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How to make perfect French Press Coffee at Home

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.


French Press Instructions: 

  1. Preheat the Coffee Press
  2. Weight Your Coffee
  3. Boil water
  4. Grind Coffee Beans
  5. Prep the French Press
  6. Pour hot water and Stir
  7. Wait and Relax
  8. Press slowly
  9. Pour and Enjoy 

Prep and Brew Time:

  • Prep time: ~5 min.
  • Brew time: 4 min.
  • Total time: ~9 min.

Gear you need:

  • French Press Coffee Maker
  • Gourmet Coffee (coffee beans recommended)
  • Coffee Grinder (burr coffee grinder recommended)
  • Water
  • Stirring spoon (wooden spoon recommended)
  • Water Kettle
  • Timer
  • Coffee Mug (or thermos)
  • Scale or Coffee Measuring Spoon

Step by Step Demonstration on How to Make Coffee in a French Press

Step1: 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

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

Step 2: Weigh Your 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.

Weigh Your Coffee


French Press Coffee to Water Ratio Calculator

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.

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


Step 3: 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.

Boil water

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. 

Step 4: Grind 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 Coffee Beans

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

Step 5: Prep the French Press

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

Prep the French Press


Step 6: Pour hot water and Stir

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

Pour hot water and Stir

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. 

Step 7: 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

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. 


Step 8: 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


Step 9: 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

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.

You might also like:

Interesting Fact: A French press, also known as a cafetière, сafetière à pistonCafeteriapress potcoffee press, or coffee plunger, is a coffee brewing device patented by Italian designer Attilio Calimani in 1929.

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Comments 5
  • Anke Kintore
    Anke Kintore

    Dear frenchpresscoffee.com owner, Your posts are always well-supported by facts and figures.

  • Stephanie Grace
    Stephanie Grace

    This information is very helpful. However, I found the coffee to water ratio information conflicting. There’s the table where I can choose the strength of coffee and it gives me the amount for 4 CUPS of water and then there’s the tip that suggests 1 TBSP of coffee per 4 OUNCES of water. So, the first, if I want between medium and strong I would use 2 TBSP of coffee for 4 cups? I suspect that would make a very weak cup of coffee. (Another resource I came across recommended 1 TBSP for each cup and 1 for the pot!) Obviously I can do my own experimentation to find the best ratio for my tastes. I just wanted to reach out to see if I misunderstood what seemed to me to be a discrepancy in the instructions for the ratio. Thank you.

  • Lilly

    I recently got a Bodum that makes about 34 oz. I’ve been making cold brew in it, which tastes great, but I’ve been using 3/4 c. Coffee, which seems like a lot! I didn’t have time to set it up last night so I tried making hot coffee in it for the first time this morning… I used 8 TB as this page suggests. Sorry to say this literally tastes like hot water. 😟 I guess I have a lot more tweaking to do. For those of you who prefer stronger coffee, maybe look that up specifically…

  • James

    i was wondering if you have heard of or tried James Hoffman’s French Press method of never actually plunging the coffee but letting it sit for a longer time for a silt-free brew? anyway if so i would love to hear your thoughts

  • Thiago

    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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