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How to Use a French Press

Amanda Norcross Amanda Norcross • May 07, 2021

How does a French press work, you ask? It's easier—and less time consuming—than you think. Learn how to use a French press coffee maker with our step-by-step guide, along with other helpful tips including the best coffee for French press, the best French press coffee makers, and more. 

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How to Make French Press Coffee: Step-by-Step Instructions 

Step 1: Determine your ideal French press coffee ratio. 

Measure out 1 tablespoon of coffee beans for every 6 ounces of coffee you plan to make. You can use our coffee-to-water ratio calculator to determine the best ratio for your French press. For reference, a 34-ounce French press makes about 2.5 cups (as in, coffee mugs) of coffee. 

Step 2: Heat water.

Bring water to a boil in a pot or kettle. 

Step 3: Grind your beans. 

When using a French press, your beans should be coarsely ground and resemble the consistency of sea salt. 

Step 4: Pour a small amount of the hot water into your French press. 

This helps to heat the French press. 

Step 5: Pour the water back into your kettle or pot. 

Step 6: Dump your freshly ground coffee into the French press. 

Step 7: Pour boiling water over top of the coffee grounds.

Don't push the plunger just yet! Stir the coffee with a wooden spoon before placing the assembled lid/plunger on top. Let sit for exactly FOUR minutes. 

Step 8: Slowly push the plunger down.

And serve! 

How to Use a French Press Coffee Maker: Q&A

What's the best coffee for a French press? 

Coffees with a heavier body and medium-to-dark roast profile work best as the French press tends to bring out the richness of these roasts. But any coffee you enjoylight, medium or dark roast—works well for a French press! We always recommend using fresh coffee beans and grinding just before brewing.  

What's the best French press coffee maker? 

There are lots of French press brands on the market, but our go-to is Bodum, which offers a few options. 

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Bodum Chamboard French Press Coffee Maker

Bodum's Chambord French Press Coffee Maker is a classic. Available in four sizes (12, 17, 34 and 51 ounces), this stainless steel French press is durable and affordable. 

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Bodum Brazil French Press Coffee and Tea Maker

The Bodum Brazil French Press Coffee and Tea Maker comes in black or red, with a flat or rounded top, and is available in three sizes: 12, 34 and 51 ounces. You can also buy this one as a set that includes the Bodum Bistro Electic Water Kettle and the Bodum Bistro Electric Blade Grinder. 

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Is French press coffee bad for you?

Even the smallest bit of sediment will find its way through your French press and for some, this can lead to an upset stomach. You can avoid this by using a coarse grind. (But remember, a little sediment in your coffee is a good thing!)

Is French press coffee stronger?

Yes and no. Because the flavor is more intense, you might perceive your coffee to be stronger when brewed in a French press. And sometimes, French press coffee is stronger since the sediment continues to extract in your cup. But ultimately, your grind and coffee-to-water ratio will determine the strength of your coffee


Posted in: How-To's
Tags: French Press
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