How To Make French Press Coffee

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There are a million ways to geek out over coffee. But in the end, what we’re after is a hot, delicious cup of coffee to see us through the morning. A simple pleasure.
French press is one of the easiest, least expensive ways to make great coffee. Learn the essentials: here’s how to make a pot of great French press coffee.

Key Takeaways:

Here’s the best way to make French Press coffee.

Step 1: Preheat the French press by filling it with hot water.

Step 2: Add coarsely ground coffee to the carafe.

Step 3: Pour water ensuring that water is evenly submerging all of the grounds. 

Step 4: Fill the carafe the rest of the way with hot water and give the coffee a gentle stir. 

Step 5: Wait for four minutes then press the plunger all the way down.

Step 6: Your French Press coffee is ready to be enjoyed!

The consistency of your coffee grind is very important when using a French press: put simply, you must choose coffee that has been coarsely ground. This will stop the grounds of coffee from passing through the mesh of your French press.
It goes without saying that, in an ideal world, you would always grind your coffee at the very last moment using a grinder. This is the only way to obtain genuine freshly ground coffee, guaranteeing the maximum aroma and a more intense taste.

Why You Should Use a Burr Grinder for Good French Press?

Here’s why. A regular blade grinder like this one is perfectly good for grinding coffee beans for a drip machine and other methods, but a French press relies on having very evenly-sized grains of coffee, and they need to be relatively big.

Smaller-sized grains will get through the filter, creating a sediment in your cup, and also get over-extracted, making your coffee bitter. It’s essential that all the coffee beans are ground to the same consistency and the burr grinder is far superior at making this happen.

The Pros & Cons of Using a French Press

Pros
  • Quick and easy to use.
  • No paper filter which can absorb the coffee’s aromatic oils.
  • Total control over the infusion time and water temperature.
  • A harmonious diffusion of coffee aromas.
Cons
  • Requires coarsely ground coffee that is not available in supermarkets.
  • Small deposit of coffee grounds at the bottom of the cup.
  • To be served immediately following preparation, otherwise the infusion will continue in the cafetière.

How To Make French Press Coffee

1. Warm with Water

Preheat the French press by filling it with hot water from a kettle. Whether you have a classic glass or stainless steel model, this step will make sure the whole coffee maker stays warm during the entire brew process — ensuring you get all those tasty flavors out of the grounds and into your cup.

Temperature is one of the key variables in brewing consistently tasty coffee, so you do not want your hot water hitting a cold coffee brewer and immediately cooling down. While you wait about 30 seconds, now is a great time to grind your coffee.

Because French press is an immersion brew method (meaning the coffee is completely submerged in water and stays in contact until the brewing is done), you want a very chunky, coarse grind size.

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2. Add Coffee Grounds

Whatever delicious coffee you’ve chosen to brew, now is the time to add that coarsely ground coffee to the carafe. Remember to measure! The right coffee to water ratio is one of the keys to a good, consistent cup, no matter the brew method. 

3. Bloom to Enhance

Pour your water around in a spiraling motion, or really any pattern that ensures your water is evenly submerging all of the grounds. If you see any dry spots up top, try and aim for them with your stream of water. You want to get all the grounds wet at as close to the same time as possible, so the water starts extracting flavor from them simultaneously.

4. Fill & Stir

Fill the carafe the rest of the way with hot water and give the coffee a gentle stir. This will make sure that the crust of grinds that has formed on top of your brew gets integrated into the water and doesn’t just hang out up top. 

You don’t want to stir too violently, though, because that will agitate the grinds and speed up the extraction, which might release some bitter flavors.

5. Wait for it

In four minutes, your coffee will be ready to drink! Finally, you can press that coffee plunger all the way down, until the coffee grounds are packed on the bottom. Careful not to push too hard — it’s better to press gently, so as to not over-agitate the coarsely ground coffee, which can lead to a few extra-bitter flavors winding up in your coffee.

6. Your coffee is ready

Pour the hot coffee from the French press into your cup or travel mug and you are good to go. Even if you don’t want to drink all the coffee right away, try not to leave any extra coffee in your French press for later. 

While the plunger is great for making the coffee easier to pour out, it doesn’t completely separate the coffee grounds from the liquid. So if the coffee sits in that French press too long, it will get bitter from oversteeping, as the water is still in contact with the coffee grounds through that mesh filter. 

Written by:
Amit Gupta
Amit Gupta

Hi, my name is Amit Gupta, and I am the owner and contributor at Cafeish. My obsession with coffee started when I received my first French press as a gift almost ten years ago. Since then, my love of coffee – and the number of coffee gadgets I own – has grown considerably.

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