Pre-heating the carafe, wrapping a dish towel around it, spending weeks knitting a special French press cozy following a pattern that you later realize was for an infinity scarf… these are all techniques people use to ensure that their coffee stays warm during the immersion brewing process. 

How water temperature affects French press coffee

The temperature of the water influences the degree and speed of extraction in coffee brewing. The ideal water temperature varies slightly based on the roast profile of the coffee you’re brewing, but in general, water should be somewhere between 195°F and 212°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. The best French press can sustain a consistent brewing temperature to produce a well-balanced cup of coffee. 

Fellow Clara French Press

What temperature to use for French press

Many French press recipes suggest using boiling water or water just off the boil. This is because the traditional glass French press starts losing heat almost immediately and then you’re going to let it sit for four minutes (or if you’re James Hoffmann, add another five).

How Clara French Press is different

Enter Clara: Fellow’s uniquely designed French press with double-vacuum insulated walls to keep your coffee hot while it brews, and for hours after. By sustaining a consistent temperature throughout the steeping, Clara allows for a more even extraction than traditional French presses, resulting in a perfectly balanced cup.

Choosing the ideal temperature for different types of coffee

It’s generally recommended that you tweak the temperature of your water depending on what level of roast you’re using. When brewing with darker roasts, you can use water in the 180°F-190°F range to avoid over-extracting. If you’re brewing with a light or medium roast, you can begin at 205°F. For the lightest of roasts, such as Nordic-style roasts, you can go even higher in temperature toward boiling. With Clara you can use water heated to the exact temperature to suit your coffee, rather than overshooting these ranges to account for heat-loss,  and trust it’s going to stay that way throughout the brewing process. Read our How To Choose Brewing Temperatures For Different Roasts post to get real nerdy on this subject.

The basics of great French press coffee

To brew great French press coffee, we recommend using a burr grinder, setting it to a coarse grind, and having a timer handy so you can get an exact brew time. Follow our Classic French Press recipe with Clara and you should be good to go. It only takes four minutes, and is a little less hands-on than brewing a pour-over, so French press is a great option on mornings when you want a delicious cup of coffee, effortlessly.

Flash forward to two hours later…

…and you’re back for another cup. Another feature of Clara’s insulated walls is that they keep your coffee warm for hours, so your second and third cup taste just as good as the first.

How to brew iced coffee in a French press

Although most people think of hot coffee when it comes to using a French press, there are other types of coffee it's used for, including iced coffee and cold brew. To make iced coffee in a French press, you can brew it the same as how you’d brew hot coffee, then pour it over ice to cool and enjoy right away. Since the ice will melt, you should tweak the ratio to account for the additional water, and use a higher coffee to water ratio. 

To make cold brew, use an even higher coffee to water ratio, add room temperature water without engaging the plunger, and let the coffee steep at room temperature for 12-24 hours. Once the coffee has had ample time to brew, press the plunger down with steady force and pour the coffee over ice. Follow our Clara Cold Brew recipe to make the perfect iced coffee in a French press.

Still Hot

Clara’s innovative design was recognized by the Specialty Coffee Association. It was named Best New Product in the Consumer Coffee Preparation & Serving (Non-Electric) category for 2022!

Fellow Clara French Press pouring coffee