How to Make French Press Coffee

French presses are the perfect entry point for anyone looking to make specialty coffee at home. They can be inexpensive, easy to pack, and are available in a variety of sizes. 

They are great for traveling, camping, or a Sunday morning brunch at home. They produce a full bodied cup of coffee, with a lot of oils. They work well with any roast profile of coffee, and they're super easy to tailor to your own personal coffee preferences.

Brewing Overview

I'll be more detailed detail below, but here's a quick overview of how to make French Press coffee.

For best results, use coarsely ground coffee, about the size of kosher salt or a little smaller (many grinders even have a French Press setting.) 

Once you have your ground coffee, add it to the bottom of your french press and gently shake it to level the coffee.

Then, add hot water. 

Once all the water has been added, place the lid on the french press and plunge the coffee JUST below the surface of the water.

Now, simply wait four minutes. When four minutes is up, plunge the coffee all the way down. 

Your delicious french press is ready to serve and enjoy!

Troubleshooting your French Press Coffee 

Does it taste too strong? You can either shorten your brew time, or use less coffee. Too weak? Let it steep longer, or use more coffee. I personally like to start by adjusting the amount of coffee, rather than the time, because I think it produces better flavors.

If you don’t like the oils in the cup, you can pour your whole brew through a coffee filter. I experimented with this during a Facebook Live demonstration I did last week. See that session below. 

Recommended Gear for Science-y French Press Coffee

Now let's take this up a notch.  Below is a list of gear and a detailed recipe for being far more specific with French Press brewing.  I like to dial-in my coffee first using the recommended gear and methods below.  Once I find a flavor profile I like, I'll make the same coffee the same way from memory.

Assemble these items to get started: 

  • Calculator
  • Timer
  • Gram scale
  • Serving Vessel (optional)
  • Filter
  • French Press
  • Freshly Ground Coffee (coarse)

Brew Recipe for French Press Coffee

Brew Ratio: 1 gram of coffee to 15 grams of water

Water Temperature: 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit

Brew Time: 4 minutes

Step-by-Step French Press Brewing Instructions

Before starting, I like to calculate my total water weight based off of my brew ratio and ground coffee weight.  I'll use 20 grams of coffee for this brew. When I multiply that by 15, I get my total water weight: 300 grams.  That's a 1:15 coffee-to-water ratio.  

Now I'll follow the below steps.

  1. Add 20 grams of coarsely ground coffee to the bottom of the French Press.
  2. Using a scale, slowly add 300 grams of water, making sure to evenly wet all the coffee. Start your timer as you begin pouring the water.
  3. Once your water is added, place the lid on the French Press, and depress the plunger just far enough to hold the coffee under the surface of the water.
  4. At four minutes, press the plunger all the way down, separating the coffee grounds from the water and stopping the extraction process.
  5. If desired, pour the coffee from the French Press into another pre-heated serving vessel.  (You can also pour the French Press coffee through a filter to remove some of the oils that naturally occur in the brewing process.)  

I demonstrated the French Press brewing process - and pouring the finished product through a paper filter - during a Facebook Live session last week.  Check it out below. 

Also, like and follow our Facebook page, so that you'll know when we do another live brewing demonstration.  Also,if you're looking for a coffee to brew in your French Press, try Freight Train.  It's one of my favorites.

Thanks for reading this far, friends!  Good luck with your French Press coffee. Stay safe, caffeinated and cheers!!