How to make perfect French Press Coffee - Brew Guide and Tips

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French Press Coffee Maker

While French Press Coffee is the easiest, least expensive way to enjoy a gourmet cup of coffee, for those who are familiar with drip-style coffee makers or expensive one-cup brewers, the idea of measuring and grinding beans, and allowing the coffee grounds to float in the hot water seems kind of bizarre. That's okay! While the process may seem unfamiliar at first, we will walk you through the basic steps to creating the best coffee you have ever tasted.

Prep and Brew Time: Gear you need:
  • Prep time: ~5 min.
  • Brew time: 4 min.
  • Total time: ~9 min.
  • French Press Coffee Maker
  • Gourmet Coffee ( coffee beans recommended)
  • Coffee Grinder (burr grinder recommended)
  • Water
  • Stirring spoon (wooden spoon recommended)
  • Kettle
  • Timer
  • Coffee Mug (or thermos)
  • Scale or Coffee Measuring Spoon

Preheat the Coffee Press

The first step to brewing coffee with a French Press Coffee Maker is to preheat your carafe by pouring boiling hot water into it. This will warm the French Press and help your water temperature stay more consistent throughout the brewing process.

Preheat the Coffee Press Coffee Maker

Tip: preheat your coffee mug by pouring hot water into it as well.

Grind your coffee beans

Selecting the correct grind is a crucial part of making a great cup of French Press coffee. For French Press, you should grind your coffee beans to a coarse or medium-coarse grind. Any finer means that your French Press screen will clog. By the way, from the moment that you grind the coffee beans, the flavorful oils in the coffee beans begin to oxidize. Grind immediately before brewing for the most flavor and aroma.

Grind your coffee beans for French Press Coffee

Tip: If you don't have good grinder (burr grinder recommended) have your local coffee shop grind the coffee beans for you. 

Measure ground coffee

You will need about a heaping tablespoon of ground coffee for each cup of coffee that you want to drink. There's no particular "gold standard" for measuring, other than your own personal preference and your palate. If you prefer stronger coffee, use a bit more grounds, but if you like it weaker, it's okay to use a bit less.

Measure Ground Coffee for French Press

Tip: start with 8 grams (1 tbsp.) of coarse ground coffee per 4 oz. (118 ml.) of water, then add or subtract coffee grounds to your taste.

Quick measurements:
Coffee Press Size 3-cup (12 oz) 5-cup (20 oz) 8-cup (34 oz)
Ground Coffee 16-24 grams (2-3 tbsp.) 32-40 grams (4-5 tbsp.) 56-64 grams (7-8 tbsp.)

Boil water

Bring your water to a boil. However, don't pour it too soon. Ideally, water temperature for French Press coffee should be between 195 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a thermometer to measure the the temperature, and note the time it takes for the boiling water to drop to this preferred temperature. The next time that you make coffee, just wait the required amount of time before moving on to the next step.

Water temperature for French Press coffee should be between 195 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit

Tip: If you do not have a thermometer to measure the temperature - allow the water to sit for a 30-45 seconds after it has come to a full boil, it will cool to the ideal temperature. 

Prep the French Press

Empty the warming water from the carafe, and add your measured coffee grounds to it.

Add your measured coffee grounds - French Press

Pour hot water and Stir

Add your hot water to your Coffee Press and stir it. 

Tip: If you're using a metal spoon, be careful to not break the glass of your French Press. It's actually better to use a wooden stirrer for this step.

French Press Coffee and stir slowly

Wait and Relax

Place the lid (with the plunger pulled up) on the French Press Coffee Maker to help keep in the heat. Wait 4 minutes for the coffee to brew. Set a timer, and just wait for the magic to work.

Wait and relax - French Press Coffee

Tip: Recommended brew time for French Press coffee is 4 minutes but some coffee lovers prefer a French Press brew time of 3 minutes, for instance, while others swear by 5 minutes. You will find your ideal time with some trial and effort.

Press slowly

Slowly press the plunger all the way down to filter the grounds out of the coffee.  Don't rush through this step. A slow, firm pressure is what you are looking for.

Press slowly - French Press Coffee

Pour and Enjoy

Pour your coffee immediately from the French Press into your favorite coffee mug. Don't let the coffee sit in the French Press carafe for too long because the brew will become bitter.

Pour and Enjoy - French Press Pot

Tip: If you need hot coffee for a longer period, immediately pour the leftover coffee into a thermos or carafe so it stays warm and stop extracting from the existing coffee grounds.

 

Bottom line: French Press Coffee takes a bit more work than some other brewing methods, but we're sure that you will agree that it's worth it.

Gear we use:
Fact: A French press, also known as a cafetière, сafetière à piston, Cafeteria, press pot, coffee press, or coffee plunger, is a coffee brewing device patented by Italian designer Attilio Calimani in 1929.

For more info, please read: Wikipedia, How to Brew Coffee.com, CoffeeGeek.com


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  • Igor Dernov
Comments 1
  • Thiago
    Thiago

    Hi!
    I’m new to french press and I’m wondering what’s the minimum quantity/volume I can make with it.
    Let’s say a 8 cup press. Can I make just 3 or 4 cups on it?

    Thank you!

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