Fellow French Press Review 2023: The Clara Sure Is Classy!

After working as a professional barista for many years, Arne Preuss founded Coffeeness.

When the Fellow Clara French press came out in 2021, I knew it was only a matter of time before I conducted a Fellow French press review.

When the Fellow Clara French press came out in 2021, I knew it was only a matter of time before I conducted a Fellow French press review.

Can you blame me for wanting to take a closer look at this gorgeous coffee brewer? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have high expectations for it as a Fellow product, so we’ll have to see if it lives up to the hype. Let’s just say I’m hoping for the best – the Clara French press would go very nicely in my kitchen!

Fellow Clara French Press

Sleek and sophisticated!

Stylish design

Easy to clean

All-directional pour lid

Ergonomic handle

Quite expensive

Fellow French Press Review Overview

At $99.00, the Clara has to be one of the most expensive French presses I’ve ever seen. That’s a significant price jump from most Bodum French presses.

Still, there’s no mistaking that it looks good – as do most Fellow products.

Since its debut in 2013, Fellow has made sleek, minimalistic coffee gear the focus of the company. I’ve already had plenty of good things to say about the Fellow Stagg kettle, and I heaped praise on the Fellow Ode coffee grinder. Suffice to say, Fellow turns out consistently good coffee brewing equipment, and I had high expectations for the Clara French press.

Speaking of looks, let’s talk about that matte black aesthetic.Fellow is all about using smooth, clean lines, and this French press is no exception. Plus, it trades in the glass body I’m used to seeing on French presses for durable stainless steel.

My only complaint about the steel body is that it blocks your view of what’s happening inside.

Part of the appeal of French press – and most immersion brewing methods – is that you get to be a spectator. With the push of the plunger, you get to watch muddy grounds turn into freshly brewed coffee. It’s more interactive than a drip coffee maker or a super automatic espresso machine, where all the magic happens behind the scenes.

That isn’t to say I don’t like the look of the Clara. Its modern design is still hard to beat, even if you do have to sacrifice some theatrics!

Fellow French Press Features

If you thought appearances were all I’d discuss in my Fellow French press review, you were wrong. It’s time to get into my favorite (and least favorite) features of the Fellow Clara French press. Let’s do this!

Size and Design

The Fellow Clara French press next to its plunger.

Given the stainless steel construction of this French press, it’s no surprise that it falls on the heavier side. Clocking in at over 3 pounds (1.3 kilograms), this is far from a lightweight option.

As far as capacity goes, this is one area where the Clara is fairly limited. Despite the extra weight, this isn’t a big French press. It’s only got a capacity of 24 ounces (700 milliliters), so you shouldn’t expect to get more than a couple of decent-sized cups out of it.

That probably won’t matter if you’re only making enough French press coffee for one or two people, but it might disappoint in group settings. Still, at least your guests will think it’s pretty!

While I’m on the subject of size, I might as well mention the walnut accents version. If you don’t mind paying a few extra bucks, you can snag this French press with a wooden handle and lid. Besides the walnut details, this version is a little less than half the weight of its sibling.

Lid

Despite using stainless steel for the rest of the body, the lid is one of the few parts of the Fellow Clara French press that’s plastic. I’m almost never a fan of plastic parts, although I can take some comfort in knowing that it’s BPA-free.

Material aside, I appreciate that this is an all-directional pour lid. If you know your way around a French press, you’ll know that most of them make you line the lid up a certain way to be able to pour your coffee.

With the Clara, you don’t need to worry about slotting the lid into place like a puzzle piece. There’s no opening to align with the pour spout, which is a thoughtful design feature.

Enhanced Filtration Mesh

Closeup of the Fellow Clara French press filter.

One of the pitfalls of French press is the risk of ending up with a cup of joe that’s muddied with grounds. This can be the result of using too fine of a grind, but often, you can chalk it up to a bad filter.

Fortunately, Fellow hasn’t taken any shortcuts here. They’ve equipped the Clara with an enhanced filtration mesh, which forms a tight seal on the inner walls of the press. In other words, it’ll do a great job of filtering out fine grinds and sludge that often pollute French press coffee.

Vacuum-Insulated Walls

As small as it is, you might not be saving a lot of coffee for later with the Clara. Still, it’s nice to know that the Fellow french press has vacuum insulated walls.

