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How To Use A French Press (Tools, Tips, Ratios, And A Tutorial) By Peacemaker Coffee Company

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

90% of people use the French press wrongly. Crazy, considering it’s one of the world’s most popular coffee brewing methods. Making great coffee using a French press is actually quite simple if you follow a few rules.

When we’re done showing you how to use a French press the right way, you’ll be making a consistently delicious coffee that is way better than what you’re brewing now.

How Does A French Press Work?

It's quite simple, really:

The main part is the beaker, which is where you place your coffee grounds and hot water. Attached to the beaker are the base and handle. These ensure you won’t burn yourself or the surface you place it on. You have the lid with the attached filters and plunger. They are fairly intuitive to assemble, though, and the setup is quite simple.

The best part is no need for paper filters. With French press brewing, the grounds are directly soaked in hot water.

This means it’s a form of immersion brewing; the coffee grounds are submerged for a few minutes in the hot water rather than a few short seconds.

To get good coffee every time, it is important to know how to disassemble and clean your French press. Aim to do this once per month. This really helps. There’s more to it than simply rinsing it out.

Before We Begin: Choose The Right French Press

You’re going to have a hard time making great coffee if you use a cheap, bad pot to brew coffee. It’s tempting to go for the cheapest option, but will it really be worth it when you have to replace it?

Get some Premium Coffee from Peacemaker Coffee Company - When you place an order, go to the notes section of your order and request them to grind it for a FRENCH PRESS!! For you. Use promo code (frenchpress) at checkout for $5 off your coffee-only order.

The standard press pot size is between 4 and 8 cups. Just remember, a “cup” is much smaller than a typical mug of coffee. Many companies count a standard cup as a meager 4 oz. In general, you have small, large, metal, and electric options:

  • Small French press – if it’s just you and maybe a friend or loved one using it on a regular basis. Typical sizes include 3 and 4-cup presses.

  • Large French press – These 8 to 12-cup behemoths are meant to pacify a crowd of coffee seekers and can produce several cups of coffee in a single batch!

  • Metal French presses – They are more durable and retain heat better than glass. Choose if you live in a cold area.

  • Electric French press – These units heat the water, brew the coffee, and keep it warm after it’s ready! (We strongly recommend you decant the coffee when it’s done.)

You’ve probably heard about the ever-so-popular Bodum Chambord – an iconic-looking thing made in three sizes: 3, 8, and 12 cups. They generally have glass beakers with a stainless steel base and handle. The two smaller options even come with an unbreakable beaker option!

However, Peacemaker Coffee recommends trying out French Presses made out of other materials.

If you’re serious about playing with variables and finding the best method, try a ceramic pot or add an insulation layer to your glass pot. Stainless steel pots provide good insulation, but I find that they add a subtle taste to my cup that I dislike.

Now, we’ll jump into the tutorial section of this guide.

Steps By Step: How To Use A French Press

The basic method and the advanced method. Below, we’ll walk you through the basic method.

1. Preheat Your Press

The first you need to do is preheat your french press. This is an important step in all coffee brew methods.

Preheating your brewing equipment will stop your brew temperature from fluctuating as the cold equipment and the hot water even each other out.

All you need to do is add hot water to the press, swirl it around until it is warm to the touch, and discard the water. As an added bonus, preheating your French press will also help you keep your coffee hotter for longer.

2. Measure/Weigh Your Coffee Grounds

What you measure depends largely on the size of your coffee press and the amount of coffee you want. I hope you used a coffee grinder to freshly grind your beans.

For the basic method, you want a medium-coarse grind.

Refer to the table below if you need to.

3. Measure/Weigh Water And Check Temperature

Again, refer to the table above to get your coffee-to-water ratio for coffee presses, but the core ratio you should aim for is 1:15. This means 1 part coffee for every 15 parts water.

ADVANCED TIP: Weighing rather than measuring your water, like with your coffee, will give greater control. This will facilitate more consistent results.

Heat the water in whatever way works for you. We recommend using a stovetop or gooseneck kettle: If you have a thermometer or a kettle with temperature control, the recommended coffee press water temperature is 195-205 degrees F.

4. Add Coffee Grounds And Hot Water

Add your coffee grounds to the preheated French press, and then add the correct ratio of hot water afterward, all in one pour.

Then, you need to take your spoon and give your coffee a quick stir to ensure that all your coffee grounds are properly immersed in your water.

5. Put The Lid On And Start Timing

Placing the lid on will help insulate the press, keeping the heat inside as your coffee brews. Set your timer, and then play the waiting game!

The standard coffee press steep time is 4 minutes, but you can later adjust this to suit your preferences.

6. Slowly Press The Plunger Down

Once enough time has passed, slowly press the plunger down. Make sure you press it down all the way, or your coffee will continue to brew into over-extraction.

If there is too much resistance when you plunge, then your grounds are too fine. Not enough resistance, and they are too coarse.

6. Decant Coffee

We recommend decanting your coffee before serving because the longer your coffee is in a container with the coffee grounds, the more flavor will be pulled out.

You don’t want to over-extract. This makes for bitter coffee...

7. Serve And Enjoy

Good luck, and enjoy your French Press brewing.

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