I’ve seen a lot of coffee makers, but Bodum’s flagship product is definitely worth considering if you enjoy the French press style. Here’s what you should know about this product before you make a final purchasing decision.
Things To Consider Before Buying A Bodum Coffee Maker
Bodum’s flagship product, the Chambord, is a french press coffee maker. This means it takes a bit more effort than a traditional drip coffee maker. I can’t recommend this product style if you’re in a hurry and want coffee as fast as possible, but it’s definitely worth considering when you have time to spare.
This particular model is available in four sizes (12, 17, 34, and 51 oz.). I appreciate the variety here because not everyone wants a huge glass of coffee. The range of colors is nice, too, since it can help the coffee maker fit in with your overall kitchen decor.
The main body of the Bodum coffee maker is borosilicate glass. This is essentially the same material as glass bakeware, and it’s capable of withstanding rapid temperature changes without breaking, but it is prone to damage if you drop it. The metal feet on the outside provide a bit of cushioning, though, which is a smart touch.
Brief Product Overview
Bodum’s primary coffee maker is one of the best-selling coffee makers on the market, and it claims to use the same original design that drew the current owner’s interest. Bodum prefers featuring their taste-free glass and steel components, which involve no waste and keep all of the coffee oils in the drink itself.
Things We Like
- Wide variety of sizes and colors
- Competitive pricing makes this product affordable on a budget
- Time-tested product design that favors consistency
- Most components are dishwasher-safe
Room For Improvement
- No protection against hot coffee squirting out if you use too much force while pressing
- No measurement markings on the glass to help you pour just the right amount
- Hard to use for cold brews
Features & Benefits
Here are the major highlights of this product in more detail.
Amount Of Coffee Made
This is one of the first things I noticed about the Bodum coffee maker, but some people may overlook what the product’s description actually says. For this product, a cup of coffee is four ounces. If you aren’t familiar with the volume measurements, a standard coffee mug is eight to twelve liquid ounces.
As such, one cup in this product is approximately 1/2 to 1/3 of the amount many people drink. This isn’t a problem if you buy a larger version of the coffee maker, but it’s worth keeping in mind if you only want to brew single servings at any given time.
Also worth noting is the fact that each product is labeled by its total capacity. This means you will have less liquid than the label suggests because the coffee grinds themselves take up some space in your pot. Expect to use about one rounded tablespoon of coffee grinds for every four ounces of liquid, which adds up quickly in the larger containers.
The Bodum coffee maker only works with a coarse grind. If your grind is too fine, you could end up clogging the filter and creating too much pressure inside the container. This is more important than many people realize at first, and here’s why.
If your grind is too coarse, your coffee could end up tasting sour, salty, or even acidic. This is especially true when using a french press with a metal mesh because all of the flavors will stay in the drink rather than being partially absorbed by your filter.
This product doesn’t function past a certain level of fineness, so in most cases, your goal is to get a grind that’s just coarse enough to avoid clogging the filter, but no more than that. This may take some experimentation, and it’s why brewing a great cup of coffee can be difficult for newcomers.
For more information on this topic, read our guide to coarse-ground coffee.
Metal and Mesh Components
One of the things that set this product apart from many other coffee makers is the fact that it doesn’t require a paper filter. Instead, the Bodum machine uses a permanent, reusable metal mesh that you can press down through the drink.
I mentioned this earlier, but the change from paper to mesh makes a real difference for coffee. Paper is fundamentally absorbent and can soak up oils, acids, and flavors from your drink. The metal used here is functionally tasteless, however, and repels things rather than absorbing them.
However, the part I really like is the flexible metal spiral that goes around the central metal plate. This allows it to adjust slightly based on manufacturing differences in the glasses, ensuring a consistent fit. It’s a nice touch, and there’s a reason it’s become a standard feature with other manufacturers.
Some versions of this product have a plastic component around the lid, which the coffee will go through. I don’t like this component because it can slightly change the flavor of the coffee and deform over time.
Let’s take a moment to talk about the biggest flaw in this product’s design: the inability to handle too much pressure. As experienced coffee makers know, a french press works best when there’s virtually no resistance to slowly moving the plunger down and through the drink. If it becomes hard to push down, something is wrong.
In most cases, you can fix this by opening your french press, stirring your drink a little, and trying again. However, coffee grinds can be a bit unpredictable. If something moves out of place or you just end up pressing too hard because you’re in a hurry, you could squirt some coffee right out of this product and into your face.
The liquid is famously hard to compress, so any french press can create a high-pressure stream of water if something goes wrong. However, a proper lid can absorb the force and impact without damage, rather than allowing liquids to squirt out.
