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Essential Tips for Brewing the Best French Press Coffee

If you like coffee, you might make French press pretty regularly. You probably think you know everything there is to making a French press, right? But, are you making it exactly the way you should be, and getting the maximum flavor from your coffee? Are you guilty of stirring up those coffee grinds, and making your coffee bitter?

French Press Coffee

Photo by BigStock

How to Use a French Press to Make Coffee

Before you plunge next time, read our tips to ensure you're making the best French press coffee there is.

1. The right water

Always use filtered water, which has fewer impurities and means less competition for the true flavor of the coffee to come through.

2. It's all about the grounds

Always use coarse ground coffee. The grounds should not stick together. Freshly ground coffee is best. If you do use store-bought ground coffee make sure that is coarse ground.

3. Start off hot

Begin by preheating the French press and the mugs with just boiled water to ensure the coffee stays at a consistent temperature. This is an important step, because if you want to make a French press correctly, it's going to take more time than you think and you want that coffee to stay hot as it brews.

4. The correct ratio

Spoon grounds into carafe (two tablespoons per eight ounces of water). You can adjust this ratio depending on your own personal taste and the strength of coffee you are using. However, this ratio should work for all coffee types.

5. Temperature matters

Heat the water to 195 - 205 degrees Fahrenheit. It's best to boil the water in a kettle, take off the heat and let it sit for 30 seconds before pouring.

6. Give it room

Pour boiled water into the French press making sure all the coffee grounds are saturated.  Leave at least ½ to ¾ of an inch of room between the carafe’s rim and top of the grounds/water to give it room to swell.

7. You gotta let it bloom

Leave the top off the coffee pot and let grounds soak for 4 minutes to allow the coffee to bloom. You'll notice the grounds swell and expand -- CO2 is being released which means more of the coffee flavor gets extracted into the water. If you don't let it bloom, you'll miss out on all that flavor.

8. Put down that spoon

Resist the temptation to stir as this will increase the extraction rate which results in bitter coffee. Once 4 minutes is up, replace the lid and gently push down on the plunger.

9. Patience, grasshopper

Wait a few seconds to let any fine particles settle down to the bottom before pouring into warmed mugs.


Need a refresher? Watch this video that shows you step-by-step how to use a French press:


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About Vicky McDonald

Always looking for more cheese! I love to bake, potter about the garden, and drink lemony gin & tonics in the sun. I also blog at