Clara French Press pouring into a cup
Clara French Press pouring into a cup

French Press Guide for Beginners

Nothing beats the taste of a good cup of coffee. But what elevates a standard cup of coffee into a silky, smooth liquid of wonders? 

Enter: French press coffee!

Made with more oils than found in auto drip or pour-over coffee, French press coffee maximizes flavor and turns up the taste profile.

What Is French Press Coffee?

French press coffee produces a deliciously bold cup of coffee using a manual process. All that's required is a French press (did someone say Clara?), coffee, and hot water. Now, that’s a morning routine anyone can ace. 

French press coffee allows you to skip the filters so you can enjoy your coffee in its purest form.

Read on for our tips on how to make the perfect French press coffee.

How to Make French Press Coffee

Before you get started, some people like to rinse their French press device out with warm water, ensuring that the cup is warm before use. This makes sure the water for coffee brewing doesn’t change temperatures rapidly, affecting extraction and flavor.  

Place the French press on a flat surface and add the required amount of coffee into the Press  – one size does not fit all! Some French presses will serve 2-3 people while others can serve up to 5-6 people so make sure you add enough coffee into the device, otherwise, you risk creating the worst-case scenario – a diluted cup of coffee. 

To brew a well-balanced cup of coffee, make sure you have the right water temperature because it will influence the degree and speed of extraction while brewing your coffee. The ideal water temperature varies slightly based on the roast profile of the coffee, but in general, water should be somewhere between 195°F and 210°F, or boiling (90.6°C to 100°C, or boiling).  

Colder water will cause the extraction process to happen slower, resulting in coffee with a weak or not present body and a sour finish. If the water is too hot, the coffee will extract too quickly and taste bitter. 

Once you’ve added your coffee to the French press, pour in your hot water. Leave at least an inch or two from the top so the plunger has enough room and space to work its magic. Gently stir the water and coffee together so that your grinds and water can mingle in perfect harmony, and make sure to stir (or agitate) for at least 5-10 seconds, and longer for lighter roasts. Let the French press brew for at least 4 minutes. 

Next, push the plunger down slowly. While it can be tempting to rush through this process, you risk leaving behind unpleasant sediments. After the plunger has reached the bottom, your French press coffee is ready to be served! Serving (or sipping) your coffee immediately will allow you to experience the best taste and temperature.

Now that you've finished using your French press, rinse the pot out with only water or, if necessary, wash the pot out with a gentle detergent. Make sure you dry the pot thoroughly to keep it looking display-worthy.

What Type of Coffee Is Best for French Press?

Many people prefer a full-bodied brew, opting for medium to dark roasts to ensure their cup is flavorful and strong. Light and medium roast coffees work well in a French Press too! If you’d like to explore lighter to medium roast beans, we suggest starting here. This brewing method works well with any type of bean – the trick is finding the one that satisfies your tastebuds. 

It's best to use freshly ground coffee that is coarse and designed to be brewed.

French Press vs. a Drip Coffee – Which Brewing Method Is Better?

If you're looking to leave behind the taste of slightly mellower auto-drip coffee, investing in a French press could be the thing you need to elevate your coffee experience. French presses are known for delivering cups of coffee that are flavorful, strong, and delicious. The texture of the coffee is also different. With a French press, you get the benefit of a full-bodied, bolder cup of coffee versus a slightly mellower, more pulled back cup.

A French press also gives you the same great-tasting cup of coffee with minimal equipment and time. All you need is fresh coffee grounds and hot water to make a cup of coffee you're proud of. 

Equipment Needed to Make French Press Coffee

As mentioned, making French press coffee only requires two things: coffee grounds and hot water. Depending on the size of your French press, it's important to understand the required coffee-to-water ratio. In fact, it’s essential if you set out to produce the perfect brew. 

Ready to level up your coffee game? Get our French press coffee kit, perfect for beginners. Check out the How to make French press coffee guide!

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