How To Make Coffee With A French Press: Step-by-step Tutorial

11 min read JAN 29, 2023

 With the French press being one of the world's most favored coffee brewing methods, it is simply astonishing that a whopping 90% of people don't use it correctly. Nevertheless, producing delicious coffee with a French press can be as straightforward as following a few simple steps.

After we demonstrate the proper way to use a french press, you'll be able to make coffee that is tastier and superior to what you're making now. You will be surprised by how delightful coffee can be if you take the time to learn and master this technique.

Uncovering the Science Behind How a French Press works

Uncovering the Science Behind How a French Press works

Are you curious about the French press and how it works? It's a straightforward coffee maker made of a beaker, base, handle, and plunger. The main component is the beaker, where you pour in your ground beans and hot water. The base with accompanying handle ensures safety when handling this device; no burns or spills. Assembling all parts into one unit is easy to do as well – even for beginners. With its simple design, anyone can find success using this classic tool to make amazing cups of coffee at home.

The best part is that you don't need to bother with paper filters; with French press brewing, the coffee grounds are simply immersed in hot water.

Through this process, we can ensure a more efficient brewing experience as the coffee grounds are submerged for several minutes in hot water rather than just a few moments like with drip methods.

For consistently great coffee, it's essential to know how to properly disassemble and clean your French press. This should be done once a month for the best results - don't forget that simply rinsing is not enough. Taking the time to do this will help ensure that your coffee is always fresh and flavorful.

Select Your Perfect French Press

Select Your Perfect French Press

Selecting the perfect French press requires a bit of knowledge and understanding about which features are important to you. Choosing a model that fits your needs is essential for getting the best cup of coffee every time.

The size of your French press is one of the most important factors when deciding on the perfect device. It's usually measured in cups, but it's important to note that some companies count four ounces as one standard cup size, so be sure to check the exact measurements before you buy. Small french presses have a 3-4 cups capacity, and large ones 8-12 cups - depending on how many people you want to serve with your brew.

The material used in making the press pot is an equally important factor. The usual choices are stainless steel and aluminum. You can also find glass models, but they aren't as popular since they don't offer very good heat retention. Even if glass looks nice, it's better to opt for metal models since they will last much longer and hold temperature more efficiently.

You can also choose between manual or electric French presses, which come with automatic brewing features such as heating water, regulating temperature, and keeping coffee warm until served. Electric models offer convenience if you don't have much time to make coffee. In contrast, manual ones require your presence during the entire process giving you full control over all aspects of brewing, such as water temperature, stirring intensity, extraction time, etc.

Another feature to consider when selecting the perfect French press is the ease of cleaning and disassembling, which should be done at least once a month for consistently great results. This can directly affect the taste and quality of your coffee positively or negatively, so make sure that whatever model you choose has clear cleaning instructions on its packaging or product page online.

Finally, it's worth noting that cheap presses may seem attractive at first glance. Still, their quality often leaves something to be desired, so investing in higher-end products from reliable suppliers might save you from having to replace them every 6 months or less.

Selecting the perfect French press can be challenging, but with enough research and consideration of your needs, you'll find the ideal device for your coffee-making needs. Whether it's simple manual or electric presses - there's something out there that will meet all your needs. So don't hesitate to explore different models to find what works best for you.

How To Use A French Press - A Step By Step Guide

There are two approaches to brewing outlined in this guide: the basic and advanced methods. We'll start with a step-by-step overview of the basics here.

Step 1: Preheat Your Press

Step 1: Preheat Your Press

Preheating your French press before brewing coffee is essential to achieving the desired temperature and flavor.

Not only will it help you brew better-tasting coffee, but pre-warming also ensures that your drink stays hot for longer periods of time.

To do this, simply pour some hot water into the device until its surface is warm to the touch; then, discard the liquid responsibly once done.

Doing this will create a more even temperature between the cold equipment and hot water, resulting in a better brew.

Step 2: Gauge the Weight of Your Coffee Grounds

Step 2: Gauge the Weight of Your Coffee Grounds

Brewing the perfect cup of coffee with a press requires some key steps, including using quality beans freshly ground in your burr grinder. If you're just following the basic method for preparing it, you'll want to use a medium-coarse grind size, but if you're looking for an extra flavorful bonus step, go ahead and opt for a more refined medium grind.

For a standard 12-cup (1.5 liters) press pot, you'll want to use around 24g of freshly ground coffee – though this amount could be adjusted depending on how strong you like your coffee.

Step 3: Measure Water Temperature and Weight

For the perfect cup of coffee with a French press, it is essential to use quality beans that have been freshly ground in a grinder.

To ensure consistent results, measuring the weight of your coffee grounds and water using a kitchen scale rather than spoons is best. The ideal ratio between these two elements should be 1:15.

Additionally, the water should be heated to a temperature between 195-205°F using either a stovetop or gooseneck kettles.

Step 4: Mix Grounds Coffee And Hot Water

Step 4: Mix Grounds Coffee And Hot Water

To begin, add the correct ratio of freshly ground coffee to your preheated French press. Follow that with a simultaneous single pour of hot water, and make sure all the grounds are submerged by stirring them in with a spoon. This helps ensure you get full flavor extraction from each grind.

Step 5: Secure the lid And Start Timing

To maintain the heat and brew a delicious cup of coffee, make sure to tightly screw on the lid. Set your timer and start counting down - usually, 4 minutes is enough for perfect coffee from a French press. However, you can adjust this timing according to how strong or mild you like it.

