How To Make French Press Coffee: A 7 Step Guide to the Perfect Cup

French Press coffee has been around for over a century and is still one of the most popular ways to brew a cup of coffee. While French Press coffee can easily be over extracted, strong, bitter and muddy, when done right (which really isn’t that difficult), french press coffee will give you a robust, strong cup of joe that is guaranteed to make your taste buds sing. 

But what is the trick? Well, we’re here to teach you how to make french press coffee.

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What Is French Press Coffee?

French press coffee is made by combining coarse ground coffee and hot water in a canister, and when it’s brewed, pressing the grounds to the bottom with a metal screen and plunger. 

The french press has a number of other names, including the coffee press, coffee plunger, or best, la cafetiére. 

Now that we know what it is, lets dig into how to make French Press Coffee.

making perfect french press coffee

What is the Ideal Coffee to Water Ratio For French Press Coffee

A very important element when talking about how to make French Press Coffee is the coffee to water ratio. The ideal ratio is primarily determined by individual preference, but a general consensus would be 1:15 coffee to water. You can adjust this to make your coffee stronger or more mild to fit your tastebuds. Below is a simple table that explains our ideal coffee to water ratio.

Coffee to Water Ratio: Customary Units

2 tbsp6 oz
3 tbsp8 oz
4 tbsp12 oz
5 tbsp16 oz
13 tbsp40 oz

Coffee to Water Ratio: Metric Units

12 grams178 grams
16 grams237 grams
24 grams355 grams
32 grams473 grams
79 grams1183 grams

Items You Need for French Press Coffee

Quality, fresh coffee beans

The key to every good cup of coffee is starting with high-quality, fresh roasted, whole bean coffee. The fresher the coffee is, the better the end result will be.  

Unfortunately, conventional coffee is one of the most sprayed and pesticide laden plants. And the alternative is Organic coffee.

Burr Grinder

If you choose to start with whole bean coffee, which we highly recommend, you will also need a coffee bean grinder before you can brew your favorite coffee. We personally recommend using the burr style grind, which provides you with the most consistent grind without compromising the flavor of the coffee. 

French Press Coffee Maker

Of course, you will need a French Press coffee maker. Today, there are lots of options to choose from. If you are looking for a large french press, then this 48 ounce, Bru-Stop French Press, is a great option, or the more classic glass Bodum Brazil French Press Coffee Maker is only 12 ounces and perfect for a one or two cups of coffee.

french press coffee

Filtered Water

The quality of your water is going to make a difference in your french press brewing experience. And while the best water to use for brewing coffee is a huge discussion in the coffee world, a good place to start is by using natural spring water or bottled water. 

7 Steps for How To Make French Press Coffee

Step 1: Heat Water

Let’s get started. Grab your preferred water kettle, fill it with quality, filtered water, and heat the water to 200-210 degrees fahrenheit (approximately 90 degrees celsius). An easy way to get the proper water temperature that doesn’t require a thermometer or fancy kettle, is to bring your water to a boil, pull it off the heat, and let it sit for approximately two minutes. If you are interested in a new kettle, check out this stainless steel, Fellow Stagg EKG Gooseneck Kettle, or for a basic kettle, go with the Coffee Gator Kettle. Using the correct temperature water is critical for getting the best results. 

Step 2: Grind Coffee

While the water is heating, get your favorite whole bean coffee, and put the proper amount in your grinder. We personally love the Baratza Encore Grinder, but any whole bean coffee grinder is better than nothing. The ideal grind for french press is a medium coarse grind. A fine “breadcrumb” is approximately the consistency you are looking for. A good place to start is about the #29 setting on the Baratza Encore grinder. 

how to make french press coffee

Step 3: Preheat French Press

This is an oft forgotten, but important step in how to make french press coffee. Fill your french press beaker about halfway with your hot water, and plunge the filter. This will heat up the press so you don’t lose that valuable heat in the brewing process. 

Step 4: Put the Grounds In Your French Press

Put the proper amount of your fresh ground coffee in your french press and give your beaker a quick shake to level the grounds.

Step 5: Add Water and Let It Brew

Slowly fill your French Press with the proper amount of water and put the plunger on top of the press (don’t press it down yet). Start your timer. After approximately one minute, give your coffee a quick stir to make sure that all the grounds are saturated and being extracted properly. 

Continue to let your coffee brew for a couple of minutes. To get an ideal coffee brew in a french press, letting your coffee steep for 4 minutes will usually give you a great cup of coffee. For a stronger brew, let it in for 5 mins, and likewise for a weaker coffee, plunge and pour at 3 minutes. 

Step 6: Take the Plunge

When your coffee is done brewing, press the french press plunger and filter down slowly and steadily. Stop pressing as soon as you feel the plunger come up against the coffee grounds at the bottom of the french press. 

Step 7: Pour and Enjoy

Immediately pour your cup of coffee and enjoy.

In the unlikely event that you don’t drink all the coffee immediately, its best to decant the coffee, meaning removing the coffee from the grounds. Leaving the coffee in contact with the grounds will tend to over extract the beans and leave you with a bitter and muddy cup of coffee.

how to brew french press coffee

Common Mistake:

One common mistake that is made is grinding your coffee too fine. The key to creating a balanced, rich brew is to properly grind your coffee so those extra fines from your grinder don’t end up at the bottom of your cup. These tiny particles are over extracted and make your coffee more muddy and gritty. 

The Final Plunge…

So what are you waiting for? If you are ready to take a step into the world of specialty coffee, then a french press is the perfect place to start. Relatively simple to brew and easy to get started with, the french press could just be your next go-to brewing method. Hopefully this guide on how to make French Press Coffee has been helpful.

At SonRise Coffee Co, we specialize in small batch, fresh roasted, organic coffee. Whether you are looking for single origin coffee, a new french press, or a cold-brew brewing system, check out what we offer here at SonRise Coffee.

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