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22 Tips To Improve Your French Press Coffee

Fans of French Press coffee love it because this brewing method saves all those rich flavors and tantalizing aromas.

What if we told you that you could have so much more with much less struggle? To help you improve your skills, we’ve collected some helpful French Press tips from other coffee lovers.

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1. Use Quality Coffee

Although the French Press Method helps preserve your coffee’s flavor, commercial brands already take out a lot of the coffee flavor during production and manufacturing. Quality coffee is produced in smaller batches and doesn’t sit on a shelf for months at a grocery store.

coffee beans in a bowl
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2. Grind Your Coffee

Always keep your coffee fresh. Whole bean coffee keeps its flavor longer. The reason for this is that once you grind coffee beans, the coffee oils begin to evaporate, making the coffee lose its flavor. When you keep the beans whole until you need them, you preserve those oils.

coffee scoop in a jar of ground coffee
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3. Preheat Your French Press

The French Press’s only source of heat is the hot water you pour into it. A lot of water’s heat gets absorbed by the cold French Press rather than the brew. By preheating the French Press first, more heat goes directly into the drink instead.

french press
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4. Preheat Your Mug

Like with the French Press itself, the mug you pour your coffee into also sucks the brew’s heat. Before pouring your coffee, run your cup through hot water to warm it. Then dump the water, pour your coffee, and enjoy your hot beverage.

Red Coffee Mug
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5. Let the Boil Subside

If you add water that is still boiling to your French Press, you risk over-extracting the grinds’ oils. This results in the dreaded bitter taste that can be the downfall of French Press brewed coffee. Wait until the water stops boiling before brewing.

You can also read our review of the French Press coffee makers.

French PRess with hot coffee
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6. Use a Medium Coarse to Coarse Ground

When you make espresso, you want a fine grind, but the opposite is true with French Press Coffee. A coarser ground coffee means fewer grinds end up in your cup. However, because French Pressed coffee steeps the grinds in the water, you won’t sacrifice taste.

7. Use Enough Filters

Using enough filters will also help reduce coffee grit. Depending on how coarse your coffee grounds are, you may need only two for larger grounds or up to four for finely ground coffee. The more filters used, the fewer coffee grinds end up in your drink.

8. Brew a Little Extra Coffee

Brewing a little extra coffee is another way to reduce the number of coffee grinds that end up in your coffee. Brew a half cup more than you plan on drinking. The grounds stay with the extra, and you get a clean drink.

9. Add a Bit More Water

Adding a quarter cup more water compensates for the water absorbed by the grounds in the brewing process (1). Adding a bit more water will help reduce grounds in your coffee while still giving you the full amount of coffee in your cup.

Pouring Water in french press
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10. Use a Timer

Don’t approximate your brewing times. Use a timer to ensure your coffee doesn’t get bitter from over-extraction. The rule of thumb is four minutes, but try shorter or longer times until you get the taste you like. Using a consistent brew time helps keep the flavor consistent.

Timer Clock
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11. Decant Your Coffee ASAP

Put your coffee in a decanter immediately if you’re not planning on drinking it all at once. Transferring the coffee right away will stop it from continuing to steep. If you leave your coffee in the French Press, it’ll get bitter from over brewing.
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12. Clean Your French Press Thoroughly

Clean your entire French Press with hot soapy water and rinse well, then let it dry. Every five to seven uses soak the press in hot water mixed with a half cup of distilled white vinegar. Let the entire machine soak 15 minutes then rinse.

13. Use a Scale

Different types of coffee beans have different densities. Due to the varied densities, it can sometimes throw off the volume measurement for a coffee scoop. A scale will measure the weight of the coffee and make sure you’re using the same amount of coffee each time.

Scaling Coffee
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14. Buy a Good Grinder

Since whole bean coffee is fresher and has a more vibrant flavor than pre-ground coffee, it’s a good idea to get a grinder that will grind coffee in the amount and coarseness you want. A good grinder will give you both grind and amount options to suit your taste.

In case you haven’t found one yet, read our review of best coffee grinders. You can also grind your coffee without a grinder.

Grinder wit coffeee beans
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15. Use Quality Water

Tap water usually contains sediment and water treatment chemicals that can affect the taste of the coffee you brew. Using bottled water or distilled water will result in a purer coffee taste because the water is not adding its own flavor to the brew.

16. Use Enough Coffee

When you’re using a French Press, it’s crucial to make sure you’re using the correct coffee to water ratio. When you use too much water and not enough coffee, you get a watered down taste. A good ratio to start with is half an ounce of coffee per 250 grams of water.

17. Use Hot Water, But Not Boiling

Water that’s too hot or cold will result in over-extraction or under-extraction of the flavors, and your coffee will be too bitter or too weak. Use a thermometer to check the water temperature. 195-205F will give you the best results.

18. Jump-Start the Brew with a Small Amount of Water

Jump-start grinds by dampening them thoroughly and letting them sit for about 30 seconds. This technique allows trapped carbon dioxide to escape that would otherwise alter your coffee’s taste (2). After 30 seconds are over, pour the rest of the water in.

19. Stir the Brew at the End

You should never stir the brew until it’s finished its entire brew cycle. Mixing it before brewing finishes disrupts the extraction process. When you stir it, the grinds sink in the water, and this slows the extraction process.

20. Make Sure Coffee Grinds are Under the Filter Before Plunging

Make sure your coffee press is free from leftover coffee sediment from the last batch that will throw off the coffee’s flavor. Pour the coffee into the press carefully, so that no coffee gets up the sides to keep the grinds under the filter before plunging.

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21. Use a Specialized Paper Filter

Using a cone-shaped paper filter will help accentuate certain flavors in coffee (3). Many people recommend the HarioV60 cone filter, but feel free to try different ones for your desired results. Brew your coffee as usual then pour it through the paper filter for a rich ground free flavor.

Paper Filter
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22. If You Use Finer Grinds, Use a Shorter Brew Time

The finer the grinds, the stronger the coffee will be when brewed (4). Most coffee experts recommend using a coarser grind for a French Press. If you are going to use a finer grind, shorten the extraction time accordingly to avoid over-extraction resulting in bitter-tasting coffee.

Wrapping Up

Many coffee enthusiasts recognize French Press coffee as the best-tasting brewing method because it keeps more of the coffee’s natural flavors. However, while a French Press will make good coffee, using the French Press Tips above and avoiding these French Press mistakes will take the experience from great to amazing.

Did you like our list of tips? If you did, let us know in the comments below, and share this with your friends!
Happy brewing!

  1. (n.d.) How to French Press with Crema.co. Retrieved from https://crema.co/guides/french-press-coffee
  2. Quinn M. (2018, April 28). What is Coffee Bloom? Retrieved from https://foodal.com/drinks-2/coffee/guides-coffee/what-is-bloom/
  3. (2020, February 18). 18 Tips for the Perfect French Press Coffee. Retrieved from https://www.haymancoffee.com/blogs/coffee-blog/18-tips-for-the-perfect-french-press-coffee-part-2
  4. (2020, March 30). French Press to Pour Over: How to Make Great Coffee at Home. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2020/03/french-press-to-pour-over-how-to-make-great-coffee-at-home/
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I come from a country where people drink domestic coffee (what the rest of the world knows as Turkish coffee) and where Nescafe designates all instant coffees ever made. So, imagine my first encounter with, say, Hario V60...Yes, it was love at first sight.  Today I’m a moderate coffee connoisseur and a huge coffee lover. My favorite brewing methods are the V60 and traditional espresso-making. Yet, despite my country’s long tradition of Turkish-coffee-adoring, I somehow cannot stand it. That’s just too dark, even for me.

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