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How to Make French Press Coffee: An Easy Guide for Beginners

8 mins read
How to make French press coffee
Image by eskaylim on Unlimphotos



Hello coffee enthusiast! Can’t start the day without your favorite cup of coffee? Well, we don’t blame you. A great cup of coffee can be just what you need to kick start the day. Don’t worry, we got your back because here is a simple recipe on how to make French press coffee at home.

While hitting the local coffee shop for your regular cup of joe can be manageable, making them by yourself at home can actually be quite convenient.

Moreover, if you are also an ardent coffee person who can’t do with just one cup of coffee, then these step-by-step instructions on how to make French press coffee can really save your dollars in the long run.

Now, ‘why French press coffee?’ you might ask. Well, it really just depends on what you prefer. While regular drip coffee can be delicious, French press coffee tends to be more flavorful.

This may be attributed to the fact that French press coffee is brewed with fresh coffee grounds and also the brewing method helps to retain the flavorful natural oils, unlike the drip coffee maker which filters out the natural oils.

If you are a coffee person then you may also have noticed that French press coffee is often charged more than the regular drip coffee.

Although seeing the French press coffee maker may be a little intimidating, it’s really just simple. Once you get the hang of it, you’re going to enjoy not just the cup of coffee, but also the process of making one.

So, channel the inner barista in you as you learn how to make French press coffee at home.

A. What Is a French Press?

If you’re going to learn how to make French press coffee, you need to first get familiar with the French press coffee maker and how it functions.

The French press coffee maker is a coffee brewing system in which coffee grounds are steeped in hot water and then it is pressed down using a plunger and filter so that the coffee grounds are separated from the coffee.

It may seem like a chore but it’s actually pretty simple. Once you know its components, you’ll understand how it works. So let’s break it down for you.

French press
Photo by indigolotos on Unlimphotos

The French press basically has 3 main components, the carafe, the plunger and lid assembly, and the filter.

The carafe is the container that holds the coffee grounds and the water. It is mostly made of glass but there are carafes made of stainless steel and plastic as well. It also has a handle on the side for pouring out the coffee.

The plunger and lid assembly consist of a lid with a hole at the center, through which the plunging rod protrudes. It helps to strain the coffee grounds from the coffee brew.

The filters are fine metal meshed screens and are attached to the plunging rod. So when the plunger is pushed down, the filter is also pushed down.

The filter allows the brewed coffee to pass through it and rise to the top, while it contains the coffee grounds and collects them at the bottom.

B. How to Make French Press Coffee

Making French press coffee isn’t as difficult as it may seem to be. It just requires good coffee beans and some techniques to get the perfect French press coffee.

Here’s an easy recipe you can follow on how to make French press coffee on your own.

B.2 Materials and Ingredients Required

Before we begin, here are some materials and ingredients you’ll be needing if you are planning how to make French press coffee.

1. Coffee Beans

If you want perfect French Press coffee, you will obviously need good coffee beans. What you’ll be needing for making French press coffee is coarse ground coffee.

While you can get ready-made coarse ground coffee, it is recommended to use freshly ground coffee beans instead for the best results as it will yield a much fresher cup of coffee.

Coffee beans
Photo by Alin Luna from Pexels. Copyright 2020

Selecting good coffee beans is important as it will determine the taste of your coffee. So spending a little extra time to select good coffee beans will do you good.

2. Coffee Grinder

If you are learning how to make French press coffee, you’ll be needing a good coffee grinder. It is important to make sure that the coffee beans are coarse ground and are of uniform size.

So, to get that consistently sized grounds, you need a coffee grinder that will give you the option to choose the grind size.

A burr grinder is recommended for getting the best coarse grind of coffee beans. You can go for a manual burr grinder or even an electric burr grinder if you are an avid coffee drinker.

3. French Press Coffee Maker

It goes without saying that you obviously need a French press if you want to make French press coffee.

Choosing a French press may seem a little perplexing but look to your list of requirements and preferences to help you choose the right one.

While French press coffee makers may come in various materials, it is always best to choose one that will last for a long time even though it is priced higher, rather than choosing a cheaper one that’s disposable.

4. Measuring Cups

The coffee to water ratio is key to a good cup of French press coffee. The most popular ratio is 1:15. This means that for every 1 gram of coffee, you should use 15 grams of water.

You can also experiment with the 1:10 ratio or 1:12 ratio. It really depends on how strong or how mild you want your coffee to be. After a few trials, you will find the sweet spot for your coffee.

If all these calculations are starting to get off-hand, here is a simple chart to help you get your measurements.

  • 1 Cup Water – 2 Tablespoons Coffee beans
  • 2 Cups Water – 1/4 Cup Coffee Beans
  • 4 Cups Water – 1/2 Cup Coffee Beans
  • 8 Cups Water – 1 Cup Coffee Beans

If you want to be more precise with the measurements, you can also get a digital food scale to measure your coffee before grinding them.

