Rite Press Review

I love coffee. I love making coffee. Hand ground with a French grinder from the 40s or in my press-a-button Capresso I love fresh grounds. Kona? Yes, please. Deathwish – you know I’ll drink it. And I love the gadgets for brewing coffee even more.

I was skeptical about the AeroPress but I grew to rely on it as my daily coffee maker. The stainless filters have taken some getting used to but I won’t go back to paper. I have two French presses but I can’t use them. We have old pipes so I can’t wash grounds down the sink, and I don’t want to have to scrape grounds out of a glass carafe when there are other easier options. I have a hybrid of the French and AeroPress called the American press, which has this grounds-holding module with stainless filters on either end that is pressed through the hot water. Neat!

So I was super excited when I heard about the Rite Press. It’s a French Press style unit with a removable bottom; the idea being that cleaning a French Press is the worst part of using one, and I agree. So I super-earlybird pledged my $30 for a 1/2 liter in black and waited. Broad-strokes I think the Rite Press team over extended themselves and didn’t take into account that many of the Chinese factories that KS creators use are very unreliable, especially as production numbers increase in multiples of the expected order. They also made the mistake of offering the press on garbage kickstarter Indiegogo. Currently they’re experiencing a significant delay in 1L press production due to a filter manufacturer error, then changing to a new manufacturer. 1/2 L presses will suffer the same fate eventually, I’m not sure where they are on shipping these units.

But it did arrive and I have the unit to review. First the packaging is very nice. I did not have any issues with the powder coating; several commenters did. The steel button that is intended to attach the timer to the unit had fallen off and was inside the press when I opened it. I’m not sure that’s the worst thing as the timer is on the same side as the spout and the while thing seems like a silly idea. Perhaps if they had incorporated a handle it could go on the handle side. As it is, I’m not sad about it, but commenters are. The thermometer is … weird. I checked it against my CuisinArt PerfecTemp kettle and the needle didn’t get much past the third blue segment. My digital thermometer indicated the water was at 200F so I’m not sure what temp Rite Press thinks coffee should be brewed at. I don’t plan to really use it, but this was another place where the Rite team could have made better decisions.

When I unscrewed the bottom to clean it before using I had a little difficulty with the threads. That has resolved itself and I’ve since used it dozens of times without any leaking or other issues. Others are reporting poorly machines threads that make the bottom difficult to seat.

A pleasant surprise is the rubber sleeve that surrounds the middle of the unit. I believe when I pledged these were listed as vacuum sealed. That’s probably not the case as the carafe heats up quickly, so the sleeve is a nice compromise.

All in all it meets my expectations as a brewing device. Grounds go in, water goes in (and doesn’t leak out), the filter filters out the big chunks. The bottom is easy to remove and I can dump the grounds in the compost; very little of the grounds end up washed down the drain.

But can I recommend it? Not really. At $30 it was a good deal. $45 or $50 seems reasonable (having broken more than one glass carafe, this is a long-term savings for me). $60 is a bit much (and the site says the MSRP is $100), especially considering the QC issues they’ve been having. Consider that a 1L Bodum Brazil (which I have) is about $20. Want a “classic” style French Press with the metal bands? The Chambord Press is about $40 (replacement glass is roughly another $20).  If you want a stainless/metallic carafe they’re roughly $30.

If you have a Rite Press, or have one “on the way” I’d like to hear from you.

[N.b. there are some folks who complain that the piston doesn’t compress the grounds and that a watery, coffee-grounds mess spilled on the counter. It’s not an AeroPress and the French Presses I have don’t allow me to press all the way to the bottom so I’m not sure where this idea came from. Just like with a French Press, you may need to pour off the remaining brew before cleaning. ]

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Rite Press Review