How to Use a French Press

Start the day off right with the perfect cup of French press coffee! Making French press coffee is a lot easier than you think. You don’t have to be a coffee genius to produce the perfect cup of coffee in under 15 minutes.

We love starting the day off with a cup of coffee and a little something sweet, too! Check out some of our favorite morning sweets like these Oatmeal Banana Cookies or Healthy Chocolate Muffins!

A pot of French press coffee brewing

Coffee is Life

Nothing beats a good, strong cup of coffee in the morning. It should come as no surprise that we are big coffee drinkers here at Fit Foodie Finds. Do we drink too much coffee? Sometimes. Do we try to balance our days off with water and tea? You betcha.

What makes the perfect cup of coffee you ask? Hot, strong, and black! But, that’s just our opinion.

What is French Press Coffee?

French press coffee is a method of brewing coffee that uses a device called a “French Press.” A French press is like a plunger that meets a strainer. It allows you to brew ground coffee in a container by brewing, pressing, and straining all in one.

After the coffee is brewed, you press the ground coffee beans to the bottom of the container using pressure, which leaves you strong, bold, beautiful coffee.

why our recipe is a little different

Typically French Press coffee is created by weighing your coffee grounds to get the most perfect ratio of ground beans to water. However, we know that weighing your coffee beans isn’t always in the cards.

This is why we are using cups to measure both beans and water.

Why do we love French Press Coffee?

There are so many reasons. We gravitate towards making French press coffee most mornings at Fit Foodie HQ (first and foremost) because it is a way to brew really good coffee for more than one person at a time.

We prefer a pot of French press coffee over a coffee machine because we have a bit more control over water temperature, how long the coffee brews, and it is usually the perfect amount of coffee for 3-4 people.

What is the Best French Press?

First things, first. What is the best French Press? We are personal fans of the Bodum‘s French Press products. It is a tried and true French press that all three of us own and use. We love that it’s glass and that the handle doesn’t get hot when you pour the water in.

In addition to Bodum’s French press, we also love their other coffee accessories as well! Check them out below.

French Press Accessories

We discovered that there are many people out there that are intimidated by the French press and we are here to make French press coffee accessible and easy for YOU!

Check out the tips and tricks below on how to make French press coffee and a step-by-step tutorial on exactly how to make the perfect French press coffee.

Pouring coffee from a french press into a mug

How to Use a French Press

To keep things simple, we broke down the four most important things to keep in mind when you are preparing a pot of French press coffee.

  1. Coffee Beans
  2. Coffee Ground Thickness
  3. Water Temp
  4. Brew Time

If you keep these things below in mind, you’ll have a perfect pot of French press. Like anything you prepare in the kitchen, feel free to experiment and cater your French press to your preferences!

Coffee Beans

Our number one piece of advice: use whole bean coffee over pre-ground coffee when you can! The flavor and freshness of your coffee is a heck of a lot better when you use whole beans.

Pre-ground coffee tends to have a staleness to it because it has already been broken down. Buy your favorite whole bean coffee and get ready to grind!

no scale? No problem!

We know that many of you don’t have a scale and on a day-to-day basis, we don’t use a scale to prepare our French press coffee either. Below are the general measurements we follow using a measuring cup. 

How much coffee beans for French press?

  • 2 servings–> 1/4 cup coffee beans + 2 cups water
  • 4 servings–> 1/2 cup coffee beans + 4 cups water

So remember, for 4 servings of coffee, use 1/2 cup of whole beans. First, grind coffee beans to a medium-coarse grind and pour grounds into the bottom of the French press.

Want stronger coffee?

Making French press coffee is like an art. You need to do what works best and tastes best for you. This means it will likely take some practice to figure out what you like. To get stronger coffee here’s what you can do:

  • Use less water and the same amount of ground coffee.
  • Use the same amount of water, but more ground coffee.
  • Brew your French press coffee longer than 5 minutes.

Coffee Bean Q’s

How do I store my coffee beans? Store your coffee beans in a cool, dry place, in an air sealed container. Your coffee will stay fresher, longer!

What are the best coffee beans to buy?  We love Peace Coffee Whole Bean Coffee Beans, but Aldi has a delicious Organic Brand that is delicious. What type of coffee bean you buy also depends on how you like your coffee (light, medium, or dark roast)!

