Please treat our guide as a starting point – you will likely have to adjust the method to get the best results for your own preference. Experimentation is half the fun of using a french press. (drinking delicious coffee is the other half of the fun)
1. Use water that tastes good by itself. Any chlorine or metallic taste in the water will affect the coffee.
2. Use coarsely ground coffee. Uniform and coarse grounds will prevent a muddy sludge at the bottom of your cup. Coffee goes stale quickly when ground, so it is best to grind only the amount needed just before brewing. Burr grinders make the most even grounds.
3. The recommended amount of coffee is 8 rounded tablespoons of grounds to brew 32-ounces of coffee. This equates to 60 grams of coffee grounds and 1000 grams of water if you are using a kitchen scale. Just set aside the filter and lid, and dump the grounds into the bottom of the pot.
4. The water should be 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. A kitchen thermometer or an electric kettle with a thermostat are ideal for this. Otherwise, bring the water to a full boil and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Water that is too hot will scald the grounds and taste bitter. Thoroughly moisten all the grounds with a steady stream of water, until the brewing coffee reaches an inch below the spout.
5. Stir the grounds gently for 15 seconds if desired. Place the lid on the carafe, but do not press the plunger yet.
6. Brewing normally takes four minutes, but may be less if making less than a full pot. Once brewing is done, slowly and steadily depress the plunger completely. Pour and enjoy!
The video below demonstrates our preferred (extremely detailed!) brewing method for our french press.
Feel free to simplify and modify as you wish – just keep in mind the factors that will affect the flavor of your brew:
temperature type of beans coarseness of grind ratio of coffee to water brewing time
The french press should not use more coffee grounds than an automatic brewer. If anything, it should use less because it fully immerses the grounds and gets a better extraction of the coffee than a drip brewer can. Also you can control the temperature of the water and most drip brewers do not get the water hot enough (over 190 degrees) to properly brew.
A good grinder with ceramic or steel grinding burrs (the Baratza brand, for example) will give you a superior experience to a blade grinder. A blade grinder will always make some sediment at the bottom of the last cup in a french press because it makes such an uneven grind. Most coffee roasters and even grocery stores allow you to grind beans when you buy (a medium setting on the grinder works fine; coarse setting if you want to minimize the sediment). You may notice the coffee grounds losing flavor after a week or two (if it takes that long to consume a bag of coffee) but that would be preferable for most people versus using a blade grinder.
Clean up may be slightly messier than simply removing a dirty paper filter from an automatic brewer, but not by much. At the shop we either pour all the grounds down an industrial garbage disposal or use a paper towel to wipe out most of the grounds and then rinse the few remaining grounds down the drain. Just a light cleaning of the plunger filter with your fingers is sufficient. Even if a few grounds remain stuck in the plunger it won’t affect your next batch of coffee
The french press won’t keep your coffee piping hot for hours like an automatic brewer with a hotplate will. It is insulated to stay warm for 30-45 minutes, but we don’t recommend waiting longer than that to drink a batch of coffee anyway. A vacuum insulated bottle works great if you want to take some coffee on the go and keep it hot for a longer time
No french press is designed to be self heating, so the water does need to be boiled separately. No need to get fancy with this – any tea kettle and a stove will do. Just boil the water in the kettle, then pour onto the coffee grounds in the french press and wait four minutes. It’s the same process you would use to make tea, and it shouldn’t take longer to brew than an automatic brewer.Handling,
Cleaning and Assembly
- Before first use and after each use clean all parts of the coffee press. Use mild soap, a soft sponge or cloth and warm water; never use abrasive cleansers or detergents.
- Rinse and dry all parts thoroughly. Do not use wire or steel wool scouring pads to clean.
- In order to maintain the life of your coffee press, the filter should be rinsed immediately and washed thoroughly when you wash the press.
- Never place the coffee press over a fire or direct heat.
- Never allow children to use.
- When disassembling the filter, grip the filter assembly and unscrew the plunger shaft by turning counter-clockwise.
- When reassembling the filter, ensure the flared edge of the mesh faces upwards towards the lid.
- Make sure the edge of the filter is round and makes good contact with the carafe all the way around the edge. If it is crimped, you can smooth the edges carefully to make the best seal with the inner wall of the press pot.
Detailed Instructions for Assembling and Disassembling
The filter basket is designed for occasional disassembly – it’s not necessary to do a deep cleaning more than once or twice per year and the threads of the filter basket can fail if it is operated while loose or frequently disassembled. The video below details the steps for taking the filter basket apart, and reassembling it.