How to Use a French Press: Beyond Brewing Just Coffee

Dive into the art of brewing with a French Press, a method cherished for its straightforward approach and the rich, full-flavored beverages it produces. Not confined to coffee alone, this versatile tool can be your gateway to a variety of hot and cold drinks, including a range of teas and infused beverages, making it an indispensable ally in your culinary arsenal. Follow this guide to unlock the full potential of your French Press, while adhering to key do's and don'ts to ensure your brewing process is as flawless as the drinks it creates. 


Understanding the French Press 

Wondering what is a French Press? The French Press is a cylindrical carafe and a plunger with a built-in filter screen that presses hot water through ground coffee. It's revered for its ability to fully extract the flavor thanks to its immersion brewing method, creating an earthy, rich taste in your cup of coffee. 


French Press Instructions  

1. Place the French Press on a dry, flat surface. Hold onto the handle firmly to pull out the plunger. 

2. Add medium-coarse freshly roasted grinds to the pot. We suggest 2 tablespoons of coffee to 6 ounces of water.

3. Add hot water (about 200°F or 93°C) to the pot. Initially pour just enough water to saturate the grounds, allowing them to bloom for about 30 seconds, then add the remaining water. Gently stir the mixture.

4. Reinsert the lid and plunger into the pot, stopping just above the water line, and let it steep for 3-5 minutes. The sweet spot is just 4 minutes.

5. Press the plunger down slowly and steadily and serve yourself a delicious brew!


How to Use a French Press for Coffee in More Detail  

The beauty of the French Press lies in its simplicity and versatility. But that doesn’t mean questions can’t arise! Below is a list of some of the common questions asked, ultimately answering, how to use a French press coffee maker. And don't worry—we'll explore its other uses shortly! 

How to use a French Press with pre-ground coffee?

While it’s certainly possible to use pre-ground coffee in a French Press, freshly roasted beans ground just before brewing delivers the best flavor. Nonetheless, should you wish to use pre-ground coffee, just keep reading the same steps below! Minus, of course, the part about grinding your own beans.  

How much coffee to use in a French Press? 

Always aim for a medium-coarse grind, otherwise you’ll risk coarser grinds clogging the filter or finer grinds passing through the filter. And for those wondering ‘what’s the best coffee to water ratio French press?’, our suggested French press coffee ratio to water is 2 tablespoons of coffee to 6 ounces of water. Keep in mind, this radio can be adjusted to suit your own personal preferences, whether you prefer stronger or weaker coffee! 

Can I preheat my French Press?

While this is totally optional, the answer is yes! Simple fill the carafe with hot water to warm it up, then discard the water. This step ensures temperature stability for optimal flavor extraction. 



Pressing the Possibilities 

The same rules we reviewed from how to make coffee using a French press also apply elsewhere! From teas to frothed milk, the French Press is for so much more than just coffee.  

Tea Brewing 

The French Press is excellent for brewing loose-leaf tea as well! The process is similar: add your tea leaves (we suggest 1 teaspoon per 8 ounces of water), pour in hot water (temperature depends on the type of tea), let it steep, then press and pour. It's perfect for strong black teas, delicate greens, and even herbal teas. 

Cold Brew Coffee 

For a smoother, less acidic coffee, try using your French press coffee maker for cold brew. Mix coarse coffee grounds with cold water in the French Press, using our suggested 1:7 coffee-to-water ratio. Let it steep overnight in the refrigerator, then plunge and enjoy over ice. 

Infused Waters and Cocktails 

Experiment with infusing water or spirits with fruits, herbs, or spices. Just add your ingredients to the carafe, fill with cold water, sparkling water, or the spirit of your choice, and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. Plunge before serving to filter out the solids. 

Milk Frothing 

Did you know you can also use your French Press to froth milk? Heat milk gently (don't boil), pour it into the carafe, and then rapidly press and pull the plunger. In no time, you'll have frothy milk for lattes or hot chocolates. 


Do's and Don'ts for the Perfect Brew 


  • Invest in Quality Ingredients: Whether it's coffee beans, tea leaves, or fresh herbs, quality matters. 
  • Experiment with Ratios and Times: Find your perfect strength and flavor by adjusting the amount of coffee or tea and steeping time. Remember, we’ve simply outlined our best French press ratio suggestions above!  
  • Clean Regularly: Ensure your French Press is thoroughly cleaned after each use to maintain the purity of flavor. 


  • Over-Grind Your Coffee: A coarse grind is essential to prevent a bitter brew and a clogged filter.  
  • Oversteep: Be it coffee or tea, oversteeping can lead to bitterness. Stick to recommended steeping times. 
  • Reuse Coffee Grounds or Tea Leaves: Always start fresh to avoid a weak or unpleasant taste. 


Final Thoughts 

The French Press is a marvel of simplicity, yielding rich and versatile beverages that cater to a wide range of tastes. Beyond coffee, its capabilities extend to delightful teas, refreshing infused drinks, and even culinary applications like frothing milk. Embrace the do's and don'ts, explore beyond coffee, and the French Press will soon become your go-to for an array of flavorful, aromatic beverages. Here's to the joy of brewing and the endless possibilities that await with your French Press. Cheers to a world of flavor, all at the press of a plunger! 

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