Learn how to use a French Press to make smooth, rich, delicious coffee at home. It takes a bit longer to make coffee using a French press, but it’s actually much easier than you might think. The resulting cup of joe is totally worth the few extra minutes of time.
I love a great cup of coffee in the morning. Really, what I should say is that I need a great cup of coffee in the morning, and I enjoy it too! Pair your French Press Coffee with something sweet like Strawberry Scones or Peanut Butter Cheerio Bars and you will be in breakfast heaven.
I think once you learn how to use a coffee press you’ll be able to enjoy really good, delicious coffee every day!
Are you interested in learning how to use an Aeropress? I have simple instructions available for that fun coffee gadget too! Or you might be interested in learning how to use a Moka Pot, I have a great tutorial as well.
Why You’re Going To Love This Method of Making French Press Coffee
- It’s No Fuss. Some French Press recipes get really technical regarding ounces and the weight of the coffee grounds. I don’t think that’s necessary. We’re using easy to understand weights and measurements for this recipe.
- Better Coffee. If you’ve never tried french press coffee before, you are in for a real treat. This will be the best cup of coffee you’ve ever made at home, I promise.
- It’s Easy! I’m going to give you all of the information you need to make the perfect french press coffee. You’ll be able to repeat this process over and over and get the best cup of coffee, every time.
What Is a French Press?
Generally made of glass and metal, a french press coffee maker looks like a small glass pitcher with a metal filter and plunger inside of it. They come in various sizes, but the most popular models make about 2 large cups of coffee.
You may be served french press coffee at restaurants or posh coffee shops, and there’s often an upcharge for it because the coffee is just so much better than regular drip coffee.
Luckily, we’re going to learn how to use a French press at home, so you can enjoy this rich, flavorful coffee whenever you want.
What Is French Press Coffee?
The French press coffee making process involves combining coarse ground coffee with boiling water and steeping it in a French Press before plunging the grounds to the bottom of the carafe.
The resulting coffee has a richer, fuller flavor than other methods produce. A bonus benefit of this method is that because less heat goes into making it, you’re less likely to develop that bitter taste common with many coffees.
Tools and Ingredients Needed for French Press Coffee
- French Press – Obviously you’ll need a french press to make this coffee! I use a Bodum Original 12 oz press. This brand is very well liked overall and I’ve had this one for a long time. If you treat it well, your french press will last years. This recipe will work perfectly with a larger or smaller press too.
- Filtered Water – To make really great tasting coffee, you want to use quality water. I use water that was filtered in a Brita Pitcher to make this coffee. Bottled water will work as well.
- Coffee – You will want to start with whole roasted coffee beans and grind them yourself, or use coffee beans that have been pre-ground to a coarse consistency.
How to Use a French Press to Make Coffee
This recipe is sized to make 2 cups of coffee. You can easily adjust it to make more or less depending on your needs. I’ll explain all of the details of the proper ratio of coffee to water further down on the page.
- Grind Coffee. Place whole roasted coffee beans in a coffee grinder and grind to a coarse grind. This is important as a fine grind will block the holes in the french press filter.
- Boil Water. Using a kettle or a saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and let sit for 2 minutes so that the temperature reduces slightly.
- Add Coffee Grounds. Add the ground coffee to the French press and pour the hot water over the coffee. Using a plastic spoon, give it a quick stir, and cover with the top. Don’t press down on the plunger yet!
- Steep. Leave the coffee to brew for 4 minutes. You can adjust the timing if you prefer a lighter or stronger coffee. 4 minutes is the sweet spot for a balanced, medium strength brew.
- Strain. Carefully press the plunger down, pushing the coffee grounds to the bottom of the press. Pour your coffee into mugs and enjoy.
How To Grind Coffee for a French Press
A good cup of French press coffee is all about the perfect grind. While you can buy coffee already ground to the right size online, I highly suggest grinding your own beans. Your coffee will be much fresher this way, and you’ll have total control over the grind.
