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How to Make a Strong French Press Coffee?

With so many variants of coffee like latte, cappuccino, espresso, filter coffee, and more, knowing what each one is and how to make it is difficult, read on to find out how to make French press coffee!

What is French Press Coffee?

Made with the manual coffee brewing method, French press coffee is prepared by immersing ground coffee in hot water, then separating it with a filter. It has been patented several times since the 19th century by Italian and French founders.

Here, measuring the ingredients, grind size, water temperature, level, and the brew can be controlled by you. 

The French press metal filter will give two benefits, an aromatic brew 1highlighted by the coffee’s natural oils and a fuller-bodied coffee with more coffee grounds.

Let us look at the different brew methods to make French press coffee:

1) Making French Press Coffee

First off, you need to get the basic equipment to make the perfect French press coffee like –

1.1) Filtered Water

Drinking water is best for this purpose. Filtered water ensures no impurities or odours affect the coffee taste and aroma.

1.2) Coffee Beans

french press coffee beans
By charlotteLake/ Copyright 2022.

Make sure to use premium quality and freshly roasted coffee beans. A medium and dark roast will give you a slower blend of oils and flavour, preferred by professionals.

Some of the terms to look out for while selecting coffee beans are – French roast, full-bodied, smoky, cocoa, nutty, and earthy. According to your tastes, spicy or caramel works as well.

1.3) Coffee Grinder

Pre-ground coffee for this method is not to be used. It can be oxidized and lose its flavour, if not stored well, it can also change in smell.

A burr grinder2 is useful to brew French press coffee. It gives a more balanced and coarse ground coffee. This way, you get to taste freshly ground and even-sized coffee beans. Make sure to brew the entire coffee once the plunger is pressed down.

1.4) Kettle

electric kettle
By Nanisimova/ Copyright 2022.

Use an electric kettle or stovetop for boiling water. This is a safer method, to check the water temperature, you can also use an instant-read thermometer if you don’t have an electric kettle available.

1.5) Coffee Scoop or Scale

To get consistently sized coffee grounds – a scale measurement, coffee scoop, or measuring cup is useful.

2) What Is the Perfect French Press Coffee Maker?

The best French press coffee depends on your personal preference. Generally, you can choose a French press coffee brew depending on the following factors-

1) A Small French press suits two people with just 3-4 cup presses.

2) A Large French press is for an entire crowd with 8-12 cup presses.

3) A Metal French press suits a cold climate. It retains heat better than glass and is more durable.

4) An Electric French press is for lazy or rest days. This automatically ensures the coffee is warm and ready.

3) How To Use?

There are different ways depending on the type of brew – it can be hot or cold. These are the best picks –

3.1) Homemade French Press Coffee

Apart from the basic equipment and whole coffee beans, you’ll need a timer and mug to make this delicious coffee.

3.1.1) Instructions

1) Firstly, warm up the French press. Use hot water and rinse it out. This helps adjust the temperature.

2) Then, move to measuring and grinding coffee beans. You can choose your ratio of hot water and whole beans.

3) Using a burr grinder (be it manual or electric), make a consistent and coarse grind with ground coffee beans.

coarse grind coffee
By BenSchonewille/ Copyright 2022.

4) Make sure to discard the hot water from the French press. Then add coarsely ground coffee to the French press.

5) Let the water boil and cool down for 1 minute. Pour the water into the French press. With a stirrer or long spoon, break the top layer.

6) Let the coffee steep for four more minutes. Once the timer is off, push the plunger to the bottom of the press.

You can serve the French press coffee or store extra in a thermos for a while. Make sure to drink it before it has a bitter taste.

3.1.2) Helpful Tips

1) Ensure you obtain a coarse grind to have a good coffee. Grinding too long can turn it into a powdery form that can’t be used.

2) You can always choose an automatic coffee grinder. Just set it in a medium setting to get a perfect grind size.

3) For a balanced coffee brew – use 1 cup or 80 oz of water with 1 rounded tbsp of coarsely ground coffee.

Brewing coffee at 195°F or 90°C is a perfect water temperature. This is a little less than boiling. Generally, 3-5 minutes will prepare a quick brew.

