How to Use a French Press to Make Coffee

How to Use a French Press to Make Coffee

Did you know French press coffee makers are a cheap and easy way to make your morning coffee while brewing a hot cup of coffee that will let you indulge in the deep notes of flavor?

More than 80 percent of people misuse the French press. French press coffee makers are one of the world’s most famous coffee brewing machines today and we think making great coffee should not be a complicated process.

We’re excited to teach you how to use a French press to make coffee the right way so you can enjoy delicious coffee consistently, maybe even better than what you are currently brewing.

What is a French Press?

It is believed that the French press machine was invented in France in the 18th century, but a Milanese inventor in the mid-1920s redesigned it and it is the current modern version used today.

It’s also known as a press pot coffee maker, coffee press, and coffee plunger. The French press machine is a principal instrument for making coffee. As a manual tool that is highly portable, the French press does not require any electricity to function.

It has a built-in filter that brews the coffee, a cylindrical carafe, and a plunger. When using this coffee maker, you will need hot water to mix with the coffee grounds to brew for about three minutes.

Conventionally, coffee filters tend to absorb many flavors and oils from coffee beans by filtering all the tiny pieces that add more depth and flavor to our cups.

However, with a French press, your coffee is steeped and completely saturated, allowing you to enjoy a more robust cup of joe.

There are two types of French press coffee makers: traditional glass and a thermal press. A conventional glass lacks insulation, meaning it does not keep coffee warm longer than a thermal press. Also, it is a bit bulky when compared to a thermal press maker.

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

Step 1: Decide How Many Cups You Are Preparing and Heat Water

One great attribute of French press coffee makers is that they are available in different sizes.

According to our research, it is best to use the 60 gram per liter ratio to get the best results. For example:

1 cup = 15 grams of coffee with 250 ml of water
2 cups = 30 grams of coffee with 500ml of water
3 cups = 45 grams of coffee and 750ml of water
4 cups = 60 grams of coffee with 1 liter of water

Once you have decided the number of cups you are brewing, boil enough water using the above coffee to water ratio to get the desired result.

Step 2: Measure and Grind Your Coffee

We always recommend you weigh your coffee beans with a scale and grind them with a coffee grinder before brewing to ensure your coffee is as fresh as possible. You will also want to grind your beans to have a coarse grind to get the best cup of coffee from your French press.

Step 3: Pre-Heat Your Coffee Press Carafe

This step is optional. If you want to pre-heat your coffee press carafe make sure you add extra water when you are boiling to do this step! When your water is settling from boiling, you can pour some of the hot water into the carafe to pre-heat it. Pre-heating your brewing vessel ensures a more constant temperature and a decreased risk of heat loss as you prepare your beverage.

Also, pre-heating your press ensures your brew is free from any leftover old beans that might hurt the taste of your new round of coffee.

Step 4: Empty Your Coffee Press Carafe and Add the Coffee Grounds

After a few minutes, you can go ahead and discard the water used to pre-heat the press and add your ground coffee to the bottom of the press.

Step 5: Let Hot Water Settle to 200 Degrees Fahrenheit

You might want to use a thermometer at this stage to ensure your brewing water settles at 200º Fahrenheit. In case you do not have a thermometer, you can wait for 2 – 3 minutes from when the water started to boil for the water to have the right temperature range.

If you are doing it manually, it will be better to settle on slightly cooler than hotter as water that is too hot normally scalds your coffee, giving it a bitter taste.

Step 6: Pour Water Into the Coffee

It is always good to start by blooming your coffee before mixing it with the rest of the hot water. Blooming allows unwanted gases to escape from your brew.

Then pour your water on top of the grounds until you have poured all of it into your carafe, slowly.

Go ahead and give it a good stir. You should notice foam-forming as a sign of the gases escaping from the drink.

Step 7: Set a Timer for 4 Minutes

Timing is everything when brewing coffee using the French press. Too short of a time will make your coffee sour and acidic, while too long will make it have a bitter taste. Don’t leave the process to chance; utilize a timer and set it for 4 minutes.

Step 8: Plunge and Serve

Once your timer goes off, you can go ahead and plunge the brew to the bottom by slowly pushing the filter down and serve it immediately.

