The Way to Brew French Press Coffee to Perfection

Coffee purists praise the fine qualities of a French press, claiming that it produces the finest coffee flavor. It captures more of the coffee’s flavor and essential oils compared to paper filtered brewers.Taste is the main reason why French press coffee makers became so popular.

In order to make your perfect French press coffee – knowing the brewing preferences recommended by the leaders in the coffee industry is a good starting point, as are awesome ways to tweak the brewing methods to your heart’s content. One key element should not be missing, nor should the things you need to make sure you can reproduce your drink consistently.

sack of whole coffee beans with french press

Things you’ll need:

  1. French Press – we picked the best French press coffee makers of today. The common size of a French press is 8 cups (32 oz or 1 litre).
  2. Fresh Coffee – whole beans.
  3. Burr Grinder – French press coffee calls for a coarse ground and an even particle distribution. Only burr grinders can achieve this. A burr grinder is really an important key element because grind size matters to make your best French press coffee.
  4. Kitchen Scale or Coffee Scoop – Using a scale is highly recommended to weigh the grounds and water, because it will make a big difference to the consistency of your coffee and takes out any guesswork.When using a coffee scoop (ought to be equal to 2 Tbsp), the general standard of coffee-to-water ratio is 1-2 Tbsp of coffee for every 6 ounces of water. For French press coffee, use 1 coffee scoop or 2 Tbsp per 4-6 oz of water.
  5. Fresh Water – use filtered water or choose water that tastes great by itself.
  6. Timer – to keep brewing time consistent of 4 minutes.
  7. Kettle
  8. Wooden Spoon
  9. A Serving Coffee Mug

Steps to Brew French Press Coffee


Heating Water in the Kettle
Heat the water in the kettle to boiling.

While water temperature (195°-200° F) is important, just let it sit for 1-2 minutes after boiling.

Tweak it – After water is boiled, pour a small amount of hot water into the French press and coffee mug. Pre-heating them will minimize the amount of heat loss during the brewing process. Discard water prior to brewing.


Baratza Preciso - Conical Burr Coffee GrinderBaratza Virtuoso – highly recommended grinder for French press.
coarse enough for french press

Photo Courtesy of Oleg

Use a burr grinder for a coarse and even grind. Play around with the grind settings – If coffee tastes too bitter and too strong, grind is a little fine. If coffee is a bit watery and weak, grind is too coarse.

Measure using Scale
Many roasters recommend ratios between 10:1 and 18:1, water to coffee. came out a ratio of 15.1:1. So that means 15.5 grams of water per 1 gram of coffee. For example, if you have 500 grams of water, you’ll need (500 / 15.5) 32 grams of coffee. This is a good starting point.

James Hoffman, a former World Barista Champion, likes to use around 60-75g of coffee per 1 litre of water. So if your press holds about 500ml, you’ll need (0.5 * 75g) 37.5g of coffee (video provided below)

Measure using Coffee Scoop
7 scoops per litre/32oz press is also a good starting point. So if your press holds about 500ml, you will need 3 ½ – 4 coffee scoops.


The Usual Way Experts Do:

  • Add the grounds into the French press.
  • Add 1/3 hot water, just enough to soak the grounds. Start the timer [0:00]. Stir it to mix the coffee grounds evenly with the water [0:05]. Cover the press and let it sit for 30 seconds [0:35].
  • Add the rest of the 2/3 hot water, give it another gentle stir. Put the plunger on and let it sit until the timer reaches [4:00].
  • Press the plunger down.


James Hoffman’s French Press Technique:

  • Add the grounds into the French press.
  • Add the hot water, a full amount of how much your press holds.
  • Start the timer [0:00] and wait 4 minutes [4:00]. Do not put the plunger on.
  • The Clean – remove the grounds at the top of the coffee pot before plunging. This process is also known as “skimming”, which can make an amazing difference when making French press coffee.
  • Put the plunger on. Press the plunger down.


Woman drinking french press coffee
Pour coffee into your serving mug. Add sugar and cream if desired, and enjoy.

If all of the coffee won’t be served right away, transfer coffee into a separate serving vessel or thermos to prevent further extraction or bitterness.

Final Thoughts

Research has been done into preferences to provide a good starting point, and a clue of what one should expect if they stray well outside of the typical ratios. Even so, we still have our own preferences in brewing coffee that conforms to our taste. So do some experiments of your own, use the trial and error approach until you can reproduce your preferred coffee brew consistently, adjust one variable at a time and see how it goes.

Get into the plunge with us and comment here about your thoughts, or share your favorite ways of making French press coffee. Did the tweak to skim before plunging make a big difference for you? How about the difference with your coffee when you first used your burr grinder? And so on…. Please share with us and comment.


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