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French Press Brewing Guide

French press coffee is one of the most popular ways to make a delicious cup of Joe at home. With a few household materials and the right grind, you can enjoy any roast in the comfort of your own home. It doesn’t matter if coffee is your hobby or this is your first time making it yourself—anyone can learn how to use a French press.

What You Need

  • French press
  • Coffee beans
  • Hot water
  • Kettle
  • Burr grinder
  • Scale
  • Mug
  • Thermometer
  • Timer
  • Stirring utensil

Brew Time for French Press Coffee

4-5 minutes

How to Make French Press Coffee

Step 1:

Bring distilled water to a boil using a stovetop or an electric tea kettle. Remove it from heat once the water is between hot and boiling at around 200 degrees Fahrenheit (which you can check for using a thermometer). Let this sit for at least 30 seconds to cool down slightly.

Step 2:

Weigh out your coffee beans with your food-safe scale. This step will help you determine exactly how much water to use for a perfect ratio. 

Step 3:

Using a burr grinder, grind your preferred coffee bean at the coarsest level. The finished product should resemble coarse salt in size. Although it is an extra step in the morning, grinding the coffee right before brewing will help preserve the flavors and notes.

Step 4:

Remove the plunger from the press and pour your coarse ground coffee into the bottom, shaking it slightly back and forth to burst any air pockets. Once you have an even layer of grounds, you can proceed. 

Step 5:

Pour about half of your hot water over the grounds, carefully getting as much of the top visible layer as possible. This process is known as the bloom: the hot water expands and releases any trapped gases, creating a thick crust and allowing delicious aromas to come to the forefront of the flavor. Once you’ve finished pouring, start your timer for 30 seconds.

Step 6:

After your 30-second timer goes off, stir the water and grounds together to break up the crust. Once evenly mixed, you can fill the canister with the remaining half of your hot water. Pull the plunger all the way up and place the lid back on your French press.

Step 7:

Set your timer for 4 to 5 minutes, depending on your taste preferences, and wait. 

Step 8:

After the allotted time has passed, slowly press the plunger down to separate the grounds from the brewed coffee. Pour directly into your mug and enjoy a fresh, hot cup of French press coffee!

Top Questions About French Press Coffee

Getting started with French press coffee is easy! As you start the process, check out some of these frequently asked questions:

Why Are There Grounds in My Cup of French Press Coffee?

If you find grounds in your finished cup of coffee, there is likely one of two issues wrong. First, check the French press to see if the mesh screen has become clogged or if the plunger has been bent out of shape. If the press seems to be in working condition, the odds are that your beans were ground too fine—the next time you grind, try a coarser setting.

Can You Use a French Press to Make Iced Coffee?

If you’re attempting to make an iced coffee using a French press, you’ll need to make a few alterations to the process. First, make sure you double up on the amount of grounds in your ratio to avoid diluting the taste once you pour your brew over ice. Fill and brew the canister as normal and pour over ice. For an even stronger body, leave it (without plunging) in your fridge overnight for a cold brew-like taste.

How Much Coffee Should You Put Into a French Press?

A good rule of thumb for making French press coffee is a 1:12 ratio: for instance, if you were to use 30 grams of coarse grounds, you’d use 360 grams of water. Many people measure these each morning by using either a food-safe scale or a measuring spoon if using tablespoons. Play with this ratio as you please to find a brew strength that’s right for you.  

Does French Press Coffee Taste Better?

When compared to other popular brewing methods, such as drip or pour over, many people find that they prefer a French press coffee. Since this method relies on a manual draining, as opposed to a paper filter, more of the oils make it into the brew, allowing the stronger flavors to stand out. If you enjoy a full-bodied profile, French press coffee will make any roast taste better. 

Should I Pour Out All of the Coffee From My French Press?

After you extract the brew from the coffee grounds, it’s important to pour the coffee into mugs or glasses immediately. If you don’t, it will continue to brew in the bottom of your French press, leading to a bitter cup—and no one wants that!


What’s the Best Type of Bean for a French Press Coffee?

As long as they are coarsely ground, you can use any bean you like to make a cup of coffee in a French press. Try different light, medium, and dark roasts to find out your personal taste preferences. Since French presses are known for bringing out a bold taste, it may take some playing around before you find your favorite cup of Joe.

How Do You Clean a French Press?

It’s important to clean out your French press in between uses. Depending on your design, you can either place it on the top rack of the dishwasher for a normal cycle or hand wash it by soaking each piece in soapy water and carefully rinsing it. Make sure everything is dry before putting the pieces back together.

Whether you prefer your coffee robust and black or acidic and full of creamer, a French press gives you a perfect cup every time. Be your own barista and follow our easy steps—with a little trial and error, you’ll be a French press coffee pro in no time.  

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