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.]
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.
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 hard 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.
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, example 3.
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!
Tamara Elise Rubin