How to Use a French Press

The French press is one of the simplest and most economical methods for brewing an amazing cup of coffee. All you need is the press, a cup, coffee, and hot water. The French press utilizes a built in metal mesh to filter coffee grinds out of the water, so there are no paper filters to purchase or throw away. For this same reason French pressed coffee will retain all of its oils, resulting in a heavy brew. If you enjoy full bodied coffee, the French press is perfect for you, and this guide will teach you how to make French press coffee.

French press coffee ratio

These are guidelines. Coffee connoisseurs prefer 14.1 grams per 8 ounces. For more info, check out our coffee ratio page.
  • 8 ounces water
  • 2 tablespoons (10.6 grams) coffee

Begin by heating 8 ounces (200ml) of water to 200°F (93.3°C).

While your water is warming, grind 2 rounded tablespoons of coffee (10.6 grams), as coarse as your grinder will allow. Since we are relying on a metal mesh filter we want to prevent as many fine grains from getting through as possible.

Place the ground coffee in the French press, and give it a slight shake to even them out.

Once your water is warmed, slowly pour just enough to saturate the grounds, and then a bit more. Use a plastic or wooden spoon to gently stir the slurry - a metal one may chip the glass of the press. If your beans are fresh, you should see a beautiful golden bloom form. Let this set for 30 seconds.

Note: The bloom actually traces its origins back to the when the green coffee bean was first roasted. Like all organic matter, CO2 and other gases is released when coffee is exposed to extreme heat. The beans continue to slowly release CO2 after being roasted. That's the purpose of those one way vents you've probably spotted on bags of coffee - it lets the gas out. However, these same gases are also important for the flavor of coffee, which is why having fresh beans is so important.

Adding hot water to your grounds speeds up the release of CO2. During this time, the pressure from the escaping gases is working on the molecular level to push water away from the coffee. This is why we let the bloom set for 30 seconds. If we didn't, our water would rush by the grounds and reduce extraction.

Pour the rest of your water into the press. Stir the mixture about 3 times, then place the lid on top of the press, but do not plunge yet. Let your mixture set for 3-4 minutes.

After 4 minutes, place your hand on top of the plunger. Using mostly just the weight of your hand, press the plunger through the grinds. If it immediately collapses to the bottom, your grind is too coarse. If it's difficult to press down, your grind is too fine.

Serve the contents of the press immediately - if you allow it to set the coffee will continue brewing with the grounds in the bottom.