Are you on a quest to find the best way to make awesome coffee at home? Look no further--the French press is the answer! With the tips and tricks below, you can make some of the tastiest java you've ever had. Let's get started!
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What is a French press?
A French press (also known as a cafetière in the UK) is made up of three basic components: the carafe, the plunger, and the filters.
- The carafe holds the grounds and water. It can be made from stainless steel or glass, and has a handle for pouring.
- The plunger consists of a lid with a rod that goes through a hole in the center.
- The filters attach to the plunger rod. When the plunger is depressed, the coffee flows through the filters, leaving the grounds underneath.
Why You'll Love This Method
With this easy recipe and expert tips, you'll learn how to craft an amazing cup of French press coffee.
- Get the perfect ratio of ingredients for the best flavor.
- Learn what grind size you need.
- Use the right water temperature and brewing time.
- Implement the best techniques for getting optimal flavor from your brew.
A crucial aspect of making French press coffee is getting the right ratio. Fortunately, it's pretty simple!
I use a 1:12 ratio by weight (1 gram of beans to 12 grams of water). Feel free to experiment with this ratio based on your tastes and the type of beans you're using. Many people like a 1:10 or 1:15 ratio as well.
The following chart shows you how much beans and water you'll need to brew various batches using the 1:12 ratio.
One of the most important parts of this process is getting the correct grind. If the grind is too fine, the result will be muddy and bitter; if the grind is too coarse, not much flavor will be extracted.
Aim for coarse, evenly-sized grounds that are about the size of panko breadcrumbs or coarse kosher salt. (See the photo below for a visual demonstration.)
Tips for Grinding Beans for a French Press
- Use a conical burr grinder (affiliate) or a commercial grinder for best results.
- Only grind as many beans as you need at one time. Freshly ground ones will always yield the best-tasting brew.
- The plunger should push down with some resistance. If it slips down too easily, the grind is too coarse; if it's hard to push, the grind is too fine.
How to Make
- Start by measuring out the appropriate ratios of beans and water (see the chart above).
- Grind the beans on a coarse setting.
3. Warm up the French press carafe by filling it with boiling water, then let it sit for a minute.
4. Dump out the water and add the grounds.
5. Boil fresh water in a kettle, then let it cool for 60 seconds. (Or, heat it to 195-200°F.) Pour enough hot water over the grounds to wet them. The ideal amount for blooming is twice the weight of the coffee (i.e. 80g of water to 40g of coffee).
6. Let it brew for 1 minute, then pour the rest of the water on top. Gently stir, put the lid on with the plunger up, and let it brew for 3 more minutes.
7. Slowly but firmly push down the plunger to strain out the grounds.
8. Immediately pour the coffee into a mug or carafe. If desired, pour it through a filter or a paper towel-lined sieve to remove any sediment.
9. Add cream, sugar, or desired flavorings, and enjoy!
While it's definitely a matter of personal preference, French press coffee does tend to taste better than regular drip coffee. French press coffee is typically made with freshly ground beans, which improves the flavor, and the brewing method also keeps all of the flavorful oils rather than filtering them out.
The French press brewing method doesn't filter out the natural oils, which makes the brew deeply and richly flavored. This means that the coffee will taste significantly better than that brewed in a standard drip machine.
Heat the water to 195-200°F, then add coarsely ground coffee to the cafetière. Pour a little of the hot water over the grounds and let it stand for 30 seconds to allow the grounds to bloom, then pour the remaining liquid onto the grounds. Stir and let it brew for 4 minutes, then push down the plunger and pour.
As long as coffee is enjoyed in moderation, it's healthy to drink every day. Drink no more than four cups per day, and try to keep add-ins such as sugar, cream, and syrups to a minimum.
To make French press coffee successfully, you'll need a few key tools. Let's talk about each one and why it's important.
- French Press: I like to use a double wall insulated stainless steel one rather than glass because it keeps the liquid hotter during the brewing process. Glass models are prone to break and are less durable.