This wouldn’t be as much of an issue with colder drinks, but when you’re shooting potentially-scalding water out of something, it’s actually dangerous. This won’t be an issue as long as you use the Bodum coffee maker correctly, but I think it’s important to know both the good and the bad sides of any product.
Glassware and Toughness
The borosilicate glass that makes up the main body of this product is reasonably sturdy during regular use and normally dishwasher-safe. However, like all glass products, it can chip or crack if something smashes into it while you’re washing it. Naturally, we want to avoid that as much as possible.
The Bodum Chambord comes with a metal exterior casing that consists of four feet linked to a top ring, plus a safe-to-grip handle. This is surprisingly good at protecting the glassware from regular damage, though it’s still possible to chip the glass with a knife or similarly long object.
As a safety reminder, never keep using a damaged coffee maker. While the borosilicate glass is normally tough, any damage could lead to it shattering the next time you pour hot water into it.
One final note: Recent versions of this product have safety guidelines permanently printed on the glassware. This is useful for not losing the information, and I appreciate the focus on safety, but it can also throw off the aesthetic look of the product. If the visual design is important to you, consider getting a different product instead.
Cleaning Your Coffee Maker
Most of this product is dishwasher-safe. The beaker, the filter, and the plunger can all go into the dishwasher, though it’s essential to keep the beaker itself away from other items, so they don’t crack it during the cleaning process.
You may need to clean the frame and the lid with a non-abrasive sponge. Be careful with your materials while you’re doing this, or you could end up with a lingering flavor of soap in your coffee. As someone who drinks enough homemade coffee to make the occasional mistake, I don’t recommend that.
This is a sticking point for some people, and I understand their feelings. If something is fully dishwasher-safe, it’s much easier to clean than things you have to separate by hand, especially if you live with someone (i.e., kids) who may not be as safe with all of your kitchen supplies.
You should clean your coffee maker as soon as possible after using it, so if you plan to make a lot of coffee, make sure you’re okay with the work required for cleaning. Alternatively, get a much larger coffee maker and make a bunch at once, saving some for later in the day.
Why Should I Avoid Abrasive Cleaners?
Coffee makers should stay as smooth as possible. If you use an abrasive cleaner, such as a rough sponge, you can create tiny scratches where bits of coffee can stick and resist cleaning. This can breed bacteria or, if the scratches grow large enough, eventually compromise the structural integrity of the product.
This isn’t limited to glass, either. Other components, including the plunger and lid, can also get scratched. Abrasive cleaners can even scratch metal finishes, so in general, avoid using them on your coffee maker unless the cleaning instructions specifically state otherwise.
There are a few more things to keep in mind if you’re still thinking about buying this product.
First, this product is also suitable for brewing tea. The mesh is fine enough to hold tea leaves, so it’s a surprisingly good option if you want to brew something different for once. The glass resists staining, too, so you shouldn’t have any discoloration from this.
Next, it’s not a good choice for making cold brews. The parts are a little awkward for that, and since the plunger needs to be up while it’s brewing, it may not even fit in some fridges.
Finally, the lack of cup markers is a big oversight. You can measure water externally, but that’s not quite the same as being able to pour into the coffee maker until you’re satisfied.
Alternatives and Final Thoughts
Overall, Bodum’s Chambord coffee maker is a high-quality product with a long history behind it, but it does have some flaws that stop it from being a perfect product. I like the visual design and the clear instructions of the product, but I’m not fond of the lack of cup markings or the limit protection from coffee squirting out.
Here are some alternative products if the Bodum doesn’t seem quite right.
If you’re looking for a more affordable french press, especially because you want to get some experience before buying an expensive product, consider getting the Rainbean brewer. It comes in two sizes (12 and 34 ounces), and while it uses cheaper materials, it’s a great budget product.
If you want something portable, consider the Sisitano portable coffee maker, which comes with a mug for drinking out of. Portable coffee makers aren’t quite as good as an at-home maker, but sometimes the convenience of portability outweighs the difference in flavor.
For improved durability, consider the Secura stainless steel french press. This product isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as the Bodum coffee maker – personally, I wouldn’t leave it out on the counter – but it’s entirely dishwasher safe and can stand up to drops and other heavy impacts.
Finally, if you need a lot of coffee, consider Melitta’s 10-cup brewer. This isn’t a french press, so it doesn’t have the same flavor advantages, but it has a larger capacity than almost anything else on the market. This matters when you need to brew coffee for a lot of people, and the container itself is insulated enough to help coffee stay warm for hours.
For more information on french presses in general, see our complete guide on the topic. You can also try making coffee without a coffee maker. This is particularly useful if you want to make coffee on a budget or test out different combinations of beans and flavorings.