By: Jason Guanso

May 21, 2023

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on pinterest

How to Use a French Press (Complete Guide)

In this post, we cover how to use a french press, including:

  • The materials you’ll need
  • A step-by-step guide to using a french press
  • A cleaning guide
  • Product recommendations

Materials You Will Need

Before we dive into the brewing process, let’s first gather all the materials you will need:

  1. French Press: This coffee brewing device is simple in design, consisting of a beaker (usually glass, but sometimes metal or plastic), a lid, and a plunger with a mesh filter attached.
  2. Coffee Beans: Coffee beans are a crucial ingredient in this process. For French press, it’s best to go for a medium to dark roast. The darker the roast, the bolder the flavor.
  3. Coffee Grinder: You’ll need this to grind your coffee beans. Burr grinders are ideal for a consistent grind, but blade grinders work too.
  4. Kitchen Scale: This is important for measuring the coffee and water to ensure the right ratio.
  5. Water: You’ll need clean, fresh water that’s free from any noticeable odors or flavors.
  6. Kettle: To heat up the water. An electric kettle with temperature control is ideal, but any kettle will do.
  7. Timer: You can use a simple kitchen timer or a timer on your phone.
  8. Long Spoon or Stirrer: To stir the coffee grounds in the French press.
  9. Mug: For enjoying your delicious coffee.

Need a New French Press? Consider These Options

Here are five great options that vary in size and style:

  1. Bodum Chambord French Press: This classic French press has a timeless design. It has a durable glass beaker and a stainless steel frame, and it’s available in various sizes, from 3-cup to 12-cup models. The Bodum Chambord is widely respected for its reliable performance and excellent value.
  2. Le Creuset Stoneware French Press: If you’re looking for something more colorful and stylish, Le Creuset offers French presses made of enameled stoneware in a variety of vibrant colors. The 34-ounce size is perfect for serving a few cups of coffee at a time.
  3. Espro P7 French Press: Espro is known for its patented double micro-filter that provides a clean cup with all the flavor but none of the grit often associated with French press coffee. The P7 model is their stainless steel version, offering 18 oz, 32 oz, and a large 64 oz size.
  4. Frieling Double Wall Stainless Steel French Press: This French press is made entirely of double-walled stainless steel, which provides excellent heat retention compared to glass models. It’s a bit more pricey than some other options, but it’s very durable and comes in sizes ranging from 8 ounces to 44 ounces.
  5. Hario Olivewood French Press: Known for its elegant design, this French press from Hario features a beautiful olivewood lid and stainless steel frame. It has a glass body, like the Bodum Chambord, but offers a bit more style. It’s available in two sizes: 300ml and 600ml.

Step-By-Step Guide To Brewing Coffee With A French Press

Step 1: Measure and Grind Your Coffee

Start by weighing your coffee beans. The standard ratio is 1:15 – one part coffee to 15 parts water. If you’re making a 500ml cup of coffee, you’ll need about 33 grams of coffee.

Once you’ve weighed your coffee, grind it to a coarse consistency. The grounds should be about the size of sea salt granules. If it’s too fine, your coffee may taste bitter because it will over-extract (over-extraction in the coffee brewing process happens when water removes too many solubles from coffee grounds, leading to a taste that can be bitter and harsh).

French Press Measuring Guide

Below is a table breakdown of the standard coffee-to-water ratio of 1:15, ranging from 100ml to 1 liter of water. The coffee amount is given in grams (g).

Water (ml)Coffee (g)

Step 2: Heat Your Water

While you’re grinding your coffee, start heating your water. You want your water just off the boil, around 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer, let your water come to a full boil, then take it off the heat and let it sit for about a minute.

Step 3: Add Coffee Grounds To Your French Press

Now that your coffee is ground and your water is heating, add the ground coffee to your French press.

Step 4: Pour Water Into The French Press

Slowly pour your hot water over the coffee grounds. Make sure all the grounds get wet. You should fill up your French Press to the desired level depending on how much coffee you want.

Step 5: Stir and Let It Brew

Stir the mixture gently using a long spoon or a stirrer. Put the lid on the French Press with the plunger up (don’t press it down yet), and set your timer for 4 minutes. This is the standard time for a French press, but you can adjust based on your taste preference. Longer brew times will result in a stronger, more full-bodied coffee.

Step 6: Plunge and Serve

Once your timer goes off, slowly push the plunger down. This separates the coffee grounds from the liquid, stopping the brewing process. Pour the coffee into your mug immediately to prevent over-extraction. Enjoy your fresh, hot coffee!

French Press Brewing Guide

Cleaning Your French Press

Cleaning your French Press properly is important not just for hygiene but also for the taste of your future cups of coffee.

