How To Use a French Press: The Best Tips for Taking the Plunge in 2024

In this ultimate guide to how to use a French press, you'll find hot tips from the Coffeeness community. From the perfect French press coffee ratio to cold brew tips, we have all of the French press instructions you'll ever need.

French Press Arne Stempel druecken

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

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You’d think people no longer know how to use a French press! I mean, ask, “Anyone for a cup of coffee?” and most people immediately start dreaming of pour-over drippers, espresso machines or even super-automatics. No one ever seems to give any love to the good ol French press. At least, that’s the impression I get surveying the specialty coffee scene.

For all its supposed Frenchness, the French press is neither chic nor is it a rainmaker in terms of profitability for manufacturers.

What’s worse, compared to the care and attention to detail required for an espresso machine or pour-over coffee maker, a press pot seems very rough around the edges.

That’s all true – and completely off the mark. Sure, some coffee snobs turn their noses up at French press coffee, but Coffeeness readers know better. All the comments and French press recipes that you’ve posted over the years are testimony to that.


Besides showing its age, my original guide contained a few statements — including some about the Bodum Chambord French press — that I’d rather back away from now.

Plus, there are a heap of clever tips on how to use a French press from the Coffeeness community, which were a real inspiration in writing this comprehensive update.

For all the changes, coffee enthusiasts can still count on French press as one of the most straightforward – and budget-friendly – coffee brewing methods out there. Plus, the enormous caffeine kick it delivers, makes even espresso feel like a yawn.

Who Makes the Best French Press  — Bodum, Bialetti, Ikea?

Roughly half the commenters felt I was considerably off the mark when I declared, in no uncertain terms, in the original version of this article that the Bodum Chambord French Press is the best coffee press ever.

Basically, there were two key objections:

Now that I’ve had a couple of years to mull it over and read about more of your experiences, I’m willing to concede or at least tone down my enthusiasm a notch. For me personally, the Bodum Chambord French press coffee maker is still my absolute favorite and has been brewing French press coffee in my kitchen for many years.

In the meantime, I’ve also tested the Bialetti French press, which has a more robust glass beaker.

So, why am I still championing the Bodum crew? Well, because they’re a complete package – from the stylish design, through their tactile qualities, to the ease of use.

As you learn how to use a French press, the coffee will get better and better. Once you’re a press pot wiz, it makes very little difference whether your device is branded with Bodum, Bialetti, Ikea or something else. As long as the following basic requirements are met, you’ll get delicious French press coffee every time.

  • Heat-resistant – ideally borosilicate glass – carafe

  • High-quality finishes

  • User-friendly plunger filter with sturdy mesh screens

  • Good weight distribution

  • Attractive design

  • Easy disassembly to facilitate cleaning of all components

As a rule, I also think it’s advisable to have a choice of different pot sizes, too. I’ll explain why in a bit. On that front, Bodum is head and shoulders above others who only offer a standard size 34-ounce (1-liter) pot.

My Clear Favorites: The Best French Press Coffee Makers With Glass Beakers


While I haven’t been shy about my love for the Bodum Chambord French press, there’s plenty to attract a roving eye. If you’re a sucker for classic, old-school quality but a Bodum French press would break the bank, rest assured that the $18.86 Bodum Brazil is essentially the same thing, just with a plastic rather than a steel stand. It’s not quite as pretty, in my opinion, but just as hard-working. Some even prefer it because of the color options.

Bodum cafetière à piston Brazil

Watch out, though, if you have hands like baseball mitts. The space between the handle and glass is small, so you risk brushing your knuckles up against the hot glass. Ouch!


Their Austrian competitors are betting you’ll think more is more with the 34-ounce, heavy-duty glass Mueller French press with four filtration layers.

Sludge, silt, sediment, grit, mud, matter. Call it what you like, the inevitable particles in French press coffee are a deal breaker for a lot of people.


For this reason, Espro’s innovative double filter system is creating quite a stir.

Instead of the usual flat plate with mesh layers at the end of a rod, it comprises two baskets nested one inside the other, with a silicon gasket at the lip to prevent escapee grit from getting into your French press coffee.

The baskets are made of a micromesh so fine as to look almost solid to the naked eye. As a result, it still allows the oils through that create French press’ signature full body but is said to deliver an astonishingly silt-free cup of brewed coffee.

Espro P3 French Press Overview

In fact, you can even get paper filters to fit between the baskets to brew some sort of hybrid immersion pour-over. If anyone has tried this, I’d be very keen to hear about it.

