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How to Use a French Press + Roasting Coffee Beans

French Press coffee isn't as complicated as you may think! Keep reading for answers to all your most pressing questions

By: Kaylin Johnson, Editor, Recipe Lion
How to Use a French Press

Among the many ways to make coffee is the French Press. This style of coffee is different from a drip coffee because of the filter. A typical coffee maker brews coffee by running water through coffee grounds and a filter. This keeps the grounds from getting into the coffee. A French Press, however, steeps the grounds in the water before pressing them out.

Lately, the French Press method has received some backlash over the fact that not filtering your coffee can lead to higher cholesterol levels, but there are also many benefits to pressing your coffee. 

One of the biggest benefits of the French Press is portability. The simple beaker is easy to take with you unlike a bulky coffee pot. It has also been said that French pressed coffee tastes better because you aren’t filtering out the natural oils which give coffee its flavor.

Many benefits of coffee in general are enhanced by the steeping that takes place in a French Press. Due to prolonged exposure to the grounds, it is rich in anti-cancerous compounds and antioxidants typically found in coffee.

Keep reading for all the most important information to know before switching to a French Press system.

What is a French Press?

What is a French Press?

The French Press is a relatively new method for brewing coffee. It was first patented in the 1920’s with the more popular model being invented in the 1950s. Since then, it has become a very popular way to make coffee. 

A French Press coffee maker consists of a few different parts, the most obvious of these being the beaker and the plunger. By pressing down on the plunger, you are able to separate the coffee from the coffee grounds.

There are many different styles of French Press coffee makers and one of the biggest questions when first considering one is what to look for in a French Press. The most important thing to remember when browsing your options is to find one that suits your lifestyle. 

Many people enjoy the aesthetics of a glass press. These look very nice on a counter but are fragile so they are not good for traveling. Another style is the stainless steel press. These are extremely durable and often, easier to clean, but the visual appeal is lower and they require time to preheat.

It’s best to do research on many different styles before committing to the one that best suits you.

How to Make French Press Coffee

How to Make French Press Coffee

Using a French Press does typically take longer than the drip coffee method, but it is not as complicated as it may seem at first. You’re going to want to start with fresh grounds. Most people agree that grinding your own coffee beans is the best way to get that perfectly balanced cup of coffee. Depending on your press, you may need to preheat the beaker using hot water. You’ll also need to decide how strong you want your coffee and adjust the coffee to water ratio accordingly.

French Press Ratio for a 12 oz Beaker

  • Mild- 3 Tbsp coffee - 10 oz water
  • Medium- 4 Tbsp coffee - 10 oz water
  • Strong- 5 Tbsp coffee - 10 oz water
How to make the best French Press coffee
  1. Heat the water to slightly below boiling point
  2. Combine the coffee grounds and hot water in the beaker
  3. Stir to make sure all grounds are wet
  4. Let steep for three minutes
  5. Scoop out the grounds that rise to the top
  6. Place the top on, press down the plunger, and pour

Best Coffee for a French Press

Best Coffee for a French Press

Although many stores sell French Press grounds, they are often not the correct size to make the best tasting coffee. Store-bought grounds are usually fine which makes for a more bitter coffee in a French Press. For a nice flavor, you should try for course, medium sized grounds. 

Another way to ensure the best taste in your coffee is to roast coffee beans at home. Coffee beans have the best flavor within a few months of roasting. In order to ensure your beans are freshly roasted, you can do it yourself.

Roasting coffee beans should take less than a half hour. Start by washing the uncooked beans. Then turn your stove burner up to the highest setting and put the beans into the hot pan. Move the beans around with a wooden spoon and cook for around five to ten minutes. The roasting time will depend on the size of the batch. 

Once your beans are fully roasted, you can remove them from heat and splash them with a small amount of water in order to stop the roasting process. Then simply pour the beans out onto a plate and stir them around to detach the excess skin burned off in the roasting process.

How to Clean a French Press Coffee Maker

How to Clean a French Press Coffee Maker

Cleaning a French Press is pretty fast and easy to do. Before you begin, be sure to let the beaker cool down fully. Next, you’re going to want to scoop out the grounds. Avoid using a metal spoon if you are using a glass press. A rubber spatula works well to remove the grounds without scratching the beaker.

Then add some water and soap directly into the beaker and place the top on. Use the plunger to easily clean the inside. After this step, you’ll want to dump the water out, scrub to remove any remaining grounds, and rinse.

Every once in a while, it’s a good idea to do a deeper cleaning. For this, just disassemble the plunger and clean each piece with baking soda and vinegar.


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