Posted on by Barista Life

Step by Step Guide to Making the Perfect French Press

If you're wondering how to use a french press, you are in the right spot! We at Barista Life are pros at making a perfect cup of french press coffee, and we are here to share a step by step guide on how you can too!

Click here for some great and affordable french presses that are great to use for any level of experience.

Important Things to Note Before Getting Started

Grind your coffee beans on a coarse, even setting!
  • If you're taking your beans into a coffee shop to get them ground, just let the barista know that you'd like them ground for a french press setting.
    The recommended water to bean ratio for a french press is about a 1:10 ratio.
    • If you're using 350g of water (20 ounces) you would use 35g of coarse ground coffee.

      Step 1: Bring Water to a Boil

      Boiling Water for A French Press

      Bring enough water to fill your french press to a boil.  You're going to want to stop it just as it begins to bubble.  Water boils at around 211 degrees Fahrenheit and it's best if the water is 202-205 degrees for your press.  If the temperature is too high, your coffee will be bitter.  When you're starting out, we recommend using a thermometer to get it just right.  Consider investing in a tea kettle so you can easily heat and pour your water without spilling! We recommend this one: Mr. Coffee Flintshire Stainless Steel Whistling Tea Kettle

      Step 2: Grind Your Coffee Beans

      Grinding Coffee For French Press

      Using fresh coffee beans with your french press results in the best quality and tasting french press.  We recommend grinding it right before you brew it.  Consider investing in a hand grinder, or a step up; an Electric Burr Grinder.  Burr grinders grind the beans evenly so you'll have consistent coarse pieces for maximum extraction with minimum sludge.

      Extra Tip for Using your French Press!!Why Add a Pinch of Salt to Coffee

      Add a pinch of kosher salt. After you put the grounds in the French press, add a pinch of salt. Salt is a flavor enhancer. It will make your coffee taste more coffee-y. Don't put too much or it will be salty, just a pinch will do. 

      Step 3: Slowly Pour Water over Coffee Grinds in Your French Press

      Stirring French Press Coffee

      Start slowly pouring the hot water over your coffee in your french press.  Try and get all of the grinds wet.  Once it's nearly filled, you need to stir it up! Stir with a chopstick or something non-metal, like a bamboo spoon. You don't want to hit the side of your glass French press with metal every morning. It could cause cracks. Stir for a few second until it gets frothy and let the coffee bloom (just sit there) for about 30 seconds, then put the press/lid on top to keep the heat in.

      Step 4: Let Your French Press Steep for 3 1/2 - 4 Minutes

      French Press Steeping Time

      The time you let your french press steep depends on how strong you want it.  The standard time is 4 minutes, no more and no less.  Some people like to let it steep for only 3 1/2 minutes because as the coffee sits in the french press, it continues to steep until you drink it all (let's be real, you're going to drink it all). The longer you wait, the more oils you can extract. 

      Step 5: Time's Up! Let's Press...French Style, Of Course

      Pressing Your French Press

      Time to press! When you're pressing, you're going to want to press very slowly.  Some even recommend counting to 30 as you press down.  You're making an emulsion here with the water and oils from the coffee. If you do it too fast, there will be slicks of oil on top of your coffee and the flavor won't be evenly distributed. Some sips will be stronger than others and that's not what we want. Take your time. Your patience will be rewarded.

      Step 6: Try to Serve Immediately

      Pouring French Press

      As the coffee continues to sit inside your french press, it will continue to brew.  Leaving it in for an extended period of time can lead to over extraction of your coffee and it will affect the taste.  So, try and serve it immediately after you press.  Enjoy!