How to Make Coffee in a French Press?

French Press is a process of manually brewing coffee where you steep the coffee grounds in hot water and press them to the bottom of the beaker to separate the grounds from the liquid.

Apparently, in the 1850s, a Frenchman forgot to put the coffee in the boiling water beforehand. So he decided to add it later so he used a piece of metal screen and stick to press the rising coffee grounds. The current French press obviously went through multiple design iterations. Fun fact: the patent of the French press coffee maker is actually owned by Italians!

Here in this blog you can learn how to learn how to make coffee in a French press by just following a series of steps. 

The Pros and Cons of Making Coffee in a French Press

  • French press works in a fashion where it soaks the flavors of the ground coffee, infuses it with the water and presses the residual grounds out.
  •  Drip coffee is another easy way to make coffee but a French press ensures more flavorful and rich coffee. 
  • And unlike Aeropress and pour over, French press allows you to brew great coffee for several people at once. 

But at the same time, this coffee could be bitter and more oily, if you do not remove the coffee from the brewed grounds at the right time. 

Ingredients and Equipment for French Press Coffee

Coffee Beans

To have a good cup of coffee you have to get coffee beans and it is ideal you grind them yourself because most pre ground coffee beans are usually too small to go into a French press.

Burr Coffee Grinder

You need uniform coarsely ground beans to make French press coffee. And if you don't want to do it manually, a burr grinder with two abrasive surfaces or "burrs" would be the best for you to get an ideal uniform grind for your French Press.

Measuring Cups

Measuring cups are the standard way to measure your coffee post-grinds. But using a scale to weigh the beans is a more precise way to get the perfect water to coffee ground ratio.

French Press

For obvious reasons, to make French Press Coffee you need to have a French Press. There are multiple options with different price ranges and you can choose according to your requirements.

Boiling Water

Both for warming up the French Press and for making the coffee drink, you would need boiling water.

A Stirrer

Any long spoon you have can be used as a stirrer or you can buy a dedicated coffee stirring stick separately.

How To Make Cleaner French Press

James Hoffman, a coffee expert, had devised a method that ensures a cleaner French Press coffee free of grounds. Basically what you have to do is, after brewing for some minutes, stir the coffee slightly. 

It will break the crusts of the grounds on the top and wait for it settles to the ground. Cover for 5-7 minutes and pour without pushing the plunger down. You do not have to worry about the grounds as they have already settled at the bottom and you can now enjoy your cup of French Press without much ground left in the drink. 

Tricks and Tips to Use a French Press

Coffee aficionados claim that the secret to making a great cup of coffee using a French press is more or less dependent on two factors only. 

1. Water Temperature

The water temperature used for brewing a perfect cup of coffee is of utmost importance. While the boiling temperature of water can result in scorching the taste, a tepid temperature is not enough to soak in the flavor of the coffee grounds fully.

2. Coffee Grounds

The coffee grounds are to be grinded for a slightly coarser texture. Very finely grounded coffee extracts can make the coffee muddy and bitter. It is recommended to use a burr grinder to grind the coffee beans.

Also read: Best coffee grinders for French press

How Does a French Press Work?

The French Press works by steeping the coffee grounds in hot water and then filtering the extracts or residues out. The main part in a French Press is the beaker where you add the water and coffee grounds. This beaker is attached to a base and has a handle to support it. The base ensures that the surface below is not damaged while making coffee.

Then there is the lid which has the filters and the plunger. The French Press uses the inbuilt filters for brewing which is also called Immersive Brewing and because of the same, you will not require any additional filters. 

Why a Burr Grinder is Better for a Good French Press?

One of the most important factors to make a good French press coffee is the grinded coffee beans. It is recommended that you grind your French press coffee beans fresh before brewing each time. The most ideal texture to get amazing tasting coffee is to grind the coffee beans to a medium-coarse texture. Very finely grinded beans makes the coffee muddy and bitter.

The smaller grains can also pass through the filter and result in a gunky sediment at the end of your drink. A regular blade grinder is best for drip coffee or pour over coffee because it produces very finely grinded coffee. But for a French Press, you will need evenly sized medium coarse grains that can be obtained from a Burr Grinder easily. 

French Press Coffee to Water Ratio

It is recommended to use a 1:15 coffee to water ratio for French Press. The ratio for a strong cup of French press coffee can be 1:12, while a milder cup can be made using a 1:17 ratio.

If you are going to weigh the ingredients, let me make the math easy for you. If you want a usual cup of 8 oz, you would need 16 grams of ground coffee.

For a stronger one, you would require 20 grams of coffee and for a weak drink, you can use 14 grams.

If you are not equipped with a weighing machine, and like a normal person, use tablespoons for measurement, the following are the measurements. 3 tablespoons of coffee ground are perfect for an 8 oz drink. For a stronger one, get 4 tablespoons and for a weaker drink, use 2.5 tablespoons of coffee ground.

The amount of coffee that you are making in a French Press may vary depending on the size of the equipment. But the ratio consistency of coffee ground and water should be maintained for all amounts, which is 1:15 i.e. 1 part coffee grounds for every 15 parts of water.

How to Use a French Press to Make Coffee: Step by Step Guide

Step 1: The first step to coffee making is to preheat the French press. Preheating the equipment will keep the temperature of the hot brew and cold equipment, from fluctuation. It will even out the temperature of both the liquid and the French press and will result in a more refined taste. 

To preheat the equipment, you only need to add a little hot water to the equipment and swirl it around to make sure that the walls of the French press are heated. Preheating the equipment also keeps the hot coffee hot for a longer period of time.

Step 2: Measure or weigh the coffee grounds beforehand. It is advisable to ground the coffee fresh after measuring. The weight should ideally be proportional to the size of your French Press.

Step 3: Measure and weight the quantity of water also before adding it to the French Press. The ideal ratio of coffee to water should be 1:15 i.e. 1 part coffee for 15 parts water. Also, it is advisable to add pre-heated water instead of cold water in the French Press. 

Step 4: Add coffee grounds to the pre-heated French Press and then add the remaining 15 parts hot water to this. Once done, stir the mixture to ensure that the coffee is fully-well soaked in the water.

Step 5: Place the lid on the French Press and start timing the brewing process. The standard time for brewing this coffee is 4 minutes. But as and when you learn, you can alter this duration according to your preferences. 

Step 6: Once steeped, slowly push the plunger of the equipment down. Make sure that you have pressed it all the way down or your coffee will continue to brew in over extraction. 

Step 7: Decant the coffee so it is not bitter and has minimum residual coffee grounds. Meaning pour the entire coffee in a different container before serving. If you leave the coffee in the beaker, the coffee will keep brewing and become bitter. You can use a thermal carafe or any other thermo-container to keep your coffee fresh tasting for longer. 

Step 8: Serve and enjoy!

I'm a coffee lover, foodie, and blogger - passionate about coffee and all the things that go with it. I write about coffee, and news, learn about new coffees from across the world, do some home roasting, and share my thoughts on various other topics.

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