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How to Use a French Press for Coffee

How to Use a French Press for Coffee

Last Updated on 17th December 2021 by

Most people don’t know how to use their French press to brew coffee properly. Even though it’s one of the most popular coffee brewing options, a surprising number of people get it wrong, and it doesn’t have to be that way.

While the French press is kind of simple, it’s also very easy to use it in the wrong way. However, if you know a few rules about how to use a French press for coffee, you won’t make the common mistakes that a lot of other people do, and you’ll end up with great tasting coffee every time. 

I’ll show you how to use a French press for one cup of coffee or a batch of coffee so that your coffee turns out great. I’ll walk you through all the steps so you won’t have any issues and hopefully be able to answer any questions you may have about how to use a French press to make coffee at home.

Why Use a French Press?

One of the biggest advantages to using a French press is that there’s no need for a coffee filter. It also makes some of the absolutely best tasting coffee. This is coffee at its purest made without too much trouble at home and made it takes just as flavorful as if you bought it from a specialty coffee shop.

How to Use a French Press for Hot Coffee

I want to share with you a basic method for using a French press. You start by preheating the press. This ensures that the temperature stays even throughout the entire grooming process.

If you try to brew the coffee before the press is heated up, you’ll have an uneven heating temperature with a temperature that fluctuates from cold to hot. Just add some hot water to the press to get started. Preheating the French press helps to ensure that the coffee stays hotter for longer.

Next, carefully weigh out the coffee grounds. How much you measure out is going to depend on how much coffee you want and how large your coffee press is. Make sure you get the right grind size for your press as well. A medium coarse grind is usually ideal, but more advanced French press users may use a medium grind.

The ratio of coffee to water should be about 1 to 15. That’s one part coffee for every 15 parts of water. It’s better to weigh the coffee and the water rather than try to measure it out. This ensures that your results are consistent and that you have complete control over how much you’re portioning out.

You can heat your water in a few different ways, like using a kettle or the stove top. If you have a kitchen thermometer, you can use it to check the temperature of the coffee press water. You’re aiming for 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pour the grounds into the preheated press and then add your water. Pour in all the water at once and then stir up the grounds slightly to ensure that they are immersed completely under the water.

Next, you need to cover the French press and time the brewing process. Standard coffee press steeping time is about four minutes, but it can be adjusted as you like. After the four minutes are up, press the plunger down.

Be sure to press it completely down or your coffee will keep brewing and become over extracted. Pay attention to how much resistance you’re getting from the plunger. If there’s a lot of resistance, that means the coffee has been ground too fine. If there isn’t enough resistance, though, then the coffee grounds are too course.

Before serving your coffee, it’s best if you decant it. If you keep the coffee in the container with the grounds for too long, that’s going to pull out some flavour and you don’t want bitter coffee.

How to Use a French Press for Iced Coffee

You can use your French press to make ice coffee. In fact, I think using the French press is the best way to make the tastiest ice coffee. I love a good cup of iced coffee, and I love how the sweet and icy sensations mix together.

Iced coffee is always best when it is cold brewed, and I’ll show you how to do that. It takes a little prep work, so make sure you have adequate time to make this ahead of time.

You want to use cold water to make this, and you need to give your coffee grounds time to steep. It’s best to let it sit overnight, and that gives you a delicate flavour and ensures that the coffee isn’t too bitter.

This is how a lot of the best coffee shops will make iced coffee that tastes strong and flavourful like hot coffee but is made specially to suit the cold coffee process.

Start by grinding down your beans. The ideal ratio is about 1/3 of a cup of coffee beans for each cup of coffee you want to have. You want to make sure the beans are coarse enough for the French press to filter them but yet fine enough so that they will infuse properly. Then, mix together the ground coffee and water, using about a cup and a half of cold water.

Stir your coffee so that the grounds all get immersed into the water. Then, put the lid on and ensure that the plunger is pulled up. Allow the coffee to sit in the fridge overnight with the plunger still in the up position. This will ensure that the grounds infuse into the water.

In the morning, you can press the plunger down to separate the grounds and the coffee. Then, fill up a glass with ice cubes and milk and pour in your coffee. Stir and enjoy.

If you’re going through the process to make iced coffee overnight, you may want to make a large batch. That way, you don’t have to go through such a lengthy process when you want some for later in the day or for the next day. Iced coffee can be stored in your fridge for around a week, so you can make quite a large batch if you have iced coffee regularly.

You can make variations on the iced coffee recipe I just gave you by adding in caramel, chocolate syrup, fudge, cinnamon and other flavourings. I also like to top mine with plenty of whipped cream.



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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!