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.
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.
Bring water to a boil in a pot or kettle.
When using a French press, your beans should be coarsely ground and resemble the consistency of sea salt.
This helps to heat the French press.
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.
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 enjoy—light, medium or dark roast—works well for a French press! We always recommend using fresh coffee beans and grinding just before brewing.
There are lots of French press brands on the market, but our go-to is Bodum, which offers a few options.
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.
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.
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!)
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.