How to make French press coffee so delicious your barista will cry

How to make french press

After weeks of researching and experimenting, I’m ready to show you how to make French press coffee. 

How to make french press coffee

While researching, I was annoyed to find most websites sharing the same inaccurate French press recipes.

I decided to fix this.

I did some deep diving and put together this all-in-one, no nonsense guide on how to make the best French press coffee that will make your barista cry. 

Keep reading to learn how to make french press coffee.

How to make French press coffee

Here are a few recipes for how to make French press coffee. First, I’ll show you the easiest method , then two of the best methods

After that, we’re going down to cappuccino town before stopping off at cold brew village. Do I feel shame for that sentence? Kind of. Am I going to rewrite it? Nah.

Before finishing off this guide, we’ll look at some super useful information about how to make French press coffee, as well as some FAQs about French press

Read: How to make pour over coffee.

#1 – How to make French press coffee the easy way 

How to make french press 1

What you’ll need:

  • An 8 cup French press
  • 8 tbsp ground coffee (see the tips below this recipe)
  • 34 oz. (1000 ml)  hot water
  • Plastic or wooden spoon 


  1. Add the ground coffee to the french press. 
  2. Boil your water, then set it aside for about 30 seconds to lower the temperature. The water should be about 195-205℉ (92-96℃).
  3. Pour the hot water over the coffee grounds, trying to get all the coffee saturated. You’ll be adding your entire brew’s amount of water in at this stage. No blooming necessary (see below).
  4. Stir the coffee for about 5 seconds.  
  5. Wait for 4 minutes. Don’t stir. Don’t put the plunger on top. Just wait for 4 minutes. Did somebody say, Wordle?  
  6. After 4 minutes, break the crust by pushing down on it with a tablespoon. The coffee particles should start falling to the bottom. 
  7. Put the plunger into the chamber, then slowly press down. Not too slow, not too fast. Just like Goldilocks would want. 
  8. Decant your coffee immediately so that you don’t over-extract the coffee. And voila, your French press is ready. Easy, right?

Some tips:

  • You’ll need about 1 heaped tablespoon of coffee for every 4 oz. (120 ml) of water.
  • The coffee should be a medium grind size. 
  • If your coffee tastes a bit sour or acidic, you could extend the brew time by one minute. If the coffee tastes bitter, then reduce the brew time by a minute. Keep extending and reducing the time until the coffee tastes balanced. 

#2 – The best French press coffee  

How to make french press 2

What you’ll need:

  • a French press
  • 30 grams freshly ground coffee
  • 500 grams filtered water
  • A digital scale
  • A plastic or wooden spoon


  1. Grind your coffee to a medium coarseness while your water is boiling away. Then, add the coffee to your brewing chamber.
  2. Once your water has boiled, pour it over your coffee. Make sure that all the coffee is saturated.
  3. Let the coffee sit for 4 minutes. Don’t stir it. Don’t touch it. Just let it sit. 
  4. After 4 minutes, break the crust and stir the coffee. Most of the coffee particles will sink to the bottom. Use a tablespoon to carefully remove the foam and finer coffee particles from the top of the water.
  5. Wait for another 5 minutes. Again, don’t do anything. At this stage, the coffee is being extracted, while the coffee particles settle on the coffee bed. 
  6. Insert the plunger and place the filter just on top of the surface of the coffee. There’s no need to plunge as this will just disturb the coffee bed. 
  7. Pour your coffee and enjoy. 

This is James Hoffman’s renowned method for how to make French press coffee. It’s also the method that I’ve found the most success with myself. It’s pretty simple to do, as long as you have a scale and a few minutes to spare. 

#3 – The best French press coffee (the 2nd way)

How to make french press 3

What you’ll need:

  • A French press
  • 16 grams freshly ground coffee
  • 250 grams filtered water
  • A digital scale
  • A plastic or wooden spoon


  1. Grind your coffee medium-coarse while your water is boiling. Then add it to the brewing chamber.
  2. Pour 250 grams of hot water over all the coffee in 10 seconds. Make sure to wet all the coffee. 
  3. Wait 5 minutes. Don’t stir it. Don’t put the lid on. Just wait for 5 minutes. The crust will insulate the coffee and aid extraction. 
  4. After 5 minutes, break the crust and stir for 5 seconds. Then, put the lid on. The plunger should be above the surface of the coffee, not in the coffee. Now that the crust has been broken, the lid will help to retain the heat. 
  5. Wait 3 minutes. Again, do nothing.
  6. After 3 minutes (8 minutes total), plunge gently and rest the plunger on the coffee bed. 
  7. Wait 2 more minutes, doing nothing. 
  8. After a total of 10 minutes, your coffee is ready. Pour your coffee and enjoy.

