How do you use a coffee press?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “How do you use a coffee press?”. We will thoroughly explore the way and aspects of using a coffee press.

How do you use a coffee press?

To use a coffee press, also referred to as a French press or a plunger pot, you need to follow these steps: prepare the coffee beans, add water, stir, brew, then press. See ahead these procedures in detail.

According to the Specialty Coffee Association [1], to get a perfect French press coffee:

1. Begin with clean equipment.

2. Preheat your French press with hot water (93 °C or when it starts to bubble in the bottom). For this, fill half the pot with heated water. Discard it after a few minutes.

3. Prepare your coffee beans: coffee beans should be medium-roasted and coarsely ground. Thus, start by selecting a coffee appropriately roasted. 

Despite this recommendation, you can obviously choose the roasting grade of your preference. 

To grind the beans, transfer them to a grinder. Set your grinder to a coarse setting so that you end up with coffee grains that resemble bread crumbs. 

Grind the beans just before making the coffee, the precise amount you need. Grinding exposes the coffee to the environment, hence speeding up the oxidation reaction and aroma losses. 

4. Add medium-coarsely ground coffee to the pot. The recommendation is 36 g of coffee for 660 ml of water, but you can adjust the ratio to your taste preference or to the required amount.

5. Fill the press halfway with water at 93 °C. Allow the coffee to be completely wet.  

To heat the water you can use a stove or any other heating appliance, such as a kettle. 

If using a stove, control the temperature by using a thermometer or, after the water has boiled, let it sit off the boil for about 30-45 seconds.

If you use a kettle instead, allow the water to cool (after boiling) for about half a minute before you move on to preparing your press.

6. Place the lid on the pot without pressing down the plunger and wait for 2 minutes.

7. Then, remove the lid, add the remaining water, and gently stir the coffee to further saturate all grounds. This can help to extract more flavor from the coffee grounds.

8. Replace the lid and brew for 4 minutes. Of course, the exact steeping time can be modified as you like for a stronger or weaker beverage.

9. Press down on the plunger until it is at the bottom of the pot.

10. Decant and enjoy immediately!

11. Do not forget to clean your French press for a new cycle, including the mesh filter and the plunger. This helps prevent rancid coffee oils or mold growth.

Why should you move the coffee from the Press soon as possible?

 If you let it sit, the coffee grains will over-extract and make your coffee bitter.

Over-extraction is undesirable as it dominates the bitter components of coffee. Overbrewing needs to be prevented so that the flavors are evenly distributed.

The bitter compounds must not be given enough time, to seep into your cup of coffee.

Common mistakes in Coffee Press: run away from them! 

  • Incorrect coffee-to-water ratio: the perfect ratio can be something too personal. Remember that too little coffee results in a weak, tasteless beverage, while coffee in excess leads to a strong and bitter brew.

One good tip is to start by following general ratio guidelines for coffee press, like that from the Specialty Coffee Association, and then adjust it for your taste preferences.

You can also follow these instructions to adapt the water-to-ratio of your coffee according to the desired strength [2]:

  • Using the wrong grind size: Using the appropriate grind size for your coffee press is essential for a balanced and flavorful cup of coffee. 

If the grind is too fine, it can result in a muddy and bitter brew, as the fine particles may pass through the mesh filter and end up in the cup. 

On the other hand, if the grind is too coarse, the extraction may be weak, resulting in a weak and watery brew. 

  • Incorrect steeping time: Long brewing times can result in an over-extracted brew with bitter flavors while steeping for too short can lead to a weak and under-extracted brew.
  • Not preheating the coffee press: a common mistake among beginners. Preheating the coffee press with hot water helps maintain the brewing temperature and prevents heat loss during the brewing process, resulting in a more flavorful and aromatic cup of coffee
  • Plunging too quickly and incompletely:  plunging quickly may be a problem because coffee grounds can be forced through the mesh filter, ending up in your cup. Slowly press the plunger down. 

Moreover, make sure you press it down all the way, or your coffee will continue to brew into over-extraction. 


In this brief guide, we answered the question, “How do you use a coffee press?”. We thoroughly explored the way and aspects of using a coffee press.




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