Do I need to weigh my coffee beans? Many people like to use a scale to measure out their beans and their coffee. If you have a scale and you love preparing your French press coffee that way, go for it!

It’s All About the Grind

The grind of coffee beans is one of the most important variables when preparing French press coffee. If you grind your coffee beans too much, you will have a muddy and thick cup of coffee. If you don’t grind your coffee beans enough, you will have a flavorless and watery cup of coffee.

Here’s how to get the perfect coffee grind for French Pressed Coffee:

Quick tip: If you do buy pre-ground coffee beans, use a heaping half cup per 4 cups of water. 1/2 cup of whole beans coarsely ground is a little more than 1/2 cup ground, unpacked.

Water Temperature Matters

Water temperature is so important when making French press coffee. If you pour water that is too hot, you could scald the coffee grounds and end up with burnt coffee.

If you don’t have water that is hot enough it won’t extract the flavor out of the coffee grounds. The trick is to bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and then remove it from its heat source and let it sit for at least a minute before pouring it over the coffee grounds.

For 4 servings of coffee, bring 4 cups of water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and let sit for 1 minute before pouring over your ground coffee beans.

Pouring hot water into a French press

how long to brew french press coffee

After pouring the water into the French press, and giving the grounds a nice stir, it’s time to let everything sit.

We have found that the sweet spot is 5 minutes. Anything less than that and the flavor of the coffee isn’t quite there. Anything over 5 minutes can leave the coffee tasting a bit bitter!

After stirring the grounds and the water together, let coffee brew for 5 minutes! Pour into your favorite coffee mug and enjoy!

A pot of French press coffee brewing

More Ways to Make Coffee

There are many different ways to prepare a perfect cup of coffee for yourself in the morning!

Machine Drip Coffee- Good ole Mr.Coffee to the rescue. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a machine drip coffee maker. It is all about convenience, personal preference, and if you get the ratio of grounds to water just right you’ll have one amazing cup of coffee!

Pour Over- When I am home alone and just need one delicious cup of coffee, pour over is my favorite way to go! We have a tutorial on how to make the perfect cup of coffee that walks you through the perfect cup of pour-over coffee.

AeroPress- The AeroPress uses pressure to extract flavor from coffee grounds. It produces delicious coffee, but also can only produce one cup of coffee at a time. We love taking our AeroPress camping. It is packable and perfect for calm mornings when you have the time!

Espresso Machines- Nespresso and Keurig machines are good options for those of you who need a quick cup of coffee in the morning! They use prefilled coffee pods to produce a cup of coffee or espresso.

We are partial to the Nespresso machines because they have a great recycling program for their pods!

Percolator- A percolator is a small espresso maker that involves preparing your espresso over the stove! It produces strong espresso that makes a great Americano!

As I said, we love all coffee every which way. However, our go-to way to make coffee is with a French press. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of How to Use a French Press and why we love it so much!

Pouring cream into a cup of coffee

4 from 1 reviews

How to Use a French Press

Start the day off right with the perfect cup of French press coffee! Making French press coffee is a lot easier than you think and you don’t have to be a coffee genius to produce a cup of delicious joe that will taste delicious and keep you motivated all morning long!

Prep: 10 minutesCook: 5 minutesTotal: 15 minutes

Fat 0 Carbs 0 Protein 0

Yield 4 1x


  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1/2 cup whole roasted coffee beans


  1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
  2. While water is boiling, grind coffee beans to a coarse grind. The coffee grounds should be all relatively the same size. Not too finely ground and not super chunky.
  3. When the water has come to a boil, remove from the heat and let water sit for 1-2 minutes to prevent scalding the coffee grounds.
  4. Place grounds into the French press and slowly pour hot water into the French press. Then, use a long spoon to mix the ground to make sure they are fully submerged. Let brew for 5 minutes (or more if you like really strong coffee). We like to place the French press top on top of the grounds while it’s brewing so no hot air escapes.
  5. Once the 5 minutes is up, press the plunger down, bringing the coffee grounds down to the bottom of the French press.
  6. Enjoy coffee black or try it with our homemade oat milk

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1/4 Calories: 0 Sugar: 0 Fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 0 Fiber: 0 Protein: 0

Author: Linley RichterCategory: DrinkMethod: Stove TopCuisine: American

Keywords: how to use a french press

Photos by The Wooden Skillet.

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