French Press Coffee Ratio: Get Your Numbers And Coffee Right
Believe it or not, there is a way to brew the best coffee possible. How? You follow something called a general ratio of coffee to water. The same applies to your French press measurements. But before we dive into the numbers, you should know that the ratio I’m about to outline is a guideline. It’s not a hard and fast rule.
The Perfect French Press Coffee Ratio
If we’re talking generally, coffee brews best at a ratio of 1:18 coffee to water. That means that for every gram of coffee, you should use 18 grams of water (1). This 1:18 ratio is a great place to start to make sure you get consistency when you brew any type of coffee. Once you get that consistency, you can start to play around with different ratios for different tastes.
Part of the reason this is only a guideline is that different coffee beans will taste better with different ratios. But the ratio might change depending on how you brew, too. There is a different coffee to water ratio for different brew methods. That brings me to my main point.
The French press uses a ratio closer to 1:15.
The best ratio for French press coffee is actually a touch lower than most other brewing methods. That’s because French press coffee has a heavier and bolder mouthfeel. Part of that is because it seems to taste best with a lower ratio.
I would recommend starting by choosing the best coffee for French press. Coffees designed for French presses are forgiving and easy to brew, which means you can find the best ratio easily and play around with it.
How Should You Measure Your Coffee?
But now you might be asking how much coffee for French press you need. And that’s a great question, but it has two different answers because there are two different ways to measure when making French press coffee.
The first is one I don’t necessarily recommend: French press coffee ratio tbsp. You can measure your coffee with tablespoons. That means you should use a little over one cup of water for every tablespoon of ground coffee. Why don’t I recommend using tablespoons? Because it’s not as exact as the other method.
Scales are already indispensable…so it’s strange that one of the coffee world’s most stubborn myths is that these tools are excessive for the home coffee brewer.
The other method is weighing your coffee. It’s much more exact and actually easier to achieve a good and consistent ratio. The Specialty Coffee Association even uses grams in its guidelines for brewing with a French press (2).
Helpful Tips And Tricks
Let’s discuss some helpful French press coffee tips to narrow your ideal ratio.
Dial In Your Recipe
The best way to get consistent results is to keep all your variables roughly the same. To find the best French press coffee ratio for you, you should keep the water temperature, grind size, and brewing time all the same. The only thing you should play around with is the ratio itself. Part of dialling in your recipe is understanding precisely how a French press coffee maker works. Once you have that down, everything else comes pretty quickly.
Weigh, Don’t Scoop
I mentioned this earlier, but it’s worth mentioning again. It’s better to weigh your coffee rather than scoop it. Different grind sizes will mean you get more or less coffee in each scoop, throwing off your ratio and overall brew.
You can use any standard kitchen scale to weigh your coffee and water. It’s useful to get great French press measurements! Scooping is one of the mistakes made with French press that I always see.
Worrying too much about the best ratio for the French press can get tedious. The bottom line is that French press coffee is delicious. And it’s a very forgiving brewing method. Some French press coffee makers are even designed with the beginner in mind.
So, my final advice is to find a ratio that works well and stick to it. Coffee should be enjoyed, not a burden!
For an 8-cup French Press I recommend starting with 8-11 tablespoons of coffee. If you want to measure the amount of coffee for French press, that’ll be 118 g of coffee. As a rule of thumb, you should always weigh your coffee and water for the best results.
French press should steep for 4-5 minutes. Brewing time is something to keep in mind when altering the taste of your brew.
No, do not push the French press down right away. Leave the plunger up until the steeping is finished. Then gently and slowly push the plunger all the way down. You only need to make sure you pressed the plunger all the way down so your coffee doesn’t continue to brew. This will guarantee the best taste and coffee that’s not over-extracted.
- The Golden Ratio for Brewing Coffee. Fellow. (n.d.). Retrieved March 6, 2023, from https://fellowproducts.com/blogs/learn/the-golden-ratio-for-brewing-coffee/
- Best Practices Three Cup French Press. (n.d.). Retrieved March 7, 2023, from https://static1.squarespace.com/static/584f6bbef5e23149e5522201/t/5aa69c87652dead61577afe9/1520868487635/best-practices-three-cup-french-press.pdf