What is French Press Coffee?

What is French Press Coffee?

A Simple French Press Guide

Written By: Caighlen Brady

What is French Press?

French press is a traditional and unique way to brew coffee. Most coffee shops offer this method. It is the world’s second most popular brewing method. 

It can be described as heavy, thick and dense. Many coffee drinkers prefer a standard pour over, but for people who are looking for more of a rich coffee flavor, a French press is a great way to get started.  

A French press allows coffee to steep fully in water and its product is well known for its bold flavors. The plunger is connected to the lid. It has a mesh that catches the grinds but lets the coffee’s oil steep through that would normally be filtered out by a paper filter. Fine sediments tend to get past the mesh and settle to the bottom.

A Guide to Making French Press Coffee

What You’ll Need

Brew time

  • 4 minutes


Step 1

Have all your French press equipment ready to begin the process. Pour water into the kettle and bring to a boil. 

Step 2

Use about 20 - 30 grams of coffee to 320 - 350 grams of water (This can vary between recipes and taste.) If you are using whole bean coffee, you will need to set your grinder to a medium-coarse setting.

For those who don’t own a grinder at home, you can have your coffee pre-ground at your local coffee shop.

Step 3

Set up your French press on a scale. Pour coarse grinds into the French press and tare the scale. When the water reaches boiling point, gently add around 50 grams of water.

Step 4

Stir the grounds and hot water. This will allow the coffee to release the gasses and mix evenly in the water. Let the coffee bloom for thirty seconds. 

Step 5

Add the rest of the water till you reach around 320 - 350 grams. Place the lid on top to seal. Make sure the filter is all the way up. Let the coffee steep for 4 minutes exactly. 

Step 6

When 4 minutes is up, place the French press on the counter and slowly plunge down.

If the mesh hits the grounds and you are not allowed to press all the way down, this means your grind is too coarse. If you don't feel any grounds, then your grind is too fine. This may take a few trial and errors before you find the right balance.

Step 7

When the 4 minutes are up, immediately pour the coffee into a mug. This will reduce over-extracting the coffee. The longer the grounds are in the French press, the longer it will keep extracting.

An Optional Step

French press can be intimidating at first with its bold flavors. Unlike a pour over, French press coffee can leave behind fine oils and sediment at the bottom of your mug. It is your choice to finish all the way to the bottom or leave a bit left over to avoid the slug. There is a way to filter out the erosion to enjoy every bit of your coffee!

After making a French press, prepare like you would when making a pour over. Pour your freshly French press coffee into the paper filter and let it drip down into the pot. The paper filter will catch any leftover fine grinds. 

Seven Additional Tips

1. Consistency is key! Use a scale for measurements

2. Don't cheap out when buying a grinder

3. A component in brewing coffee is using quality water

4. Keep grounds below the filter by making sure no grounds are on the sides of the press

5. Clean your French press after each use to avoid build up in the filter

6. Dial in your recipe to fit your taste

7. To plunge or not to plunge is your choice

Did you enjoy this blog? Check out What is a Pour Over? blog to get started on making the perfect brew! It includes helpful step by step process and tips for making hand-crafted coffee