French pressed coffee has been a mainstay in coffee culture for such a long time and if you’re new to coffee you may be wondering, is a french press easy to use and will it be worth it? The short answer is yes to both!
Why Getting A French Press IS Worth It?
- Easy to use
- Easy to learn
- Small and easy to store
- Easy to clean
How Does French Press Work?
The way French presses make coffee is really simple and easy to understand.
Ground coffee beans are placed in the glass beaker and then the grounds are immersed in hot water that’s around 200 f/ 93 c. The coffee brews for a little more than 4 minutes and at that point the filter, which separates the coffee grounds from the coffee, is pressed down to the bottom of the beaker. At this point, the freshly French pressed coffee is ready to pour and enjoy.
Are All French Presses The Same?
Basically yes, in my opinion, all French presses are the same. The most important thing I’ve learned over the years is that if the seal for the filter isn’t tight it won’t matter what brand of French press you have. The filter shouldn’t be so tight it’s hard to move, but tight enough to make sure that all the ground coffee stays under it.
What makes the biggest difference when brewing up a pot of French press is the quality of the coffee beans and the quality of the water you use.
When searching for your perfect french press there is really much you need to know. There is a wide range of prices that start around $10 and go up from there. Common French press sizes are usually 3, 8, and 12 cups. You should know, for French press 4 oz is considered a cup and that’s about half the size of a standard coffee cup.
Other than that, you’ll find many designs and materials that a french press is made out of.
Is A French Press Easy Use?
Making a pot of French press coffee is super easy and you don’t need any special tools other than a French press coffee pot. With these 5 simple steps, you’ll be enjoying a delicious cup of coffee in around five minutes.
What you need
- A French Press Coffee Maker
- Ground Coffee
How to Brew French Press Easily
- Prepare the coffee grounds:
Grind coffee beans coarsely if you have whole bean coffee. You’re going to want between one or 15 grams of ground coffee per cup of coffee.
If you have pre-ground coffee it’s totally fine, just the same measurements.So a 4 cup French press would need about 4 tablespoons or 60 grams of ground coffee.Once you have the measured coffee ready to go, remove the top of the French press and dump in the grounds. Give it a gentle shake to evenly distribute the grounds evenly.*If you like coffee stronger in taste, add a little. If you prefer not so strong, use a little less. It may take a few times to figure out what tastes best for you.*
- Get the water ready:
Filtered water is best. The purer the water, the better the overall taste. But if all you have is tap water, go for it.
For each cup of french press, you should use a little more than 8 ounces / 235 grams.Boil the water. Once the water is boiling, cut the heat source and let the water sit 30 seconds to forty-five seconds. If you have a thermometer, the water temp should be between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bloom the coffee:
Slowly pour a little less than half of the water making sure to cover all the ground coffee and then wait about 30 seconds. This is called the bloom.
During the bloom, gasses are released and there will be some bubbling and some expansion. This is where the extraction of flavors begins.
After the bloom, the top of the coffee grounds will have a “crust” on the top. Using a spoon or whatever you’ve got, break it apart and gently give it all a stir.
- Fill and Wait:
Now you can add the rest of your water. Be careful when adding hot water not to overfill the french press and take care not to burn or scald yourself.Put the top on the French press and push the filter down just far enough to sit on the top of the water in the French press.Set a timer or keep an eye on the time for 4 minutes.
- Press it:
After the coffee has been brewing for four minutes, slowly press the piston down all the way down. The reason you need to press slowly is so the coffee grounds can be trapped under the filter head. This way they won’t end up in your coffee cup.Now your coffee is ready to pour and enjoy!
Once your coffee is ready pour into a carafe or a thermos. Leaving the coffee grounds in the french press does two things to the coffee. First, the coffee brewing process will continue to happen. That leads to over-extraction of the coffee grounds and tends to make it bitter. Second, the coffee goes cold quickly in most french press coffee makers.
Why Does A French Press Need A Coarse Grind?
