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I told you earlier this week about my new-found love of French Press coffee, here’s how you use one to make the best coffee you’ve ever had:

The Coffee – Obviously the most important part of the equation. Buy a good quality coffee bean and grind it very coarsely at home. Don’t have a coffee grinder at home? Most places that sell coffee beans either have one available for you to use or do it for you. The most important thing to remember is a coarse grind, that’s best for a French Press. (Fear not if you don’t have coarse ground coffee though, I’ve tested it with all different grinds and while coarse is the best, the others all work too.)

The Water – If you think the water from your tap is drinkable, use that. If not, I’d use bottled water. Some people recommend using bottled water no matter what, but I can’t tell the difference with my water.

How to Use a Coffee Press

DSC_0012 1. Measure and Heat the Water: Yes, that says measure. You need to know how much coffee you want to make going in, so measure it out with a measuring cup. Then put it on high heat until it boils.
coffee in french press 2. Measure Coffee and Fill Press: The coffee press comes with a handy scoop to use, but a tablespoon works just as well. The ratio you want to aim for is 4:1, so for every 4oz. of water, you’ll want 1 tablespoon of coffee. 16 oz. of coffee is 4 tablespoons, and that’s what I’ve got in the picture above.
8 cup french press 3. Chill the Water and Pour into Press: Your water should be at a boil now, but that’s too hot for the perfect cup of coffee. What you need to do is take your water off of the burner, wait 10 seconds and then fill your press. This 10 seconds is just enough time to get your water to the perfect temperature of somewhere between 195°and 200°.
DSC_0023 4. Stir the Brew: When you pour the water in, your coffee will immediately clump and float to the top. It helps the flavor to develop if that clump is broken up, so give it a good stir with something non-metal (that can cause microfractures in the glass), I like to use a wooden chopstick.
DSC_0025 5. Wait: The coffee needs time to “bloom” and release all of it’s flavor. Once I’ve finished stirring, I give mine 3:30. That makes for a 4 minute brew time total which is just right.
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6. Take the Plunge: Affix the lid on your press and start the plunger down. Go slowly with this. I’ve read that doing this too fast can cause pressure to build up and cause the top to go flying off. I actually think this is bullshit though, when doing this I’ve never felt any considerable pressure. Once your plunger is down as far as it can go, you’re all set.
DSC_0045 7. Pour Yourself the Most Delicious Coffee You’ve Ever Had: All that’s left to do is to pour the coffee into your favorite mug and enjoy.

That’s all there is to it. It’s an easy process that only takes a few minutes and it produces such a great cup of coffee you’ll never go back to those drip makers.

The Coffee Press I used in this post is a Bodum French Coffee Press and it is available on Amazon for only $20.


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5 Responses to “How to Use a Coffee Press – With Pictures”

  1. Jeff Hershberger Says:

    Excellent! We make french press coffee every morning. It’s like the difference between Budweiser and Guinness: you may or may not care about the better quality, but if you do, you can’t go back.

    The one you’ve got, with the plastic handle, can be filled with water and microwaved at a truck stop when you’re on the road. Win!

    I do occasionally have to push hard on the plunger. It’s usually because particles have become stuck in too many of the holes in the mesh. In that case, I grab the handle and pull it up a quarter inch or so. Then it goes down easier.

    We use a burr grinder instead of a blade grinder. It’s supposed to provide a more uniform grind and less heating of the beans, but I haven’t noticed a difference. And they’re crazy expensive.

  2. David Mead Says:

    I love coffee made like this. I’ve been using one (not the same one mind you) for about 15 years now, and always Bodum.

    In the UK we called them сafetières, ’cause we’re European ;-). The coffee always tastes a little stronger and there’s nothing better than pushing down that plunger. I always warm the press with a little hot water before putting in the coffee grounds. I don’t think it actual does anything, but its a habit I’ve developed.

  3. Ginny Magers Says:

    Hello,
    My press was shelved for quite some time since I thought it was beyond my ability to repair it and yesterday I took it off shelf and all it took was to tighten a loose screw-all this time I had been using the cone for one cup coffee. Better coffee is back again.

  4. The Coffee Catcher – Product Review - Eatingcleveland.com Says:

    [...] Equipment, Kitchen Tools Reviews TweetShareDigg DiggTweetShare I love me a cup of french press coffee, so smooth and delicious, beats the hell out of that swill you get for $4 a pop. However, there is [...]

  5. Sharon Says:

    Thanks for the excellent instructions along with the pictures! My coffee press was missing the instructions, so i needed a little help. Your instructions were nice & simple.

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