The Right Way to Make French Press Coffee


The familiar French press coffee pot may not have the same coffee nerd cred as pour-over coffee, but that glass carafe cradled in chrome is one of the best ways to brew coffee at home—if you do it right. Here, a a step-by-step guide to pristine caffeine.

Start With a Coarse Grind

Brewing with a French press—like this Bodum model—is fundamentally different from a pour-over method. With pour-overs the water passes through a filter, but with the press the ground coffee actually steeps in the water.

Since your water and coffee are going to be hanging out for a while, start with a very coarse grind—the grounds should resemble breadcrumbs. Any finer and you’ll end up with a cup of bitter, undrinkable coffee. Put 56 grams (roughly 8 tablespoons) of that coarse grind in the bottom of the press and heat your water.

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Fill the Carafe Halfway, Then Wait

When the water reaches a boil, take the kettle off the heat and let it cool for 30 seconds. Now your water’s ready; time for your first pour. Fill the carafe to the halfway point. (This first saturation is known as the “bloom,” and it ensures your coffee won’t be too weak or too bitter.) Put down the kettle and set a kitchen timer to four minutes.

After 60 Seconds, Stir the Grounds with a Spoon

While you’re waiting, check Twitter, text your mom and think about how great this coffee’s going to be. After 60 seconds, use a spoon to break up the cake-y layer of grounds that’s formed on top of the water. Fill the carafe to the top with water, using a circular pouring method to soak all the grounds. Place the lid on the press, but resist the temptation to plunge immediately. Go back to Twitter. Or switch to Instagram.

When the Timer’s Done, Plunge

Once the timer hits the four minute mark, it’s time to plunge. The press shouldn’t offer too much resistance, but make sure the mesh filter is lowered evenly.

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That’s It—Great Coffee

And, well, that’s it. Pour out your perfectly brewed French press coffee immediately into mugs or a serving vessel, as any additional time spent in the carafe will continue the brewing process.

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