A French press is a cylindrical pot with a plunger and a built-in filter screen, which presses hot water through coffee powder. Here is the simple beauty of it, and it is also the method chosen by many people worldwide to create flavorful coffee in their daily cups.
However, most people use the French press by mistake. Here we will show you the complete brewing guide of how to make French press coffee. And you will make a consistently delicious coffee, which is much better than what you are making now.
The working principle of the French press is to steep coffee grounds and hot water in a beaker. Once the coffee finish steeping, press the metal mesh filter to the beaker’s bottom to separate the coffee grounds from the liquid coffee. The metal mesh filter allows the natural oil and fine particles in the coffee to pass through, thereby thickening it.
The process of steeping coffee and water for a long time is called immersion brewing. Unlike drip brewing, where water flows through coffee grounds in just a few seconds, you need to steep the coffee grounds in water for a few minutes.
Since coffee and water are mixed, the immersion brewer can obtain consistent extraction with little problem. However, if the coffee is ground too finely or steeped for too long, it will easily cause over-extraction.
So the critical point is that the ground should not be too fine, and the brewing time should not be too long.
French Press Sizes: How To Choose
There are various French press sizes available. Take the very popular Bodum as an example, with the following sizes: 3 cups (12oz), 4 cups (17oz), 8 cups (34oz), and 12 cups (51oz). Most companies produce presses of similar size.
Remember, the “cup” here is much smaller than a typical coffee cup. Most companies count 4 oz as a standard cup.
Usually, the standard cup size is between 8 ounces and 10 ounces, which serves excellent for drip coffee.
So, you only need to know how many 8-ounce cups your press can fit. It means that a 3-cup press will produce about 1.5 cups of coffee, while an 8-cup press can brew enough coffee to fill the cups for about four people.
To simplify the math, divide the number of cups listed on your press package by two to estimate the number of coffee cups produced.
Please note that this is only an estimate, not an exact value. In fact, a 3 cup (12oz) press may only be able to brew 10 oz of coffee.
The 12 cups press may have more capacity than you need, but the 3 cups press will limit you because of its smaller ability. That is why the 8 cups press is the usual size that most people buy.
How To Make French Press Coffee
We already know a bit of the French press. So, how to make French press coffee correctly? Let’s start.
Before pressing the coffee ground to extract all drops of delicious natural oil, you need to immerse the coffee in hot water to give full play to its flavor. It is easy to brew coffee by using the French press, but it takes some practice to make the perfect coffee cup.
What You Need:
- French press
- Coffee grounds
- Measuring cup
- Tablespoon or scale
- Water thermometer
- Electric kettle or stovetop kettle
- A small stirring spoon
Step By Step: How To Make French Press Coffee:
1. Weigh The Coffee Grounds
According to how much coffee you need to brew, weigh the coffee grounds (coarse ground or medium-coarse ground, see this article for the guide of coffee grind), preferably freshly roasted and ground.
If you want to make your French press coffee consistently delicious, there is one more thing to note. Please use a scale to weigh the coffee grounds rather than a spoon.
2.Measure The Water And Check The Temperature
Measure the water and check the temperature. How much water you measure depends on how many coffee grounds you consider. The recommended water temperature is 195°F-205°F (or about 90.5°C-96°C). Please see this article for the optimal water temperature.
Tips: We will tell you later on the relationship between the number of cups brewed and the strength of brewing, coffee grounds, and water.
Regarding the water temperature, we recommend that you at least use a thermometer to control it.
3. Add Coffee Grounds And Hot Water
Add coffee grounds to your press. Then add a small amount of hot water and stir appropriately to ensure that the coffee grounds are thoroughly wet. After waiting for about 30 seconds, add the remaining hot water.
4. Put The Lid On And Set A Timer
Pull the plunger to the top and put the lid on to keep the heat inside the beaker. Set a timer and wait. The standard steeping time is 4 minutes, but you can adjust it to your preferences. If you want to make the coffee stronger, you can steep it for an extra minute or two.
5. Push Down The Plunger Slowly
Push the plunger slowly and steadily to the bottom. Make sure to press it down completely, or your coffee will continue into over-extraction.
6. Pour Your Coffee
Pour your coffee in time. Otherwise, The longer it is, the stronger the flavor.
Finally, enjoy your coffee!
French Press Ratio
After learning how to make French press coffee, you also need to know the correct French press ratio. It is essential. Otherwise, you will not be able to brew a quality cup of coffee consistently.
The number of cups in the press limits the amount of coffee you can brew. And how strong you want determines the French press ratio.
1:15 is a regular strength ratio. We recommend that you start here to find the ratio that suits your taste.
The chart above lists the common French press ratios in customary and metric units. If you are using metric units, you should have to look at metric units consistently. Conversely, if you are using customary units, you only need to be consistent.
If you can’t find the amount of coffee you want from the chart above, it doesn’t matter, and you only need to calculate it according to the corresponding French press ratio. Or you can use the calculator provided below to calculate how much coffee beans and water you need to weigh.
For example, you use an 8 cup (34 oz) press to brew 24 oz coffee with a regular strength (coffee-water ratio 1:15). Then you need 24 oz of water and 24/15 oz of coffee grounds.
Remember that the number of cups in the press only limits the maximum amount of coffee you can brew. It means you can use an 8 cup press to brew 24 oz of coffee or use 12 cup brewing.
