I’m convinced the french press was designed for people like me. Once you get a couple simple calculations out of the way, it’s very difficult to make a bad cup of coffee. There’s no buttons, no settings, no bells and whistles. All you need is water, coffee, and time.
Another reason I love french press coffee is that it’s very versatile. You can easily get a range of brew strengths from the same pot, from very blonde to a rich, bold brew.
The tricky part is nailing down the proper amount of coffee to use; and this is largely decided by how much water your particular french press holds. We call this the water-to-coffee ratio.
You’ll find various opinions on recommended water-to-coffee ratios for making french press coffee. A good place to start is using a:
Tools You’ll Need:
As you’ll see in the video, we use a scale to determine how much water your specific french press holds, and then use that number to calculate how much coffee you should use. If you don’t have a scale, I highly recommend getting one. They’re dirt-cheap on Amazon. But if you don’t have one, try using 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every 6 ounces of water. (But seriously — go get a scale. You won’t regret it.)
We’ll also be using a stovetop kettle to heat our water. You can also microwave your water, just be sure to use proper safety precautions and ensure the temperature drops to 195-200 degrees F before pouring into the french press.
Fine Tuning Your French Press Coffee:
But there’s a lot of factors at play here: grind coarseness, roast level, and personal taste can all affect your results. So after experimentation, you may find that an increased or decreased coffee amount works best for you.
Coffee & Grind:
Any type of bean can be used in your french press. It’s a matter of personal taste. Your grind, however, needs to be more specific, and should be ground a bit more coarse than drip grind coffee. Using a grind too fine could clog the plunger and result in a minor explosion, so keep this in mind if you face any resistance during the plunging process.
Can I make espresso in a french press?
The short answer is no. You’ll see a lot of tutorials online for making espresso in a french press, but these simply produce very strong coffee. True espresso, by definition, requires around 9 bars of pressure to make, which is something a french press simply can’t produce.
Cleaning your french press:
I didn’t cover cleaning in the video because presses will have different cleaning instructions depending on what they’re made out of. Refer to the manual that comes with yours for instructions. Some are dishwasher safe, but most work best by simply dumping out the grounds, then hand washing and drying.
Troubleshooting Your French Press Coffee:
- Too hard to plunge? Stop immediately and increase the coarseness of your grind.
- Coffee too weak? Ensure your water is the proper temp. Also, try increasing your brew time or using a slightly finer grind.
- Coffee too strong? Try reducing the brew time or using a slightly coarser grind.
- Coffee too bitter? Try reducing the brew time, and ensure you pour-out the full pot immediately after brewing. This ensures that your coffee grounds won’t over-extract by sitting in the hot water for too long.
- French Press
- Water Kettle (or microwaveable vessle)
- Coarse-Ground Coffee
- Place your french press on a scale, and zero it out. I recommend setting it to 'grams'.
- Fill the press 3/4 of the way with water, and record the weight.
- Divide the weight by 16. This is the amount of coffee you should use (a 16:1 water-to-coffee ratio).
- Grind your coffee at a consistency slightly more coarse than drip. Measure out the proper amount (using a scale) and place into an empty french press.
- Boil water and remove from heat. Wait 30 seconds-3 minutes, or until the temperature drops between 195-200 degrees.
- With your french press on a zero-ed out scale, fill it with the proper amount of water, and give it a stir.
- Cover the top loosely with the lid to allow steepage. Stir after 1 minute.
- After 3-5 minutes, plunge very slowly.
- There will almost always be some sediment in the brew, so I usually won't drink the last 1/2 inch of coffee in the press.
- Consume immediately. Visit MokaBees.com for photos, video, and more information.
Products used in this video: