French Press Coffee Brewing Guide

There are infinite ways to brew coffee and if you’re looking for a new adventure in brewing we suggest trying a French press. For a small investment, this compact brewer will have a new coffee experience in your cup in just a little more than 4 minutes.

Most agree it was a combination of efforts by French and Italian inventors which brought this coffee press to the masses. Two French inventors, Mayer and Delforge, patented the forerunner, the cafetière, around 1852. From there, iterations on the original design grew and changed with new patents for the French press being filed by Italian, Swiss, and even British coffee professionals.

The French press is also known as a coffee press, press pot, and coffee plunger.

How is this French press different from other brewing methods?

The main differences between French press and other brewing options are the method of extraction, grind size, lack of paper filter.

Method of Extraction – Much like tea brewing methods, the grounds are steeped in hot water and extracted slowly. Other coffee methods extract coffee quickly and often with higher heat and pressure.

Grind Size – When using this method, you’ll need to coarsely grind your coffee. Because the coffee is fully submerged in water and extracted for a longer period than say, espresso, you’ll want a larger grind. By using larger grounds, you’ll slow the brewing process and avoid spoiling your coffee by over-extracting.

Lack of Paper Filter – French press brewing is a bit more eco-friendly because it does not require a disposable paper filter. The metal mesh built in to the press is washable and reusable. So, the only thing you’ll need to toss in the bin is your spent coffee grounds.

Where to purchase a French Press

Our online store is helpful for finding some brewing equipment, however we recommend looking online or in a home goods store near you. One of our favorite options is the OXO Good Grips Venture Press. For around $30 you’ll get a quality brewer without a huge price tag. If you want something really high-end with a sleek, minimal design we are suckers for this Fellow Clara French Press. Coming in at $135, this might not be accessible for everyone, but it sure is pretty and has some great features to elevate your experience.

What you need for a French Press coffee

  • 8-cup French Press
  • Coffee Grinder
  • 49 grams of freshly roasted coffee
  • 735 grams of 205°F hot water for heating base
  • 735 grams of 205°F hot water for brewing
  • Spoon
  • Scale
  • Timer

Frothy Monkey French press Standards

  • Dose = 49g coffee
  • Water weight = 735g
  • Brew time (total time) = 4 min
  • Coffee to water ratio = 1:17
  • Grind = Coarse

Step By Step French Press Brewing

Step 1 – Grind Your Coffee

First, weigh out approximately 49 g of your favorite coffee. Grind the coffee until it is about the size of coarse sea salt. While grinding your coffee, heat 735 grams of water to 205°F.

coffee beans in a cupping bowl on a scale.
ground coffee on a white backgound

Step 2 – Preheat your French press

Next, preheat your base. Add the hot water to the empty press and allow the vessel to sit for one minute. After one minute is up, empty the water from the base. Heating the French press will help maintain a stable temperature throughout your brew and keep the coffee warm longer.

Heat an additional 735g of water to 205°F and prepare to brew.

water being poured in to the French Press base
water being swirled in a French press base

Step 3 – Add coffee grounds to brewer

Add your ground coffee to the French press and set a timer for 4 minutes.

grounds in the bottom of a French press base
grounds in the bottom of a French press base on a scale

Step 4 – Wet the coffee grounds

To start brewing, pour the water over the coffee grounds making sure all grounds are wet. Start your timer and brew for 4 minutes.

hot water being poured over grounds in a French press base
hot water being poured over grounds in a French press base
hot water being poured over grounds in a French press base

Step 5 – Push grounds below the water’s surface

Once you’ve poured all of your water into the grounds, use a spoon to push the grounds below the surface.

grounds being pressed below the surface of the water
Grounds being submerged under the water's surface

Step 6 – Replace top and submerge grounds

When the coffee grounds are fully submerged, put the top on the base and slightly push the plunger down until the coffee is submerged. Do not push the plunger below the water. By pushing the plunger down, you’re ensuring all coffee grounds are submerged.

French press with top on, without plunger submerged.
French press with top on, with filter pressed down to touch water

Step 7 – Remove top and remove coffee grounds

When your four minutes are up, take the top off and use a spoon to scoop off and discard the top layer of coffee grounds.

scooping grounds off of the top of brewer base
scooping grounds off of the top of the brewer base

Step 8 – Replace top and filter coffee

Finally, place the top back on the base and push the plunger down slowly to filter the coffee. Now, your French press coffee is complete!

pushing down plunger in French press
pushing down plunger in French press
pushing down plunger in French press

Step 9 – Pour the coffee into your preferred vessel. 

Immediately pour the coffee into a carafe or a mug. We don’t recommend letting coffee sit in the brewer. This will cause over-extraction, which leads to an unpleasant and bitter taste or sandpapery mouthfeel. 

completed French press coffee
coffee being poured out of French press brewer