How To Use a French Press

I love fresh coffee but the first time somebody showed me a French press, I was more horrified than happy. Sure, fresh coffee is amazing but how on earth would I use that odd little contraption to make it? 

Fortunately, my friend showed me how and now I am passing on their expertise to you, because it’s super easy to master a French press and the coffee is awesome!

The 5 Key Considerations When Using A French Press

There are only five things to think about when using your french press:

  1. The type of coffee
  2. The thickness of the grind
  3. The strength of the end product
  4. The temperature of the water that you use
  5. The time you want to let it brew

Let’s take a look at each of them, in turn. 

The Type Of Coffee

If you have the option you should always go with whole bean coffee rather than pre-ground. 

That’s because pre-ground tastes kind of stale as it’s already been exposed to the air and is breaking down.

How To Use a French Press

Instead you need one of our favorite coffee grinders and some fresh beans. 

No need for scales either – ¼ cup of coffee beans and two cups of water is equal to two servings from your French press. 

If you need more just scale it up. 

The Thickness Of The Coffee Grind

You’re looking for a medium level of coarsenes to the grind for a French press coffee.

If you under grind the coffee, you won’t get any flavor in the finished product.

On the other hand, if you over grind it, you’re going to get a cup of mud-like coffee. 

The Strength Of The Coffee

You can alter the strength of French press coffee in one of two ways:

  1. You can make it stronger by using less water, you can make it weaker by using more water
  2. You can it make it stronger by using more coffee, you can make it weaker by using less coffee
french press with coffee beans

This is pretty obvious when you think about it, however, you will need to experiment to work out what the absolutely perfect ratio of coffee to water is for you. 

Once you’ve arrived at that ratio, your French press coffee is going to be so good every time you make it. 

The Temperature Of The Water

Too hot and your coffee burns, too cold and the coffee doesn’t brew properly. 

The good news?

It’s easy to get your water to the right temperature. 

Boil the water and let it stand for 30 seconds to a minute before adding it to the beans. 

The Time To Brew The Coffee

Then the final element is how long should you leave the water and beans mixing before pushing the plunger on your French press and serving? 

You can experiment with this, obviously, but our team has reached a consensus that 5 minutes is about perfect.

french press pouring coffee

Leave it less than that and you’ll find the coffee is a bit weak, longer than that and it’s on the bitter side. 

And that’s it! 

You now know how to make coffee in a French press, enjoy!

Final Thoughts On How To Use a French Press

Using a French press is much easier than most people think and the coffee you will make is delicious.

However, if you want an even easier way to make coffee at home; you should check out our best Keurig coffee makers and our best coffee makers overall. 


I'm Olive. I'm a Mom of 3. Kitchen Lover. Adventurer. Big Time Foodie.

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