- If you’re grinding your coffee beans with a manual grinder or an electric grinder, grind them until they resemble coarse sand. If you grind too long and the coffee looks more like a powder, start over! You can use that coffee for your drip machine. You must use a coarse grind for the french press.
- Some coffee grinders are automatic. If you have a pre-programmed coffee grinder, set it to “medium” to get the perfect grind.
While I don’t believe that straying a bit from these will hurt your morning cup, I do think it’s important to know that people have determined the exact formula for making the best cup of French Press Coffee.
- French Press Ratio: for every 1 cup (8oz.) of water, use 1 rounded tablespoon of coarsely ground coffee. So, for two cups of water you’ll want 2 rounded tablespoons.
- French Press Water Temperature: The perfect temperature for brewing coffee this way is 195°F/90°C. This is just slightly less than boiling. Rather than using a thermometer, I like to boil my water and then set a timer for 2 minutes to let the temperature come down slightly.
How Long To Brew French Press Coffee
The sweet spot for brewing coffee in a French press is something around 4 minutes. I find that if I want a really strong cup of coffee, 5 minutes is perfect, and if I want it lighter I can do 3 minutes and get exactly what I want.
You will likely need to experiment to find exactly how you like your coffee. Start with 4 minutes and adjust from there.
French Press Coffee FAQs
There could be two issues. First, you may not have let the coffee steep long enough. Make sure to use a timer to brew for at least 4 minutes. Also, weak French Press coffee could be due to the wrong grind. Typically weak coffee would come from coffee beans that were ground too coarsely. Make sure you have a medium coarse ground next time.
You should not use ground coffee that you use in a drip coffee maker in a French Press. The coffee is ground too finely, will plug up the filter and likely result in muddy, gritty coffee. Instead, grind your own beans or buy coffee that has specifically been coarsely ground for the French Press.
Yes, give the coffee/water mixture a brief stir before putting the lid on. This helps the coffee grounds to get fully saturated with water and gives a better brew. If you skip stirring you’ll end up with clumps of coffee that never touched water, so you will have weak coffee.
You only need to stir once though. Stirring often is not recommended as it can disrupt the steeping process.
Because the coffee press is made of glass, you want to be careful not to cause any damage to it. A plastic or wooden spoon is more gentle than a metal one, so you won’t accidentally scratch the glass.
It might be tempting to just rinse it out and set it aside to use again tomorrow, but it’s important to clean your coffee press after each use. Coffee left in glass containers stains and leaves a film that is difficult to remove if it’s left on and reheated again.
Gently remove the grounds from the bottom of the carafe with a plastic spoon or your hands. Then wash all of the pieces with hot soapy water. Let air dry until you use it again.
Whew! That was a lot of information about coffee! If you have any questions at all about how to use a coffee press, please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer as soon as possible.
Be sure to pin this recipe so everyone can learn how to use a French press!
- 2 cups filtered water 16 oz
- ¼ cup whole roasted coffee beans or 2 tablespoons coarsely ground
- Place the whole roasted coffee beans in a coffee grinder, and grind to a coarse grind (not fine grind as that can block the coffee filter and cause pressure in the French press).
- Bring the water to a boil, and let it sit for 2 minutes.
- Add the ground coffee to the fresh press, and pour the hot water over the coffee. Using a pastic spoon, give it a quick stir, and cover with the top but do not press the plunger down.
- Leave the coffee to brew for 4 minutes (if you like lighter coffee do a minute less, for stronger coffee do 5-6 minutes).
- Carefully press the plunger down, pour the coffee in coffee cups.
- If you’re grinding your coffee beans with a manual grinder or an electric grinder, grind them until they resemble coarse sand. If you have a pre-programmed coffee grinder, set it to “medium” to get the perfect grind.
- The perfect temperature for brewing coffee this way is 195°F/90°C. This is just slightly less than boiling. Rather than using a thermometer, I like to boil my water and then set a timer for 2 minutes to let the temperature come down slightly.
- The sweet spot for brewing coffee in a French press is something around 4 minutes. I find that if I want a really strong cup of coffee, 5 minutes is perfect, and if I want it lighter I can do 3 minutes and get exactly what I want.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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