Due to the 10-minute brew time, your coffee should be at a perfect drinking temperature as soon as you pour it out. 

This method is a no-fuss, easy method that produces a great cup of coffee. To see more, check out this video by European Coffee Trip.

#5 – Make cappuccino with a French press

How to make french press 4

What you’ll need:

  • 100 grams of strongly brewed coffee
  • A French press
  • 4 oz. (120 ml) whole milk


  1. Make a coffee using any method you like. You’ll need about 3 – 4 oz. of strong coffee. 
  2. Heat your milk in a microwave or on the stove. If using a microwave, do this in 30 seconds bursts. Heat the milk until it’s just too hot to touch. Be sure not to scorch or burn the milk.
  3. Put the milk into your French press, then add the lid. 
  4. Repeatedly plunge down and up in quick motions until the milk doubles in volume. 
  5. Pour the frothed milk into your strongly brewed coffee. Why not try some latté art while you’re at it? 

To froth and texture the milk, you need to incorporate air into it. The best way to do this is to plunge up and down near the surface of the milk, so that the filter is bringing air into the milk with each down-plunge. Yes, I made that word up, I think. 

Learn how to make espresso without an espresso machine.

#6 – Make cold brew with a French press 

How to make french press
Please don’t put ice on your coffee beans. That’s not how you make cold brew.

What you’ll need:

  • A French press
  • 30 grams of freshly ground coffee
  • 8 oz. (240 ml) of cold water 


  1. Grind your coffee medium-coarse to coarse, then add the grounds to your french press chamber. 
  2. Pour in 8 oz. (240 ml) of cold water and stir this for about 10 seconds. 
  3. Put the plunger and lid on the French press, but don’t plunge. The filter should sit just above the surface of the coffee/water solution. 
  4. Put this in the fridge overnight. The ideal extraction time is between 12-20 hours, depending on the coarseness of the coffee.
  5. After 12-20 hours have passed, press the plunger down and pour out your coffee.

This method of making cold brew is super easy to do. This is great for busy summer mornings when you know you won’t have time to brew a hot cup of coffee in the morning. 

Read our extensive guide on how to make cold brew coffee.

How to make french press coffee – The important bits

The French press is a coffee brewing device that’s made up of a large chamber with a plunger. The plunger has a mesh screen attached to a lid. The plunger can be pushed down and prevents most coffee particles from passing into the cup when pouring. 

Before learning how to make French press coffee, let’s look at what you’ll need.

By the way, read this if you want to know what espresso is.

French press essentials 

If you want to learn how to make French press coffee, there are a few essentials that you’ll need. They are:

  • A French press
  • Good quality, whole coffee beans
  • Soft, filtered water
  • A digital scale
  • A spoon

Now that we know what we need, let’s give them a closer look.

Which French press to use?

The type of French press you buy doesn’t really matter much. As long as it has good insulation, and the filter seal is tight, any French press will do. 

Other things, like coffee and water, will have a bigger impact on the taste of your French press coffee.

As for size, you should probably take a closer look at the French press’s capacities. This is because of the absolute madness of the French press’s cup measurements. 

Here’s the actual French press sizes:

  • A 3-cup French press holds 12 oz. (350 ml) of liquid and makes about 1.5 cups of coffee
  • An 8-cup French press holds 34 oz. (1000 ml) of liquid and makes about 4 cups of coffee.
  • A 12-cup French press holds 51 oz. (1500 ml) of liquid and makes about 6 cups of coffee.

What coffee is best for French press?

Whole beans: If you can, try to use good quality coffee beans and grind them yourself. Pre-ground coffee will still taste good, but freshly ground coffee will taste a whole lot better, trust me. 

Arabica vs Robusta: If you want a sweet, floral and delicate coffee, Arabica is the coffee for you. Robusta is generally harsher and has more bitter flavours. With the long French press extraction time, I don’t recommend Robusta beans.

Read: Arabica vs Robusta.

Roast profile: When it comes to which roast profile is best for French press, usually a medium to medium-dark roast delivers better tasting French press coffee. 

Grind size: I can hear you asking, “How coarse should I grind my coffee for French press?” Well, most websites and people will tell you to grind really coarse. 

However, from my experience and experiments, I think a medium to medium-coarse grind size is perfect for French press coffee. 

How much coffee to use: For each 8 oz. (240 ml) cup of coffee you want to make in your French press, use 16 grams of ground coffee. 