Innovation never comes cheap and that’s certainly true of the Espro French press. While there are some seriously pricey insulated stainless-steel options, you can get the 32-ounce Espro P3 French press for $39.95. The plasticky stand and design are about as meh as the Bodum Brazil, so you really are paying for the promise of truly bright, clean flavor.


One final suggestion is the Grosche Madrid French press with over 1,000 five-star reviews. Based in Canada, Grosche has designed their French press coffee maker with a borosilicate glass beaker and dual filter system.

Interestingly enough, you can purchase their universal replacement glass beaker for any French press coffee maker. The 34 ounce version sells for $15.99. There’s also a 12 ounce and 48 ounce option. I may try one out the next time I drop my beloved Bodum!

So What Does French Press Coffee Taste Like?

French press is an immersion brewing method, which means the coffee grounds are totally submerged in hot water throughout the extraction process and generally aren’t removed.

Unlike with brewed coffee from a drip coffee maker, where the liquid passes through a paper filter, this is a direct brewing method. Since nothing comes between the coffee and hot water, it’s fuller-bodied than any of the indirect methods, with the boldest coffee notes rising to the fore. Oh my goodness. This is why I love it!


Of course, the risk that goes with that reward is excessively bitter or sour French press coffee. Usually, this is only a problem with coffee beans whose flavor profile is literally dead in the water.

Projekt Koffeinkick Uebersicht Dripster

For all these reasons, it’s unsurprising that when comparing the usual portion sizes in each case, French press coffee contains a lot more caffeine than espresso. If you’re curious about the science and calculations behind that, check out my full report “How Much Caffeine Is in Your Coffee?

Don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t mean that floral aromas and subtle background notes get drowned out in a French press. It all depends on your brewing technique and choice of roast. So, let’s dive straight into the details of how to use a French press coffee maker.

How To Make French Press Coffee: A Crash Course

At first glance, it’s super easy to brew French press coffee: spoon in an appropriate dose of coarse ground coffee, pour in hot water, let the coffee steep, plunge and then drink.

Even at second glance, there’s not much more to it than that. Best of all, a French press is very forgiving of minor missteps in the brewing process. Direct extraction is your friend because if one of your parameters is a little off, other aspects compensate for it.

DeLonghi ECAM 23.455.b Espresso fertig Arne Happy

It’s also one of the reasons that many of you have added your own twist to my basic instructions on how to make French press coffee. Some of you have even created a form of espresso with the coffee press! Whenever possible, I’ve included the Coffeeness community French press tips in this new guide.

So, just remember that the following guidelines are very much a matter of interpretation and not hard and fast rules. Think of them as the baseline parameters for brewing delicious coffee in true press pot style.

Grind Size

When you make French press coffee, grind size is second in importance only to your choice of coffee beans. A fine grinder setting means maximizing the surface area that comes in contact with the hot water. This increases the risk that you’ll over extract the coffee and produce only bitter compounds and acids that smother any delicate notes.

What’s more, a coarse grind also ensures that the granules won’t pass through the mesh filter when the plunger is depressed. So, there’ll be fewer gritty bits in your cup and mouth – which is the biggest annoyance about French press coffee for many people.

Solis 960-77 Kaffeemuehle Kaffeemehl Vergleich

For this reason, the mesh filter screen in your plunger serves as the physical point of reference in determining the correct grind size.

In absolute terms, on a scale of one to ten, you’re looking at a grind setting of around eight. Play around a bit with your coffee grinder, as every model is calibrated slightly differently.

I suspect that the French press doesn’t get hyped much because supermarket coffee is ground too fine. Since the grind size is intended for drip coffee makers, pre-ground coffee like Folgers tastes even more vile than usual in a press pot.

Sure, you might notice some commenters saying they get great results even with very finely ground coffee. Bear in mind that this only works if you reduce both the brewing time and coffee dosage.

French Press Coffee Ratio

How much coffee to use in a French press? In my experience, you don’t have to be super-precise about how much coffee to use in a French press. Guesstimates and grandma’s coffee scoop measures deliver flavorful coffee.

As a rule of thumb: use approximately 60 grams of ground coffee per 34 ounces (1 liter) of hot, filtered water.

Bodum French Presses all Sizes EN

While many manufacturers and roasters recommend 65 grams, I prefer 5.5 rounded tablespoons of coarsely ground coffee. For my palate, the higher dose is overkill and lacks sophistication.

As I mentioned earlier, coffee press pots are available in sizes ranging from 12 to 51 ounces (0.35 to 1.5 liters). Even though decimal point accuracy isn’t necessary, you still have to calculate the required French press ratio to brew flavorful coffee you’ll enjoy.

