How To Make A Delightful French Press Coffee

If you’re searching for a minimal, flavorful way to prepare your morning cup of joe, you can’t go wrong with a French press. A long-living device that’s as simple as it is beautiful, the French press method brews a cup of coffee in its purest form. This way of making coffee has been around since the 1800s, and not much has changed since it was introduced. That’s because there’s no need to mess with this classic that offers intense flavors and a cleanly finished beverage.

 If you’re ready to try a new, exciting way of consuming coffee, say bonjour to the French press – here’s a guide to everything you need to know about this brewing method.

What Is A French Press?

The history of the French press starts with two inventors, Henri-Otto Mayer and Jaques-Victor Delforge. They first patented an early version of the French press in 1852. With some slight modifications over the next several decades, the first device to resemble what we know as the modern-day French press was introduced in the 1920s. In other words, it’s remained one of the most popular coffee brewing devices for over 100 years.  Also called a plunger pot, press pot or piston pot, the French press includes two main components. One, you need a carafe, decanter or other type of brewing container where the liquid is held. Two, there needs to be a plunging mechanism affixed to the top of the container. In general, you can expect a fuller-bodied coffee that offers more intense flavors due to the way a French press works.

How does a French press work?

A French press uses the immersion method of brewing coffee. This involves letting the coffee grounds soak in water in order to transfer flavors to the liquid. The device itself works by pouring hot water into the decanter, adding coffee grounds and separating the grounds by pressing the plunger down.

French press coffee equipment

In order to make the best French coffee possible, there are specialized machines to do so. French press coffee makers look like a glass canister with a plunger sticking out of the top. Additionally, pick up a burr grinder that allows you to adjust the coarseness of your ground beans. Beyond some other basic kitchen utensils and coffee beans, that’s all you need for this simple, efficient way of making coffee.

How To Make French Press Coffee

Now that you know a little more about why French press coffee is so good and the equipment required to make a delicious batch of coffee, let’s take a look at the steps involved in the actual brewing process.

Step 1) Prepare the water

Bring 16 ounces of water – filtered if available – to a boil in a saucepan. Everyone has their own preference as to ratios of coffee to water – some baristas recommend a strong mixture of 1:4, while others prefer a weaker 1:12 or even 1:16. Ultimately, you’ll have to experiment with your preferred ratios, but to start, use a ratio of one tablespoon of coffee for every four ounces of water. Use a bit of boiling water to sanitize the inside of your French press and dump it out.

Step 2) Prepare the coffee grounds

The coarseness and uniformity of your grind dictates how flavorful and complex your cup of coffee is. That’s why a burr grinder is always a good tool to have handy, because it gives a consistent, adjustable grind size. For the purposes of a French Press, it’s best to start with a very coarse grind and make adjustments from there. This is a more forgiving approach, as the grounds need to steep in the water for several minutes. Finer grinds tend to be stronger, whereas coarser grinds are more mild.

3) Combine ingredients and start the brewing process

Place the grounds in the bottom of the French press, shaking back and forth to even out the particles. After your water is at a boil, remove it from heat for a few seconds until it lowers in temperature to 205°F.  Gently pour about half of the water over the coffee grounds allowing any lingering gasses or air to escape. Set a timer for 4:00 minutes.


  • At :30 seconds, stir the coffee to break up clumps and crusts. 
  • Pour the remaining half of your hot water into the carafe, place the lid on your French press with the plunger extended upwards.
  • At the end of 4:00, slowly press the plunger down to filter the grounds from the coffee. 
  • Once the plunger is all the way down, you can pour your cup of coffee.

6) Enjoy your fresh coffee!

As soon as you’ve plunged all of the coffee grounds, serve your coffee immediately. Coffee that lingers in the carafe is at the risk of over-extraction, which leads to overly bitter-tasting coffee. And that’s all it takes – congratulations, you’ve conquered a new way to brew delicious-tasting coffee!

More French press tips

  • The higher-quality your coffee beans, the higher-quality the end cup of coffee will taste – so don’t skimp out on the ingredients.
  • The timing with your specific model of French press maker may call for different timer settings – refer to your owner manual for more information.
  • Make sure to plunge slowly and gently. Going too fast may agitate your grounds, releasing harsh oils into your coffee.


  • Experiment with coffee-water ratios to change strength and flavor. Also try different grinds and water temperatures to achieve different finishes.

Best Of Luck With Your French Press!

Now that you’re a French press expert, you’re set up to try out brewing yourself. Remember to always use high-quality beans, pick up the essential equipment and follow the other steps above to craft the perfect cup of coffee – best of luck with your efforts!

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