How to Make Coffee Using a French Press

In the world of specialty coffee, the journey from casual drinker to connoisseur often begins with a simple yet transformative step: the French Press. At Cold Blooded Caffeine, we believe that great coffee should be accessible to everyone, and the French Press embodies this philosophy perfectly. It's an approachable method that bridges the gap between convenience and craft, offering a rich and full-bodied brew that can elevate your coffee experience to the next level.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the ins and outs of French Press brewing, from its history and benefits to a step-by-step brewing process and tips for perfecting your technique. Whether you're a coffee novice looking to elevate your morning routine or a seasoned enthusiast seeking to refine your skills, this post will equip you with the knowledge and inspiration to make the most of your French Press.

A French press filled with freshly brewed coffee sits on a digital scale, surrounded by coffee beans, a small cup of coffee, and a teapot. The scene is warmly lit, highlighting the rich color of the coffee and the sleek design of the French press, creating an inviting coffee brewing setup.

The French Press: A Brief History

Before we dive into the brewing process, let's take a moment to appreciate the rich history of the French Press. Despite its name, the French Press's origins are somewhat disputed. The first patent for a coffee press was actually filed in 1929 by Attilio Calimani, an Italian designer. However, the design we know today was perfected and patented in 1958 by Faliero Bondanini, another Italian.

The French Press quickly gained popularity in Europe and later spread globally, beloved for its simplicity and the rich, full-bodied coffee it produces. Today, it remains a staple in homes, cafes, and offices worldwide, a testament to its enduring appeal and effectiveness.

Why Choose the French Press?

1. Simplicity: The French Press requires minimal equipment and expertise, making it an ideal entry point into the world of specialty coffee.

2. Full Control: Unlike automatic drip machines, the French Press allows you to control every aspect of the brewing process, from water temperature to steeping time.

3. Rich Flavor: The immersion brewing method and metal filter result in a full-bodied cup that retains the coffee's natural oils and fine particles, creating a rich and complex flavor profile.

4. Versatility: Beyond coffee, a French Press can be used to brew loose leaf tea, make cold brew, and even froth milk for lattes.

5. Portability: Its simple design makes the French Press an excellent choice for travel or outdoor brewing.

6. Cost-Effective: Compared to other specialty brewing methods, the French Press is relatively inexpensive, offering great value for the quality of coffee it produces.

Essential Equipment

Before we get into the brewing process, let's ensure you have all the necessary equipment:

1. French Press: Choose a size appropriate for your needs. Glass models are popular, but stainless steel versions offer better heat retention and durability.

2. Burr Grinder: A good grinder is crucial for achieving the coarse, consistent grind required for French Press brewing. Burr grinders offer superior performance compared to blade grinders.

3. Scale: A digital scale allows for precise measurements, ensuring consistency in your brews.

4. Kettle: A gooseneck kettle offers more control during pouring, but any kettle will do.

5. Timer: Most smartphones have a built-in timer, but a separate kitchen timer can be helpful.

6. Coffee: Of course, you'll need high-quality, freshly roasted coffee beans. At Cold Blooded Caffeine, we recommend our medium or dark roasts for French Press brewing.

The Perfect Ratio: Finding Your Sweet Spot

One of the huge perks of the French Press is its flexibility. While we recommend starting with a 1:12 coffee to water ratio (that's 1 part coffee to 12 parts water), feel free to adjust this to suit your taste preferences.

For a standard 8-cup (34 oz) French Press, we suggest:

- 60 grams of coffee

- 700 grams (or milliliters) of water

This will yield approximately 24 ounces of brewed coffee, perfect for sharing or for a generous personal serving. If you prefer a stronger brew, try a 1:10 ratio. For a lighter cup, a 1:14 or even 1:16 ratio might be more to your liking. Remember, there's no "correct" ratio - it's all about finding what tastes best to you.

Step-by-Step Brewing Guide

Now, let's dive into the brewing process. Follow these steps for a delicious cup of French Press coffee:

1. Grind Your Coffee: Start with whole beans and grind them just before brewing. Aim for a coarse, even grind - it should resemble sea salt in texture. For 60 grams of coffee, you'll need to grind for about 30 seconds in most burr grinders.

2. Heat Your Water: The ideal temperature is around 205°F (96°C). If you don't have a thermometer or a temperature controlled kettle, simply wait about 30 seconds after the water has boiled.

3. Preheat Your French Press: Pour a small amount of hot water into your French Press and swirl it around. This helps maintain the temperature during brewing. Discard this water before adding your ground coffee.

4. Add Coffee: Place your French Press on a scale and add your ground coffee. Give it a gentle shake to level the grounds.

