Savor every sip: How to make French press coffee at home

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Indulge in the luxurious taste of French press coffee, a timeless method that invites you to craft a cup precisely tuned to your tastes. You can enjoy a rich, full-bodied flavor and master the art of making this delicious coffee at home.

A woman pouring coffee into a french press.
Photo credit: YayImages.

This article will help unravel the secrets of French press coffee. Discover the advantages and learn how to make a perfect cup of coffee every time.

What is French press coffee?

French press coffee is a method of brewing coffee that involves steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in hot water, then using a plunger with a mesh filter to separate the grounds from the liquid. It’s known for producing a rich, full-bodied flavor, and it’s one of the easiest ways to make quality coffee at home.

A French press has a simple yet effective design. It comprises a cylindrical glass or stainless steel container and a plunger with a fine wire mesh filter. The beauty of this method is that it gives you complete control over the brewing process, from the grind’s coarseness to steeping time.

“I started using a French press because I am the only person in my house who drinks coffee, and I wanted something smaller than a drip coffee maker that could still make a few cups at a time. I love that there is no waste — no filters or K-cups to toss or recycle — but most important, I love the coffee it makes! It’s so smooth and flavorful, and I can make it really strong, just the way I like it.”

— Robin Donovan, All Ways Delicious

Equipment needed

Making French press coffee is a relatively simple process that uses a few specific tools.

  • French press: This is the most critical tool, as it’s specially designed to steep coffee grounds in hot water and then separate the grounds from the coffee using a mesh filter plunger. French presses come in various sizes; you can choose one based on how much coffee you want.
  • Coffee grinder: Freshly ground coffee beans are essential for a flavorful French press coffee. A burr grinder is usually recommended because it grinds the coffee beans to a consistent size.
  • Other equipment: You will need standard kitchen tools, including a kettle to boil water and a wooden or plastic spoon to stir the coffee grounds. A kitchen scale is also helpful but not essential.
A cup of coffee and cotton on a white table.
Photo credit: YayImages.

Step-by-step process for French press coffee

To make the perfect French press coffee, follow these steps:

  1. Measure the coffee beans: You need a 1:15 ratio of coffee to water. For example, for every 1 gram of coffee, you should use 15 grams of water. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, use 15 ounces of water for every 2 tablespoons of ground coffee.
  2. Grind the beans: Grind your coffee beans to a coarse consistency, similar to sea salt. A coarse grind will prevent any bitterness.
  3. Combine coffee and water: Put the ground coffee into the press. Heat water to just under boiling temperature and then gently pour it over the coffee grounds. Let the grounds soak in the water for about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir and steep: Using a long spoon, gently stir the coffee grounds and water mixture. Place the plunger on top to keep the heat in, but do not press it down yet. Allow the coffee to steep for about 4 minutes.
  5. Press down slowly: Press the coffee plunger down slowly and evenly once the steeping time is up. This step separates the coffee grounds from the liquid.
  6. Pour and enjoy: Immediately pour the coffee into your cup. Enjoy your perfectly brewed coffee along with your favorite breakfast foods.

What makes French press coffee unique

A few key characteristics make French press coffee unique when compared to other brewing methods.

  • Control over the brewing process: With a French press, you have more control over the brewing process. You determine the water temperature, brewing time and coffee-to-water ratio.
  • Richer, stronger flavor: The steeping process extracts more oils and flavors from the coffee grounds, providing a bolder taste than other coffee-making methods.
  • No filter needed: French press coffee does not use a paper filter, which allows more natural oils to pass through, contributing to a fuller-bodied coffee.
  • More sediment: The lack of a paper filter means French press coffee may have more sediment at the bottom of the cup. Other methods, such as drip and pour-over, create a more uniform liquid texture with less sediment due to the paper filter.
A man pouring coffee into a blue cup.
Photo credit: YayImages.

Common mistakes to avoid

While the process of making French press coffee is simple, there are a few key areas where mistakes can creep in.

  • Grind size: Use a coarse grind for the best results. A fine grind can lead to over-extraction and bitterness.
  • Water temperature: Aim for a temperature between 195 F to 205 F. Using boiling water can scorch the coffee, creating a burnt taste. You can get the optimal temperature by bringing the water to a boil, then taking it off the heat and letting it rest for 1 minute.
  • Steeping time: Steep the coffee for 4 to 5 minutes. Over-steeped coffee can taste bitter while under-steeping creates a weak coffee.

Convenient and affordable

Owning a French press is both convenient and cost-effective. These simple devices are easy to use, require minimal equipment and don’t require electricity. You can even use a French press to make cold brew coffee.

A French press is also compact and easy to transport, making it an excellent option for those on the go. You can bring it to work, take it with you on a trip or enjoy it at home.

“When I travel, I always bring a small French press. It guarantees I will have the smoothest, richest, most luxurious cup of coffee in the mornings.”

— Susannah Brinkley Henry, Feast + West

Use your freshly brewed coffee to make all your favorite coffee drinks at home, from a pumpkin spice latte to a cafe au lait. This lets you enjoy a delicious, cafe-quality brew right in your own home.

A french press coffee maker next to a cup of coffee.
Photo credit: YayImages.

Environmental benefits of using a French press

In addition, the French press has some clear environmental advantages. Since it doesn’t require paper filters or single-use plastic pods, you’ll help reduce waste. By choosing a French press, you’re contributing to a more sustainable way of enjoying your daily coffee.


A French press allows you to enjoy richer, more flavorful coffee with simplicity and convenience. Its affordability also makes it an excellent option for quality coffee without spending a fortune at expensive coffee shops. Experience the difference of French press coffee for yourself.

Anne Jolly is the creator of the food blog Upstate Ramblings. She loves to cook with gadgets like an air fryer, sous vide or pressure cooker. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, knitting and spending time with her three kids.

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