French Press

Ratio of Water & Coffee for French Press

The instructions below make 32 ounces, a common size of French press that makes about four servings. But what if you want to make more or less? Here's a general guide to proportions by volume. Note that coffee beans are measured before grinding.

  • 1 serving — 1 cup water (8 fluid ounces) — 2 tablespoons coffee beans
  • 2 servings — 2 cups water (16 fluid ounces) — 1/4 cup coffee beans
  • 4 servings — 4 cups water (32 fluid ounces) — 1/2 cup coffee beans
  • 8 servings — 8 cups water (64 fluid ounces) — 1 cup coffee beans

Make Coffee with a French Press

Makes 32 ounces; serves 3 to 4

What You Need

Ingredients

1/2 cup freshly-roasted coffee beans

4 cups cold water

 

Equipment

Coffee grinder

French press, should hold at least 32 ounces

Electric kettle OR a stovetop kettle

Thermometer, optional

Long spoon

 

Instructions

  1. Measure the coffee beans: Measure out 1/2 cup coffee beans. (Or, if you're making less than 32 ounces, refer to our coffee proportions chart above.)
  2. Grind the coffee beans: Grind the beans on the coarsest setting in a burr grinder. Your coffee grounds should be rough and coarse, but still evenly-sized, without a lot of fine grit. Pour the grounds into the French press.
  3. Heat the water to boiling, then cool for 1 minute. Measure 4 cups water. (Or, if you're making less than 32 ounces, refer to our coffee proportions chart above.) Water for French press coffee should be heated to 90°C. This is below boiling, which is 100°C at sea level. Heat the water in a stovetop or electric kettle to boiling, then take off the heat for about 1 full minute before making the coffee. If you want to make extra-sure it's the right temperature, use a thermometer to check.
  4. Add the water: Add the full 4 cups of hot water to the French press.
  5. Stir the brew: Stir vigorously, using an up and down motion.
  6. Steep for 4 minutes: Four minutes will produce a robust brew. If you want to tweak your French press as you learn its nuances, you may find that different roasts of coffee do better with slightly longer or shorter steeping times.
  7. Plunge the press: When the timer goes off, immediately press the plunger all the way to the bottom. Drink the coffee immediately.

Recipe Notes

  • Warm the French Press First: One step we didn't include here, for the sake of simplicity, is warming the French press. If you have time (and presence of mind) in the morning, heat the water to boiling and rinse out the French press with hot water to warm it.
  • Use a Carafe: If you are not going to drink the coffee immediately, don't leave it in the French press, where it will continue to sit on the grounds and get bitter. Pour into a thermal carafe to keep it hot.