What water is best for French press coffee?

Water temperature: The best temperature for French press is 195-205℉ (92-96℃). If you don’t have a thermometer, that’s fine. Just let the water sit for about 30 seconds after it’s boiled. 

Soft water: I know it may seem silly, but the water you use has a huge impact on your coffee’s taste. It’s not pretentious, it’s just the truth. You wouldn’t boil your vegetables in water that tastes like metal and dust, would you? 

If the coffee you’re using tastes bad or is too hard, the coffee will have those bad flavors as well. 

Where possible, try to use filtered, soft water when making your coffee. You’ll taste the difference, I promise. 

Is a scale really that important for French press coffee?

Using a coffee for other methods like pour over coffee and espresso is important, but what about French press?

Using a scale helps to keep things consistent. If you make a great-tasting coffee, the scale shows you exactly what you did to get there. If you did something wrong, it helps you make and track your changes. 

If you can, grab yourself a cheap digital kitchen scale and start incorporating that into your coffee-making routine. You’ll notice a difference in the quality of your coffee instantly, and you’ll thank yourself for it.

Is a metal spoon okay to use for French press coffee?

There’s a lot of talk about how using a metal spoon changes the flavor of your French press coffee. It’s all rubbish. 100% garbage. I mean, the plunger itself is metal, right? So…you know? 

The only reason it’s advised not to use a metal spoon in your French press coffee is because the chamber is usually made of glass. 

If you use a metal spoon, the risk of breaking the glass is greater than if you used a plastic spoon.

So, can you use a metal spoon in French press coffee? Yeah, sure! Just don’t go too crazy with it.

Questions and answers

How big is a French press?

French presses usually come in three sizes. A 3-cup, an 8-cup, and a 12-cup. Don’t be fooled by the namings though. Here are the true capacities of the French presses:

  • A 3-cup French press holds 12 oz. (350 ml) of liquid. 
  • An 8-cup French press holds 34 oz. (1000 ml) of liquid.
  • A 12-cup French press holds 51 oz. (1500 ml) of liquid.

What ratio should I use for French press?

The ratio for French press should be based on your taste preference. A good place to start is a ratio of 1:15. This means that for every 15 parts of water you should use 1 part ground coffee.

For example, 300 grams of water will require 20 grams of coffee (300/15=20).

If you find that the resulting coffee is too weak, then use more coffee (1:14, 1:13, etc.). If the coffee is too strong, use less coffee (1:16, 1;17, etc.).

Using a scale and weighing your water will make things a lot easier as well.  

Is French press coffee immersion brew?

French press coffee is an immersion brew method. Meaning that the coffee is immersed in water and brewed until ready. This means that the brewer needs to mainly focus on the brew time. 

Immersion brews are kinder on the beginner and produce great-tasting coffee. 

Should I bloom my French press?

The coffee bloom’s purpose is to release trapped carbon dioxide (Co2) from the coffee grounds. With the main aim being a better and more consistent extraction. 

In percolation brewing methods, like pour over coffee, this is a very important step. When Co2 is released, it repels water. The escaping gas bubbles prevent water from extracting the coffee grounds.  

In immersion brew methods, like the French press, the bloom may not be as important. The coffee grounds are immersed in the water for a prolonged amount of time, so there’s no rush to release the gas. 

The difference in taste between a bloomed and ‘unbloomed’ French press coffee is so minimal, it’s practically impossible to notice. NPCoffeeScience ran a bunch of tests about this that are worth a read if you want to geek out like me.

Whether you choose to bloom or not is up to you. From my experience, you don’t need to bloom your coffee if you’re making French press. 

Are cafetieres and French press different?

Nope. They’re the same thing. French presses are also called coffee pots or press pots. 

Is there more caffeine in French press coffee?

The amount of caffeine depends on the type of coffee you’re drinking, and the amount of it too.

Cold brew generally has more caffeine because of the prolonged extraction time, but French press coffee shouldn’t have drastically more caffeine in a cup of coffee than any other brew method. 

Read: How is decaf coffee is made?

What next? 

I hope you found this guide useful! You know how to make French press coffee, now learn how to make espresso. If you don’t have one, learn how to make espresso without a machine.

If you’re not an espresso fan, no worries! Read how to make iced coffee.

Save 33% + Free Shipping

We’ve partnered with an amazing coffee subscription company to get you great offers on delicious, sustainably sourced coffee. 

Click the button to be taken to your exclusive discount page.

SAVE 33% Off Your First Subscription Order! + Free Shipping At Driftaway.Coffee - Shop Now!

Leave a Comment