Kickapoo Kenya Mbeguka french press

How To Use a French Press: Instructions from top roasters!

One french press brew guide to rule them all.

The french press coffee brewer is a classic, for many people it’s their first introduction to decent coffee at home. But despite the fact that you can find them for sale at every grocery and kitchenware store, they’re surprisingly tough to get right. The big problem is that they require a super consistent coarse grind, which only high-end coffee grinders do well. As a result, we never recommend the french press for beginners. But if you have a great grinder and want to revisit a classic, the french press produces a very unique (and enjoyable) cup of coffee.

For the most part, the french press is straightforward to use. Add coffee, add water, wait, plunge. Water should be 195-205℉ (a few minutes off boil). Some recipes recommend a stir, others recommend pouring some water, letting the coffee  bloom, and then pouring the rest. Really, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do the same thing every time, eventually you’ll dial in the recipe just the way you like it.

To help you remember how to use a french press, we compiled a list of french press instructions from top coffee roasters.

Roaster Coffee (grams) Water (grams) Time
Blue Bottle 40g 400g 4:00
Intelligentsia 33g 525g 5:00
Stumptown Coffee 56g 896g 4:00
Sightglass Coffee 38g 600g 4:00
Ritual 55g 850g 4:00
Sprudge 53g 850g 4:00
Average 46g 687g 4:10

That averages out to a brew ratio of 15:1, which sounds about right. And in case you don’t have a scale, that’s fine, there are only a few conversions you need to know. French press manufacturers like to think a cup is only 4oz, so an 8-cup french press only holds 32oz. There are 28 grams per oz, so here’s how many grams a reasonably full french press holds:

Cups Ounces Grams
4 16oz 448g
6 24oz 672g
8 32oz 896g
12 48oz 1344g

Here’s one one trick we’ve come up with that greatly improves the press (especially if you have a less than stellar grinder). Pour the grinds into a strainer and shake it to get the finest particles out. At first it might seem like a lot of coffee is being lost, but when I shake 40g of coffee, only 3g of super fines come out. Here’s how it looks:

French press coarse grind

Taking those super fine grains out makes a HUGE difference, you’ll have the best french press of your life. Not only will the coffee be less muddy, but 50% of the sour and 90% of the bitterness will be removed as well, without removing the pleasant acidity.

That should be all the info you need to get started with the french press. Enjoy re-discovering a classic!

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