I am going to show you how to make the perfect cup of coffee with a French press step by step with pictures. Following just 13 easy steps to the perfect cup of affordable coffee.
What is the french press?
Let’s cover the basics first. What is the French press?
A French press is a glass pot shaped like a traditional kettle, it uses a press handle to push the coffee beans through the water at the end of the filter. They are used as a low-cost option for creating great tasting coffee.
It is called the French press for very obvious reasons, you guessed it, the press was invented in France sometime in the 1800s.
The secret to an amazing cup of coffee is getting a consistent bean grind size combined with the correct water temperature.
A very thin grind will pass coffee through the filter, this will affect the taste and will put you completely off using a French press.
Keeping coffee fast and simple is the best answer for a great cup of coffee. Follow our steps for the best-tasting coffee you have ever had and it only takes 5 minutes to do.
Other than using instant coffee, this is the cheapest way to make it with maximum taste, who needs a fancy expensive machine? Not us.
Do it exactly as I show you and you will be blown away by the superb taste of your coffee.
I have been in the coffee trade for years and years and I am going to reveal my secret insider tips to making great-tasting coffee with a simple French press.
Things to keep in mind before you start; you will not mess this up if you:
- Have the water at the correct temperature for coffee (think, not using boiling water)
- Have the coffee beans at the right size (think big, not powder)
Make sure the beans are large so they do not get through the filter.
Okay, let’s get started.
Checklist of items you need to brew coffee with a French press:
- French Press
- Coffee Cup/Mug
- Coffee Grinder (or use ground coffee then not needed)
- Coffee Beans or Ground Coffee
- Milk (optional)
- Temperature gauge (not necessary for this tutorial)
- Flask or Thermos if keeping coffee for later
If you don’t like the sound of using a French press, why not consider getting a good coffee machine. The best brands for home use include Breville and DeLonghi. We have a guide all about Breville vs DeLonghi and What is the difference? It will help you decide if you need a coffee machine or a French press.
How To Make Coffee With A French Press Step by Step (Pictures)
Try not to overthink this, keep it simple and you will win every time. Everyone will think that you have made the coffee with an expensive machine.
Preheat the coffee press and your coffee mug (pour boiling water in them – leave water in to keep warm)
Grind your coffee beans (skip if using powder)
Measure ground coffee (1 tablespoon, 2 tablespoons for strong coffee per 118ml – average cup size)
Boil the water
Let the boiling water sit for 30 to 60 seconds to get the correct temperature
Empty the water from the French press and coffee cup that is warming it up
Add the ground coffee to the French press
Pour in the now hot water (not boiling water)
Fill to the top and stir
Place the lid on the French press
Wait 4 minutes
Press slowly until it reaches the bottom
Pour and enjoy
Add the milk if you like your coffee with milk.
You can watch the video about all of these steps below:
Secret Insider Tips
We have included our secret insider tip in the 13 steps, many people ignore this simple yet powerful trick.
Always warm up your French press and coffee cup before you start. It’s as easy as popping some boiling water into the press and cup and rinsing out.
A lovely warm cup makes a huge difference, no matter how small this may seem, it’s not to be missed. Just try it.
Also, get yourself a really good blade grinder, this can really make the difference as it brings out the full taste of the coffee.
Make sure you grind the coffee so that the beans are fairly large, do not use powder, this will spell disaster for you.
Small grains get through the filter and ruin the taste, making it really bitter.
For the best-tasting coffee try and make sure the beans are all the same size as much as possible, a good grinder will ensure this is possible.
If you plan to drink the remaining coffee left in the French press, later on, do not leave it in the press as it will alter the taste the longer it sits in there.
A top tip would be to pour the coffee into a flask, it will keep it warm for use later on and save you some time and money. Maybe take it to work with you to drink later in the day.
Why Use a French Press To Make Your Coffee?
First of all, the cost. It’s cheaper than buying a machine and gives or matches the taste.
It takes a little more effort than instant coffee straight into the mug, however, the taste far exceeds it when done the right way.
- Very cheap
- Very fast
- Makes superior coffee to instant
- Takes a bit more effort than instant coffee
- Could be bitter in taste if not done right (using boiling water)
- Could taste oily (leaving water too long on the beans)
I always used a machine to brew my coffee, then it broke down and out came the French press.
After I discovered how to brew coffee using the French press the right way I have never looked back, have not once thought about buying another coffee machine.
A novice may well give up on a French press coffee, the taste is sometimes murky and takes a little while to perfect.
I am here to clear up the one big problem you might have when brewing your coffee with a French press.
Think, grinder. As I have already mentioned, getting the best grinder to get the most flavor out of your beans is essential.
Clearing Up Problems You Might Have with French Press Coffee
There are a few things that can completely ruin the coffee you have made with the French press:
- Water temperature – too hot at boiling point burns the beans and ruins the taste
- Poor grinding – if the coffee is like powder the results will be murky poor tasting coffee
How to solve these two very common problems when making coffee with a French press.
- Use a temperature gauge
- Use a good coffee grinder
From our tests and many brews of coffee made we highly recommend getting these products to use with your French press:
- KT THERMO Instant Read 1-Inch Dial Thermometer
- JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder with Adjustable Setting
With these two bits of equipment, you will take your French press coffee making to a whole new level.
If you are using a temperature gage you should know that the perfect temperature to brew coffee is at 205 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 96 degrees Celsius.
If your coffee is murky or bitter to taste then you need to use a grinder or upgrade to a better grinder.
If you can afford a commercial grinder you should go in for it, the results are amazing. Some even buy the beans ground at the correct size, you can do that to make things easier for you.
Why Use a Grinder To Get The Best Results
The French press is one item in the kitchen that needs another tool or gadget to make it perfect at it’s best.
To make the perfect cup of coffee using a French press the beans must all be an even size if it’s too powdery you will run into the dreaded cloudy water problem.
What makes a good coffee grinder? The grinder needs to ensure the coffee beans are ground at an even size, not too big and most definitely not into a powder.
For a perfect brew of coffee using a French press, you need to have fairly large beans.
You need to ensure the grain cannot get through the filter, it will completely ruin the taste of the coffee.
For the Coffee Experienced Coffee Connoisseur
Want to take your French press coffee making to the next level?
You can pay very close attention to:
- Coffee grams used
- Brewing temperatures
- Brewing times
Every time you brew up, you can weigh, test and measure what you do.
Be sure to write down the exact weight and size of coffee beans used.
Measure and take note of the water temperature and exact brewing time.
Each to you go you will adapt what you do to make that absolute perfect cup of coffee with the French press.
There are quite a lot of variables at play, you can tweak and twist until you come up with something of perfection.
It’s fun making coffee with a French press, you can go and get all scientific on it and go to that extra level.
The more you spend on doing this the better you will get. Just remember the basics that I have told you about here and you will get something that tastes absolutely amazing.
How Much Coffee Do You need For How Many Cups?
It’s good to know how much coffee you need to make more than one cup. If you have visitors over you can show how great you are at making quality coffee.
- A cup of coffee – Use 1 cup of water – 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee (depending on the strength your require)
- 2 cups of coffee – Use 2 cups of water – 5 tablespoons of coffee
- 3 cups of coffee – Use 3 cups of water – 6 tablespoons of coffee
- 4 cups of coffee – Use 4 cups of water – 7 to 8 tablespoons of coffee
- 8 cups of coffee – Use 8 cups of water – 15 tablespoons of coffee or a cup full of beans
Please note that these are the measurements that I go by, with your tests and trials you may get something a little different to match your tastes.