Learning how to make the best french press coffee is a cinch with the right instructions!
So, the question is…. Is making coffee an art or a science? Well, when you really think about it’s a little combination of both. But in this French Press 101 post, we will be focusing on the science behind making a mean cup of Joe in that press of yours. This will get you pro status with all your friends and fam.
For fun here is a little French press history before we get down to business.
The press was invented by two Italian dudes Attilio Calimani and Giulio Moneta in 1929. It was patented by Faliero Bondanini in 1958. A brewer in France started manufacturing it, calling it a “chambord.” Because of this, it gave that little press a French identity, even though its roots seem to point more towards Italy. Since both chocolate croissants and cannoli’s go well with coffee we won’t argue who owns the rights.
… the Italians invented! 😉 alright I’m biased. I’m full-blooded Italian…
How-to Steps to Making the Best French Press Coffee
Now there is some debate when it comes to what type of water to use. Some people are so picky that they only use bottled spring water. You don’t need to go that far to enjoy a great cup of French press. A good rule of thumb is this:
If the water tastes good on its own, then it will make tasty coffee. <– pro tip
That means tap water with chemicals like fluoride and chlorine should be filtered. This will help a ton in the overall flavor.
The goal with temperature is to get that water close to 200 degrees. <– pro tip
You don’t want to use boiling water (212 degrees.) This will cause your coffee to have a bitter taste and silt like texture. The easiest way to nail that perfect temperature is to get a tea kettle with temperature control like the Breville Tea Kettle. That’s the exact one I have and it’s the best thing for tea and coffee.
Your other option is to boil water and then let it sit till it cools to 200 degrees. You can check the temperature by using a kitchen thermometer.
When it comes to it the biggest thing is consistency. Having grounds that are all different sizes will cause brewing to be inconsistent. Small coffee particles will brew quickly while larger ones will be slower.
Now, have both in one batch and it’s going to be a hot mess. For French press you want your grounds to be more on the coarse side. This will help prevent coffee “sludge” happening at the bottom of your cup. <– pro tip
When it comes to ratio there seems to be a lot of debate online and in person. I have friends who want their coffee to be black as tar and then I have others who prefer it on the lighter side. So, here is the deal I’m going to share with you two very common ratios in the coffee world. Make them and adjust to your liking. If you want it stronger add more coffee. If you prefer it weaker then use less.
- A 1:15 ratio: 40 grams to 600 grams of water
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons per 6 oz cup.
No matter how you want to do your ratio I recommend that you at least measure it. Weighing it will yield a better result but if all else fails, grab a measuring spoon. <– pro tip
Read –> Need coffee recipes? Check out 14 HOT COFFEE RECIPES TO WARM YOUR SOUL
Would it be nice and easy to just say, “Now, dump the hot water in.” Sadly, I can not say that because the pour is actually important. Once your water is ready to pour cover the coffee ground about an inch. This will let the coffee “bloom” or expand. Some foam should come to the top about 30 seconds. <– pro tip This is when you add the rest of the water. Stir gently with a spoon to get all these yummy coffee particles floating everywhere. That’s it! Just place the lid on top and wait.
The Brew Time
The average brew time is between 3-5 minutes. I brew mine at 4 mins. Like ratio play around with this to determine what you like more. Over brewing will result in a bitter burn flavored coffee.
Ready for the fun part? The key here is to go slowly. You want it to take about 20-30 seconds to push all the ground to the bottom. <– pro tip
Once you press is at the bottom you can enjoy your coffee. If you have coffee still left in your press it’s recommended you transfer it to a carafe
*Some die-hards will filter the coffee with a paper filter after they have pressed it. This is 100% optional.
If you haven’t invested in a french press yet, then consider a Bodum French Press! When it comes to coffee making products Bodum is a rock star.
A Little Salty Hack
If you don’t have the greatest of coffee on hand or it always turns out bitter even when you follow the steps perfectly. Then try adding salt! Adding a pinch of salt to the grounds before brewing helps mellow out the bitterness. Trust me it works!
(Recap) – How to Make the BEST French Press coffee
Just a quick recap of the things you need to remember when making french press coffee:
- The Water
- The Temperature
- The Grind
- The Ratio
- The Pour
- The Time
- The Press
- Optional* Salt
And when looking at that list, please don’t think it’s too hard or time consuming. It’s really a piece of cake once you know it.
And a lot of those steps are taken cared of before you make your coffee like the grind (if pre-bought ground or done at the store.), water, and press.
For me, once the water reaches the correct temperature. I’ll have an awesome cup of coffee in my hands in 4 minutes. Super simple!
I hope this post has given you the tools and tips on how to make the best french press coffee! If you put them in action you will be a French Press making Pro!
If you would like to discover some delicious recipes to follow up on your coffee then check out my posts below!
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…
Friday 30th of December 2022
This was incredibly helpful and easy to understand. Thank you for taking the time ☺️
Wednesday 5th of January 2022
I love coffee. I have a bodum French press and have gone back and forth from the regular coffee pot to this French press. I have been preparing it all wrong. Thank you, I will try your method to see the difference. The salt is a new one to me as well 😊
Friday 10th of April 2020
nicely done! thanks for the info
Sunday 18th of August 2019
My issue with the French Press is getting the grounds out, without a mess. Would using a coffee filter help?
Sunday 18th of August 2019
Hi Darlene! A simple way to clean out the ground is to rinse them out. This is what I do. I fill the french press halfway with water and swish the grounds around. I then pour the grounds and water in a house plant or outside plant. Used coffee grounds have a neutral PH so they will not affect the acid level of the soil. You can also use coffee grounds as fertilizer, work the coffee grounds into the soil around your plants. Leftover diluted coffee works well like this too. I hope this helps and you can also try the coffee filter. But I have not tried it myself.
Tuesday 9th of April 2019
Tossing in a cardamom pod to the grounds also helps to take the bitterness away.
Tuesday 9th of April 2019
I love cardamom in my coffee! I always just add it to my milk before I add to my coffee. I will try this method out. Thanks, Tanya! :)