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How Do I Use My French Press?

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Updated August 24, 2022

When you buy a new French press kitchen appliance, you may wonder how do I use my French press. The process for making your delicious coffee using the best coffee maker remains simple. You may find this process uses less energy than how an espresso maker works, but, if you enjoy that robust flavor with more control, you could learn how to use a pour-over coffee maker.


  • To make French press coffee, you need hot water, ground coffee beans, and a French press.
  • The process takes several minutes, so don’t plan on having your coffee ready immediately as you would from an espresso machine.
  • Grind your coffee beans right before using the device for a better flavor.

Using a French Press

If you haven’t already read up on the process of brewing with a French press, you may not realize that you need a separate grinder or pre-ground coffee beans. Like with the best travel coffee makers, you’ll want to use fresh coffee beans. You also will need to boil water for use in this process, and you may want to heat your coffee carafe and your mug before adding the beans. Check out how do I fix my coffee maker for additional brewing options. Unlike drip machines, you don’t need to worry about how often you’ll need to change the charcoal filters with a French press.

Insider Tip

Warm your cup and French press before adding all of the water.

Whether you are using a drip machine like the Cuisinart DCC-3200 PerfecTemp or a french press, it is recommended that you grind your coffee using a coffee grinder. By using fresh grounds, you provide a fresh, strong flavor to any coffee beverage that you want to drink. You may wish to use medium or medium-coarse grinds. If it’s too bitter, use a coarser grind. Meanwhile, if it’s watery and you want it stronger, use a smaller grind. You can also learn how to brew Crio Bru in your coffee maker for a nice coffee alternative.


  1. Place the coffee pot on a flat surface. You ensure the grounds are evenly distributed and covered with hot water when it sits on a flat surface.
  2. Pull the plunger and lid off if they’re already on the press.
  3. Add one tablespoon of freshly ground coffee beans for every 4-6.7 oz. (200 ml.) of water.
  4. Pour hot water in with the coffee. Do not use boiling water, so instead, let your water cool slightly after boiling. Some baristas recommend filling the press with water until the water line sits right above the grounds. Then, stir them together before letting them sit for about 30 seconds. Add the rest of the water after the time is up and stir once more.
  5. Replace the plunger and lid. If your pot has a spout, cover the spout to lock in the heat. You don’t want heat escaping, so you want to cover it quickly after mixing the water and coffee.
  6. Wait 3-4 minutes. You have probably heard this process referred to as steeping. Steeping occurs when the coffee grounds sit within the water. The water extracts flavor over these minutes. If you find your coffee tastes bitter, steep for less time the next time you make French press coffee. Likewise, if you find your brew is watered down, steep for longer.
  7. Push the plunger down slowly. If you don’t feel pressure while pressing it down, you may have ground your coffee beans too coarsely. On the other hand, grounds that are too fine will cause a lot of trouble during this step.
  8. Pour the liquid into a separate decanter or glass. When you leave it sitting inside the carafe to cool down, you may add a bitter taste to your brew. Additionally, leaving it inside the press can cause it to become over-extracted.
  9. Let cool before serving and enjoy your cup. If you prefer your French press brew hot, you can drink it right away, but you might find it is too hot. In this case, let the liquid cool by setting it aside.
  10. Wash the pot with water and mild dish detergent before drying. Don’t let it sit for too long without washing it since it can damage the coffee pitcher. Also, by letting it sit, you could cause build-up inside the carafe.


You may not like the taste the first time you make a French press drink, so adjust your grind size.


How does a French press coffee maker work?

A French press uses both heat and pressure to extract flavor from your coffee grounds. The hot water should not be boiling. The pressure comes from depressing the plunger.

How long should French Press coffee steep?

The time varies based on preference, but you should let it steep for 3-4 minutes. Folger’s recommends six minutes, but that seems to be on the high end of steeping time.

Is a fine grind better for french press coffee?

Generally speaking, you should use a medium or medium-coarse grind. If you use too fine a grind, you might find the coffee is too strong or bitter.

STAT: The secret is all in the grind: choose medium, with uniformity and consistency throughout. (source)

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