We think that every single coffee lover should have a French press in their kitchen. It’s hands-down one of the best ways to make coffee… it may even be our favorite brewing method!
French presses are pretty easy to use and don’t cost a whole lot of money. They produce some exceptional cups of coffee too, if you know how to use them! Coffee straight from the French press is bolder and thicker than drip coffee, so it’s perfect for people who like a rich, substantial cup of coffee in the morning. To compare which brewing method is the right one for you, swing on over to our article, French Press vs Drip Coffee: What’s Right for You, now!
Some people say that French press coffee is bitter or grainy, but that only happens when it’s brewed improperly. So today, we’re going to teach you everything you need to know to make the perfect cup so that you can enjoy this awesome brewing method!
Parts of a French Press Coffee Maker
French press coffee makers have a few main parts—the beaker, lid, plunger, and filter. Down below we’ve outlined the main parts and their importance for making a great French Press coffee maker. Without these parts it’s difficult to make an amazing and delicious French pressed coffee, you’ll see why!
The beaker is the big glass container where the coffee gets brewed. It kind of looks like those beakers we used in high school chemistry class, so the name is pretty appropriate! The aesthetics of the beaker add to the classic touch of using a french press too! Try out this universal beaker we found from Amazon… It’s promised to fit all brands!
The plunger is connected to the lid and the filter, which can be purchased here! After you’re done brewing your coffee, you’ll push down on it to press the filter into the coffee grounds. The pressure plays an important role in achieving a great French pressed coffee, no wonder it’s called the French press!
The filter is usually made out of metal and connected to the plunger with a metal rod. It prevents a bunch of coffee grounds from spilling into your cup when you pour your coffee without blocking the coffee’s natural oils from entering your cup. Here’s what we found that has the “Amazon’s Choice” French Press Filter replacements seal of approval.
Paper filters absorb the coffee’s oils, so you miss out on a lot of the bold, natural flavor of the coffee by making it with a filter. That’s why we love the French press—it produces a much more flavorful, rich, delicious cup of coffee!
If you don’t already own one of these lovely contraptions, then check out this one from Bodum Chambord. All the metal elements are high quality stainless steel that won’t rust. The beaker is made of thick, heat-resistant glass, not plastic, which is a big plus. It’s a well-made, durable coffee maker that will produce exceptional cups of coffee and last for years to come! Did we mention… It’s available in an assortment of colors— from black, to copper, stainless steel, and more!
The Perfect French Press Ratio
If you want to make a great cup of French press coffee, you have to get the ratio of the two main ingredients—coffee and water—right. Add too much water and the coffee is weak and thin, but add too little and the coffee is too concentrated and thick.
To avoid all of those problems, we recommend that you start with a 1:13 ratio of coffee to water. So for every gram of ground coffee you use, you should add 13 grams of water. This ratio will give you a cup of coffee that’s not too strong, but not too weak and tea-like either.
After you’ve brewed a couple cups of coffee, in your favorite coffee mugs of course, using this ratio, you can adjust it to suit your preferences better. You might prefer to add less water if you like a stronger cup of coffee, or more water if the cup this ratio produced was a little too strong for your tastes.
How many grams of coffee and water you use will depend on how big your French press is, but the ratio of coffee to water will always stay the same. If you need help figuring out how many grams of coffee and water to put in your particular coffee maker, check out this handy French Press calculator we found.
The Best Grind Size for French Press Coffee
Making great French press coffee isn’t just about the ratio of coffee beans to water, though. You have to make sure that you grind the beans to the right consistency, or else you’re going to end up with an undrinkable cup of coffee! And don’t worry, we have created a guide for you on How to Grind Coffee Beans for the Perfect Cup of Coffee to help!
The most common mistake people make is grinding their beans too finely. Finely ground beans will slip right through the filter of your French press, landing in your coffee mug. Your coffee will be so grainy that you’ll probably end up dumping it in the sink!
Finely ground beans have another drawback, too. They produce a really bitter cup of French press coffee! Because the particles of finely ground coffee are so small, they’re easy for the water to dissolve—a little too easy, in fact! They release too many oils, acids, and flavors because of the long, 4 minute brewing time.
Releasing extra flavor may sound like a good thing, but trust us when we say it’s not! The extra flavors that get extracted from the beans are actually bitter ones that will overwhelm your palate and drown out any subtle, delicious flavors in your cup.
Save the finely ground beans for coffee makers with fast extraction times like espresso machines. Use coarsely ground coffee in your French press instead! Because coarse grounds are bigger, the water will dissolve and extract the flavor from them more slowly. They won’t produce that dreaded, bitter cup of coffee—they’ll get you a smooth, rich cup with lots of subtle flavors that you’ll actually want to drink!
Don’t know where to begin on finding the right coffee grinder for you? We found the best coffee grinders of 2019, check it out here!
French Press Instructions
We’re not going to lie—this brewing method has more than a few steps. But don’t worry! It’s definitely not rocket science, and we’re going to walk you through it every step of the way!
Before you make your coffee, you’ll have to weigh your coffee beans on an accurate scale, like this one we tried from Coffee Gator, and grind them up in a burr grinder (which we HIGHLY recommend using over a blade grinder). You should aim for a coarse consistency that resembles kosher salt.
While you’re getting the beans ready, put your kettle on the stove and boil some water so you don’t have to wait around for it to heat up later. Need a kettle? We found this unique one on Amazon that has an anti- heat handle!
After you’re done grinding the beans, pour them into the bottom of the beaker.
The water should be boiling right about now too, so take it off the heat and let it rest for a minute or two.
You want to make sure the water cools off a little bit before you add it in so that it doesn’t scorch the coffee grounds. If you’re a total coffee nerd, you can stick a thermometer in it and make sure it cools down to 195 degrees before you add it into the coffee grounds.
Now, add half the water to the French press and wait 30 seconds to allow the coffee to bloom. Doing this enhances the flavor of your coffee, so don’t skip it!!
After 30 seconds, grab a mixing spoon and stir the coffee well. Then add the rest of the water, put the lid on the French press without touching the plunger, and set a kitchen timer for 4 minutes. Do a little dance or play with your cat while you wait for your coffee!
Now your coffee is finally ready! You can push down the plunger and pour it into your favorite coffee mug or serve it to guests in a big carafe, like this stainless steel one from Sumerflos that comes in a variety of colors! Just don’t let the coffee sit in the French press coffee maker itself. If you do, it’ll get super bitter!
Now that you know how to brew an awesome cup of French Press coffee, are you going to buy one and try it out yourself? We really think you should—it’s one of the best ways to make coffee!
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. If you have any questions or concerns about this brewing method, we’ll do our best to answer them!
Want to learn more about making coffee from people just like you? Be sure to join our private Facebook group here at Daily Coffee Talk. You’ll be able to learn how to brew, how to roast and most importantly how to enjoy the perfect cup of coffee!
Enjoy, we’ll brew ya later! ☕️