5. Boiling Water

Before you pour the ground coffee into the French press, you need to rinse it with hot water to warm it. You’ll also need to boil water for brewing the coffee.

6. Spoon for Stirring

You will need a long spoon to stir the coffee and break up its top layer. You can use any long spoon but it’s best to avoid metal spoons as they may break the glass of the French press if the carafe of your French press is made of glass.

You can easily find a long wooden spoon or coffee stirrer at a reasonable price so it’s worth the investment if you are planning to make French press coffee often.

7. Timer

Making the perfect French press coffee needs precise steps, especially with the amount of time required for each step.

You don’t really have to buy a separate timer for this. You can easily use the timer on your cellphone for keeping the time.

8. Coffee Mug

Last but not the least, a perfect cup of French press coffee needs to be pampered on your favorite coffee mug. So get creative and feel free to play with aesthetics.

C. How to Make French Press Coffee: Steps

Now that you’ve gathered all the materials and ingredients, let’s dive into the instructions on how to make French press coffee.

1. Preheat the French Press

The first step on how to make French press coffee is to preheat the French press. This can be done by pouring hot water into the French press and letting it sit for 30 seconds.

Although optional, it is recommended to preheat both the carafe and the plunger as well.

A warm carafe is important in order to extract all the flavor into the cup of coffee. It also helps to maintain the temperature while the coffee is brewing.

After 30 seconds is over, pour out the water from the carafe and empty it. Your French press is now preheated and ready to use!

2. Grind the Coffee Beans

In the meantime, while the French press is set aside for preheating for 30 seconds, you can grind the coffee beans.

Measure the desired amount of coffee beans to be used to the ratio of 1:15 or 1:10 as per your preference.

Use the burr grinder and grind the coffee beans into a coarse grind. It is very important that the consistency of the coffee grounds is that of breadcrumbs.

coarse ground coffee
Photo by BenSchonewille on Unlimphotos

If it is too finely ground, it may clog the filter of the French press. Some fine coffee grounds may even seep into your cup of coffee and you absolutely do not want that to happen.

It is also important that you use freshly ground coffee beans for making French press coffee. Grind the beans just before using them for the best results.

3. Add the Coffee Grounds to the French Press

Once you get a uniform consistency of coffee grounds, pour it into the French press. Do make sure that you empty the press of any leftover water from the preheating process.

Add coffee to the French press
Photo by Los Muertos Crew from Pexels. Copyright 2021

Give it a gentle shake to evenly level the coffee grounds.

4. Add Water to the French Press

Heat the desired amount of water and bring it to a boil. The water should ideally be at a temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you use boiling water, it will scorch the beans and give a burnt taste to your coffee. Hence it is important to ensure the right temperature of the water.

If you don’t have a thermometer, simply set the boiling water aside for a minute to let it cool a little and it will be ready to use.

Add water to the carafe
Photo by Los Muertos Crew from Pexels. Copyright 2021

After 1 minute, once the water is at the desired water temperature, pour it into the carafe, just enough so that the coffee grounds are wet.

5. Stir and Let It Bloom

Using a kettle with a pour spout is a good option for pouring water as it helps to aim well. You want all your beans to be well saturated.

Nevertheless, you can always use a stirrer to give it a gentle stir for about 3 seconds to break up the layer at the top and disperse the water properly.

Now leave it aside for 1 minute for the coffee to puff up and brew. This is called blooming. Gases like carbon dioxide are released during the process of blooming. This helps to better extract the flavor when the rest of the water is added.

6. Pour the Rest of the Water

When the timer goes off after 1 minute, immediately pour the rest of the water into the carafe and cover the lid. Lower the plunger gently till the mesh just touches the surface of the water. Do not push down the plunger yet.

Pour rest of the water
Photo by Los Muertos Crew from Pexels. Copyright 2021

Now let it brew some more for another 3 minutes. So the total brewing time is 4 minutes.

You can also adjust the brewing time based on your preference of coffee. 4 minutes of brewing gives a medium-strength coffee.

7. Press the Plunger and Pour

Once the timer goes off, gently push the plunger all the way down. Make sure you don’t push it down too fast and hard as it will agitate the coffee grounds and give a bitter taste to your coffee.

Once the plunger reaches the bottom, pour the coffee immediately into your coffee mug.

press plunger and pour
Photo by Los Muertos Crew from Pexels. COpyright 2021

Make sure you don’t leave it sitting in the French press as it will lead to over-extraction and result in bitter-tasting coffee.

If there is leftover coffee, you can always pour it into a container and store it in the refrigerator instead of letting it sit in the carafe.

8. Sit Back and Enjoy

So, there we have it, your perfectly made French press coffee at home. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy sipping on the cup of delicious coffee you made.

If you are a coffee enthusiast, here is a fun recipe we think you might like, a guide on how to make coffee jelly. Have fun making them!

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