How To Make French Press Coffee
French press coffee seems so simple at first glance but you’ll know there are certain things and techniques you need to learn first to make the perfect cup.
I tossed several mugs to the sink just because it didn’t taste right and I really wanted to duplicate the coffee that I’ve been getting from our local baristas. I went out to ask them about how to make the best French press coffee and started to research on my own as well.
What is French Press Coffee?
French press coffee is a brew made manually using an equipment called, well, a French Press. It's a cylindrical glass or plastic container with a handle and lid, kinda like a stein. It has a tightly fitted plunger with a fine filter that's usually made of stainless steel or nylon mesh.
The name of this coffee equipment is based on its origins which was first invented and made from France. It went through several design alterations and was manufactured in the United States by the "Melior" brand soon after.
The French Press method involves submerging coffee grounds into hot water (preferably between 93°C –96°C) and once the coffee is extracted, then the filter/plunger will separate the grounds from the brew.
Health Benefits of French Press Coffee
- French Press coffee is rich in methylpyridinium which lessens the chances of having cancer.
- This brew is packed with antioxidants.
- Coffee contains neuronal cells that improve your overall brain health. It reduces the chances of having Alzheimer's or dementia.
- It helps with relieving gout, migraine, and inflammations.
- The coffee made from a French press also reduces the risks of having Diabetes.
The Best Coffee to Use in a French Press
We all have our own taste when it comes to a lot of things and coffee is not different. Basically, you can use any type of coffee for your French Press brew. It really depends on what you like.
However, baristas and coffee enthusiasts recommend medium to dark roasts preferably freshly roasted and made from high quality coffee beans. These types of roasts retain a lot more oil which makes French press coffee richer in taste. French press coffee when done right, also lessens the presumed bitterness that medium to dark roasts have.
What is the Right French Press Coffee Ratio?
By standard, the recommended coffee to water ratio for a standard cup is 1:15. From there, you can either lessen or add more water to your taste. There are some claims that 1:12 or 1:17 is what works best with them. There’s no harm finding your preferred French press coffee ratio.
What is the Right French Press Grind Size?
When you understand how the French Press works its magic. The most common mistake by beginners is neglecting the type of coffee grind they're using.
When you use a fine grind, some of the grounds make the brew muddy and bitter because it goes through the filter. This is a usual feedback when it comes to using French Press the first time. Sadly, it puts people off from using it again.
Don't fret. The right type of coffee grounds to use with your French Press should be medium course to coarse grind.
With the right temperature, it gives the best coffee extracts and it gets filtered well by the French Press giving you a smoother and cleaner brew to enjoy.
Equipment Needed in Making French Press Coffee
Preparing a French Press coffee is one of the manual coffee making methods that's very simple to do at home. It doesn't have a manual to read through or a complicated set of instructions on how to operate. Even so, you will need to have these basic equipment to help you get that perfect French press coffee anytime you need one:
Whole Coffee Beans
Having whole coffee beans ensures the fresh quality of your coffee. You only grind them when you need to and that saves a lot of aroma and flavor from the beans.
Burr Coffee Grinder
Having your coffee beans whole means that you would have to have a good grinder. This enables you to control the grind size for your French Press, which by the way, should be "Coarse".
Measuring Cups or Digital Food Scale
There is a specific ration that needs to be followed for you to get the best out of your French Press Coffee. Measuring cups and scales will help with ensuring the proportions of coffee and water are correct. We don't want bitter, thick, and disgusting coffee just because we failed at measuring.
The star of this coffee making method. It's the one thing that you really need to make French Press Coffee. Duh?
Yes, this is where everything comes together. It's where the coffee gets brewed and filtered before it gets to your mug. There are several sizes and types of French Presses available that you can choose from depending on how much you need to brew and what you think is more convenient to use.
Small French Press
This is when you only need a small portion of coffee and if you want to save storage space in your counter or drawer. Small French press is best for one person brew.
Large French Press
If you need to brew more than one cup of French press coffee, consider getting a bigger French press. It will give you more than one cup in just one brew.
Metal French Press
Whether you have a glass or metal French press, feel free to use it. Metal French presses retain more heat than glass and it’s more durable. When the steeping time required for your recipe takes longer, this is best to use.
Electric French Press
It’s basically the same as the manual French press. The only difference is that it heats the water for you instead of having it in a separate kettle and then pouring it over the coffee grounds. With the electric French press, you can add cold water and you’ll still have a beautiful cup of French press coffee after.
The ideal water temperature for French press coffee is 195°F - 200°F. Be careful not to add water beyond that temperature so that your coffee won't be bitter.
Long Spoon or Stirrer
It's important to stir the brew once you’ve added the water so that the extraction will be equal and rich. This way, you will get the best out of your coffee grounds and not have a weak coffee.
The recommended time for having the best French press coffee is brewing it for 4-5 minutes. A timer helps to stick with it.
Your mug sets the overall mood towards your French press coffee. It's where everything you've worked hard for comes together. It’s where you get to see and taste the final product.
What to Look for in a French Press?
So you've decided to get the French Press, here are the things that you need to consider when choosing one:
There are several sizes that you can get when it comes to French Press. There are small, medium, and large options. Their capacity can vary from 12 - 51 oz. The smallest French Press can normally produce 1 cup of coffee and the large ones can serve up to 8 cups.
French Press can be made from stainless steel or glass. Both have their pros and cons. The one made with stainless steel is preferred by some due to its ability to hold the right temperature longer and its durability. Some prefer glass since it’s almost the same as the metal French Press but is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. It definitely adds personality to your countertop. The glass material also allows visibility to the brewing process. It adds the visual experience on top of the great taste.
How to Make French Press Coffee Step-by-Step
- Boil water until it’s 195°F - 200°F. In temperature. Also preheat your French Press by pouring 300 ml of hot water in it.
- While preheating your French Press, grind your preferred coffee coarsely.
- Add the coffee grounds to the water.
- Add more hot water to reach the coffee to water ratio in your recipe.
- Let it steep for 4-5 minutes and stir it in between.
- Have it rest for 10-20 seconds and cover the beaker with the lid.
- Plunge it slowly to filter the coffee grounds.
- Get your mug, serve it, and enjoy!
Once you get the hang of making French press coffee… it becomes super fun and easy. I once was a beginner and am now a French press coffee master. Enjoy 🙂