How to use a French Press

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on April 24th, 2023

The French press coffee brewers are extremely popular. But what is the reason behind that? They look beautiful in steel or glass, but something must be different.

Well, the simplicity of the French press has gained popularity among coffee junkies and brewers. All you need is grounded coffee, boiled water, and a French press to make coffee.

How to use a French Press

However, people still can’t make that perfect cup of coffee using the French press, which is what we will discuss today.

French press coffee is smooth, indulgent, and rich in flavor. Have it with a fluffy croissant, and it’ll become one of the greatest pleasures for you in life. It is something you can have every day, but we are here to tell you that you can have it a little better every day.

Using a French press requires much more attention and care than a drip coffee maker. The French press coffee method is quite different from other methods, but it is no rocket science either. The process can be mastered quickly if you follow the right guide, steps, and tips.

french press coffee

90% of people worldwide don’t use the French press correctly. It is a shame because it is one of the most popular coffee brewing methods globally.

However, the process is quite simple, and you can count yourself in the remaining 10% as soon as you are done reading this  blog and ready to implement it.

french press

What is the French press?

The simple French press method of brewing coffee works by mixing boiled water and coffee grounds in a beaker. Once both ingredients are in the beaker for a time, a metal mesh filter is pressed from the top to the bottom of the beaker. French Press is also known as a plunger coffee maker.

The metal mesh separates the coffee grounds and the liquid coffee made in the beaker.

It, however, allows small coffee particles and natural oils to pass through to give a thick and healthy liquid coffee.

The process whereby coffee is steeped with water for a set amount of time, depending on the quantities, is called immersion brewing. Consequently, you get refined and uniform coffee out of this method. However, delicacy and care are required as the process’s simplicity requires concentration.

You have to be careful about the amount of coffee or water added and the size of the coffee grounds. Moreover, leaving the water and coffee to mix for too long is also problematic.

Looking for the best French Press?

Here are our top 3 picks:

But if you want to read our full best french press coffee maker review and comparison.

How to use a French press

Let’s come to the real question now. As simple as the process may sound, perfecting a coffee cup with the French press requires attention to detail. First, you must ensure that the coffee and water ratios are correct.

Add around an ounce of ground coffee (two tablespoons) to around sixteen ounces of boiled water.

Also, boil the water to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and let it stay still for 30-45 seconds before adding it to the beaker.

If you have a thermometer, then that’s perfect.

Measure the temperature until it is 200 degrees Fahrenheit and you will be good to go.

Once you have the ingredients ready, add them to the beaker. Spoon in the coffee first, and then slowly add the boiled water.

Let the mixture brew for a good four minutes.

After the brewing time Is over, press the plunger from the top of the beaker till you reach the bottom. Make sure you do it slowly and at a straight angle.

The four-minute brew time allows for the perfect extraction of the natural oils of the coffee. However, taking the cup out after two minutes will also get you a decent attraction, but it won’t be anywhere close to perfection. The two-minute time should work if the coffee is ground too much, and it is easier for the water to dissolve.

On the contrary, if you want a stronger coffee, don’t let it brew for longer than four minutes. The more time you give, the worse it gets. After more than a dozen minutes, the brew turns astringent and bitter. Instead, add more coffee grounds for a strong cup of coffee, which will do the job for you.

Pressing the down plunger part seems fun, but it requires attention too. Not pressing it down at the right angle or doing it fast will let big coffee ground past the metal mesh and ruin the perfect brew you just made.

A step-by-step guide to making the perfect French press coffee cup

french press coffee
  • Step 1: get a clean French press, water, and coffee beans in your hands.
  • Step 2: boil the water to 200 degrees Fahrenheit or make sure that it is slightly cooler than boiling water by letting it stay still for a minute after being boiled. Again, using freshwater is ideal instead of water that has already been boiled.
  • Step 3: grind your coffee beans. This is because freshly ground coffee beans make a much better brew than ground coffee beans. The difference can be judged by the coffee‚Äôs flavor, aroma, and taste. Even the size of the ground is less important than the freshness of the ground. However, the grinds should still be a perfect size, enough to be extracted and not too small to pass through the metal mesh when being pushed down.
  • Step 4: Add two tablespoons of coffee grounds (for one cup of water) and add boiled water of around 8 ounces. Pour the water evenly and slowly.
  • Step 5: stir the mixture to make sure the mixture is even. Let the mixture brew for a good four minutes by covering the lid of the beaker. For a strong brew, use more coffee grounds and steep for a few more minutes. There is no set rule for this as it varies from person to person, so we should try to find what suits us best.
    • For extra dark: 10 minutes.
    • For standard: 4 minutes.
    • Short steep: 30-60 seconds.
    • No steep: Plunge immediately after stirring.
  • Step 6: once the steeping time is over, press the plunger down from top to bottom. Make sure to do this slowly and at the right angle, so no coffee ground gets to pass through the metal mesh.
  • Step 7: pour the perfect cup of French press brew you just made and enjoyed.

