The Ultimate Guide to French Press Coffee

french press brewing guide

French press, aka Cafetiére, or Plunger is lauded by many as the best way to brew a rich, full-bodied cup of java.

The perfect cup of coffee is the result of mastery, patience, and dedication to your craft. The art of brewing a French press coffee can be intimidating at first, but with practice, it will soon become second nature.

The guide goes through all the steps in detail on how to get the best tasting cup of coffee every time using a french press!

What Is a French Press?

A French press is a full immersion brew device, unlike a pour-over, and it brews strong coffee with more oils and texture in the leftover product as well as sandy mouthfeel.  The control of water temperature, grind size, and brew time allows you to experience subtler aromas or flavors that may not come out when using other brewing methods.

While the name has Press in it, there is no pressure used to extract the flavors from the coffee in this method.

It is a very basic coffee maker that consists of two parts: a carafe that holds your coffee and water, as well as an attached metal filter. You can pour out the liquid while filtering it at the same time by placing the filter over the coffee and plunging it down to get all those delicious flavors!

History Of French Press

The origins of the French Press are still mysterious. The name itself suggests that it may have been created in France, but there is evidence to suggest otherwise. There’s some debate about who invented it, French or Italians?

According to a legend dating back to the 1850s, the first person to brew coffee this way was a Frenchman, who accidentally discovered it while preparing his morning drink on an open fire.

The Frenchmen Mayer and Delforge developed the first design for this type of brewer in 1852. However, it was a less complicated version of the patents that followed. In 1929, Attilio Calimani and Giulio Moneta from Italy patented the first French press that looked similar to what we use today. It is characterized as a vessel suitable for holding a liquid.


Fresh Coffee

Coffee beans begin to lose flavor about two weeks after being roasted. Ground coffee loses its freshness rapidly. Don’t buy pre-ground coffee, as you’ll be disappointed with the quality of your brew. You’ll be shocked at how much better your coffee tastes when you grind it just before brewing.

Use Delicious Water

I love coffee and I brew it with care. I believe in the power of water, and have a simple water rule to go by: if the taste isn’t good, then there is no point in trying to make a high-quality brew with it. 
The ideal brewing temperature for French Press coffee is 195°F, which is just below boiling. Before making the coffee, heat the water on a stovetop bowl or electric kettle to boiling and then remove it from the heat for about 1 full minute. You may also use a thermometer to be sure it’s perfect.

Use a Consistent, Coarse Grind

Coarse grounds take longer to extract, while fine ones will do so much faster; this allows for all of those tasty aromas and flavors from the coffee to extract to the point of perfect balance. To obtain a consistent grind, you’ll need a burr grinder.

A Step-By-Step Guide

Before you begin, collect your ingredients and tools to brew some delicious coffee in your kitchen.

  • Fresh Roasted Coffee
  • French Press
  • Burr Coffee Grinder
  • Hot Water
  • Coffee Scale
  • Timer
  • Wooden Spoon

Step 1

Bring the required amount of water to a boil in a French press. You’ll need about 350 grams (12 ounces) for a 17-oz press.

Step 2

While the water is heating, grind your coffee beans. A coarse, even grind is required for French press coffee. You should start with a 1:12 coffee-to-water ratio. If you’re using 350 grams of water, you’ll need 30 grams of coffee.

Cup with Freshly Ground Coffee Beans.

Step 3

To begin, carefully pour double the amount of water you have coffee into your grounds. If you have 30 grams of coffee, for example, 60 grams of water would be a good beginning point.

Pouring hot water into the French press coffee maker

Step 4

Stir the grounds gently with a bamboo paddle or chopstick. Allow 30 seconds for the coffee to bloom.

French Press Coffee Brewing Preparation

Step 5

Pour the remaining water over the coffee grinds. Set the timer for four minutes and don’t plunge yet. Allow four minutes for the coffee to steep.

Step 6

After four minutes have passed, slowly plunge the filter down. If pressing is hard, your grind is too fine; if the plunger “thunks” immediately to the floor, your grind is too coarse. The sweet spot, pressure-wise, ranges from 15–20 pounds. 

french press guide- plunge- cupofcaffeine

Step 7

Serve the coffee straight away after it’s been pressed. If it sits for too long in your French press it will continue brewing and turn bitter (8+ minutes).

French press coffee

Final Thoughts

It’s no secret that coffee is a big deal. The average American consumes three cups of coffee per day, and the French press is one of the most popular methods for brewing it. The simplicity of the process, combined with its low cost and relative ease to clean make it an attractive option for many coffee lovers.

Making the perfect French press coffee is not as easy as it sounds, but once you have mastered this recipe, your mornings will never be the same.

It’s now your chance to enjoy it. Get a french press and brew coffee that you’ll never forget!

Happy Brewing!

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