  1. Discard the grounds: Remove the plunger, then toss the coffee grounds into a compost bin or trash. Avoid disposing of them down the sink as it can clog your pipes.
  2. Rinse: Rinse the beaker thoroughly to remove any remaining coffee grounds.
  3. Disassemble and clean: Remove the plunger from the lid and unscrew the mesh filter. Clean all parts thoroughly with warm water and mild soap.
  4. Dry and reassemble: Dry all parts thoroughly before reassembling to prevent any rust or mold formation.

Congratulations, you’ve successfully navigated your way through making your first French press coffee! This is just the start of your journey. As you get more comfortable with the process, feel free to tweak your coffee beans, grind size, water temperature, or brewing time to find the perfect cup that suits your taste. Happy brewing!

Avoiding Over-Extraction

Over-extraction in the coffee brewing process happens when water removes too many solubles from coffee grounds, leading to a taste that can be bitter and harsh.

When hot water interacts with coffee grounds, it starts extracting compounds in a specific order: it first extracts acids, then sugars, and finally, the bitter components. Ideally, you want to stop extraction after the sugars but before extracting too much of the bitter substances. This is where the art and science of brewing come in.

The primary factors affecting extraction are grind size, brewing time, and water temperature:

  1. Grind Size: The smaller the grind size, the higher the extraction rate because more surface area is exposed to water. That’s why espresso, which is very finely ground, brews in just 20-30 seconds, while a French press, which uses a coarse grind, needs 4 minutes.
  2. Brewing Time: The longer the coffee grounds are exposed to water, the more compounds will be extracted. If you let the coffee steep for too long, you risk over-extraction.
  3. Water Temperature: The hotter the water, the faster the extraction. Ideal brewing temperatures are typically between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the case of over-extraction, your coffee may taste bitter, hollow, or even somewhat metallic. If you suspect your coffee is being over-extracted, you could adjust by making your grind size a bit coarser, brewing for less time, or lowering your water temperature. It’s all about finding the perfect balance for your personal taste.

Water Temperature

The temperature of the water used for brewing coffee is crucial for proper extraction and can significantly affect the flavor of your coffee. In general, the recommended water temperature for brewing most types of coffee is between 195°F (90°C) and 205°F (96°C). This range is often considered ideal because it extracts the correct balance of flavors from the coffee grounds.

However, you might vary the temperature of your water in certain circumstances:

  1. Type of Coffee: The ideal brewing temperature can depend on the type of coffee you’re using. For example, darker roasts are often brewed at the lower end of the spectrum (around 195°F), while lighter roasts might be brewed at higher temperatures (around 205°F).
  2. Brewing Method: Different brewing methods may call for different temperatures. For example, cold brew coffee is made with cold water, while espresso requires water at around 200°F.
  3. Personal Preference: Some people may prefer their coffee brewed slightly lower or higher temperature than the standard range. Adjusting the water temperature is one way to tweak the flavor of your coffee and customize it to your taste.
  4. Altitude: The boiling point of water decreases as you increase in altitude. So, if you’re brewing coffee at a high elevation, you may need to adjust your brewing temperature accordingly.

Other Use Cases for Your French Press

A French press is a versatile kitchen tool that can also be used for several other culinary applications. Here are some ideas:

  1. Tea: You can brew loose-leaf tea in a French press. This allows the tea leaves to fully expand and steep, resulting in a flavorful brew.
  2. Infused Oils: If you’re a fan of flavored oils, a French press can come in handy. Warm your oil in a pan, add herbs or spices, and allow it to infuse. Then pour it into the French press and use the plunger to strain the oil.
  3. Whipped Cream: Pour some heavy cream into your French press, and then plunge vigorously until the cream thickens into a whip. Be careful not to overdo it, or you might end up with butter!
  4. Infused Liquors: Like infused oils, you can use a French press to make infused liquors. Add you fruits, herbs, or spices to the alcohol and let it sit. When you’re satisfied with the flavor, use the plunger to separate the solids from the liquid.
  5. Broth Straining: If you’ve made a broth or stock and have a large French press, you can use it to strain the solids.
  6. Frothing Milk: While it won’t heat the milk like a proper frother, you can use a French press to aerate milk, creating a frothy texture perfect for lattes and cappuccinos. Simply heat your milk separately, pour it into the French press, and then plunge until frothy.
  7. Rehydrating Dried Foods: Dried mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and other dehydrated foods can be rehydrated in a French press. The plunger makes it easy to drain the water afterward.
  8. Cold brew: You can brew coffee in french press.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


How to Use a French Press (Complete Guide)

May 21, 2023

In this post, we cover how to use a french press, including: The materials you'll

6 Best Coffee Makers Under $200 (2023)

May 18, 2023

Here are 6 coffee makers under $200 (listed from highest price to lowest price point),

Best King Mattress Under $500

May 9, 2023

Finding a good quality king size mattress on under $500 is possible if you know

Shopping Basket

Subscribe to our newsletter