One rounded tablespoon equals roughly 10 grams of coffee. Dosing spoons hold between 7 and 8 grams.

If the numbers are already giving you a headache and you don’t want to use a coffee scale, I’ve come to your rescue with a small table of French press ratio chart, based on the standard Bodum French press beaker sizes. It also includes the ideal French press water temp and coffee brewing time.

SizeCoffee DosageTimeGrind SizeWater Temperature
12 oz.20 g (2 rounded tablespoons) 3-4 minutesCoarse200°F
17 oz.28 g (3 rounded tablespoons)3-4 minutesCoarse200°F
34 oz.55 g (5.5 rounded tablespoons)3-4 minutesCoarse200°F
51 oz.80 g (8 rounded tablespoons)3-4 minutesCoarse200°F

Before you go overboard on just throwing things together, remember that neither extreme – too little or too much coffee – is going to turn out well. With direct brewing methods, this will come back to bite you.

French Press Water Temperature

Water temperature is where you have to draw the line with fuzzy dosage and grind size metrics. The ideal water temperature for brewing coffee with a French press is 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees Celsius).

355ml Wasser im Zylinder

Since every coffee granule is immersed in hot water for the entire duration of the extraction process, French press water temp is a key means of modulating extraction speed and intensity. So, you’ll wanna get your French press temperature correct.

If getting out a kitchen thermometer feels like a hassle, use a gooseneck kettle with a temperature display. Alternatively, simply follow this rule of thumb: allow the water to boil, then give it 90 seconds to cool slightly. While this is hardly precise, it’s close enough for everyday use.

French Press Infusion Time

If you’re following my basic instructions on how to use a French press, the ideal infusion time is four minutes. Other recipes may require a different duration. While I’m not going to declare this the only true path to coffee nirvana, I can’t see any real reason to extend or cut the steeping time much.

Skim or Skip?

A lot of step-by-step guides to French press brewing suggest you should skim before plunging. This involves using a spoon and skimming off the top layer of muddy sediment and foam. Let’s just say that while I’m not against this, I’m also not a major proponent.

Seeing that skimming halts the extraction process, you’re preventing the coffee from becoming too bitter. That allows more floral notes to literally blossom. Plus, there’s less likelihood of pesky coffee grounds ending up in your cup of French press coffee. Another advantage is that plunging becomes easier.

On the other hand, French press coffee is a product of a unique extraction and brewing method. If you’ve bought into this style, taking pains over all the other parameters – from grind size to water volume – why negate it at the end? Why not use the press pot as it was intended and skip the skimming?

My bottom line is to do what works for you. Try it both ways. If skimming makes the coffee more palatable or delicious, be my guest. If you’re not sold on the results, don’t bother.

In the previous version of this how to use a French press guide, I harped on and on about how metal spoons are a no-no for skimming, which brought a ton of questions to my door.

The reason is simple: metal spoons knocking against glass beakers is inviting an accident, spilled coffee, glass shards and tears. Why risk it?

Which Coffee Beans Should I Use in a French Press?

One of the joys of full immersion brewing is you really get to see the extraction process in action. The downside to this direct method is that coffee beans with bright, fresh and fruity accents can turn out sour, while bold varieties with cocoa and chocolate notes end up bitter. So, which whole coffee beans do you choose?

Coffee Circle Cerrado und Gayo Espressobohnen

The answer is an omni roast. These universal medium roasts are suitable for any brewing method. Don’t for a moment think that means they lack character.

While an omni roast is ideal if you follow my brewing instructions, there’s no reason espresso beans shouldn’t shine in a French press. For the best French press coffee, choose a roast that’s not too dark and look for a flavor profile that’s more milk chocolate than dark chocolate.

One of our readers has gone a step further and describes how to use a French press for producing espresso-like coffee with dark roasts.

Mia swears by finely ground espresso beans. She recommends a coffee-to-water ratio of 8 grams per 1.35 ounces (40 milliliters) of water, heated to around 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees Celsius). Steep time is ten seconds. Next, gently press the plunger before adding some oomph at the end. Then, serve the press-pot espresso immediately.

Schwarzer Kaffee Supermarktkaffee

I’d love to know if others also get a delicious cup following this recipe.

Coffee beans are where I draw my line in the sand. Mass-market brands are unacceptable. Tear me a new one in the comments, if you must. I’m not budging on this. It’s not even about whether they taste good or not. They’re cheap products whose lower cost comes at the expense of coffee producers.

