French Press Coffee : How To Make It – And Why Bother

For a full-bodied coffee with delightful flavor there’s little to beat a French press.

French Press coffee

French press coffee is brewed manually in a cylindrical pot that has an inbuilt screen filter and a plunger to force hot water through ground coffee.

Using boiled water to steep grounds, it makes a rich, earthy caffeinated drink that’s a popular favorite all over the world.

French press is also called cafetiere, plunger coffee, piston machine coffee, or a press pot. It’s gentler than drip coffee or stove brewing, though it takes a little longer.

What Is a French Press?

A French press is a device to brew coffee. It works by soaking coffee grounds in hot water.

It has 3 components.

  • A glass or stainless steel carafe holds the water and coffee grounds. It has a handle to pour.
  • A plunger is a lid with a rod that passes through a hole in its middle.
  • Filters are fixed to the plunger rod. When pushing down on the plunger, coffee is forced through the filters, leaving the grounds behind.

How Does It Brew Coffee?

A French press immerses ground coffee in hot, near-boiling water to extract the oils.

It then separates the grounds from coffee by forcing the extract through a filter, by pressure applied on a plunger.

The grounds left behind are discarded, while coffee collects in a chamber from where it is decanted and served.

The difference from a cold brew method is that the water is hot/near-boiling, and so immersion time is barely 5 minutes – instead of the 12 hours it takes to cold brew.

French Press coffee maker
Why Is French Press So Popular?

Using a French press to make coffee is easy, quick and simple. And the drink is delicious, as well.

When you get it right with the

  • perfect grind,
  • correct water temperature,
  • ideal brew time, and
  • optimal technique,

you’ll extract the best flavor from your coffee.

What matters most for a French Press coffee is the grind. A uniformly medium grind extracts the goodness of coffee without clogging the screen filter or having fine powder muddy your beverage.

Fresh ground coffee makes for the best drink. So grind only as many beans as you need at a time.

Recommended water temperature for French press coffee making is 195-200 degrees F.


  • Rich, delicious coffee
  • Easy to brew coffee
  • Clean up is quick and easy
  • Inexpensive
  • French press takes up little space
  • Can be used to cold brew also
  • Manual method, give you better control
  • Portable, you can take it along anywhere


  • Needs equipment
  • Takes a bit longer
  • Coffee must be served immediately

The Magic Ratio for French Press

A power-tip for great French press coffee is the ratio of coffee grounds to water.

The best ratio is 1:12 (1 gram of coffee to 12 grams of water), but anything between 1:10 and 1:15 is fine.

Coffee Beans - What Are They

How To Make French Press Coffee?

  • Keep the French press pot on a flat surface.
  • Grab the handle and pull the plunger out.
  • Add a tablespoonful of coffee grounds (8 grams per serving).
  • Pour near-boiling water into the pot and stir.
  • Reinsert the plunger, and let it stand for 3 or 4 minutes.
  • Then exert pressure downwards on the plunger gradually.
  • Delicious coffee trickles down into the collecting glass below.
  • Immediately transfer the coffee to a mug or carafe and serve hot.
  • You may add sugar, cream or other flavoring to your coffee.

Note: Make sure to clean the French press after use. Otherwise residue accumulates on the filter or inside the carafe and makes your coffee bitter.

What Do You Need To Make French Press Coffee?

1. French Press: An insulated stainless steel double-walled French press is good because it retains heat better than a glass press. Also it is less likely to break.

2. Measuring Scale: This makes sure you’ll use the right quantity of ingredients, and achieve the ‘magic’ ratio.

3. Burr Grinder: A conical grinder ensures the coffee beans are ground evenly for the best result.

4. Electric Kettle: To heat water quickly.

Is French Press Coffee Better Than Others?

It’s often a matter of personal choice. French press coffee does taste really good. Most coffee lovers feel it is better than drip coffee.

Because it is made from fresh ground coffee beans, the flavor is superior to anything brewed from stored coffee.

Another advantage is that the brewing method retains all the oils, which enhances its flavor and makes a richer drink.