Always remember the wire mesh in your beaker does not separate the grounds from the water. Therefore, if you leave the brew as it is, it will become bitter and over-extracted.

What Do You Need to Make French Press Coffee?

• A coffee grinder
• A French press
• A kettle to boil your water
• Stirring spoon
• A thermometer to measure the temperature of the water (optional)
• A timer
• A kitchen scale to measure your coffee water ratio
• A coffee scale to weigh your coffee

What are the different parts?


Most French presses are made of glass carafes even though there are metal and plastic types available in the market. Currently, you can find different carafes that vary in shape and size. Anywhere from one cup models to those designed to brew up to four cups. The variety of shapes include those that look like tea kettles and those that are cylindrical.

All carafes have a pouring spout and a handle that simplifies the serving process of the finished beverage.

Filter Screen

All French presses have a fine mesh made of metal that strains most coffee grounds before serving. It is best to always wash the screen after each use to avoid the mesh’s clogging, resulting in improper straining. The filter screen is the only part of a French press that requires regular replacement.

Plunger and Lid

The plunger is the metal rod that moves up and down, aiding in filtering the finished drink before serving. It allows you to strain the coffee grounds from the final drink. The plunger rod is topped with a handle, and at the bottom, it is connected to the filter screen.

Pros & Cons of using a French press

Unlike any other coffee brewing machine, the French press expresses more sediments and oils from the coffee ground, giving your cup a robust flavor and a smooth aftertaste. Here are some of the pros and cons that are associated with this coffee making tool:


• Inexpensive
• Can also brew cold brew and loose-leaf tea
• Easy to use and manage
• Portable


• You have to serve the coffee immediately to avoid over-extraction
• Time-consuming as you have to monitor the brewing time, water temperature, and coffee grind size
• Requires additional pieces of equipment such as a timer, thermometer, scale, and a kettle

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, a French press is a great way to start brewing high-quality coffee.

That being said, if the French press is new to you, you will have to take some time getting used to the whole process. Do not banish it to the back of the cupboard if you aren’t comfortable using this brew method right off the bat.

Like most things, it takes time. However, once you master the art of using a French press, you will be brewing your favorite brand’s fresh coffee in no time. All in all, learning how to use a French press will allow you to appreciate your coffee more and will let you create a delicious cup of coffee every day.


French press coffee ratio (coffee to water)

Considering different people have different tastes and preferences in their coffee, it is hard to have a universal rule that dictates the amount of coffee you can put in a French press. Therefore, avid coffee drinkers are encouraged to experiment and find out what works for them best.

However, a good rule to follow is the 1:15 ratio of coffee to water. Therefore, you should add 15 grams of water for every one gram of coffee, which is approximately three tablespoons.

How much coffee will my French press make?

We are yet to know the person who designed the French press cup system, following its small size. Regardless of the size of the press, you should be able to get the following number of 9 oz mugs of prepared coffee per each press size:
• For a 3 cup French press – 1 cup
• For an 8-cup French press – 3.4 cups
• For a 12-cup French press – 5.3 cups

What is the right grind size for the French press?

You will want to use coarse coffee grounds in a French press. This will ensure a slow extraction for a robust flavor and won’t be extracted too fast which may result in a bitter taste.

Can you put a French press on the stove?

Unfortunately, you cannot use a French press on a stove due to its glass material.

Is a French press the same as a percolator?

No a French press is not the same as a percolator.

Percolator coffee: This is one of the traditional brewing coffee methods, and it is highly recommended for making large amounts of coffee.

It works by using coffee grounds and steam to make coffee. To get your desired result, you are required to place your coffee grounds in the filter screen, which takes the shape of a doughnut, and then add water. The percolator heats the water to the extent steam rises, condenses, and then falls through the coffee grounds.

French press: Unlike the percolator, the French press is designed to deliver robust and smooth beverages. You can expect a more refined cup of coffee with this brewing method, with your cup bursting with classic flavors that come through full strength.

Both the French press and the percolator offer a different taste, brew time, and ease of use. Also, the French press and percolator do not share the same size and are use different brew methods, making them completely different.