How to use a French Press with pre-ground coffee? (3 Tips)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “How to use a French Press with pre-ground coffee?”. We will look at the factors and measures; which contribute to coffee prepared from pre-ground coffee in a coffee press.

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

To use a French press with pre-ground coffee, you have to use a water-to-coffee ratio of 1:12 for a strong cup of coffee and 1:15 for a mild brew [1,2]. 

For instance, for a 4-cup French Press, a strong mug would be about 5-6 tablespoons (35 grams) of coffee, and 430 mL of water [1].

For a mild drink, then that would be 4-5 tablespoons (30 grams) of coffee, and 430 mL of water. Find below a table with more water-to-coffee ratios [2]:

Once considered this adjustment, you can follow these steps to make your coffee in the French Press [1]:

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.

Preheating helps maintain the brewing temperature and prevents heat loss during the brewing process, resulting in a more flavorful and aromatic cup of coffee

3. Then, pour hot water at or about 93°C into the pot, and gently stir. The coffee should be saturated with water.

4. Now, carefully reinsert the plunger into the pot, stopping just above the water and ground coffee (do not plunge yet), and let stand for 3-4 minutes.

5. Lastly, press the plunger down slowly, exerting steady pressure.

6. Serve the coffee immediately to avoid over-extraction and a bitter beverage.

Are Pre-ground coffee beans as good as freshly ground coffee beans?

Pre-ground coffee beans are good, but freshly ground beans have a  richer flavor and aroma. Thus, if you pre-ground the coffee beans or buy from the store, you could end up with a coffee with less flavor.

Roasted coffee beans contain more than 800 volatile substances, according to a study [2], many of them formed during the roasting step, which is intrinsically linked with the pleasant aroma and flavor we feel upon drinking the brew.

It is also rich in oil that also contributes to the viscosity, mouthfeel, and complexity of the coffee beverage, as well as other organic substances, such as phenolic compounds, that bring astringency [2]. 

Upon grounding, these compounds are all exposed to air and oxidation reactions. 

Research has revealed that quality changes in coffee are due to the loss of volatile compounds giving less aroma and fresh flavor, and fat degradation, leading to a rancid taste [3]. 

Thus, recently ground coffee beans retain much of their quality as opposed to pre-ground coffee, and the result coffee is superior in taste and quality. 

However, grinding beans for your morning brew isn’t always practical, so by making the proper adjustments, you can get a still delightful French press coffee. 

Tips for a good French press using pre-ground coffee 

  • Be attentive to the amount of coffee you use. Finer coffee grains leach out their soluble compounds faster and get extracted quickly.
  • You could cool down your water for a while longer than you would with freshly ground coffee beans. For ordinary French press coffee, the instruction tells you to retain a temperature of around 93°C.

However, here if you try to keep the temperature at around 82 °C, you could prevent your coffee from being too over-extracted and bitter.

A higher temperature encourages the dissolution process. Therefore, keeping your water at a lower temperature will help you to control the extent to which they dissolve. 

  • The finer the coffee grains you use the lesser steeping time you need. Due to their larger exposed surface, coffee grounds do not need as much time for steeping. The compounds dissolute at a faster rate than they would with coarse ground-up coffee. 


In this brief guide, we answered the question, “How to use a French Press with pre-ground coffee?”. We looked at the factors and measures; which contribute to coffee prepared from pre-ground coffee in a coffee press

  3. Buffo RA, Cardelli-Freire C. Coffee flavour: an overview. Flavour and Fragrance Journal. 2004;19(2):99-104.