How To Use a French Press(+Ratio and Brewing guide)

By Shabbir
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The humble french press is one of the most popular ways to make coffee. It’s also one of the easiest, but there are a few things that you need to be aware of to make the best possible coffee.

In this post, we’ll show you how to use a french press to make coffee the rightway. It’s just a matter of using the right ratio of coffee to water, using the right grind, and brewing for the right amount of time.

What is french press coffee

French press coffee is an immersion brew that produces a flavorful, thick-bodied cup of coffee. It uses a combination of coarsely ground coffee, hot water, and time to extract the flavors and oils.

The french press has been around for about 100 years, and the first recorded patent of the french press was in 1929 by Attilo Calimani. Even though the gentleman who invented the french press was Italian, the name “french” press caught on.

It’s the coffee maker of choice for many people thanks to its straightforward design, foolproof brewing, and great-tasting coffee.

How does a french press work?

A french press is a very simple coffee brewer. It consists of a beaker and a plunger attached to a lid. The plunger has a filter attached to it. The most basic french press has one fine mesh filter, one coil filter, and a metal plate to hold it all in place.

Higher-end french presses have better or more filters.

Coffee brews in the french press by immersion. You just add coarse ground coffee to the french press, add hot water, and let the coffee steep for four minutes.

Then you slowly press the plunger down to separate the grounds from the coffee, and you’ve got freshly brewed french press coffee!

Choosing the right french press coffee maker

French presses come in all sizes and materials. Most commonly, you’ll find the classic glass french press, as well as ceramic and stainless steel ones.

Glass make the best coffee, but they’re not very durable, so if things in your kitchen are prone to breaking, maybe you can skip out on it.

Ceramic and stainless steel both retain heat very well. Ceramic french presses are a little more durable than glass, but they still break. Stainless steel ones are nearly indestructible.

However, some people have noticed a slightly off taste when making french press coffee in a stainless steel press.

You’ll also need to consider size: french presses come in all sizes from modest 1 cup presses to huge 10 cup presses.

It depends on what your needs are, so get whatever size suits how much coffee you expect to brew per day.

How to make perfect french press coffee

What you need:

To make 8 ounces of coffee (1 serving), you’ll need

  • 16 grams of coffee beans
  • 1 cup of water
  • A burr grinder
  • A scale
  • A French Press
  • A kettle
  • A thermometer(optional)
  • A long spoon

Step 1: Preheat the french press

A quick hack to make the french press stay warm and prevent your coffee from cooling too much during the brew is by pouring some hot water on and around the french press to heat it up. Don’t forget to empty it before adding the coffee!

This way, when you pour hot water in with the coffee, the cooler walls of the french press will not suck out too much heat from the hot water.

Step 2: Measure and grind coffee beans

Measure out 12-15 grams of coffee beans for one cup. If you’re brewing more than a cup, multiply accordingly.

Grind the coffee beans to a coarse grind. In case you do not have a burr grinder, then you can do quick pulses in a blade grinder instead, with pauses after a couple of seconds to shake the grinder and distribute the grounds more evenly

At the end of the process, you should have a rough, coarse grind that should be uniformly sized and does not have too much fine grit. In other words, the coffee grounds of ideal size and shape can be described as that of kosher salt or rock salt.

Place the grounds into the french press.

Step 3: Heat the water to the right temperature

Bring your water to a boil, and let it cool for about 30 seconds to get it to the correct temperature. 30 seconds is about enough time for the water to reach the ideal temperature of 195 F.

If you want to make sure that the hot water is at the correct temperature, check again with a thermometer.

Alternatively, if you have an electric kettle that has custom temperature settings, simply set it to heat up to exactly 195 degrees F.

Step 4: Bloom the coffee

Even out the coffee grounds in the french press by giving it a back and forth shake. Place the french press on a scale and tare the scale so it reads zero. Now, very slowly pour 30-50 ml(grams) of water in a circular motion and wet all the coffee grounds.

Provided you were using fresh beans, you’ll see bubbles rise to the surface and pop. This is called the coffee bloom, and indicates fresh beans.

Give it 20 seconds or so to bloom and add the rest of the water. Use the scale to know when to stop. 8 ounces of water is 236 ml, so the scale should read 236 grams when you stop pouring. A couple of grams here or there won’t hurt.

Step 5: Give it a gentle stir and let it steep

Take a spoon and gently stir the coffee a couple of times. You’ll see the surface turn into a light brown foam. This is a good sign! Place the plunger on top, and plunge down until you just touch the surface of the foam.

Don’t plunge any further.

The ideal brew time for french press coffee is 4 minutes, regardless of how many cups of water you use. Set a timer for precision and let it sit. Be mindful of not going too far over 4 minutes, as that wil result in bitter coffee

Coffee scales often have timers built in, but you can also use your phone.

Note: Stir with a wooden spoon for a more rustic effect

Step 5: Plunge and enjoy

Once the 4 minutes are up, steadily push the plunger down all the way. This will separate most of the grounds from the water. Pour out into a cup. Pour steadily and gently to avoid splashes or spills.

Let the coffee cool a little bit and enjoy, or have the coffee immediately: it’s up to you!

You can clean the french press by emptying out the grounds and rinsing it. Since it was just coffee and water, a quick rinse will do the trick.

However, do wash every three to four brews to make sure you don’t get any unwanted mold buildup.

Frequently asked questions

How many grams of coffee for french press?

The ideal coffee to water ratio for french press is 1:15. This works out to 15 grams of ground coffee for 225 ml of water. For a smaller beverage, use 12 grams of ground coffee and 180 ml of water.

How many tablespoons of coffee for french press?

Use two tablespoons of coffee grounds for one cup of coffee. Only use tablespoons if you don’t have a weighing scale, as tablespoons will be less accurate than using a scale.

How to make strong french press coffee?

To make strong french press coffee, just increase the amount of coffee grounds that you use. So instead of using 15 grams for 180 ml, use 18 grams instead. 18 grams will produce a very full-bodied coffee.

How to measure coffee for french press?

The best way to measure coffee for french press is using a weighing scale. It will give you the most precise measurement and produce the most consistent cup of coffee.

How to make french press with fine grounds?

To make french press with fine grounds, the brewing time will still be four minutes. However, you may wish to filter the coffee through a sieve or a paper filter to try and remove as much sediment as possible.


Brewing the perfect french press is quite straightforward as it’s a pretty forgiving coffee maker. It’s just a matter of adding coffee grounds, filling the press with nearly boiling water, and then pressing the plunger all the way after four minutes.

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About Shabbir

Shab is the Chief Caffeine Officer at Coffee Brewster. When he's not weighing out coffee beans for his next brew, you can find him writing about his passion: coffee.