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How to Make French Press Coffee

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Make the perfect cup of coffee in your French Press following my simple tutorial. And don’t miss the tips that answer all of your questions about the best way for making coffee.

Cup of homemade French Press Coffee.

Perhaps you saw French press coffee made at your local coffee shop or a friend’s home and you want to give it a try.

It’s not surprising… coffee made in a French press tastes so special. And don’t worry, it’s so much easier to make pour over coffee than it sounds.

Once you’ve done it a time or two, you’ll enjoy making delicious coffee every day for your morning coffee ritual.

What You Need to Make French Press Coffee

  • Coffee Grounds
  • Hot Water
  • French Press
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Spoon
  • Coffee mug

By the Numbers: How to Make French Press Coffee

Step 1: Prepare Ingredients.

Decide how much coffee you want to make. Measure the appropriate amount of coffee grounds and add them to the bottom of the French press. You’ll want 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds per 8 ounces of water.

Coffee grounds in bottom of French press.

Boil your water, then remove it from the heat and allow it to sit for 1-2 minutes. You want the water to be at 195˚ F. It’s best to use a thermometer.

Step 2: Pour Hot Water Over Ground Coffee.

Pour half of your hot water over the top of the grounds and allow it to sit for 2 minutes. This will help the coffee bloom, which makes it less bitter and ensures it won’t be too weak.

Hot water poured over coffee grounds in French press so coffee can bloom.

Step 3: Stir Coffee Grounds.

Stir the grounds in a circular motion to encourage brewing.

Stirring coffee grounds and water in French press.

Step 4: Pour in Remaining Water.

Then pour in the rest of your hot water. Allow it to sit for another 2 minutes.

French press coffee brewing.

Step 5: Press Down Coffee Plunger.

Press the coffee grounds down in your coffee press with the pot plunger.

Plunger pressed down on French press coffee maker.

Step 6: Serve French Press Coffee.

Immediately pour the coffee into your coffee mug so that it won’t over brew. Add your favorite coffee add-ins.

French press coffee served in glass.

That’s it! Now you know how to make the best French press coffee at home.

Tips for Perfecting the French Press Brewing Method

Answers to your questions about making the perfect cup of French press coffee at home.

1. Why use a French press?

There are a lot of reasons to use a French press besides the fact that they make good coffee. Here are two of them:

  1. There’s nothing worse than bitter coffee. Brewing coffee in a French press is a great way to reduce bitter flavors since you have total control over the water temperature, brew time and coffee to water ratio.
  2. If you use a drip coffee maker with grounds or a single serve brewer with compostable coffee pods, there are still environmental impacts. Since a French press coffee maker doesn’t use electricity, making the switch will naturally save energy.

2. What’s the best coffee to water ratio?

A good rule of thumb for making perfect French Press Coffee is a ratio of 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds per 8 ounces of water. If you make it the first time and it’s too strong or too weak, next time adjust the amount of coffee grounds you use up or down accordingly.

Use this chart to help you decide the right quantities of water and coffee to use for different sizes of French presses.

Cups of CoffeeHot WaterCoffee Grounds
1 cup8 ounces2 tablespoons
2 cups16 ounces 4 tablespoons (¼ cup)
3 cups 24 ounces 6 tablespoons
4 cups 32 ounces 8 tablespoons (½ cup)
5 cups 40 ounces 10 tablespoons
6 cups48 ounces12 tablespoons (¾ cup)

If you want to get fancy and use a kitchen scale instead of measuring cups and spoons, the general rule is 1 gram of coffee for every 15 grams of water (more or less depending on how strong you like your coffee).

3. What’s the ideal brew time?

While I like to brew my French press coffee for 2 minutes plus 2 minutes, you may find you like a slightly longer or shorter brew time.

If you make this recipe once and find the coffee is brewed too strong for your tastes, brew it for less time for the next cup. If it’s too weak, brew it for longer next time and you’ll get stronger coffee.

With a little time and experimentation, you’ll find your own sweet spot for the best cup of coffee.

4. What temperature water works best?

The perfect temperature for brewing coffee in a French press is 195˚ F. I recommend using an electric tea kettle with temperature control like this Tribest kettle. It even has a coffee button, which is pretty awesome.

Be sure to use a thermometer to check the temperature before adding to your coffee press if your kettle doesn’t have temperature control.

If you’re boiling water regularly for your french press, you’ll also want to know the best way to clean an electric tea kettle.

