Brewing French press coffee may seem simple, but if you’re not careful, you can quickly end up with overly bitter or silty coffee. But don’t worry; it’s just as easy to avoid. We’ve put together this detailed guide to help you brew a great cup of French press coffee every time. In a few straightforward steps, you can have a delicious pot of French press whenever you want it.
How do you brew French press coffee?
French press coffee is simple and reasonably quick to brew. You can have a pot of flavorful, dark coffee in under ten minutes. Keep reading for the eight simple steps to a perfect cup of French press coffee.
1. Remove the lid and filter
Get started by removing the lid and filter from your French press. If your French press is made of glass, you may want to pre-heat it, to prevent possible cracking or shattering. To do this, pour hot but not boiling water into your French press and let it sit for a few minutes. Pour this water out before adding your coffee grounds.
2. Boil water.
Put water on to boil. While you may prefer filtered water for the best flavor, it’s not required. French presses are not especially sensitive to the minerals in unfiltered water as espresso machines and single-serve pod machines. For best brewing, you’ll want your water below boiling, at around 195°F. To easily do this, bring your water to a full boil and then turn the burner off. If you wait a few seconds before pouring the water, it should be at just the right temperature.
3. Grind your coffee
If you have whole-bean coffee, you’ll want to grind it to an even, coarse consistency, roughly the texture of Kosher salt. This grind size will allow plenty of extraction without getting the filter’s way. If you use too finely ground coffee, it may end up over-extracted and bitter, make pushing the filter down difficult, and result in overly silty coffee. If you buy your coffee pre-ground, try to buy a coarse or French press grind.
4. Measure your coffee.
Add your ground coffee to the French press. You’ll want about two tablespoons of coffee grounds for every six ounces of water.
5. Let your coffee bloom.
Pour a small amount of water into a circle over your grounds and leave it for a few seconds. This will allow your coffee to bloom, releasing delicious aromas and oils.
6. Pour in the rest of the water.
Still making circles, pour the rest of the water onto your grounds. Gently rest the lid and filter on top of the water and grounds.
7. Let your coffee brew.
Let the coffee steep for three to four minutes. You can leave it a little longer to produce a stronger flavor, but you probably won’t want to go too far beyond four minutes. Letting your coffee steep too long can cause your beans to become over-extracted, giving your coffee a bitter flavor.
8. Pour the coffee into your mug.
Pour the coffee into your mug or a carafe as soon as it finishes brewing. It’s better not to let coffee sit in the French press. The brewer, it’s still in contact with the used coffee grounds, and sitting with them too long (even just 20 minutes) can lead to over-extraction and bitterness.
If you dislike the thicker texture of French press coffee, you can pour it through a paper or cloth filter after brewing. Remember that this may alter the flavor by removing the distinctive mouthfeel and natural oils of coffee brewed in a French press.