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August 01, 2021

How to Make French Press Coffee

When it comes to home brewing coffee, nothing says classic like the French Press. It's so simple, and it makes solid coffee with body. If you take your coffee dense and bold, throw it in a french press and let it sit a little longer than the usual, and you can't go wrong.

Nonetheless, there are definitely a few simple tips for making your french press coffee consistently delicious and smooth. It's all a part of the basics to all solid home coffee brewing — controlling the variables of time, water temperature and grind.

We do a lot of pop up coffee events. And while we love making pour overs to present our coffees in a very clear and smooth way, french press is our preferred method for making drip coffee at busy events.

We put together a short video with the same recipe and approach we use to making the french press at those very events:

French Press Grind

Coarse! On the Baratza Encore, we usually grind between 30 for fresh coffee and 26 for coffees a few weeks out from roast. Grinding finer compensates for the loss of gas since the roast date.

French Press Time

The basic french press recipe calls for a 4:00 minute brew time. This includes a 30-45 second "bloom." For a stronger, bolder cup, let your french press brew for 5:00 minutes.

French Press Coffee Ratio

We like to go with a 12-to-1 water-to-coffee ratio for french press. So if you use 80 grams of whole bean coffee, add 960 milliliters (grams) of water. If you don't have a scale, an easier metric to use is 1 tablespoon per "cup" of your french press (for an "8 cup" press, use 8 tablespoons).

By the way, 8 tablespoons of coffee equal roughly 1/2 cup. Going off this, you can use the following chart to establish how much coffee to use:

French Press Size Cups of Whole Bean Coffee
2 Cup 1/8 cup
4 Cup 1/4 cup
6 Cup 1/3 cup (heaping)
8 Cup 1/2 cup

Step-by-step instructions from the video:

    1. Boil water and let sit
    2. Coarsely grind 8 tablespoons (or 1/2 cup) of whole coffee beans
    3. Pour grounds into french press, and start a stopwatch / timer
    4. Pour hot water over grounds to get them all wet — filling roughly the bottom third of the press (you can also swirl or use a spoon to make sure all the grounds get wet!)
    5. Let the coffee bloom for 30 seconds
    6. After 30 seconds, slowly pour water up to the bottom of your french presses metal band 
    7. Give another stir, and set the top of the french press on to conserve heat
    8. At 4:00 minutes on your stop watch, plunge the french press
    9. Tip — if the press meets resistance, gently pull up on the press and then push down again. You don't need to force it.
    10. Enjoy your coffee!

Let us know how you like it!

Video by Don Arangio.

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