How to Use a French Press: An Easy Step-By-Step Guide With Pictures

Updated on December 21, 2019
mariexotoni profile image

I love unique coffee beverages and I enjoy giving tips on how to make them.

Two Versions of the French Press
Two Versions of the French Press | Source

French presses (or coffee presses) are known for making the best tasting coffee. It does not run on electricity and is easy to store because it's so compact, compared to your average coffee maker or Keurig.

French presses comes in all shapes and sizes. The set at the side is Bodum brand, which is a well-known, trusted coffee-press manufacturer. One is a regular coffee press that holds 8 cups. The other is a travel-sized coffee press, which holds 12 ounces.

For this article, I have decided to demonstrate with the travel-sized french press, but the instructions will apply to your french press, even if it's not travel-sized.

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1. The Coffee Press or Plunger

This is what makes the coffee press the coffee "press". You are going to use this to press down your beans. The plunger or press at the bottom can screw off. So, before we start, you need to make sure that the press is secured on the rod tight. Just twist it.

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2. Get Your Coffee Beans

You should start out with whole-bean coffee. You are going to need to grind this yourself with a coffee grinder. You shouldn't use the ground coffee that you buy in stores because it is finely ground. Grinding your coffee yourself, help you to get the best flavor out of your coffee, anyway.

The point of using a coffee grinder is to make sure your beans are coarse. This is due to the fine netting that makes up the press part. If your coffee grinds are too small and fine, they'll go right through the netting. This means you'll be drinking a lot of coffee grinds! However, if the beans are coarse, they can't fit through the netting. Don't make it so coarse that there are whole beans still remaining in your grinds.


3. Dump The Grounds In!

Dump your coarsely ground coffee-beans directly into your cup. I use about .25 oz or 7 grams of coffee grinds per cup. This is approximately half a tablespoon. So, if you have an 8-cup french press, you should be using 4 tablespoons of coffee. These do not, of course, have to be leveled-off tablespoons. Adjust the coffee to your liking.


4. Grab Some Hot Water

You can make the hot water however you like. I recommend using an electric kettle. You may also do this on the stove, or in the microwave. You want to boil the water and then turn off your heat source until the boiling stops.

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5. Dump In the Hot Water

Now you can dump the hot (but not boiling) water in. Make sure you coat all your coffee with the hot water. You want them all wet, so you can get all that coffee absorbed into your hot water. Make sure to leave an inch of room like I did, in your coffee press. This saves room for the coffee press.

Now, let stand for 2-3 minutes. This gives the coffee enough time to absorb into the water.

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6. Press It Down!

This is probably the hardest part of the whole process. You are going to want to grab your coffee press plunger and level the bottom of the plunger with your water.

Try to avoid getting any of the grinds on top of the plunger. Get all of the grinds below your plunger, or you'll be drinking coffee grinds. It's okay if you get a few on top, however.

Once your plunger is lined up with your water-level and appears as if it's going to go down evenly, press the plunger all the way down, as far as it will go. This presses the beans down.


Just keep pressing- what do we do? We press, press!

Now It's Time to Enjoy Your Best Tasting Coffee!

Once you've pressed all your coffee grinds down, it's time for you to have a sip. (Perhaps you want to give it a few more to cool down). You can add cream and sugar to your coffee, and whatever flavoring you'd likeā€”but I recommend taking 2-3 sips without ANY cream or sugar because this is the best-tasting most-flavorful coffee you can make. I passed up on the cream and sugar because I wanted to see how good it really was. Now, I'll never drink coffee with cream or sugar EVER again!

Enjoy guys!


Submit a Comment
  • Redberry Sky profile image

    Redberry Sky 

    7 years ago

    I lost my French press in a house-move a few years ago, and I've never got around to getting a new one, but you're absolutely right - it's a quick and easy way to make some delicious (and strong!) coffee - I'm persuaded to go out and get another one as soon as I can!

  • mariexotoni profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago

    thanks savingkathy!! :)

  • savingkathy profile image

    Kathy Sima 

    7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    I once rented a cottage that only had a french press - no regular coffee maker. It took me awhile to figure it out - I wish I had access to this article to help me out back then! Well done. :)

  • mariexotoni profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago

    thanks dallaswriter!

  • dallaswriter profile image


    7 years ago from North Carolina

    Very well written! I use to own a coffee shop (it was a great adventure) and French Press is a perfect cup of coffee in my opinion. Voted up and useful! Kudos!


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