The double walled structure isn’t unlike what you’d find with insulated coffee mugs or a coffee thermos. Anyway, thanks to that vacuum, you can expect better heat retention – and hotter coffee – with the Clara.

Non-Stick Interior

I think it goes without saying, but one of the downfalls of French press is the clean up. Even with the cleanest cup of coffee, you’ve still got to deal with muddy sludge and grounds stuck to the bottom of the carafe.

Fellow tries to counteract this by adding a non-stick coating to the Clara French press. If I’m being honest, I don’t have a lot of faith in the non-stick coating. While it might mitigate some of the cleanup, I’d be skeptical about its effectiveness. I guess I’ve just spent too much time trying to clean so-called “non-stick” pans!

Ratio Aid Lines

When I use French press, I’m all about using a coffee scale to weigh out how much coffee I need. Granted, I’m a lot nerdier about my coffee than most home baristas, which is why it’s worth talking about the ratio aid lines on the Clara French press.

Essentially, Fellow has included lines on the inside of the press to show much coffee and water to add. The ratio lines are meant to take the guesswork out of measuring grounds for your daily brew.

I can see this being a handy feature for a lot of coffee drinkers, especially since it’s one less thing to worry about on hectic mornings. With that said, I still consider a good coffee scale to be an essential part of any home barista’s arsenal.

Agitation Stick

The Fellow Clara with its agitation stick.

It’s not often I spend a lot of time talking about included accessories when I review coffee products. Cleaning agents and coffee scoops tend to be a dime a dozen with most machines.

However, I’m willing to make an exception to discuss one of my favorite features on the Clara French press. Technically, it’s not on the Clara, but you get my point. With your purchase, you get an agitation stick resembling a miniature wooden oar.

As you’d expect, this stick functions as a tool for stirring up the grounds before you press the coffee. Sure, you could just use an extra spoon or chopstick to accomplish the task, but the agitation stick is built for the Clara. The flat edge makes it ideal for scraping up those hard-to-reach grounds that stick to the bottom of the carafe.

Maybe it’s not an invaluable feature, but it certainly earns the Fellow French press a few points in my book.

Warranty

As with most of Fellow’s non-electric products, you’ll get a 30-day limited warranty with the Fellow Clara French press.

That’s a bit disappointing, considering the price tag attached to this press. Ideally, I would’ve liked to have seen at least a one year warranty – even just for manufacturer defects or damages.

How to Use the Fellow Clara French Press

Pouring coffee from the Fellow Clara French press.

Now that I’ve covered what I like (and don’t like) in my Fellow French press review, it’s time to talk about using the thing.

First, you’ll want to grab a coffee grinder and grind some fresh coffee beans. You may be tempted to use pre ground coffee. However, keep in mind thatmost store-bought ground coffee isn’t coarse enough for French press. You’ll be more likely to deal with a bitter cup as well as muddy fine grounds slipping through the filter.

This is also a good time to begin heating up your water with an electric or stovetop water kettle – dealer’s choice.

Next, you’ll want to preheat the Clara by adding a bit of hot water to the inner chamber. Swish it, swirl it, splash it around – the goal is to warm up the press for a more even extraction. When you’re done, you can dump the hot water out and add your fresh grounds.

Fellow includes its own recipe for the perfect coffee-to-water ratio, but you can also use the ratio lines as a guide.

Once your water has cooled for a minute, pour it into the Fellow French press, wait a full minute and then grab your agitation stick. You’ll want to stir for at least a few seconds to make sure all your grounds get evenly soaked. Fellow recommends waiting three minutes once you’ve stirred before popping the lid on.

Now, it’s time for the fun part! Fasten the lid securely, then press down slowly on the plunger. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see the magic happen, but at least you’ll get to taste it.

With ratio aid lines and an agitation stick, I’d say operating the Fellow Clara French press is as seamless as can be.

Fellow French Press Cleaning

With every cup of delicious French press comes a messy cleanup. As we’ve learned in my Fellow French press review, the Clara isn’t much of an exception. Despite the non-stick coating, I’d still expect to deal with most of the hassle that comes with cleaning a French press.

