Dec 15

How To Make French Press Coffee

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I. love. coffee... the darker and bolder the better -- and with a little cream and sugar, please and thank you. Most days I'm perfectly happy to make it a cup at a time using either my Keurig or my Tassimo.

Yes, I have both, plus a Cuisinart drip brewer. Do you think maybe I have a problem? Oops, and I forgot about the Senseo in the basement...

Anyhow, a quickie cup is fine by me most days, but when it comes to the weekends, I like something a little more special. Coffee with my Bonjour French Press Coffee Maker not only tastes better, but I really enjoy the whole process that goes into making it. It kind of forces you to slow down and just enjoy the weekend -- and how about that candy apple red color?!?

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Beyond a French press, you really only need a tea kettle to boil the water and your favorite ground coffee. If you really want to get fancy, you can buy whole beans and grind them yourself, but five kids don't allow me that much leisure time on the weekends.

Making French Press Coffee Making French Press Coffee
Making French Press Coffee Making French Press Coffee

Four Basic Steps For French Press Coffee

Making French Press Coffee
{1} Add your ground coffee directly to your French press. The general rule of thumb is to use 2 tablespoons for every cup of water -- a little more for bold coffee, a little less for a milder brew.

Making French Press Coffee
{2} Let your tea kettle sit for approximately 60 seconds after it whistles, and then pour the desired amount of water into your French press. Replace the lid but do not depress the plunger yet.

Making French Press Coffee
{3} Let the coffee steep for approximately four minutes to as long as 10 minutes for a stronger brew. Then depress the plunger straight down to force all of the grounds to the bottom of the press.

Making French Press Coffee
{4} Pour yourself a cup o' hot Joe! If your French press does not have a feature to shut off the filter, you'll want to transfer any remaining coffee to an insulated carafe to prevent it from becoming bitter.

Now that we have the basics down, here are a few more tips for perfecting your brew:

  • Consider grinding your own beans. I won't deny that the fresher the grind, the better the final cup of coffee. But pre-ground coffee is perfectly fine as well.
  • If you do grind your own, experts recommend a burr grinder that produces a coarse grind. These can be pricey though, so keep in mind that a fresh grind is more important than an even grind if you're on a budget.
  • Like flavored coffee? A dash of cinnamon added directly to your grounds adds an unexpected dimension to coffee.
  • Use fresh filtered or spring water for best results. Again, I don't follow this as a rule, but if you have very hard water or water that has a strong taste to it, you'll want to take it under consideration.
  • Clean your press after each use. Leftover coffee oil residues can go rancid, spoiling future cups.

Are you a French press fanatic? What additional tips do you have for a perfect cup of coffee?

by Tara | 9 comments

  • Kelley

    Oh My! Sounds wonderful! I've never had coffee from/or used a French Press. I've heard it's fabulous. Don't you get coffee grounds in your cup tho? How much does a French Press run? Does the price of the press make that much of a difference in the final product? Are they generally made of glass? Thanks Tara, (I think) for now making me want to try a French Press! :-) I'm looking for work right now, I can't afford a French Press! bummer..... I'd be happy to test one out for any company who'd like to provide me with one! Have a wonderful day!

    • The Bonjour press I have runs about $49.95, but I got it very inexpensively with my Rue La La credit. But you can get a nice one at IKEA or elsewhere for $10-$13. If you're lucky, you could probably even find one cheaper at a thrift store! I don't think price really matters that much, but you may get a few extra conveniences with the higher priced presses. Oh, and check for clearanced holiday gift baskets after Christmas -- sometimes they have them packaged up with coffee!

      The press will hold most of the grounds beneath it so they don't get poured into your cups, and most models will have an extra strainer at the lip to catch any stray grounds.

  • amanda b

    Hi tara, I just started following your blog and I just want to say thank you for inspiring me to use my french press
    I got one as a gift several yrs ago and I never used it. Ironically I was declutering yesterday and came across it and was considering donating it. However you now have me looking forward to the weekend to give it a try.

    • Oh, I can't wait to hear what you think! I think it makes my weekend morning coffee an extra special treat.

  • Great Post!

    I love using my French press. It's my preferred method of brewing coffee. Some tips I can give:

    1. DO NOT stir the grinds in after you pour the hot water in. Why? Well firstly, coffee has its own natural oils that will blend nicely in the four minutes you steep it. You dont stir in your grinds when using a paper coffee filter machine do you?

    2. I would not recommend brewing longer than 4-5 minutes because the brew tends to get cold at about the 20 minute mark (so adjust your strength with the amount of grinds instead)

    3. FRESH GRINDS FRESH GRINDS FRESH GRINDS if there is anything that will make the most impact on your cup is freshly ground coffee. Don't use those grinds you ground up last month at the grocery store.

    4. Flavored beans are a NO NO for the coffee snobs. Want flavor? add syrups or cinnamon AFTER your brew. The syrup used to flavor those "hazelnut" beans actually damage the bean itself!

    Hope these tips help.

    • Thanks for the tips, Edwin! Very helpful.

  • Lori

    Hi! I found your blog by accident and am SO glad I did. I have tucked away several of your recipes for my Christmas dinner this year. But the real reason I'm posting..... your french press how to tip. I have had a small french press in my kitchen for "looks" for years. I just made my first cup of coffee with it, and it is delightful. For fun I made a fresh pot from my Bunn to compare (yes, I am drinking 2 cups simultaneously, lol). They are different by equally good. The french press adds the additional flair of extravagant preparation, which I enjoyed very much. Around my house I am the coffee freak, it tickles me to no end to hear you rave about all your makers, Tassimo, Keurig, Senso, and Cuisinart drip brew. I am always on the lookout for something new and better for my coffee habit. Now I have the french press to add to my Bunn and Tassimo. Thanks!! :) P.S. I am currently in the market for a higher end grinder than my little cheapie from Barnies, any suggestions? I am leaning towards the KitchenAid Pro Line burr grinder.

    • Welcome, Lori -- so glad you stopped by!

      I do have the KitchenAid grinder, and I love it. I'm sure this goes without saying, but I'd still recommend holding on to your cheaper grinder for any spices you might want to grind as you don't want to do that in the same grinder you use for coffee.

  • Claire

    Now I want one. Since WEdnesday is my birthday maybe I can ask for another gift? Or gift it to myself, LOL.

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