A French press is one of the most low-tech ways to brew a delicious cup of coffee, but if you have limited storage space or only drink a cup or two of coffee a day, a full-size French press can feel like overkill. The best small French presses can make one or two cups of coffee in compact designs that are easy to store or take with you, and come in a range of different materials suitable for any kind of coffee drinker.
When shopping for a small French press, scaling back on the volume is the first step. Small French presses range in volume from 12 to 16 ounces, compared to the most common French press volume of 34 ounces. Remember that part of that volume will be occupied by coffee grounds once you plunge your French press’ filter, but this still allows for one generous or two smaller servings of coffee. For background, a 34-ounce French press will likely produce around six cups of coffee, and a 16-ounce French press will yield around two cups of coffee.
If you like the look of glass, be sure that the carafe is made from durable, heat-resistant Borosilicate glass. It’s the same material used in chemistry labs, and can typically be cleaned in a dishwasher. For those who prefer to take their time drinking their coffee, insulated French presses will keep it steamy, cup after cup. Similarly, you can find travel-size French presses for taking your coffee on the go.
The best small French presses below offer the experience of making French press coffee in a more compact footprint.
1. The Best Small French Press
This 12-ounce French press comes from Bodum, a company that manufactures some of the most popular full-size French presses on the market. The carafe is made from durable German Borosilicate glass, and the base, handle, and lid are made from BPA-free polypropylene. Bodum’s three-part, stainless steel filter system twists on to a removable plunger, and disassembles completely for easy cleaning in the dishwasher or by hand. This comes in both red and black, and can also be used to brew loose tea. It has earned a glowing 4.5-star overall rating from over 7,000 Amazon reviews.
According to one reviewer: "We get (two) very generous mugs full from this press, which is perfect for regular mornings. Of course, the quality and freshness of your coffee affect the final product, but this Bodum press is easy to use, easy to clean and compact. The plastic frame on the glass carafe is removable, but I find it protects the glass when cleaning."
2. The Best Insulated Small French Press
This 12-ounce insulated French press from Mira is ideal for anyone who wants their coffee to stay hotter for longer. Fashioned from durable, double-walled stainless steel with a matte finish and modern handle, the insulated design keeps beverages warm between pours, and also guards against damage. Like the Bodum, the Mira’s filter system comes apart easily, and all parts are safe for the dishwasher.
According to one reviewer: "It's compact, easy to use, easy to clean, keeps my coffee hot, and most of all... makes a good cup of coffee!"
3. The Best Small Travel French Press
This option from Stanley may look like a standard travel mug, but its exterior hides a 16-ounce French press. The filter system is affixed to the bottom of a durable plastic plunger that stays in place when the lid is on, allowing you to brew and press your coffee, and bring it on the go. The Stanley’s double-wall construction is made from BPA-free stainless steel, and is insulated to keep drinks hot for up to four hours. The mug’s tight-fitting lid flips open to allow you to sip from the press without ingesting grounds, and it is leak-proof so you’ll never have to worry about spills. Like both options above, all the parts of this travel French press are dishwasher safe.
According to one reviewer: "This is a really good product, easy to use easy to clean. Very compact will fit in a backpack nicely. Your coffee will stay hot for a couple hours."
4. The Editor's Pick
It's a bit pricier and smaller than the last pick, but this travel French press comes with the backing of more than 1,000 Amazon fans, and is a favorite of Bustle's very own Associate Commerce Editor Carina Finn. "I love the sleek aesthetic of this French press, and the fact that I can drink directly from it once it's finished brewing. I find it especially great for camping or outdoor day-trips, since I can pre-load it with ground coffee and add water. It's small enough to fit in the water bottle compartment of my daypack, and it's also great for those times at home when I just want little extra coffee in the afternoon," she explains. This French press is a bit more compact in both capacity and overall size than the one above (its capacity is 12 ounces), but it's also made of BPA-free (and double-wall insulated) stainless steel to keep your coffee warm for hours. The whole thing is top-rack dishwasher safe.
According to one reviewer: "I take this to work with me for an afternoon cup of coffee. I add the grinds in the morning and have an instant water pot at work to make my cup. Tastes great and love that I don't have to pour into another cup. I can close it tight to take home to wash and be ready for the next day."