5. Start Timer and Add Water for Blooming: Start your timer and pour about 100 grams of water over the grounds, making sure all the coffee is saturated. This initial pour is called the "bloom" and allows CO2 to escape from the coffee, improving flavor extraction.

6. Bloom: Let the coffee bloom for 30 seconds. You'll see bubbles forming on the surface as gases are released.

7. Add Remaining Water: After 30 seconds, slowly pour in the rest of the water (up to 700 grams total). Pour in a circular motion to ensure even saturation of the grounds.

8. Stir: Gently stir the mixture to ensure all grounds are fully saturated. Be careful not to agitate too vigorously, as this can lead to over-extraction.

9. Place Plunger and Wait: Place the plunger on top of the French Press, but don't press down. This helps retain heat during brewing. Let the coffee steep for 4 minutes.

10. Press and Pour: After 4 minutes, slowly and steadily press the plunger down. If you encounter resistance, pull up slightly and continue pressing. Stop just before the plunger hits the bottom to avoid disturbing the sediment.

11. Serve Immediately: Pour the coffee into cups or a separate carafe right away. Leaving the coffee in the French Press can lead to over-extraction and a bitter taste.

Troubleshooting Your Brew

Even with a straightforward method like the French Press, you might encounter some challenges. Here are some common issues and how to address them:

1. Coffee is too weak: Try using a finer grind, increasing your coffee to water ratio, or extending the brew time slightly.

2. Coffee is too strong: Use a coarser grind, decrease your coffee to water ratio, or shorten the brew time.

3. Coffee is bitter: This often indicates over-extraction. Use a coarser grind, decrease brew time, or ensure your water isn't too hot.

A hand pours steaming coffee from a French press into a dark mug against a moody, shadowy background. The rich, amber-colored coffee streams from the press, creating wisps of steam as it fills the cup. A small spoon rests beside the mug, completing the dramatic and inviting coffee scene.

4. Coffee is sour: This suggests under-extraction. Try a finer grind, increase brew time, or check that your water is hot enough.

5. Too much sediment: While some sediment is normal in French Press coffee, excessive amounts can be reduced by using a coarser grind and avoiding pressing the plunger all the way down.

Advanced Techniques

Once you've mastered the basic French Press method, you might want to experiment with some advanced techniques:

1. Double Filtering: After pressing, pour your coffee through a paper filter for a cleaner cup with less sediment.

2. Cold Brew: Use room temperature water and let your coffee steep for 12-24 hours in the refrigerator for a smooth, low-acidity cold brew.

3. Iced French Press: Brew a stronger concentration hot (use less water), then pour over ice for a refreshing iced coffee.

4. Tea Brewing: The French Press isn't just for coffee! It's excellent for brewing loose leaf teas, especially fuller-bodied varieties like black tea or herbal blends.

Caring for Your French Press

Proper maintenance of your French Press will ensure it continues to brew great coffee for years to come:

1. Clean thoroughly after each use: Disassemble the plunger and wash all parts with warm, soapy water. Rinse well and dry completely before reassembling.

2. Deep clean regularly: Once a week, soak all parts in a solution of water and baking soda to remove coffee oils and residue.

3. Check the filter: Inspect the mesh filter regularly for damage or wear. Replace if necessary to maintain optimal brewing performance.

4. Handle with care: If using a glass French Press, be gentle to avoid cracks or chips. Consider a stainless steel model for added durability.

Environmental Considerations

At Cold Blooded Caffeine, we're committed to sustainability, and we love that the French Press aligns with this value. Unlike methods that require disposable filters, the French Press is a low-waste brewing option. The metal filter is reusable, and coffee grounds can be composted, making it an environmentally friendly choice for conscious consumers.


The French Press offers a perfect blend of simplicity and sophistication, making it an ideal method for coffee lovers at any stage of their journey. Its straightforward process belies the complexity of flavors it can produce, offering a gateway to the nuanced world of specialty coffee.

Remember, the key to great French Press coffee lies in experimentation. Don't be afraid to adjust your ratios, grind size, or brewing time to find your perfect cup. Coffee is a personal experience, and what works for one person may not work for another.

At Cold Blooded Caffeine, we're passionate about helping our customers discover the joys of great coffee. Whether you're just starting out with a French Press or you're looking to refine your technique, we're here to support you on your coffee journey. Our range of specialty roasts are perfect for French Press brewing, each offering unique flavor profiles to explore.

So, grab your French Press, choose your favorite Cold Blooded Caffeine beans, and start brewing. Here's to many delicious cups in your future!