Being that French press coffee brewing is an immersion-style of making coffee means the coffee grounds extract flavor longer than other ways of brewing. Since coarse grind has a larger surface area it’s able to extract flavor at a slower rate and also avoids becoming over-extracted making the coffee bitter.
With that being said, using a coarse grind is not a hard and fast rule. You can still make a great cup of French press with some all-purpose grind coffee.
Does French Press Use More Coffee Than Drip?
No, French presses do not require more coffee than drip coffee. With that being said there are plenty of coffee people out there who have shared recipes for French press brewing where they have suggested that you use more coffee grounds. I say, if you normally use a double scoop of coffee per cup for drip coffee then use a double scoop per cup in your french press.
Does A French Press Need Filters?
No. A French press does not “need” filters because of the filter screen on the bottom of the shaft. With that being said, If you’re no fan of the sediment and small grounds in the bottom of your cup you can always use a standard coffee filter to give it a quick second filtering.
What Beans To Use In A French Press?
Most people agree that medium and dark roasts tend to work best. I would tend to agree, but with that being said I have some amazing results with some lighter roasts in a French press. The bottom line is to try different things and figure out what works best for you. If you are just starting out and don’t feel so adventurous stick to medium or darker roasts.
Coffee beans that are lightly roasted will usually have a bit more of a sweetness taste as well as notes of fruits. These coffee beans will have an overall thinner taste and a body that’s lighter.
For bolder flavors and a thicker body dark roasts may be for you. Most darker roasts tend to have smooth and rich flavors. Dark roasted coffee beans also tend to have less acidity than light roasts.
What matters most is that you try different roasts, single origins, and even blends to find out what you like best.
Is A French Press Good For Cold Brew?
Yes, a French Press is perfect for cold brewing small batches of coffee.
Because both are immersion brewing methods and there is a built-in filtering screen a French press makes making cold brew so easy. Using a French Press is a much cleaner and simpler process.
The biggest thing to keep in mind when brewing up a batch of cold brew is the water to coffee ratio.
In a french press or any other way of cold brewing, the best ratio I have found is 4 parts water to 1 part coffee.
If you want a 4 cup batch of cold brew concentrate you need 1 cup (115 g) of coarse ground coffee and 4 cups (905 g) of filtered water.
The Easiest Way To Make Cold Brew In A French Press
Use medium coarse/coarse ground coffee for best results.
- Using the coffee to water ratio above for a four-cup pot, dump 1 cup (115 g) of ground coffee into the french press.
- Slowly pour 2 cups (450 g) room temperature or cold filtered water over the coffee in the French press. Let the water begin to soak into the coffee grounds. Gently still until all the coffee grounds are completely soaked
- Slowly add the rest of the water and put the lid on, but don’t push the plunger and filter down until most of the coffee has settled on the bottom.
- Once the coffee grounds have settled on the bottom, slowly push down until the filter is on top of the coffee grounds. Because of the amount of coffee in the french press, the filter may not go all the way down. Just don’t try to force it down deeper into the coffee grounds.
- Stick the french press in the fridge for a minimum of 12 hours but not more than a max of 24 hours.
- After the 12 to 24-hour brewing process, it’s ready to drink! You may find some sediment in your cold brew concentrate. You can pour it over a standard coffee filter to get rid of all the sediment. As good as many French press filters are, small bits are going to get through it.
- The concentrate will be STRONG in taste and caffeine, so mix 50/50 with water or milk.
We also have a big post that coversbasically everything you need to now cold brewing coffee and how easy it is so check it our to learn a little more.
In conclusion, brewing French press coffee is easy to do, easy to learn, and inexpensive to get into. They are also really versatile, and what I mean by that is you can even use them for cold brew coffee and brewing tea as well.
Maybe French press isn’t your thing or you just want some more coffee knowledge, you should check out our post on making pour-over coffee, how to make stovetop espresso or what to look for when shopping for a quiet coffee grinders.