Keep in mind that only the mesh filter is dishwasher-safe. That also means you’ll need to unscrew the filter from the lid before it ever touches the dishwasher. Even if you don’t mind throwing it in the dishwasher, I’m still the world’s biggest fan of hand washing.

Not only is handwashing more thorough, it’s gentler on your products. I mean, a French press that looks this good should stay looking this good for as long as possible.

When you do handwash the rest of the press, your only tools should be a soft sponge and mild dish soap. Using cleaning brushes or rough sponges puts you at risk of scratching the exterior of the press, and harsh cleaning chemicals won’t do it any favors.

That’s about all there is to maintaining the Fellow Clara French press. While it may require a gentler touch, I’d argue it’s no harder to take care of than most glass versions.

Fellow Clara French Press Specifications

Fellow Clara French press
NameClara
ManufacturerFellow
CategoryFrench press
Capacity24.0 oz / 710.0 ml
MaterialsStainless steel, plastic, non-stick coating
Weight2.0 lb / 917.0 g
Dimensions7.9 x 4.5 x 6.7 in / 20.0 x 11.5 x 17.0 cm
Current price on Amazon$99.00

Fellow Clara French Press vs Others

I think my Fellow French press review proves the Clara is a knockout, but let’s see how it stands up to the competition.

Fellow Clara vs ESPRO P7

The Fellow Clara vs ESPRO P7.

At $95.96, the ESPRO P7 French press is just as much of an investment as the Clara. It’s also noticeably smaller than the Clara French press, with a capacity of just 18 ounces (532 milliliters).

As far as looks go, the ESPRO P7 rivals the matte black Clara. Still, I find the Clara’s design more intentional. If you’re going to spend close to triple digits on a French press, you might as well spend it on something as ergonomic as the Fellow model.

Fellow Clara vs Bodum Chambord

The Fellow Clara vs Bodum Chambord.

The Bodum Chambord French press embodies the classic French press look. Plus, it’s only a fraction of the Clara’s price at $32.99. Between the two, it’s not only cheaper, it’s the larger option too.The Bodum holds up to 34 ounces (1 liter), so it’s well-suited for larger batches.

As much as I love the Clara, the Bodum Chambord feels like an old friend. It’s solid, trustworthy and you can’t go wrong with it. Plus, if you’re prioritizing affordability over aesthetics, I think the Bodum is the clear winner here.

Fellow Clara French Press vs Others Comparison Chart

Fellow Clara French pressESPRO P7 French pressBodum Chambord French press
NameClaraESPROBodum
ManufacturerFellowP7 French pressChambord
CategoryFrench pressFrench pressFrench press
Capacity24.0 oz / 710.0 ml18.0 oz / 532.3 ml34.0 oz / 1.0 l
MaterialsStainless steel, plastic, non-stick coatingStainless steel, plasticStainless steel, glass, plastic
Weight2.0 lb / 917.0 g1.9 lb / 861.8 g1.5 lb / 680.4 g
Dimensions7.9 x 4.5 x 6.7 in / 20.0 x 11.5 x 17.0 cm9.1 x 3.8 x 5.6 in / 23.1 x 9.6 x 14.2 cm9.0 x 4.2 x 5.5 in / 23.0 x 11.0 x 14.0 cm
Current price on Amazon$99.00$95.96$32.99

Verdict: Fellow French Press Review

Fellow Clara French Press

Sleek and sophisticated!

Stylish design

Easy to clean

All-directional pour lid

Ergonomic handle

Quite expensive

It’s a lot to ask home baristas to spend close to triple what they’d imagine spending on a French press, but that’s exactly what Fellow is doing. After writing my Fellow French press review, I can understand why!

It may be pricey, but the Clara French press is an all-around excellent coffee brewer. It’s aesthetically pleasing, but it’s also packed full of features that’ll help you get a better cup of French press coffee each morning. What more can I say … I’m sold!

What’s your experience using the Fellow Clara French press? Is it worth the money? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Fellow French Press Review FAQ

A Fellow French press works like most French presses – you can fill it with grounds and hot water, then use the plunger to push down.

Fellow recommends a 16:1 coffee to water ratio for the Clara French press.

The water should be just a few degrees below boiling when you pour it into your Fellow French press.

You can use regular ground coffee, but it could result in a more bitter cup of coffee.

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