French Press Ratio Calculator
Below is a French press ratio calculator. You can use it to get the coffee beans and water you need to weigh when brewing French press coffee. And you can print out the result or save it so that you can view it anytime, anywhere.
How to use it:
- Choose the unit of measurement you use, customary units include ounces and fluid ounces, and metric units include grams and milliliters.
- Enter how much coffee you want to brew in the ‘Brew Coffee’ column.
- According to your taste, select how much strength the coffee you want in the ‘Brew Strength’ column.
- According to the brew strength you choose, you will get the corresponding coffee to water ratio.
- In the end, you get the final result: how much coffee beans and water you need to weigh.
You only need to operate the first three steps, and the last two steps are the results of the calculator based on your operations. It’s easy enough, isn’t it?
For an example (in customary units):
I have a 3-cup French press, and I want to brew 10 oz of super-strong French press coffee.
First, I select the ‘Customary Unit’ in the ‘Select the measurement unit you use’ (the default option). Then I will enter 10 in the ‘Brew Coffee’ column and select ‘Super Strong’ in the ‘Brew Strength’ column.
The calculator will give me a 1:11 ratio and tell me exactly how much water and coffee grounds I need to add.
Tips To Make The Best French Press Coffee
Find the French press ratio that suits you and keep it consistent.
Besides, there are a few other things you can do to ensure consistently delicious French press coffee.
- Preheat your press first before brewing your coffee. It will help you prevent fluctuations in brewing temperature.
- Once brewing is complete, pour out the coffee in time to prevent it from continuing to brew and become bitter.
- Always keep coarse grind to medium-coarse grind. Tips: When you push down the plunger in the process of making French press coffee, if it is too much resistance when pushing the plunger, your coffee grounds are too fine. If the resistance is too small, the coffee grounds are too coarse.
- Keep using the French press ratio that suits you consistently.
- Old coffee stuck at the bottom will produce an unpleasant bitterness, which will help if you keep your press clean.
Is French Press Coffee Bad For You?
If you are investigating French press coffee, you may see some studies that mention “LDL,” while others list the benefits of this brewing method. What is going on?
So, what is LDL? LDL is low-density lipoprotein. Some studies have shown that higher levels of LDL increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
What does this have to do with French press coffee? Since the French press does not use paper filters, a substance called Cafestol is left behind. Studies have shown that this substance can increase LDL levels.
However, “Five to eight cups a day of unfiltered coffee may actually raise your ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol,” says Dr. Eric Rimm, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
It is much higher than the daily consumption in the United States, about 3 cups.
In any case, drinking more than 5 cups of French press coffee a day will also cause excessive caffeine intake, which may cause insomnia, nervousness, heart palpitations, and jitters.
If you drink French press coffee within the normal range, but your LDL is still too high. You have to consider other factors, such as grains and sugars, high fructose corn syrup, an unbalanced diet, lack of exercise, smoking, drinking, and stress can also cause it to increase.
Are There Health Benefits In French Press Coffee?
Don’t let all this keep you away from a good cup of coffee. Drinking moderate amounts of coffee can really bring some health benefits.
- Caffeine intake is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Coffee helps increase your metabolism.
- It can improve memory, concentration, reaction time, wakefulness, and motor coordination.
- It is also linked with reducing the risk of dementia.
Please enjoy your daily French press coffee in moderation.
If the brewed French press coffee does not meet your taste, it is recommended to try all the variables. Once you brew your ideal coffee, it will make you more motivated to learn brewing skills!
French Press Coffee FAQs
Take an 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee as an example:
- 3 Cup press – for 1.5 Cup brewed coffee
- 4 Cup press – for 2 Cup brewed coffee
- 8 Cup press – for 4 Cup brewed coffee
- 12 Cup press – for 6 Cup brewed coffee
Of course, you can also use the 12 cups press to brew 4 cups of coffee and the 8 cups to brew 2 cups. The number of cups in the press only limits the maximum amount of coffee brewed.
Regarding steeping, it is a factor that has a lot of room for personal preference. We recommend no less than 3 minutes.
If your time is too short, the coffee’s taste will become weak and flat regardless of the coffee to water ratio.
On the other hand, if the time is too long, it will become bitter due to excessive extraction.
The rule of thumb is coarse grind to medium-coarse grind.
If you are a beginner, not sure what it looks like. Here is a detailed guide of grinding dimensions.
Most French presses are easy to dismantle and clean.
- Pull out the plunger from the French press.
- Fill it with about half of the warm water. Stir the water around to loosen the grounds stuck at the bottom.
- Carefully clean all parts removed from the French press, especially the mesh filter.
- Use a bottle washing brush with baking soda to wipe away stubborn residue.
- Finally, dry thoroughly.
Tips: It will be easier to clean the French Press as soon as possible after using it.
- Heidi Godman. (29 Apr 2016). “Pressed coffee is going mainstream – but should you drink it?”.
- B. De Roos A. Van Tol R. Urgert L. M. Scheek T. Van Gent R. Buytenhek H. M. G. Princen M. B. Katan. (25 December 2001). “Consumption of French‐press coffee raises cholesteryl ester transfer protein activity levels before LDL cholesterol in normolipidemic subjects.”