Should I stir my french press before pressing?

There has been some confusion among French Press users concerning a specific step in the preparation process. For example, some users are confused about whether they should stir the coffee and water mixture in their French Press before pushing down the plunger.

Well, the point of a French Press is to extract the maximum amount of flavor, aroma, and oils from every bit of coffee bean. So, even though the ground-up coffee beans and water are mixed, stirring helps to extract even more of these essential characteristics.

So, after you have put hot water into your coffee press, shake in the necessary amount of coffee grounds and then give it a quick stir.

It is also important to note that many French Press enthusiasts would rather use a wooden than a metal spoon. The reason for this is twofold. First, using a normal metal teaspoon would be difficult because they are usually not long enough to reach the bottom of the press. A wooden spoon is usually made for serving and stirring, so it will be much longer.

The second reason is that a metal spoon can sometimes give the coffee an unpleasant taste. This could be because there is still residue left on the spoon from washing or because the metal mixing with the water produces some reaction. No matter what the reason is, I would personally recommend that you use a wooden stirring spoon to stir up this mixture.

Remember to allow this mixture to sit for a few minutes before you press the coffee. Some people will tell you that you can mix the coffee grounds and water and stir them immediately. But, then, you should leave them sitting for about a minute before stirring them a final time and allowing them to sit for an additional 3 minutes. This is the method of preparation that I would recommend.

Top coffees to make in a French press

We have a separate article that provides our best coffee beans for French Press. However, I mention a few here:

1. Bulletproof Coffee

Bulletproof Coffee originates from passive-organic plants. The coffee beans are farmed using medieval methods requiring no chemicals. The roasting takes place in the US roasting house in small batches. As a result, a dark roast gives a sweet, smooth, and smoky note with a hint of chocolate.

2. Koffee Kult

Koffee Kult beans are roasted in small batches in the US. The beans used in the process are 100% Arabic beans and are non-GMO. The natural flavors of the coffee include cocoa and sweet cinnamon, which are preserved by the dark roast. The outcome has a bright and smooth finish.

3. Stone Street Coffee

These coffee beans are also specially made for press brewers. They are pretty good for cold brewing in a French press. The coffee is pre-ground, but its quality speaks for itself, giving incredible results. These coffee beans are also made up of 100% Arabica beans, which are dark roasted to preserve flavor.

How to clean a French press

As much as it is important to know how to use a French press, it is also essential to know how to clean it. You can only finish the journey of making the perfect cup of French press coffee if the French press is initially clean.

This is an understandable question. After all, when you’re done pouring out all of the coffee that you have made, all that is left is some damp coffee grounds. So you don’t want the coffee grounds to end up on your counter, and you don’t want them to end up in your garbage disposal because they can build up over time.

Unfortunately, so many people have had to call plumbers to clean up their disposals that the grounds have clogged.

How frequently should I clean my French Press?

You should wash your French press after every use. Because coffee oils can quickly go rancid, and rancid oils can ruin the flavor of your coffee! A clean French press is essential for making a good cup of coffee.

There are a couple of solutions that you could choose from.

The equipment that you will require to clean a French press includes:

  • Spatula
  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • Sponge and/or bottle brush

Now let’s see how you can make use of these materials.

Once you have finished making the coffee, set the French press aside and let it cool. It is very important to let it cool. The next step to do is to empty the grounds from the beaker. You can do this with your hands, and the spatula will come in handy for the parts you can’t reach with your hands.

The next step includes the use of dish soap and water.

