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How To Use a French Press

How To Use a French Press

Easy French Press in Minutes

French press coffee is considered by many to be the best way to make a cup of coffee in the world.  A word-class cup of coffee is only a couple of minutes away, so keep reading to learn how to make a french press and you swill be rewarded with sweet caffeine.

Time: 6 min.

Also check out How To Make Iced Coffee to see how to turn an awesome homemade french press into an awesome iced coffee.

French Press Brewing Gear

You can probably guess what you need to make french press coffee, but just in case…

Ok, let’s make some joe.

Grinding Coffee for French Press

coffee grounds for french pressDon’t grind it yet! Ok now that I’ve saved you from that mistake here’s the scoop. you don’t want to grind your coffee until just before you are ready to add in the water. Grounds are always at their best if you wait to grind your beans just before brewing.

When making french press coffee you want to do a coarse grind. A coarse grind is perfectly suited for french press because the larger size of the grounds allows for a longer brewing process.

Grinding your coffee beans too fine will also result in a much greater amount of sediment to pass though the filter in the press and into your cup, not tasty.

It is best to grind you coffee with a burr grinder or coffee mill as these will result in a more consistent size in your grounds. This isn’t to say you can’t use a blade grinder, I’m not that snooty.

However, blade grinders do result in inconsistent ground size and because of that flavor will vary as different grind sizes brew at their own rates.

French Press Brewing Ratio

add grounds to the pressAs a general rule of thumb the ratio you want to use is one table spoon of coffee grounds per 4 oz. of water. This coffee dosage will give you a nice cup of coffee not too strong, and not too watery.

Personally, I have a heavy hand, I add in a little bit more coffee to satisfy my caffeine addiction. Just do it to taste after you’ve made it a couple of times.

Adding Water to Your French Press

don't fill the press all the wayBoil up some good ol’ fashion H2O. Water is the perfect temperature for making French press when it has just reached a boil.

Using hotter water won’t making your coffee any better or stronger. You want to get your grounds thoroughly wet, so don’t be afraid to pour the water into the press vigorously.

Only fill the french press half way with water to start. If you have really nice freshly roasted coffee beans for your french press then you should get what is called bloom.

Bloom is a foaming that occurs when the water hits the freshly ground coffee beans and they release CO2 Bloom can sometimes be several inches, so be careful, and don’t fill the entire french press right away or you might have a big puddle of coffee foam all over your counter. (I’ve been there, it burns, lol.)

Stirred not Shaken

stir the french pressStir your French press with a wooden spoon to break up any little coffee clumps that may exist. Remember we’re trying to go for an even and consistent soaking of the beans.  This will result in the most complete and robust coffee brew.

Top Up Your Press

boil water for making french pressAfter the foam has settled, top off the french press nearly to the top with water.  You want to leave a little room at the top of the press for the press-top and plunger.

You don’t want your press over flowing when you put the lid on it as it may overflow onto your counter, hands, floor, etc.

I have been there…it burns. ;)

French Press Brewing Time

four minutes to wait!The optimal brewing time for making french press coffee is four minutes from when the water hits the grounds. That being said, in my experience, brewing a little longer isn’t going to ruin your coffee.

Some people say that you shouldn’t let you coffee sit in the french press if you are going to pour it all out and drink it immediately. Leaving the coffee in the french press will eventually lead to bitterness and unpleasant flavor, but don’t worry too much if you’re going to drink the whole thing in a relatively short amount of time, say five to ten minutes.

If you aren’t going to drink it for a longer amount of time, or you want to keep the flavor perfect you can either get a bigger cup or, pour it into an insulated container until you’re ready to drink the rest. I recommend the Hario Insulated Carafe. I love pretty much everything Hario makes. Their products are beautiful and I haven’t had a single thing from them break yet!

Pressing the Coffee

plunge the french pressAfter those four agonizing minutes of waiting, as caffeine withdrawals have hit their peak, you can final press your coffee. Push down evenly on the plunger.

Don’t force it, or you might crack the glass. If you do feel resistance just lift the plunger back up a little and try again and it should work fine.

Enjoy Your French Press Coffee

enjoy that cup of french pressPour yourself a steaming mug of french press coffee, kick back, and enjoy a fantastic cup of coffee you made yourself all without the coffee shop price tag!


Final Note: The Beans matter

Using high quality beans really does make a huge difference when your brewing coffee. You get what you pay for. But, also, you like what you like. So try a bunch of different kinds of beans, try different roasters, and try different roast and when you find something you like stop looking.

I personally like to use my own homemade roasted coffee beans as much as I can. I also like Stumptown coffee beans.

How To Use a French Press

How to make iced coffee

How to make the best french press coffee quickly and easily. Complete step-by-step guide with ratios, brewing time, and gear recommendations.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 1 tbsp. Coarsely Ground Coffee Beans
  • 4 oz Water


  • French Press
  • Coffee Grinder
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Tea Kettle
  • Carafe for Coffee Storage
  • Mug


  1. how to use a moka potBring water to just boiling.
  2. coffee grounds for french pressWhile water is warming, grind coffee beans into a coarse grind.
  3. add grounds to the pressAdd 1 tbsp. coarsely ground coffee to French press for every 4 oz. water used.
  4. don't fill the press all the wayFill French press halfway, this should bloom your coffee grounds.
  5. stir the french pressStir contents of French press. Top off with remaining water, leaving room for press-top and plunger.
  6. four minutes to wait!Let sit for for 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. plunge the french pressSlowly press plunger down.
  8. enjoy that cup of french pressPour yourself a perfectly brewed mug of French press coffee and enjoy!

Austin Pamilton

Thursday 11th of April 2013

Sweet man, great explanation! I definitely need to use our french press from here on out!


Wednesday 8th of January 2020

Hey Austin, thanks for taking the time to peruse the article. Hope your french press has been a handy tool since!

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