How To Make Coffee With a French Press : French Press Coffee Techniques : French Press Instructions [video]

how to use french press

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My first video ever, Feb 2009, was about the French Press! I have learned a great deal about coffee, and how to properly brew it since that video was made. If you are a specialty coffee newbie, or you don’t know what specialty coffee even is, then this video is something you need to watch. This method of brewing coffee is simple, uses inexpensive equipment, and is used by even the most sophisticated of coffee snobs! Read the remaining text to reallyget the whole picture, as well as learn how you can win some of the finest coffee that I’ve ever tasted!

There are a few, key things that you MUST have in order to produce the best french press coffee.

  • A quality French Press

  • Freshly roasted, whole bean coffee
  • Proper temperature of water (195°-200°F)
  • A mid to high end burr grinder (the only way to achieve proper tasting coffee)

Brewing coffee in a french press is quite simple. Just follow my step by step instructions and, in no time at all, you will be brewing the best coffee in town!

Step by step

How To French Press
Brewing Instructions

(only use this method if you want the best cup of french press coffee ever!)

  1. Items you will need; Quality French Press, Fresh roasted whole bean coffee, clean water, kettle with narrow pour spout, 2 spoons.
  2. Fill the kettle with cold, clean water and place on burner. (don’t use distilled water!)
  3. Preheat your french press with some hot water. This will lessen the drastic temperature drop when transferring the water from the kettle to the brewer.
  4. Weigh the appropriate amount of coffee. I use 70 grams for my 32 ounce press. (if you don’t have a digital scale, use 2 level TBS/ 6oz of water.
  5. Add whole beans to grinder (Do not grind until water is heated)
  6. When the water reaches 205 degrees and add your freshly ground coffee to the press.
  7. Immediately start your 4 minute timer and begin to slowly add the water to the press pot. Be sure to add water at a very slow rate and in a circular motion, ensuring that all of the coffee is saturated.
  8. Continue to add the water until the coffee starts to enter the pour spout. If you’re using a digital scale, tare it after adding the coffee and add 950 grams of water.
  9. Patiently wait the remainder of the four minutes.
  10. Take one of your spoons and break the “crust”, the layer of coffee on top of the brewer, with the back of the spoon.
  11. Gently and slowly dunk the remaining crust into the brew.
  12. Take both of your spoons and skim the upper portion of the pot and remove as much of the coffee grounds as possible.
  13. Place plunger/lid on the pot, and depress the plunger
  14. Serve and enjoy 🙂

That’s all there is to it! These instructions may be a little different than what you usually find. Follow this method to achieve the best french press coffee you have ever tasted. It is important to not stir the coffee and to skim the top layer. Why? Stirring the brew causes the temperature of the water to quickly drop, while also accelerating the extraction process. This causes an unstable environment that cannot be controlled. The result will be inconsistent taste and quality. Scooping out the top layer of coffee does a couple of things. First, it makes the coffee less sludgy. By removing a large portion of the coffee grounds, you eliminate a great deal of the resistance when you depress the plunger. It also enhances the brew by not juicing the grounds at the bottom of the press. When most people plunge, they squeeze the grounds to the bottom of the pot, effectively extracting unwanted flavors from the beans. 😛
It is exceedingly better to use a proper digital scale when brewing with a French press. Measuring your coffee and water by mass, rather than volume, will produce much more consistent results. You will always be assured to have an excellent cup by eliminating variables and guessing.

Remove lid and insert plunger first

<<Here is an alternate french press brewing method that I stumbled across in my reading. This technique uses the same equipment, but reversed. I don’t know who came up with this method, but some call it the poor man’s Clover. Instead of adding the coffee before the plunger, you add the coffee after the plunger is inserted into the press. Wh

en you would normally push the plunger down, you instead pull it out. The proponents of this method claim that it has all of the taste of french press coffee, with none of the bitterness. I don’t know what they are talking about when they say ‘bitterness’, because if you have a quality grinder, you won’t get the bitterness. I had to give it a shot.

Add coarsely ground coffee (3/4 of full capacity)

Add water, swirl 3 times, and steep 4 minutes

Slowly & carefully remove the plunger, rinse, wipe the rim of the pot, and reinsert plunger.

While I removed the plunger over the sink, I put the grounds in the compost. Coffee grounds can go directly into your garden as well, and do not require to be composted first.

So there you have it. Give both methods a shot and see which one you prefer. Everyone has different tastes, and I imagine that different coffees will present themselves better with one method than the other. I prefer the method that I detailed previously as opposed to the ‘French Mess’ method. It is easier, cleaner, and produces a fuller bodied cup.

Any questions or comments are always welcome. I prefer to have you ask in the comment section below as there are often times other people with the same issue. This also gives others the opportunity to learn through our conversation!


Nate is a special kind of coffee lover. He began drinking the same swill that most others do, but thought there must be something better out there. Sure enough, he was right, even more so than he ever dreamed possible. He soon found his way into the specialty coffee industry, and was tasting exceptional coffees from dozens of roasters from around the country. He is now committed to teaching others how they can appreciate coffee, and how they can make the best coffee in town and save money at the same time! Cheers c[_]

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