How to Make French Press Coffee



on February 26, 2024

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Making yourself a cup of coffee is such a cozy, intimate experience. It's truly an act of self-care available to you first thing in the morning. Each individual has their personal coffee preferences.

Some prefer a little coffee with their milk and sugar, some like a flavored creamer, while some prefer a simple black cup of coffee. There are dark roasts, light roasts, specialty roasts, and whatever you can find sitting next to the Moose Munch at TJ Maxx. Even the process of making your coffee can be accomplished through a variety of methods. 

French Presses offer an easy, high-quality, and aesthetically pleasing means of showing yourself a little love first thing in the morning. So slide on your slippers and shuffle into the kitchen, it's time for coffee. Check out our Coffee Clubs page to compare and read more reviews of our favorite coffee clubs.

Familiarizing Yourself with the French Press 

Don't worry, you won't need to learn a new language to use this device. The French Press isn't even French, it was founded in Milan. This contraption consists of two main pieces: the plunger and the carafe. The carafe is the holding container where your beans will steep, and the plunger will push the grinds down to avoid grainy coffee. 

The plunger consists of a strainer attached to the lid by a thin metal rod that moves the strainer up and down. French Presses come in a variety of sizes from small 8oz carafes designed for single servings, to large 64oz French Presses for entire families craving caffeine. Now that you know what exactly you're looking at, let's discuss what else you'll need.


You will need:

  • A French Press 
  • A way to boil water, such as a stovetop or electric kettle 
  • Coarsely ground coffee, or whole bean coffee and a grinder 
  • A timer 
  • Your favorite mug 

A Quick Word About Coffee

French Presses work best for a coarsely ground medium or dark roast coffee. The grind matters because if coffee is too fine, the grinds may slip through the strainer and give your coffee a muddy consistency. If you feel a little nervous about grinding the coffee yourself, there are a few solutions. When purchasing your coffee at a roastery or cafe, the baristas may be able to grind it for you. Simply ask if they wouldn't mind grinding your beans for a French Press or ask for a coarse grind. Alternatively, grocery stores may also have a public grinder that you can use. Pick out the coffee you'd like, set the grinder to coarse or French Press (there's usually a knob on the machine where you can change the grind setting), dump your beans into the machine, and move the bag beneath the spout to catch your grinds. 

If you prefer to keep your beans whole until use, invest in a home grinder. Simple models won't have settings to specify the size of grind, but you can eyeball it if you're familiar with what a coarse grind looks like; however, more sophisticated home grinders with presets included are available. Now that your beans are ground to perfection, let's get this cup of joe going.

How to Use a French Press 

Step One: Boil the Water

Get your kettle going on the stovetop or fill up your electric kettle. You'll only need about 8oz for a single serving. This step is the most time-consuming part of the process. While you wait for your water to heat up, make sure your French Press is completely clean with no leftover grinds stuck in the drainer. This is also a good opportunity to make the most important decision of your morning: what mug to use. Once the water is sufficiently boiled, move on to the next step.

Step Two: Grind Your Beans

Now that you learned everything about a nice coarse grind and how to achieve it, it's time for the application of that knowledge. If using a home grinder, put a heaping tablespoon of whole beans into the device. If your coffee is already ground, put two tablespoons of coffee into the carafe. The water to grind ratio is a determining factor in how strong the finished coffee turns out. 

After tasting your first cup of French Press coffee, you can adjust the ratio according to your tastes. More grinds to water is a stronger coffee, while fewer grinds to water is a weaker coffee.

Step Three: Steep the Coffee

Take your hot water and pour just enough to barely cover the ground coffee in the bottom of your carafe. When pouring, it's best to start in the center and move outward in a spiral. Such a technique assists in aerating the coffee for a more flavorful and aromatic finished product. Let the barely immersed grinds soak for one minute; this step is important for adding depth of flavor and not shocking the beans with a bunch of hot water. The coffee will turn out smoother with less bitterness, and a more complex flavor profile.

Once the minute is up, pour in the rest of your water. For a single serving, use 8oz (one cup) of water. If you're making coffee for multiple people, keep the ratio two tablespoons to every one cup of water. 

For example, if you want three cups then use six tablespoons of grinds and three cups of water. Stir the contents to make sure everything is fully integrated. Put the plunger into your carafe but do not push the strainer through the grinds, yet. Leave the grinds undisturbed for 3-5 minutes. 

Setting a timer is highly recommended. How long you let your coffee steep depends on both the coffee itself and personal taste. For a dark roast, keep the steeping process closer to three minutes and for lighter roasts let it sit for closer to five. 

If you like a stronger cup of coffee, let it steep for longer and vice versa for a weaker cup. You may have to use the French Press a few times to figure out exactly what works for you.

Step Four: Press, Pour, Enjoy!

When the timer goes off, your French Press coffee is ready! Using the knob at the top of the plunger, slowly and gently push the strainer until all the grinds are at the bottom and the strainer won't move any further. 

Taking your time straining your grinds maintains the natural oils of your grinds for a nicer consistency and more prominent flavor; you may even see a light brown foam sitting on top of your coffee. 

The foam is a result of the natural oils coating the coffee beans and indicates a high-quality cup of coffee. After pressing your coffee, pour the remaining liquid into your mug. There you have it! A home-brewed cup of French Press coffee. Now's a good time to take some gorgeous pictures of your accomplishments and share your newfound morning routine with friends. 

Step Five: Clean Up

Keeping your French Press clean is simple and an important step to maintaining the integrity of your coffee's flavor profile. Rinse the carafe out with soap and water then allow to air dry. Daily, the strainer will do fine with a quick rinse and air dry. Once a week or so, take the strainer apart completely by unscrewing its layers to wash each piece individually. 

Make sure to also clean the open portion on the lip of the plunger's lid to avoid residue build-up. Your French Press may come with individual care instructions, so be sure to refer to those for upkeep. 

Your Long-Term Relationship with the French Press 

The French Press is an excellent option if you prefer a bold, strong cup of coffee. It's great for individual servings but also works efficiently making multiple cups at once. The fact that the French Press can make more than one cup of coffee at a time is a huge benefit particularly for multi-person homes and brunch with friends! 

You can also use your French Press to make loose leaf tea. If you're up for some experimentation, you can even combine loose leaf tea with ground coffee to concoct a unique flavored coffee. With such an easy-to-use device, you're able to try new things without too much concern about breaking your coffeemaker. 

As opposed to a coffee machine that comes with pods, the French Press experience is entirely customizable and offers a degree of creativity. It's also much more environmentally friendly than other coffee-making methods. The French Press creates no waste, like a used pod or coffee filters. 

There's nothing to throw away at the end, and everything about the device is completely reusable. It's a more sustainable means of coffee creation for those who are environmentally conscious. 

Hopefully, you now feel confident enough to embark on your French Press journey. Return to this tutorial as often as necessary, happy sipping! 

About the Author

For All Your Favorites


For All Your Favorites

Favy offers comprehensive reviews and comparisons of our favorite products and brands.

Favy offers comprehensive reviews and comparisons of our favorite products and brands.