How to Brew the Best French Press Coffee

The French Press is a very popular method of making coffee since it is a very simple, fast, and inexpensive method to make coffee. If you do not own a French Press, see our buying guide for French press coffee makers for our recommendations. These are also known as a press pot, coffee plunger, or cafetière.

A French press does not contain many parts. Basically, you have a glass container and a plunger with a wire mesh. For the coffee beans, you can use any roast. The key with the coffee beans is to have a coarse grind. Therefore, we highly recommend having your own burr coffee grinder to give you full control on being able to have the correct grind.

Equipment you will need:

  • Burr grinder - a burr grind should always be used to grind your beans. A blade grinder will burn your beans and change the flavor of the coffee. Check out our recommendations for burr grinders.
  • French press
  • Electric or stovetop kettle
  • Coffee beans
  • Scale (Hario has an excellent scale that also has a timer. The scale is available on Amazon).

Steps to the best French press coffee

    1. Measure 2 grams of coffee per ounce of water and grind the beans to a coarse grind.
      A coarse grind is similar to the coarseness of bread crumbs. If it is too fine, the coffee will get caught in the filter.
    2. Boil clean filtered water and then let sit for about one minute to cool.
      Boiling water will scorch the beans and affect the flavor. The ideal temperature of water should be about 200 degrees. If your water has a flavor or taste to it, it will make your coffee have that same taste. Clean flavorless water is best.
    3. Add 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per 8 ounce cup of water.
      Only add coffee for now.
    4. Only add enough water over the coffee to soak it. Let sit for 30 seconds.
      The reason we are only adding half of the water is because hot water will force the ground coffee to release trapped gases. This step is called the “bloom”.
    5. Add the remaining water, and let sit for 3:30 minutes.
      This time can go shorter or longer depending on your personal preference.
    6. Plunge the press slowly.
      If your grinds are too fine, they will flow through the filter. Your coffee should be clear of coffee grinds if it is done to a proper coarseness.
    7. Pour into a coffee cup and enjoy.
      If you wish to keep the extra coffee in the French Press for later, move it into a carafe or other container. Otherwise, the extraction process will continue and affect the taste of the coffee.

Coffee Bean Master Tips: 

  • Boil extra water. Then, pour the extra water into the French Press prior to brewing to warm up the French Press and help maintain a hot temperature during the brewing process to give you the best extraction. Just prior to brewing, you will simply dump out the water.
  • If your coffee is too thin or muddy, you need a more coarse grind on the beans. If the coffee is too weak, try a more coarse grind.