- Kitchen Scale: This scale makes it easy, quick, and accurate to measure ingredients to ensure the ratios are correct.
- Conical Burr Grinder: This type of grinder grinds the beans evenly, which is an absolute must.
- Electric Kettle: This gooseneck kettle offers great control over the flow, and heats up quickly. You can also set the kettle to heat to a specific temperature to save time.
- Water Filter: Starting with cold filtered water will make your coffee taste the best. Our family has used the Berkey filtration system for 15+ years and loves it!
How to Clean
You've brewed an amazing batch of coffee, but now you're left with a mess of spent grounds. How do you dispose of them and clean the French press? Let's learn how!
- Discard the grounds. Use a spoon to scrape out as much of the grounds as you can into a plastic grocery bag or other sack. Wrap the bag around the grounds and throw into your garbage can. (The bag keeps the grounds from smelling up your garbage.)
- Rinse. Unscrew the filters from the plunger and separate them. Rinse the carafe, plunger, and filters until all the grounds are gone. Be careful not to rinse too many grounds down the drain, however, as it can clog the pipes.
- Wash. If your French press is dishwasher safe, load it into the dishwasher, or hand wash with hot soapy water. Let the filters dry thoroughly before reassembling the cafetière.
- Make sure the grounds are coarse; about the size of panko breadcrumbs.
- Grind the beans fresh each time for optimal flavor.
- Use a kitchen scale to weigh the ingredients for the most accurate measurements. Water weighs 1 gram per 1 milliliter.
- Use fresh, cold, filtered water that hasn't been previously boiled or has been sitting in the kettle.
- Pour the brewed coffee out of the French press as soon as it's done brewing to prevent a bitter taste.
- Remove nearly all the muddiness by pouring it through a paper towel-lined sieve.
Use your brewing skills for these delicious drinks.
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How to Make French Press Coffee
- 2 cups tap water, for heating the French press
- ½ cup coffee beans
- 2 cups cold filtered water
- Bring the tap water to a boil, then pour it into the French press and let it preheat while you grind the beans.
- Pour the beans into a conical burr grinder and grind on a coarse setting. The grounds should be the size of panko breadcrumbs.
- Pour the water into a gooseneck kettle and heat it to 195-200°F (91-93°C). If you don't have a temperature-controlled kettle, let it come to a full boil, then let it cool for 1 minute. Discard the preheating water from the French press as you wait.
- Dump the grounds into the preheated cafetiere, then place on the kitchen scale and tare it. Pour a little of the hot water over the grounds, stir, and let it stand for 30 seconds. The ideal amount for blooming is twice the weight of coffee (i.e. 80g of water for 40g beans).
- Pour the remaining hot water into the French press and stir to combine. Put the lid on top with the plunger up and set a timer for 4 minutes.
- Slowly push the plunger down to filter the grounds from the coffee. The plunger should descend with a little resistance, but not too much.
- Pour the coffee immediately into a mug or carafe. It will continue to brew if it's left in the French press with the grounds, making it bitter and muddy. Pour it through a filter or a paper towel-lined sieve to remove additional muddiness.
- Grind the beans fresh before each brew. Use a coarse grind that is about the size of panko breadcrumbs.
- Use a conical burr grinder, since it crushes the beans into equally sized pieces. If you don't have a burr grinder, use a regular grinder and shake the canister a couple times while it grinds to mix up the grounds.
- Don't use re-boiled water that's been sitting in the kettle; it won't taste as fresh.
- Be careful not to let the coffee brew too long, because it will make it bitter. Experiment with different ratios and brewing times based on your personal preferences and the roast you're using.
- If you find that there's a lot of muddy grounds, try stacking a third mesh filter in the French press plunger and grinding the beans more evenly. Also, try filtering it through a paper towel-lined sieve to catch the extra sediment.
This post was originally published on September 14, 2018, and was republished on January 15, 2022 with reformatted content, new photos, and new information.