How to Make Coffee with a French Press
The classic French press brewing method has stood the test of time; however, the process of extracting the brew from the beans is always changing. While popular advice once recommended a coarse grind, short steep times, and a hard plunge, top coffee experts often take a different approach to French press brewing these days.
For instance, the Hoffman technique – named after World Barista Champion James Hoffman – advocates for a medium grind size, a longer steep time to allow the grinds to settle, and a very gentle plunge. This method usually results in a smoother, cleaner-tasting cup. However, unlike pour-over brewing, French press brewing preferences vary from person to person.
To help you find your perfect cup of coffee, here’s our take on how to personalize your brewing method and get the best results from French press.
The Basics of Making Great Coffee With a French Press
Yes, a very coarse grind will leave you with less sediment in your cup. However, those coarse grinds may produce an underdeveloped cup of coffee as it’s more difficult to extract their flavor. A grind that’s too small, however, can create a muddy cup that tastes bitter and over-extracted. A medium to medium-coarse grind is usually the best way to go. Experiment in this range until you find a grind size that matches your flavor preferences.
You’ll want your water very hot, but not quite boiling. Heat it to about 205°F or bring water to a boil and let it cool for a full minute. After brewing, keeping your coffee at 135°F in a heated coffee mug will preserve the flavor.
The wait time
After you pour the water, your coffee will be done brewing in 4-5 minutes. If you enjoy some sediment in your coffee, you can plunge and pour immediately. However, if you prefer a cleaner cup, we recommend waiting an additional 4-6 minutes before plunging. This allows the coffee grinds to settle at the bottom of the cup, preventing them from ending up in your mug.
And no, the extra wait time won’t over-extract your coffee. By giving your coffee a good stir after the initial 4 minutes, you’ll cause most of the grounds to sink to the bottom of the French press. Here, the extraction process slows, so the grounds won’t create a bitter tasting coffee.
We recommend about 1 rounded Tbsp of ground coffee for every 4 oz of water.
Try for a slow, gentle plunge that doesn’t disturb the coffee bed at the bottom of the French press. This way, you’ll keep all of the grounds and sediment in the press and out of your mug.
What You'll Need
- 8 Tbsp
- 32 oz of water
- A French press (measurements are based on a 34 oz French press)
- A burr grinder
- Heat water to approximately 205°F.
- Preheat your French press with hot water. Discard water.
- Add your ground coffee to the French press.
- Add water to coffee grounds – don’t stir just yet. A crust of coffee grounds will form on top of the water.
- After 4-5 minutes (depending on flavor preference), stir the crust. Some grounds will begin to sink to the bottom.
- Wait another 4-6 minutes to allow grounds and sediment to sink to the bottom.
- Gently press the plunger down until it sits just above the bed of coffee grounds at the bottom, being careful not to disturb the grounds.
- Pour into your Ember Mug² and enjoy!
Finding Your French Press
The simplicity of the French press brewing method means that there are a variety of great options for every budget and design aesthetic. Yield’s beautiful borosilicate glass French press comes in a collection of modern colors and is sure to make a statement on any countertop. If you are interested in the latest in French press innovation, StramperPress has created a minimalist design with a built in hourglass to ensure a perfect brew every time.