How to Make the Best French Press Coffee at Home: Tutorial

Trying to make the perfect cup of Joe (according to your taste) with your coffee brewing device is often a trial-and-error process that takes a certain period of experimenting.

I decided to share how to make the best French press coffee to spare you some time and, overall, make things easier for you.

After you follow this tutorial there may still be room for a slight improvement in your coffee.

After all, each person has their own unique preferences and palates.

Furthermore, depending on the exact type of coffee beans you use and their roast profile, you may want to tweak the recipe a bit.

Nevertheless in this guide, I will share the most essential tips that will help you prepare the best cup of French press coffee you’ve ever had.

From grind size to coffee-to-water ratio and step-by-step brewing instructions with photos – you’ll find all.

This comprehensive yet simple recipe will let you take advantage of the French press brewing method to the fullest.

Now let’s dive in.

French press grind size

To make the best coffee in a French press, your beans should be properly ground.

Even though it’s often stated that you should use a coarse grind when brewing coffee in a French press, I recommend using a medium or a medium-coarse grind.

By combining it with the brewing technique, described in this article, you’ll get a rich and satisfying cup.

Using a medium or a medium-coarse grind for your French press coffee will also bring out more of the intrinsic flavors of the beans you use.

This is essential if you use medium or lightly roasted specialty coffee beans.

If you grind them too coarse, the brew will likely turn out too sour, and you won’t get to experience the complex flavor notes of your single-origin coffee.

Important: If you use darkly roasted coffee beans, you may want to grind on the coarser side, as it’s easier to extract the coffee flavors from darkly roasted beans. If you grind too fine, your coffee will turn out too harsh and bitter.

To make the best cup of French press coffee, you need to use freshly ground beans – not a pre-ground package that you’ve bought from the grocery store.

If you don’t have a grinder, the best possible alternative would be going to a local coffee shop, and purchasing a bag of freshly ground beans.

For this particular brew that you see in the photos of this post, I used a Hario Skerton – a hand burr grinder (check it out on Amazon here).

It’s not the best one that you could use with a French press, as it doesn’t provide a consistent grind on coarser settings.

If you brew with an uneven grind, the smaller coffee bits may get over-extracted, while the bigger ones – under-extracted.

This would worsen your coffee’s taste and you won’t be able to make the best cup possible.

With that being said, even with an inconsistent grind, by following this tutorial, you will be able to make a good cup of Joe with your brewing device.

Most coffee consumers aren’t willing to invest more than a hundred dollars for a grinder, and that’s totally understandable.

A manual burr such as the Hario Skerton is a great way to get started.

When you see how small adjustments in the grind settings can make a great difference in your cup, you will become more passionate about coffee.

This is when it would be reasonable to invest a bit more in a better grinder for French press brewing.

If you’re interested, you can check out my post on the best grinders for pour-over coffee, where you can find excellent manual and electric burr grinders which perform great on coarse settings.

The most budget-friendly one of them is the Timemore Chestnut C2.

Click here to check out the Timemore C2 grinder on Amazon.

I have one myself, and I’m more than happy with its sturdiness, efficiency, and grind quality.

There’s no better grinder for French Press, AeroPress, and pour-over coffee at its price point.

Coffee-to-water Ratio

The best coffee-to-water ratio for brewing coffee in a French press is 1:16. This means that for 34 fl. oz. (1 liter) of water, you’re going to need 2.2 oz (63 grams) of coffee.

If you use dark roasted coffee with your French Press, you may want to go for an even higher coffee dose – 2.46 oz. (70 grams).

If you don’t have a coffee scale, I recommend getting one.

Precision is always key when you’re trying to brew a delicious cup of coffee.

Nevertheless, if you’re not aiming for perfection, using 8 tablespoons of ground coffee for a liter (34 fl. oz.) of water will also work quite well.

French press brewing devices usually come in 3-, 4-, 8- and 12-cup sizes.

Here’s a 1:16 ratio chart that will show you how much ground coffee you should use depending on the size of your French press:

French Press size Water Ground coffee
3-cup 350 ml (12 fl. oz.) 22 grams or 0.75 oz. (2-3 tablespoons)
4-cup 500 ml (17 fl. oz.) 31 grams or 1.1 oz. (4 tablespoons)
8 cup 1 liter (34 fl. oz.) 63 grams or 2.2 oz. (7-8 tablespoons)
12-cup 1.5 liters (51 fl. oz.) 94 grams or 3.3 oz. (11 tablespoons)

I have an 8-cup French press and I usually brew with 56 grams (1.98 oz.) of coffee and 900 ml (30.4 fl. oz.) of water.