3.1.3) Note

1) You could brew a weak French press coffee if you let it steep for a long time or if you use the wrong grind. Make sure to get the correct measurements. 

2) Do not use ground coffee from a drip machine. The fine and muddy ground is not suitable for this method. You can either buy coarsely ground bean coffee or stir your brew. Make sure to stir once, so the coffee grounds mix is fully saturated with the water.

3) Do not use a metal spoon in a glass French press maker. A plastic or wooden spoon would be a gentler option.

3.1.4) How to Clean?

Make sure to clean the coffee press after every use. Any coffee stain left is difficult to clean later on.

Firstly, remove all the grounds from the bottom of the French press carafe. Let it dry properly, then wash all pieces with hot soapy water.

3.2) French Press Iced Coffee

This quick and easy recipe can become your next favourite iced brew.

For making French press coffee, you can use two methods here –

1) Cold brew iced coffee can be made in five servings. It provides a smooth flavour, but the waiting period is for 24 hours.

2) Brewed Iced Coffee is a stronger coffee poured over ice. This is a quick recipe, perfect for just two people.

3.2.1) Tools

1) Filtered water

2) French press coffee maker

3) Coffee grinder (a medium grind size is preferred)

4) Food scale (either a digital one or 1 cup coffee grounds to 4 cups water)

5) Electric Kettle (apt for hot water)

3.2.2) Instructions for Ice Brew

This is for a brewed iced French press coffee which is double in strength and uses half of the water.

1) Firstly, grind coffee beans (75 gms) to a medium grind. This comes around 1 cup.

2) Heat 2 cups of water with an electric kettle. Please make sure not to boil the water, and you can bring it to a boil on the stovetop and let it sit for a minute.

3) Now, Add coffee grounds to the bottom. Add equal hot water and stir well. Wait for a minute.

Now, fill the French press fully (below the spout level) and stir again. Wait for 4 minutes.

Then, cover the French press with a lid and press the plunger down.

4. Once you pour hot coffee on it, half of the ice will melt. You can add more if you want. 

3.2.3) Serving Tips

You can serve this iced coffee with either your choice of milk or a sweetener like –

1) 2% or oat milk. The latter is a dairy-free option with good flavour and a creamy texture. Almond and cashew milk are other choices.

2) For a sweet spot – try maple syrup, honey, or agave nectar. These work great.

3.2.4) Instructions For French Press Cold Brew

This delicious French press coffee would have a bitter and rich finish with darker roasts. Try it out.

1) Grind coffee beans (2 cups or 140 gms) to a medium grind. Add the coffee grinds and filtered water (3 and 1/2 cups) to the French press. Stir well with a spoon.

2) Cover with foil or plastic wrap, and then refrigerate it (for at least 24 hours.)

3) Place the French press lid and slowly press the plunger fully. In a pitcher or a large glass jar, pour the cold concentrate.

4) For serving, dilute French press coffee (1/2 cup) with milk or water (1/2 cup). You can also use ice (1/2 cup) as per your preference.

3.2.5) Tips

This French press coffee ratio is different than the standard ones. Some common ratios you can try are –

1) Coffee ground (140 gms or 2 cups) to water (840 gms or 3 and a half cups)

2) You can have equal parts of cold concentrate with water (1:1).

How Does The 24-Hour Process Work?

It is preferred to let the cool brew sit at room temperature. This slows down the extraction process.

The coffee needs to sit and steep in the water for at least 16 hours, giving a good brewing coffee. Leaving it for 24 hours will enhance the taste more.

The steeping time would affect the flavours, and you can experiment with your taste buds.

3.2.6) Substitutes for Grinder

Without a grinder checking for over-extraction can be difficult, but you can weigh the amount of pre-ground coffee and fresh water you may need for your brew.

Stir the mixture till the coffee grounds are wet. Leave it at room temperature for 12-16 hours.

Once the waiting period is over, press the French press plunger till there is resistance from the bottom grounds. Now, decant into the container.

This French press coffee method uses less time and more water for the extraction period. This isn’t the best way, but it will produce a delicious coffee.

3.3) French Press Espresso

By DCStudio/ Copyright 2022.