For a quick clean, add a few drops of liquid dish soap to the beaker, and using the water, make it spread to the whole product. Make sure you get it on the plunger, the metal mesh. Push the plunger up and down to ensure the soap gets everywhere.

Then rinse the French press thoroughly to get all of the soap out. Make sure you remove the soap from the plunger by pushing it repeatedly. The beaker can be cleaned using a sponge or a bottle brush to remove soap from its walls.

Deep cleaning:

For a deeper clean, you should disassemble the French press. You don’t have to do this daily. Using this procedure for cleaning should be done once a week.

Follow all the steps mentioned above and use all the materials, but this time, the French press will be in pieces, and each piece will be cleaned separately. Reassemble the whole product once it dries out.

We all know that using a French Press device is a great way to get bold-tasting coffee in just minutes. However, one major drawback in many people’s eyes is how do you clean a French Press without getting coffee grounds all over the place?

How Do You Clean A French Press

Solution #3 ‚Äď Give It A Good Shake

The most obvious way to get rid of the coffee grounds is to shake the French Press vigorously over an empty trash can. This is probably the most effective method. The problem is that many French Press devices are made of glass, so people aren’t very comfortable shaking them.

Solution #4 ‚Äď Enlist The Silverware

After giving your French Press a good shake over the trash can, grab a spoon or spatula and quickly wipe out the remaining grounds. You could scoop them right into a trash can.

Solution #5 ‚Äď Hit The Bathroom

If you run a little bit of water on the inside of your French Press and try to run all of the coffee grounds down to the bottom, you can get the sides of your French Press clean pretty quickly. Give the water inside the device a quick swish around, and then dump the remnants in the toilet. To avoid leaving any color or ring in your toilet, flush it as you pour the liquid out of the press.

Solution #6 ‚Äď Bring In The Paper Towels

After you dump most of the grounds into a trash can, you can lay a paper towel over the drain in your sink and rinse your press. The paper towel will catch ground before they find its way into your garbage disposal. Then, you can just let the paper towel dry and throw it away with the grounds folded up inside of it.

Remember, getting a few coffee grounds in your garbage disposal is not the world’s end. You don’t want to dump the remaining grounds down the sink. On the same note, leaving a few spare grounds in your French Press will not kill you. 

Don‚Äôt be frustrated if you can‚Äôt get out every last¬†ground¬†‚Äď don‚Äôt spend too much¬†time¬†keeping the device clean. After all, the only thing it will ever use is to make more¬†coffee.

*BONUS TIP‚Äď Many¬†people¬†shake their used¬†coffee grounds¬†into an empty¬†coffee¬†can and collect it over¬†time. When enough is collected in the¬†can, they dump the¬†grounds¬†into a¬†compost¬†pile. Coffee¬†grounds¬†make excellent¬†compost¬†and attract¬†lots¬†of¬†worms. Here are a few more things you¬†can¬†do with leftover coffee

Frequently Asked Questions

french press

Is French press coffee better?

In a drip coffee maker, the paper filters absorb much of the vital oils of the coffee grounds. The French press does not absorb the oils and allows a few coffee grounds to pass through that add to the flavor. The grounds don’t filter rather steep in a French press, so yes, it is better.

Is French press coffee stronger?

French press coffee can be stronger, lighter, or medium. It honestly depends on what you like. All you have to do is to make sure you put in the amount of coffee that suits you. Adding more coffee grounds will make it stronger and vice versa.

Which is better, a French press or a percolator?

With both methods, the preparations take more time than the brewing itself. However, for French, you need to boil the water, which can be done instantly with a kettle.

Do I need special coffee for the French press?

Any regular coffee can be used with a French press, but some work best with it. First, the list of the top six is mentioned. The more important thing is that the coffee should be ground evenly and to the perfect size. Also, fresh-ground coffee is far better than pre-ground coffee, so keep that in mind.

Can you reuse grounds in a French press?

Reusing grounds in a French press will only work if you do it immediately after brewing it. However, if you leave the grounds lying around after brewing, then reusing them is unhealthy. You could be drinking bacteria instead of coffee.

Which is better, glass or stainless-steel French press?

Stainless Steel French Press brewers have two advantages over glass models. They can’t shatter, and they retain heat better.

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Disclosure: No compensation or free products were received in exchange for writing this review.


Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.