Résumé : Context. To calibrate automatic pipelines that determine atmospheric parameters of stars, one needs a sample of stars, or "benchmark stars", with well-defined parameters to be used as a reference. Aims. We provide detailed documentation of the iron abundance determination of the 34 FGK-type benchmark stars that are selected to be the pillars for calibration of the one billion Gaia stars. They cover a wide range of temperatures, surface gravities, and metallicities. Methods. Up to seven different methods were used to analyze an observed spectral library of high resolutions and high signal-to-noise ratios. The metallicity was determined by assuming a value of effective temperature and surface gravity obtained from fundamental relations; that is, these parameters were known a priori and independently from the spectra. Results. We present a set of metallicity values obtained in a homogeneous way for our sample of benchmark stars. In addition to this value, we provide detailed documentation of the associated uncertainties. Finally, we report a value of the metallicity of the cool giant ψ Phe for the first time. © ESO, 2014.