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Bodum Columbia Review
Bottom Line

There are a lot of variables when making French press, but even taking those into account, the Bodum Columbia earns a lot of love as a great press pot for French press coffee. It's easy to use, keeps coffee hot for hours, and has a durable, stainless steel construction that is described as "classic" and "attractive." However, some plastic and silicone internal parts are used, something a few reviewers complain about; they'd be happy to pay more for an all stainless steel model.

ProsEasy to use, Produces superior flavor, Keeps coffee hot for hours, Exterior stays cool, DurableConsSome concerns over plastic/silicone parts

Breaking it down

Performance

A coffee lover's dream. Experts and owners agree: the Bodum Columbia makes an absolutely delicious cup of coffee. In a test of several French presses at one professional testing organization, the Bodum was a top pick, with coffee that was described as "rich," "rounded," "nutty," and "full-bodied." Users rave that they finally were able to find the perfect combination of coffee technique and coffee maker in this Bodum French press and the stainless steel construction does not affect the flavor of the coffee. While we found a few dissenters, the vast majority of reviewers say that the Bodum Columbia does an excellent job in keeping coffee hot for up to two hours.

Ease of use

Simple to use; clean. It's not always easy to judge "ease of use" on a manual coffee maker since there is so much variation in how the user approaches the technique. However, overall, the Bodum Columbia gets high praise from both owners and experts for its simple operation. Many owners note that the seal on the plunger to the pot is particularly effective, so there's no "bubbling up" of grounds into the brew. The one-piece filter design makes the Columbia very easy to clean, and owners say it does not retain any residual odors.

Appearance/durability

A classic design. Many owners say they came to the Bodum Columbia after disappointing experiences with less-durable glass French press coffee makers. The Columbia is made of double wall stainless steel with a pot-style that many describe as "classic." The filter consists of a stainless steel mesh that sits on a plastic ring and that's surrounded by a silicone band that acts as a gasket. That construction gets panned by a handful of plastic-hating users, who say they'd be happy to pay a premium for all stainless steel. However, it's unlikely that all-stainless construction would produce as good of a seal, and that could harm the quality of the resulting brew. In addition to the 8-cup (34 ounce) capacity, which we review here, the Bodum Columbia comes in a 6-cup (17 ounce) and 12-cup (51 ounce) size. Bodum says they consider a "cup" to be four ounces; quite a few reviewers say the yield is too small and they wish it made true, 8-ounce cups.

Our Sources

1. Cook's Illustrated

French Press Coffee Makers, Editors of Cook's Illustrated, Nov. 1, 2013

Editors of Cook's Illustrated test six French press coffee makers, including the Bodum Columbia, 8-cup capacity, for heat retention, quality of coffee and ease of use/cleaning. One is highly recommended; three are recommended and two are recommended with reservations.

2. Amazon.com

Bodum 1308-16 Columbia 8-Cup Stainless-Steel Thermal Press Pot, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2015

The 8-cup Bodum Columbia garners nearly 600 reviews here, earning an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars. The vast majority of owners say they much prefer this French press over more fragile glass press pots, and say the stainless steel keeps the coffee hot for two hours or more. The main complaints are that it is not a "true" 8-ounce, 8-cup size; rather, it yields about six to seven cups, depending upon the operator and method. A few gripe about internal plastic parts.

3. Wayfair.com

Columbia Double Wall Stainless Steel French Press Coffee Maker by Bodum, Contributors to Wayfair.com, As of October 2015

More than 75 owners give the Bodum Columbia a rating of 4.7 stars out of 5. They say the Bodum is great for keeping coffee hot and fresh for a long period of time and they like that they can make more than one cup at a time when company drops by -- unlike with many manual coffee makers. A handful complain about the use of some plastic parts and say that they would prefer all stainless steel construction.