French presses can also be used to make espressos like cappuccino, iced latte, macchiato, and affogato.

Apart from a French press, you will need an espresso roast3 which will bring out the dark and bitter flavours, and a medium-fine grind that can be easy to strain.

3.3.1) Instructions

Here are the steps to this quick, easy, and great coffee recipe –

1) Grind coffee beans (1/2 cup) to a medium grind.

2) Heat water (3/4 cup and 2 tbsp). Remember not to boil it at 200 degrees or so.

3) Add the ground espresso to the French Press. Cover with hot water, and do a quick stir. Wait for 4 minutes.

4) Now, place the French press lid and slowly press the plunger down.

Pour into two cups and serve, or use it in various espresso drinks as per your taste.

This will give you the perfect French press coffee. This is a dairy-free, vegan, and gluten-free option.

3.3.2) Other Equipment

Instead of a French press to make an espresso, you can also use a manual espresso maker or AeroPress.

These might not be the best coffee in terms of flavour, but they are alternative cheaper options.

4) What is a French Press Bloom?

You might be confused about what this is and whether to use it to make your French press coffee or not.

The bubbles of coffee grounds and carbon dioxide that come up while brewing coffee is a coffee bloom4. This is said to improve the flavours; however, here is the internet’s take –

Some people state that the bloom technique is only for pouring over coffee. It affects the fully immersed technique as the carbon dioxide can repel water from the coffee, giving out a weaker extraction.

Others state that a fully immersed French press 5has submerged beans the entire time, so the bloom doesn’t affect the result that much.

You can always try out the result to check if it suits you or not. Click here to get the guide.

5) Is the French Press the Best Method?

Everyone has a strong cup of coffee to testify their favourite method. However, you can decide whether to use this based on its advantages and disadvantages.

5.1) Pros

1) French press is comparatively cheaper, starting with 7-10 dollars.

2) Since a paper filter is not useful in a French press, more oils are part of the brew. This provides a rich and delicious taste.

3) You can control all the elements from the water temperature to brewing time in this method. Experiment with your heart’s desire.

4) You can use good beans to make coffee anywhere. A French press can be packed easily and travel with you on your journeys.

5.2) Cons

1) For a beginner, this is a time-consuming procedure to understand and make into your favourite brew.

2) Rinsing the bottom grounds is tough than in a drip machine. You have to scrape well to get all of them out.

3) A French press coffee means a sedimented one.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do you add milk to French press coffee?

Yes, refer to the sections above for a detailed procedure.

2. Is French press coffee better than regular coffee?

When it pertains to full-bodied, rich-tasting coffee, the French press reigns first. Meanwhile, other people like the lighter flavour generated by the drip method of regular coffee.

3. What are the disadvantages of the French press?

This type of coffee takes longer to make and requires patience. Refer to para 5.2 above for more disadvantages!


Hopefully, you got the idea of how to make a strong French coffee from the article above, try it out and share your experiences with us in the comments!

If you found this article helpful, click here to read another interesting one.          

  1. Abdelwareth, Amr, Ahmed Zayed, and Mohamed A. Farag. “Chemometrics-based aroma profiling for revealing origin, roasting indices, and brewing method in coffee seeds and its commercial blends in the Middle East.” Food Chemistry 349 (2021): 129162. ↩︎
  2. Jin, Song Yong, et al. “Burr formation and its treatments—a review.” The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology 107 (2020): 2189-2210. ↩︎
  3. Münchow, Morten, et al. “Roasting conditions and coffee flavor: A multi-study empirical investigation.” Beverages 6.2 (2020): 29. ↩︎
  4. Lachenmeier, Dirk W., Tabata Rajcic de Rezende, and Steffen Schwarz. “An update on sustainable valorization of coffee by-products as novel foods within the European Union.” Biology and Life Sciences Forum. Vol. 6. No. 1. MDPI, 2021. ↩︎
  5. Cordoba, Nancy, et al. “Coffee extraction: A review of parameters and their influence on the physicochemical characteristics and flavour of coffee brews.” Trends in Food Science & Technology 96 (2020): 45-60. ↩︎

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