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Stainless Steel vs Glass French Press: Which is Better?


Simple as the French press may be, there are variations in the design concept that can have a big effect on flavor. In this guide, we take a look at the ins and outs of both glass and stainless steel French presses.

Our goal is not to declare a winner, but rather to show you what makes each option special, and what holds them back. Now, let’s have a look at a stainless steel versus glass French press comparison!

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First, why choose French press at all?

Good question. The French press is a method of brewing coffee preferred by people who like to take a more artisanal approach to their java.

Coffee grounds are placed at the bottom of the reservoir and then steeped for several minutes in hot water. You then apply pressure to the plunger, at which point the grounds are filtered out, and you are left with a small batch of deliciously fresh coffee.

This method of brewing is somewhat more hands-on than that of your usual drip coffee maker, but it is prized for the fact that many feel it better brings out the natural tastes of the coffee bean.

Coffee made with a French press is also usually thought to be stronger than that made by a drip brewer. The majority of coffee drinkers do not use this method every single time, but it is a good way to treat yourself.

Worth reading: Should you choose a French press or a pour-over?

The Stainless Steel French Press

Stainless steel french press
The popular Secura stainless steel French press.

The first and most obvious benefit of the stainless steel French press is that it is significantly more durable than the glass variety.

Because of the durability factor, the stainless steel French press is also easier to clean and to take on the road with you. The sticker price will be higher for this unit, but because it might last longer than glass products, you may make up the difference in price over time.

The stainless steel French press tends to retain heat very well, but it is perceived as subtracting from the overall taste experience of the coffee. Whether or not that is actually the case is difficult to say. However, stainless steel is not the go-to choice for gourmets.

  • Lifetime’s worth of durability
  • Great for traveling with
  • Retains heat well
  • Steel may corrupt the taste somewhat

The Glass French Press

The popular Bodum glass French press.

With the glass French press, the strengths and weaknesses are essentially reversed. Being a product made out of glass, it is very fragile. It doesn’t travel well, and it doesn’t retain heat as easily as steel.

However, it is often associated with a more pleasing user experience. For one thing, you can actually watch the coffee seep into the water, which can be a gratifying experience.

The glass French press may also leave users with a slightly more satisfying flavor. It is worth keeping in mind that glass French press systems may be more affordable than stainless steel options.  If you plan on using the product in a safe, controlled environment, it may be a worthwhile way to brew your coffee.

  • Possibly associated with better taste
  • Opportunity to enjoy the visual aesthetic of watching the coffee brew
  • May be more affordable than stainless steel
  • Breakable

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Stainless Steel vs Glass French Press: Verdict

So, which design is better? To some, it may seem like the stainless steel system is the clear winner. It’s durable, it retains heat beautifully, and you can even travel with it. Stainless steel French presses are also easier to clean and often dishwasher-safe.

On the other hand, glass French presses allow you to watch your coffee brew and will not affect the flavor. They’re also more attractive and classic-looking. And they can double as vases!

It comes down to choosing the product most suitable for your own needs. If you enjoy the process of French pressing your coffee, you may even decide to invest in one of each. The glass option will be a great product for home use, while the stainless steel press will be good for taking your habit on the road.



Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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