- I recently made the switch from my Keurig single-cup coffee maker to this 34-ounce Coffee Gator French press.
- Though it takes a little longer to brew, I’m really pleased with my choice. This French press is easy to use, makes a great cup of coffee, and looks nice in my kitchen.
- It’s not super cheap at around $38, but its features – like an insulated carafe to keep your coffee hot – make it a worthy investment.
- See more: The best French press you can buy
Chaotic weekday mornings happen more often than I’d like to admit. Either the subway is running behind, my hair isn’t cooperating, or I need to run back to my apartment for my phone. Despite the unpredictable chaos, one thing is certain – I always have a cup of coffee in hand.
I drink black coffee, meaning a bland brew can’t hide under a ton of sugar and cream. Since my early high school days, I’ve counted on my trusty Keurig machine for my morning coffee fix, and though my colleagues claimed that I needed to “up my coffee game,” I was hesitant to make a switch.
After talking to our team’s coffee expert, Owen Burke, I finally caved and decided to try a French press. Not knowing anything about how a French press works or what specifications to look for, I resorted to the review section on Amazon. I ended up settling on the large, 34-ounce French press by Coffee Gator. With over 2,500 reviews and an impressive 4.7 stars out of five, I was willing to give it a shot.
The Coffee Gator French press comes with three separate pieces – a vacuum-layered stainless steel carafe, a double-layered filter, and a to-go container for grounds (great for camping). You can choose one of five colors for the carafe, and each one is built from military-grade steel. I got the gray one for less than $40 and was pleased with the sleek design, packaging, and the durable feel of the product.
One of the best features of the product is the vacuum-layered carafe that keeps the coffee hot for longer. Most French press devices (including the ones in our guide to French presses) are single-walled, meaning that the hot water will cool quicker since it has closer contact with the temperature outside the container. The double-layered wall is a strong insulator and seals the heat inside the container – I noticed that my coffee stayed hot for over an hour after brewing, eliminating the need to microwave my second cup (and this size holds quite a few cups too).
As an avid Keurig user, I didn’t know how to gauge the quality of the filter, so my coffee-knowledgeable teammate checked it out and agreed with reviewers – it seemed to hold its shape during the drop test and fit flawlessly in the carafe to avoid grounds flowing into my mug.
I’m used to popping a pod into a single-serve brewing machine or going next door to my nearest coffee shop, so I was hesitant about putting in extra time and effort to use a French press. To my surprise, the process was actually pretty simple.
I use the grocery store grinder to grind my coffee beans, but if a grinder isn’t available, you’ll want to purchase medium- or coarse-ground coffee for best results. You can also grind your own whole-bean coffee beforehand. Once you have the French press and coffee grounds, you’ll need to heat water – Coffee Gator recommends using near-boiling water at around 200-degrees Fahrenheit.
Once your supplies are gathered, follow these steps:
- Measure the grounds and water according to the Coffee Gator recommendations – approximately two scoops (4 TBSP) of grounds per cup of coffee.
- Add your pre-ground coffee to the bottom of the container.
- Pour the hot water into the carafe, stir, and cover with the lid (making sure the filter is at the top of the container).
- Let it sit for four minutes.
- Open the container, stir the contents, and replace the lid for another five minutes.
- Push the plunger down slowly and as far down as you can.
- Pour the coffee into a travel tumbler or mug.
I found that the suggested process worked almost perfectly. The brew wasn’t as strong as I would like it to be, but could have been a result of the water temperature, time, size of the grounds, or the water-to-coffee ratio. I tried a second batch with more grounds and my coffee came out much stronger.
- Owen Burke, Insider Picks
Things to consider
The recommended coffee grounds-to-water ratio might not be ideal for everyone, but it’s not too much of a hassle to go through some trial and error to figure out what works best for you.
When it comes to the French press itself, I didn’t encounter any major issues. At 11.9 inches tall and 5.8 inches in diameter, it might pose a storage issue in a small apartment, but other than size, I didn’t have any problem using it.
Some Amazon reviewers claimed that it was difficult to clean and that the filter scraped the interior of the carafe. I didn’t find much difficulty cleaning it and the entire process took under two minutes. I simply dumped the grounds from the container, rinsed the carafe with a small amount of dish soap and water, and left the carafe and filter to air dry on a towel for a couple hours.
The Coffee Gator doesn’t include a cleaning brush, but I didn’t feel like I needed one after a couple uses. After a week’s worth of use, you might want to give the interior a scrub with a dish sponge. I don’t recommend putting it in the dishwasher because some reviews on Amazon reported that it caused the paint to chip.
The bottom line
The Coffee Gator French press seems to be a great option for the price, and I was happy with the detailed instructions and ease of use. The process of brewing a few cups of coffee from start to finish took under 10 minutes, and I appreciated the ability to control the strength of my brew – an advantage of using a French press versus a single-cup coffee maker. I would recommend The Coffee Gator to anyone looking for a quality cup of coffee with minimal investment and minimal hassle.