This step-by-step tutorial on How to Make French Press Coffee will walk you through how to use your French Press, and will have you caffeinated and ready to face the day in no time!
There are precious few moments in life when taking the lazy option leads to perfection — but French press coffee is laziness at its finest.
There are no filters to buy or change, no buttons to push, and no cords to plug in, and yet the coffee is, almost without fail, flavorful, rich, and delicious.
If you’ve gazed curiously at these inexpensive contraptions, but didn’t buy one because you weren’t sure how to use them, this tutorial is for you!
If you DID buy a French press, but it’s been sitting, unused and lonely, in the back of a cabinet, this post is for you.
If you use your French press regularly, and want to shake things up with some flavored coffee concoctions, keep reading, because there’s a recipe for Vanilla French Press Coffee at the end of this post.
Want more coffee in your life? Check out our picks for the best small espresso makers.
How to Make French Press Coffee
Basically, brewing French press coffee involves just a few steps– First, boil water, then let it cool for one minute. Next, pour the hot water into your press over coarsely ground coffee, leaving the plunger up.
Then, set a timer for 4 minutes, and once the timer dings– press down the plunger. Finally, drink your coffee.
That’s it folks– it’s simple!!!
There are a few moments, however, when things can go wrong. No worries, though, because they’re incredibly easy to avoid!
Why Does My French Press Coffee Taste Burnt?
Problem one: Scorched coffee grounds.
Make sure you let the water cool down for one minute.
You can also use a thermometer to check and see when the water has reached 195ºF.
Full disclosure: I never check it with a thermometer. But you can, if you want to.
Using boiling water directly on your coffee grounds can scorch them and give them a burnt flavor.
Why Are There Coffee Grounds in My Coffee Cup?
Problem two: Fine coffee grounds leak through the filter.
Open up your French press, and look at the size of the filter holes.
They’re small, but not microscopic. For the best results, use a coarsely ground coffee.
I have, with decent results, used pre-ground coffee from a bag, but coarsely ground is the best option.
Whatever you do, avoid using ‘espresso ground’ or very finely ground beans, because they’ll slip right through your filter.
Why Does My French Press Coffee Taste Bitter?
Problem three: Bitter coffee.
There’s a reason you set a timer for four minutes when you pour in the hot water– that’s how long you want the coffee to brew.
Once you push down the plunger, the brewing process DOES NOT STOP.
You need to get the brewed coffee away from the grounds after you plunge down the filter. Either serve your coffee immediately, or use a thermal carafe.
What Kind of Coffee Should I Use?
You can use dark or light roasted coffee — whatever you prefer! We love the Major Dickason’s blend from Peet’s coffee.
Making Vanilla French Press Coffee
Once you’ve figured out the ins and outs of your French press, you can start playing around with your coffee techniques.
Try grinding your own beans, see if you prefer dark or light roasted beans, and, of course, add flavoring.
For Vanilla French Press Coffee: simply add a little vanilla extract in with the coffee grounds, and then proceed as usual.
Do you use a French press? Let me know in the comments!
Before I say goodbye for the day– here’s a big “THANK YOU!” to my momma for letting me run off with her favorite pretty (and extra photogenic) French press pot set. Isn’t it adorable!?! Thanks, mom!
↓ French Press CHEAT SHEET ↓
Vanilla French Press Coffee
Makes 16oz coffee (2 cups)
- ¼ cup (4 TB) coarsely ground coffee beans
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- To Serve (optional): milk, creamer, or milk substitute
- French Press
- Bring water to a boil, and then let it sit for 1 minute off-heat.
- Add coffee grounds to French press, add vanilla extract, and then hot water. Add French press lid, but don’t lower the plunger. Let sit 4 minutes. Lower plunger.
- Serve coffee immediately, with milk if desired. If not serving coffee immediately, pour coffee into a separate container or thermal carafe to prevent it from getting bitter while sitting with the grounds.