Plunge Into This Timeless, Simple & Error-Proof Brewing Method.
A French Press, also known as a cafetière, is a classic piece of brewing equipment. It won't set you back a whole lot, and it's both easy to tidy away and elegant sitting on the counter top. It's just a carafe with a handle so you can pick it up when it's hot, and a plunger that will trap most of the coffee grounds in the bottom of the carafe. Pushing the plunger down will simply stop the grounds from continuing to brew. Here's the short version of how to brew with French Press:
- Plan to use 13ml water for every gram of ground coffee
- Place coffee in the carafe
- Evenly pour boiled water over the grounds, immersing them
- Set timer for 8 minutes
- Quickly scrape off the floating grind crust around minute 4
- After 8 minutes have elapsed plunge slowly, pour & enjoy
French Press Cheat Sheet
- Sediment creates a thicker, heavier mouthfeel
- Inexpensive, easily stored equipment
- Presses come in many sizes, and are differentiated by number of cups (a "French Press cup" is roughly 4 ounces)
- The water to coffee ratio is roughly 1:13 (unlike with other methods it doesn't need to be super precise)
- Timing is important so whip out your smartphone timer
- Because the grounds stay in the carafe, cleaning up is a bit messier than brew methods that use a filter to trap grounds
Reason To Love #1: Comes In Many Sizes
We love that French Presses come in so many sizes: 3-cup, 4-cup, 8-cup and 12-cup are the most commonly available. Keep in mind that a "French Press cup" is approximately 4 oz. so if you are like us then one "cup" per person might not be enough 😉! It's a super convenient way to make a larger batch of coffee for a brunch or dinner party, but it also works for your solo morning coffee break. If you have the cupboard space, we recommend having several sizes at home.
French Press Sizes
|Size||# of People||# Ounces (oz)||# Milliliters (ml)|
Reason To Love #2: It's Easy to Brew Well
The French Press is a great place to start home-brewing because the ratio of water to coffee doesn't need to be exact to get a well-brewed cup. This also makes it a great way to start exploring your personal water to coffee ratio preferences. After years of experimenting, I've found that the best French Press for me is a 1 to 13 ratio of fresh coffee (in grams) to water (in milliliters). This is my personal preference, but the beauty of home coffee brewing is that you can explore ratios to achieve your ideal taste and strength.
Coffee to Water Ratio Cheat Sheet
|Size||# People||Grams of coffee (g)||Tablespoons of coffee||Milliliters of water (ml)||Ounces (oz)|
If you are equipped with a scale and a measuring jug, we recommend you measure out the quantities, but if you don't want to, don't worry - even without a very precise ratio, a French Press will reliably make a great coffee. The key is to try to note how the amount of fresh coffee to water that you use affects the taste, and to tweak up or down next time. You'll discover what works best for you and you'll increasingly be able to eyeball the quantities.
French press is an immersion brew method, which just means that your coffee brews while the grinds are immersed in water. With immersion, the key thing to focus on is timing. You can over-brew a French Press if you let the coffee sit in the hot water for too long, but this is easily solved with a timer, so just whip out your smart phone, and you're all set!
A common misconception is that pressing the plunger down is part of the brewing. In fact, the brewing happens before the plunger is pushed down, while the coffee grounds are sitting, immersed in the hot water. When you press down all you are doing is pushing the grounds to the bottom, so it's best done lightly and evenly so no errant coffee escapes the plunge.
Because French Press is an immersion brew method there is always a bit of grind sediment in the finished cup. This is what gives French Press coffee that heavier mouthfeel. Some people love this "heavier and thicker" taste and others prefer a "lighter and cleaner" taste that is better achieved using a filter brew method. We encourage you to keep an open mind, experiment and develop your favorite tastes over time.
French Press Instructions
- Select a coarse or medium grind coffee.
- Pour your grinds in the French Press, noting the quantity used.
- Boil your water, and plan to use approximately 13 ml of water for every gram of coffee in the French Press (the 1 to 13 ratio).
- Pour enough water to cover the grinds and stir with a spoon to ensure all the ground coffee become wet.
- Start you timer for 8 minutes.
- Pour the remainder of your water over the grounds. Pour evenly over the coffee rather than in just one spot.
- After 4 minutes you will notice a crust of coffee grounds forming at the top. Spoon off the crust in one or two quick passes (don't sweat it). Once the crust is broken any remaining grounds will start sinking to the bottom, which is what we're going for.
- Let the coffee rest until the timer beeps for a total elapsed time of 8 minutes.
- Place the plunger into the carafe and press down gently. The coffee is already brewed at this point, your job is just to keep any further sediment down as you plunge. If you plunge fast or forcefully you'll increase the amount of sediment in the brew, so go slowly and evenly.
- Pour the coffee and enjoy! Well done you did it!
- If you have leftover coffee in the press, pour out of press, for example, into a thermos.