can also be used to create cocktails.

How To Maintain & Clean A French Press

Follow the steps below to properly clean your French press. These steps apply to Bodum French press and other brands.

  • 1
    The cleaning process starts by filling up the device with water. Fill it up to the top to ensure the whole press is clean.
  • 2
    Next, add one to two tablespoons of mild soap to the water. This will soak up all the gunk and natural oils on the filter screen.
  • 3
    Once the mixture is ready, put the plunger down and leave it for at least 2 minutes. Then, rinse afterward.
  • 4
    If you have a stainless steel French press, you can put it in a dishwasher. Make sure you have removed all the remaining grounds from the cup. Some french presses are dishwasher-safe even though they're not made of steel. It's usually indicated in the packaging.
Starbucks French Press

Frequently Asked French Press Questions

What size is a standard French press?

The average size of a French press is 0.5 liters or 17 ounces, also known as the four-cup press.

What grind size should I use for the French press?

The best grind size to use for this brewing device is coarse. This will make good coffee compared to other sizes.

Are all French press screens the same size?

The size of the screen depends on the size of your French press. So, all eight-cup French presses have the same screen size.

Is a cafetiere the same as a French press?

Yes, it is the same.


Now that you're familiar with all the french press sizes, you can now choose the right one for your needs.

If drinking coffee is an essential part of your life, this is the cheapest brewing device you can have at home. While coffee shops don't use this device much, it can still provide a premium coffee experience.



Kim Fernandez

Kim Fernandez

Kim Fernandez is a freelance writer whose love for coffee goes beyond just drinking it--she enjoys writing about it too. When she's not writing, you'll find her sitting in a cafe, reading a book while drinking a freshly brewed cup of joe.

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