#AskTamara: What coffee maker do you use?

I get this question A LOT!

“Tamara, what coffee maker do you use?”

A: Mostly we use a French press style coffee maker.

However I do want to clarify that I have found lead in several French presses.  Specifically (as with many measuring cups and other glass items with logos or marked writings on the exterior) the paint on the markings is often lead paint, especially if the paint is white (as with many of the Bodum brand coffee makers.)

Here are a few links* to check out.  I have not necessarily tested each of these exact models, but I wanted to share them as examples. In each of these cases the borosilicate glass itself is always going to be lead-free. [I have never tested modern clear borosilicate glass that was positive for lead.]

#AskTamara: What coffee maker do you use?

Here is a French press by Brewsentials.

You can see in this image that the logo text is in black.  In my experience it is less likely to have lead if the logo marking on a modern item is black (instead of white), however that is not 100% certain and I have not tested this exact model.

Otherwise this looks like an excellent choice as all of the components that touch the coffee are either glass or stainless. Plus it is also inexpensive!  Here’s the link to this product.


#AskTamara: What coffee maker do you use?The Bodum brand French presses seem to have either white or black writing (depending on which one you get) although from the Amazon link it’s har#AskTamara: What coffee maker do you use?d to tell which one you will get when you order it. For example the link to this product (pictured) has both of these images which include one with white exterior writing (which I have confirmed is leaded on at least some of the Bodum brand presses) and one with black exterior writing (for the exact same product listing on Amazon!)  I also do not recommend this type of press in general as it has interior components made of plastic (see the photo with the lid which shows the black plastic filter/screen at the top near the pour spout.) While the plastic itself is not a lead concern, in general you never want hot liquids being poured over, stored in, or consumed from plastic containers of any kind. Here’s the link to this product so you can see the images close up.

#AskTamara: What coffee maker do you use?

Since the lead concern with French Presses is specifically on the exterior writing of the product, you can easily get replacement beakers that appear to have no writing at all, and that is a good alternative (especially if you start with a product that is otherwise all stainless steel!)  Please note that while the photos on this particular replacement beaker have no writing in the Amazon ad that does not guarantee that the product you receive in the mail will not have writing on the outside (either logo or measurement markings), so if you want to ensure a lead-free product – I always recommend asking questions on the Amazon listing OR contacting the company directly.  There are appear to be SEVERAL companies making this product without writing, so check out these listings as well: example 1, example 2.

As always, thank you for reading!  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Also – I am sharing these particular products and information as examples to give you guidelines for purchasing… please do not feel obligated to purchase the specific ones I have recommended, but take it a step further and look at other products that may be suggested by Amazon (or other vendors), using the concepts I share in this post as a purchasing guide.

Also – I am not saying that using one of these products with lead paint on the exterior will necessarily poison the user.  In most cases I would never make that leap, the studies have simply not been done. HOWEVER I do not think that lead paint belongs ANYWHERE in our kitchens, especially on a product we use (and wash in our sinks, with our other things!) daily!

Happy shopping!


Tamara Elise Rubin

*Links may be Amazon affiliate links and if you choose to make a purchase after clicking on one these links, Amazon will pay me a small percentage of the price of your purchase at no extra cost to you!

7 Responses to #AskTamara: What coffee maker do you use?

  1. Allison Sherman December 24, 2017 at 11:43 am #

    Have you tested Coffee percolators? Specifically a Hamilton Beach Urn? It’s an aluminum type metal, but the hot water stays in there for a long time and I am wondering if it’s just leaching lead into the water. Can’t find any info on it.

    • Tamara December 25, 2017 at 2:07 pm #

      I have not tested any of those, sorry!

  2. Aaron Drake September 1, 2018 at 12:50 pm #

    Thanks for your diligence and work on these issues! It seems as if you are one of the handful of individuals in the world standing against the barrage of daily household toxicity.
    My question is whether the leaded lettering on the outside of the french press is any risk of entering the coffee on the inside? The recent discovery that this toxin is lurking in so many of my dishes will be an expensive fix. Would be nice if some things would not need to be replaced so immediately.
    Thank you!

    • Tamara September 1, 2018 at 1:08 pm #

      In the Bodum brand I have not seen the lettering come off at all, but I have also not yet tested it with a swab. I will do that and share the result. If it tests positive with a swab that means the leaded surface could (technically, under certain circumstances) chalk off, which wouldn’t contaminate your coffee in the moment of making your coffee (because you usually don’t touch the outside of the canister and then put your hand in the coffee afterwards) but it could wear into your kitchen environment (sink, sponge, dishwasher) which I AM SURE has not ever been studied as a concern – but in my opinion is not ideal!

      It’s the same with all the painted glass measuring cups (and all of the baby bottles with lead paint that I have found recently) – they seem to inevitably have wear in the paint, right?! And where does that paint residue go? Remembering for context that it just takes a microscopic amount of lead dust to poison a child and the lead found in this paint on glass is generally a very high level of lead – far from microscopic!

      The canisters break so often (at least in our house they do) just order a paint-free one the next time it breaks. I don’t have access to a painted one right now but will test with a swab next time I do. We recently (like 6 weeks ago) got a replacement canister for something like $9 on Amazon with free two-day shipping! (yeah, and it broke already. KIDS!) Note: There are also some with lead-free paint, but I have not yet identified a brand that consistently has lead-free paint.

  3. Nadia Morris October 29, 2018 at 10:07 pm #

    What are you thoughts on the Prop 65 warning on coffee beans? Is the presence of acrylamide dangerous?

    • Tamara October 29, 2018 at 10:33 pm #

      I don’t know a lot about that. We do try to have organic as much as possible – and I understand that different roasting techniques have different impacts as far as that goes.

  4. Ashley February 17, 2019 at 6:10 am #

    Just bought the SterlingPro stainless steel French press as it’s touted as a nontoxic option, but the inside has lines for measurement. Do you know anything about the safety of this product? Really need coffee back in my life!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.