Step 6: Plunge the Filter Slowly

Step 6: Plunge the Filter Slowly

When your timer goes off, it's time to slowly push down the plunger until it rests securely at the bottom. This will separate the coffee grounds from the liquid with a sieve-like filter. All that's left is to pour your freshly brewed cup of coffee into your favorite mug and enjoy.

Step 7: Decanting your Coffee

To experience the full richness of your coffee flavor, we suggest that you decant it before serving. Leaving your coffee in a container with its grounds will result in an over-extracted and unpleasant taste.

Step 8: Enjoy Your Perfectly Brewed Cup of Coffee

Step 8: Enjoy Your Perfectly Brewed Cup of Coffee

Congratulations, you've just made the perfect cup of coffee with a French press. Enjoy the full flavor of your freshly brewed cup and savor every sip.

10 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Optimal French press coffee-to-water ratio

Coffee is an art form that requires experimentation and adjustment to make the perfect cup.

As a starting point, use a ratio of 1:15 - one gram of coffee for every 15 grams (or 3 tablespoons) of water. If you find it too weak, add more coffee; if you want something stronger, opt for a lower fluid-to-coffee ratio, such as 1:10 or even stronger at 1:5, depending on your preference.

A French Press calculator can help guide how much coffee and water should be used based on desired strength levels, from light and delicate to powerful, bold flavors.

How much coffee your French press can make?

Most French presses are designed to make at least 8-12 cups of coffee, with a typical pod making one cup (or 4oz) each. This translates to roughly 32-48 ounces (1-1.5 liters) of coffee each time you brew.

However, the size of your French press will determine how many cups of coffee it can make at once. For instance, a 34-ounce French press can make about 3 to 4 cups in one brew, while a 50-ounce French press can make 5 to 6 cups.

Note that the measurements are based on 8oz mugs; if you use larger mugs, then fewer cups will be made from each brew.

What Size Should You Grind Your Coffee Beans For A French Press?

Making the perfect cup of press pot coffee requires a careful balance between grind size and bean freshness.

A good burr grinder is essential, set to somewhere between coarse and medium-coarse for optimal results - not too fine or it will be bitter from over-extraction, but also not so coarse as to make a weak brew.

The key takeaway? Always freshly grind your beans before brewing. A grind size chart can help you find the perfect setting and ensure every cup is made just right. 

What is the Ideal Steeping Time for French Press Coffee?

The ideal steeping time for French press coffee is typically between 3-4 minutes. This amount of time will give your drink the perfect balance of flavor and strength without being overly bitter or weak. Of course, you can play around with the timing and adjust it to your taste preference if needed. 

Is decanting the right choice?

Don't let your coffee go to waste. After pressing the plunger, quickly pour out any leftover liquid into another container before it gets cold and bitter.

Decanting is a great way to ensure that you can savor every drop of deliciousness from your freshly brewed cup without sacrificing flavor or freshness.

Plus, decanters are designed specifically with heat retention in mind, so you won't have to worry about sipping on an overly cooled beverage later on.

What Coffee Is Most Suited For A French Press?

 Although it ultimately boils down to individual taste, medium and dark-roasted coffee beans are typically considered the most pleasing in flavor. 

How Does French Press Coffee Stack Up To Other Brewing Techniques?

French press coffee is an incredibly popular brewing method for those who want to bring out their beans' full flavor and aroma. It produces a much fuller-bodied cup than other methods, such as drip coffee, espresso, or stovetop percolators.

The result is also far less acidic than most other brews due to the gentle steeping process. This makes French press coffee ideal for people who may be more sensitive to acidity in their drinks.

French press coffee is also incredibly versatile - you can experiment with different grind sizes, water-to-coffee ratios, and steeping times to find the perfect cup for your taste. With the right setup and technique, it's easy to create great-tasting coffee every time.

What Is The Best Temperature For Brewing French Press Coffee?

To get the best results from your French press, it's important to brew at a temperature of 195-205° Fahrenheit (90.5-96° Celsius). If you're using boiling water straight from the kettle, make sure to let it cool down for 1-2 minutes before adding it to the grounds.

This will ensure that your coffee won't get too bitter or acidic but retains all of its flavor and aroma. Of course, you can adjust the temperature slightly, depending on your preference. 

What Is The Best Way To Store A French Press?

It's best to store your French press away from extreme temperatures; excess heat or cold may cause cracking over time. Avoid storing it close to sinks, ovens, microwaves, etc., as these appliances can create moisture problems.

You should also make sure to clean your French press thoroughly after each use; leaving coffee grinds or residue in the carafe can create stale flavors. Finally, store it with the plunger fully depressed for easier cleaning and storage. 

What Are Some Common Mistakes To Avoid When Brewing French Press Coffee?

The most common mistake when brewing a cup of French press coffee is overstepping - this can lead to an overly bitter cup of joe. Try using a timer (or even just setting a mental reminder), so you don't forget to plunge quickly after four minutes.

Another common mistake is not using freshly-ground beans; pre-ground coffee won't have as much flavor and aroma. Also, make sure to use clean water; tap water high in chlorine or hard minerals can affect the flavor of your coffee.

Finally, avoid using too much coffee - this can make your cup way too strong and bitter. A good rule of thumb is to use two tablespoons for every six ounces of water. By following these tips, you'll be able to brew perfect French press coffee every time.

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