5. Best type of coffee to use?

When it comes to whole bean coffee or pre-ground coffee, I always prefer whole beans as fresh-ground coffee tastes, well, fresher. My favorite coffee right now is Purity, which makes a delicious cup of coffee that has been tested free of contaminants!

Their roasted coffee beans are top quality, have amazing flavor and don’t have that oily texture on them that so many do.

While I like the Purity Original Roast best, they also have a Dark Roast if you enjoy a robust cup of coffee. They even have decaf, but I’m not sure why you’d want coffee without caffeine.

6. Best grind for French press coffee?

While grind size is a personal preference, I like to use a medium-coarse grind when using a coffee press. If you use the typical fine grind from pre-ground coffee, you’ll likely end up with a bunch of coffee sediment in the bottom of your cup.

Using a coarser grind allows the water to soak up all that great coffee flavor without getting bits in your mouth. That’s why I recommend starting with whole beans and using a grinder so you can control the grind size.

7. What type of coffee grinder?

A burr grinder (rather than a blade grinder) really gives you the best control over the grind of whole coffee beans. A blade grinder is less expensive and uses a blade like a blender to grind up the coffee beans.

A burr grinder, on the other hand, uses two burr wheels to crush the coffee beans. While they’re more expensive, burr grinders make much better tasting coffee. And if you’re taking the time to make French press coffee, you want to make sure you’re using the best ground coffee.

A lot of burr grinders, like this Cuisinart Burr Grinder, even have a French Press setting to make it easier for you.

8. Best French press carafe?

I often like using smaller French presses since they allow you to make one or two cups at a time. If you have a larger group of coffee lovers you’re serving, you may want to use a French press carafe. I love the double insulated ones since they don’t let as much heat escape.

However, I recently discovered Barista Warrior. They have a really cool French press that has a built-in thermometer, so you can be sure you’re brewing your coffee at just the right temperature.

Barista Warrior French Press with built-in thermometer.

Get free shipping at Barista Warrior with coupon code COFFEELOVE.

9. Can you make cold brew with a coffee French press?

If you’re tired of hot coffee and want to switch to cold brew, you can easily do that with a French press. I have a whole tutorial on making cold brew coffee at home you’ll want to check out too.

How to make cold brew with a French press:

  1. Add coffee grounds to bottom of french press.
  2. Pour full amount of cold water (instead of hot) over the grounds.
  3. Stir, then allow it to sit in the refrigerator for about 15 hours.
  4. Once it’s sat, remove it from the fridge, push the plunger down, pour over ice and enjoy.

10. How to make French press coffee without a French press?

You can’t really make French press coffee without a french press. You can, however, make coffee without a coffee maker. Here are two easy methods.

Method 1: Pour-over coffee

You can use either a paper filter or a mesh / metal filter that fits into the top of a heat safe container. Add your coffee grounds to the filter and pour the hot water slowly over the coffee grounds.

It will go through slowly, so take your time. You want to really saturate the coffee grounds. Once all of the water has gone through, it’s ready to drink.

Method 2: Camping coffee

One other method is to bring the water to a boil on the stove. Add the coffee, stir to combine, turn off heat, cover and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes. Pour into a mug, making sure that the sediment stays in the pan.

French press coffee maker and coffee cup on table.

Easy French Press Coffee Recipe

Follow these simple steps to make a great cup of coffee in a French press every morning.
5 from 1 vote
Print Recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 9 minutes
Recipe Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons coffee grounds
  • 16 ounces hot water - 2 cups of water

Equipment

  • French Press
  • Measuring cups and spoons

Instructions

  • Add the coffee grounds to the bottom of your coffee press, using 2 tablespoons of ground coffee beans per 8 ounces of water.
    Coffee grounds in bottom of French press.
  • Pour about half of your hot water (at 195˚ F) over the coffee grounds and let it rest for 2 minutes so the coffee can bloom.
    Hot water poured over coffee grounds in French press so coffee can bloom.
  • Using a circular motion, give the coffee grounds a gentle stir.
    Stirring coffee grounds and water in French press.
  • Pour in the rest of the water and let it sit for 2 more minutes.
    French press coffee brewing.
  • Press the grounds down in your French press with the coffee plunger.
    Plunger pressed down on French press coffee maker.
  • Immediately pour the coffee through the pour spout into your coffee mug so that it won’t over brew.
    French press coffee served in glass.

Nutrition Information Per Serving

Sodium: 11mg | Calcium: 7mg

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