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How to Make Coffee With a Coffee Press

A coffee press, sometimes called a French press or plunger pot, is often hailed by coffee enthusiasts as the best method for brewing coffee. A coffee press is one of the few brewing methods that allows all the natural oils and proteins in the grounds to be present in the final cup. Many drinkers also hold the press to be an exceptionally pure brewing method, as it uses no paper filter that could alter the taste of the finished brew. Learning how to make coffee with a coffee press is, in many ways, even simpler than using the automatic drip machines that are so ubiquitous today.


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    Grind the coffee beans coarsely. A French press cannot be used with the standard medium grind used in drip brewing methods. Nearly all pre-ground bagged coffee will be a medium grind, so grinding for a press will require you to grind your own; this can be done at home, at the grocery store, or at any coffee shop.
    • If you use a medium grind with a coffee press, the grounds will clog the metal filter of the plunger and prevent you from pouring the coffee easily.
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    • In addition, a medium grind will also cause the coffee to be over-extracted and therefore bitter or astringent. Coffee presses keep every ground in contact with water during the entire brew, unlike drip methods, and so not as much surface area is required per ground to achieve proper extraction.
    • For the best flavor, coffee beans should always be ground just before brewing (ideally within 15 minutes). Grinding before this will lead to stale, oxidized coffee.
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    Add the ground coffee to the coffee press. After grinding, you simply scoop the grounds into the bottom of the press. Use a ratio of about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of ground coffee to 3 fluid ounces (90 ml) of water. This ratio can be adjusted up or down slightly depending on your tastes.
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    Heat the water in a separate vessel. Begin heating the amount of water you'll need in a tea kettle or saucepan. Coffee is best brewed at about 195 degrees Fahrenheit (90 degrees Celsius), which is slightly below the boiling point of 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius).
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    Pour the water into the coffee press. Once the water has reached the appropriate temperature, pour it slowly over the top of the coffee grounds in the press. Make sure you only add as much water as you need based on the volume of ground coffee you used.
    • If any of the coffee grounds remain floating on the top of the water and therefore are still dry, stir them in using a spoon to ensure contact with the water.
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    Replace the lid and wait 4 minutes for the coffee to brew. After filling the coffee press with hot water, place the lid onto the lower portion. The plunger should be drawn all the way up so that the long handle is sticking as far out of the lid as possible.
    • With the lid in place, set a timer for 4 minutes. This is the ideal brewing time for coffee using a French press.
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    Lower the plunger into the coffee. Once 4 minutes has passed, the coffee has reached full strength and is ready to pour. Place your hand over the handle of the plunger and begin slowly pressing it down through the coffee. This will allow the liquid to pass through the mesh filter, while trapping the grounds at the bottom of the coffee press and keeping them out of your cup.
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    Pour the brewed coffee from the press. With the plunger lowered completely, simply pour coffee from the French press into your drinking cup. Note that the grounds will still be in contact with the liquid within the press, which means the coffee will continue to extract. To avoid over-extraction and bitter coffee, try to pour all the coffee from the coffee press within 20 minutes of brewing.


  • Remember that used coffee grounds can be composted or added directly to your garden plants.
  • Grounds can be rinsed from the mesh filter and the lower portion using running water. It is not generally necessary to wash the coffee press using soap after every use.

Things You'll Need

  • Coarsely ground coffee
  • Coffee press
  • Measuring spoon
  • Tea kettle or saucepan
  • Water
  • Timer
  • Cup

Article Info

Categories: Coffee