Which Coffee Grinder Should I Use With a French Press?

It goes without saying that if you’re religious about using freshly roasted, quality whole bean coffee in your press pot, it has to be freshly ground, too. That goes for every brewing method across the board.

The good news is that it’s possible to spend a whole lot less on a good grinder for a French press than, say, an espresso machine.

As a general rule, coffee grinders either perform well at the fine or coarse end of the scale – but are rarely good for both.

Baratza Encore Uebersicht mit Arne

For French press coffee, I generally recommend any coffee grinder that I’ve reviewed and have indicated is a cut above when it comes to drip coffee. That’s because the grind sizes for coffee makers and French press are pretty similar.

I’m a big fan of both the Baratza Encore and the Capresso Infinity Plus. If you’re keen to try a manual coffee grinder,  just remember that even for coarse ground coffee, you’ll feel like your arm is falling off by the time you’ve ground enough for a larger press pot.

For hardcore types who think pain is nothing more than weakness leaving the body, I highly recommend the Porlex Tall. However, check out my 1Zpresso J Max review 2024 if you want something even more versatile.

How Do I Clean a French Press?

Complicated automatic coffee makers have cleaning instructions to match. In contrast, getting a French press coffee maker sparkling is a cinch.

Dismantle the press completely and clean all the components – either in the dishwasher or by hand. Leave them to dry, reassemble, done.

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The only snag is putting the screen unit back together in the right order. I learned the hard way to take a photo of the plunger on each new model before taking it apart so that I can correctly reconstruct the mesh filters.

You want to get the order right. Otherwise, the French press won’t filter the coffee properly. Working from top to bottom, the usual order is:

  1. Metal spiral plate with round holes

  2. Fine-mesh filter screen

  3. Cross plate

A question that has many of you scratching your heads is: what do I do with the used coffee grounds? And how do I get them out of the carafe?

Don’t just open the faucet and wash the coffee grounds down the sink. Not only are you wasting water, but the grounds will quickly clog the drain.

Admittedly, I’ve yet to find a perfect solution. I have a wooden spoon reserved specifically for scooping out ground coffee and dumping it into the food waste bin. This is hardly the last word on the problem but it’s the best I’ve come up with. Apparently, it’s also Veken’s solution, since that’s what you get in the box with your press. If you’ve got a better idea, I’d love to hear it.

Can I Use a French Press to Make Tea?

Yes, you can. French presses work equally well compacting tea leaves. Just don’t go making the two beverages with the same press pot. Both tea and coffee leave behind persistent residues that no amount of scrubbing can remove.

The rule is: if you repurpose a press pot into a tea maker, then it’s off-limits for coffee forever – and vice versa.

Does a French Press Work for Cold Brew?

Absolutely! A French press is just the ticket for making perfect cold brew coffee. After all, typical French press grind sizes overlap neatly with cold brew grind sizes. You’ll just need more ground coffee. Start with about 80 grams for a 34-ounce (1-liter) carafe.

Cold Brew Milch

Best of all, using a French press coffee maker to make cold brew coffee means you don’t have to worry about removing the coffee sediment at the end of the extraction process. Simply insert the plunger, depress, serve and enjoy.

Plungers For the People and the Planet!

Even though the world faces very different challenges as I write this update, we can’t afford to lose sight of sustainability. As far as green credentials go, French press coffee is hard to beat.

That’s because a coffee press doesn’t require any kind of consumables, such as paper coffee filters. What’s more, if well-cared-for, a French press can easily last for several years without needing spare parts.

Even if you use less coffee, direct immersion produces a brew that’s strong and full-bodied. Bottom line: it’s a very rewarding way to draw out the true character of those high-quality fairtrade coffee beans you just bought.

Final Thoughts: A Fantastic Low-Cost Coffee Maker

Don’t forget that the cost of a press pot is fantastically low. Sure, you’ll need a coffee grinder, too, but it needn’t be expensive. An entry-level model will do just fine. Aside from a working stovetop or electric water kettle, you don’t need any additional pricey accessories to achieve perfect French press coffee. For that matter, you could even boil your water in a cooking pot.

Depending on which French press coffee maker has caught your eye, it might not even set you back 10 bucks. It doesn’t get more budget-friendly than that. A coffee press not only caters to both large and small households but is also an easily mastered technique once you’ve got a few tricks down.

Now, that’s what I call a people’s press! Do you agree that French presses make third-wave coffee accessible to just about everyone? What do you think of French press coffee makers? I’d love to hear more French press tips, so please share in the comments.

Updated: 12. January 2024
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Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

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