Now that we’ve cleared this out, let’s move on to the step-by-step recipe instructions.

How to make the best French press coffee: Directions

Making coffee in a French press isn’t hard at all, once you get the hang of it.

Before you start, you should preheat the brewing chamber by pouring hot water into it, and discharging it.

As soon as you do this, start following the step-by-step tutorial.

Here’s how to make the best French press coffee:

  1. Pour ground coffee in the brewing chamber.
    Step 1: Adding ground coffee to French press
  2. Add off-the-boil water on top. Don’t use tap water if yours is too hard. If you want to learn more about what’s the best water for coffee, visit this guide.
    Step 2: Pouring water on top
  3. Let it sit for 3 to 4 minutes.
    Step 3: Letting it sit for 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Stir the coffee crust on the top.
    Step 4: Stirring up the coffee crust on top.
  5. Remove the foam and coffee bits from the surface. Take away as much as you can, but don’t be too precise.
    Step 5: Removing foam and coffee bits from the surface
  6. Let it sit for another 4-6 minutes. During this period the remaining coffee bits on top will settle to the bottom of the glass chamber. This way you’re making sure that you’re going to get a cleaner cup with less sediment.
    Step 6: Letting it sit for another 4-6 minutes.
  7. Place the lid and gently press the plunger down.
    Step 7: Placing the lid and gently pressing the plunger down.
  8. Pour your French press coffee into a cup. Enjoy!
    Step 8: Pouring French press coffee in a cup

It may seem that this brewing technique is a bit time-consuming.

Nevertheless, once you try it out you’ll see that it seems effortless.

Your involvement isn’t required all the time, and you can complete another morning task on the side, while your coffee’s brewing.

Even if you don’t feel like doing so, I find it quite therapeutic to take my time, gather my thoughts, and relax while making my morning cup of coffee.

It seems to me that the best French press coffee is always the one that you’ve enjoyed making yourself.

Anyway, if you like the French press that you see on the photos, it’s by Bialetti and you can check it out on Amazon by clicking here. It’s quite sturdy, does a great job and it also looks quite nice.

That being said, no matter the French press brand you have at home, by following my guidelines, you’ll get to enjoy a greatly satisfying cup of coffee.

Making Adjustments (Author’s Tips):

How your coffee turns out depends on your coffee beans, their intrinsic flavors, roast profile, grind size, and other variables that determine extraction (such as agitation). Your coffee may not be perfect from the first try.

Don’t worry, as there are ways to make some adjustments and achieve the best results with your French press coffee maker.

For example, if you feel like your coffee is too sour, grind finer, and/or increase the steeping time.

If your coffee turns out too watery, you may want to increase the dose and/or grind finer.

If it seems like your cup of Joe is too bitter – grind a bit coarser and/or steep for a shorter period.

To avoid bitterness with darker roasts, you may also want to use lower-temperature water (around 185°F, 85°C).

If you don’t have an electric temperature-control kettle, just wait for about minute after you boil your water to bring it down to a more dark-roast-friendly temperature.

Did you know that you can also make cold brew in this brewing device? Check out The Woke Lark’s guide on French press cold brew coffee and find out how to make it.

Related Posts:

French Press Coffee

French Press Coffee

By following this French Press coffee recipe you will find some tips on how to prepare delicious coffee in your cafetiere.

Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • Ground Coffee (medium-coarse grind) - 2.2 oz. (63 grams, around 8 tablespoons)
  • Off-the-boil water - 34 fl. oz. (1 liter)

Instructions

  1. Pour hot water into the brewing chamber and discharge it to warm up the vessel.
  2. Pour ground coffee into the brewing chamber.
  3. Add off-the-boil water.
  4. Let the coffee grounds steep for 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Stir the coffee crust on top.
  6. Remove the foam and the coffee bits from the surface with a spoon.
  7. Let the coffee sit for 4 to 6 minutes. During this time it will cool off and the coffee grounds will settle to the bottom of the French Press. This will make your coffee cleaner.
  8. Place the lid and gently press the plunger down.
  9. Pour your French press coffee into a cup and enjoy!

Over to you

I hope that you liked my tutorial and French press recipe recommendations.

If something seems a tiny bit off, feel free to make adjustments.

I find the process of figuring out how to make the best cup of coffee at home quite entertaining.

Use my tutorial as a basic guideline and play around with the grind size or coffee-to-water ratio.

You will see how tiny adjustments may take your homemade cup to a whole next level.

If you don’t feel like it, stick to my instructions, and I’m pretty sure that you’ll be quite happy with the French press coffee you get to have.

Drop me a comment below if you have any questions.

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