How to make French Press Coffee at home (that tastes good)

French press is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to make coffee, but it’s not as simple as you think to make a delicious one. It’s common to make a French press coffee with a gritty, bitter taste if you follow low-quality guides. 

Here, I will show you how to make delicious, clean French press coffee at home and the troubleshooting guide of where you might fail. I will also share the personal method I’ve always used to make French press coffee.

How to make French press Coffee – A Step-by-Step Guide
Troubleshooting French Press Coffee
French press coffee 101– a developed method


  • Burr grinder. While blade grinders work well for other coffee brewing methods, French press coffee benefits from evenly coarse coffee grounds. Finer grounds can pass through the filter, causing sediment in your cup and over-extraction, resulting in bitterness. 
  • French press. Make sure how much coffee you can afford with the volume capacity of your French press. A standard French press holds around 32 oz.(900ml) for 4 cups of coffee.
  • Long wooden spoon or coffee paddle. I do not recommend using a metal spoon during the stirring process of making a French press, as it can easily break the gear. 
  • Coffee scale. Coffee scales give more accurate results, but I prefer using a food scale if it isn’t available. 
  • Instant-read thermometer (optional). The water temperature for French press coffee should be 195°F, near the boiling point. Don’t worry if you don’t have a thermometer. I will provide other solutions later in the step-by-step guide section.

Notes: If you want to grind the beans evenly sized but only have a blade grinder, try shaking the grinder while grinding. This will probably evenly mix the beans for a better grind, but I don’t guarantee it always works.


This recipe makes two servings or about 16 oz. batch of coffee using a standard French press. 

  • 30 grams of medium to dark roast coffee beans.
  • 16 oz. or 450 ml of water. 

Note: Adjust the quantity by following a 1:15 ratio of beans to water. This is a good starting point to test the strength of your brew.

How to make French Press Coffee -Step-by-step Guide

  1. Heat the water just until it boils. Then, let it cool for 1 to 2 minutes. It’s an excellent way to get water at the right temperature, about 195°F, for the French press. Use a thermometer to check if you want to be extra sure of the temperature. 
  2. Measure and grind the coffee beans. While waiting for heat, measure 30 grams of beans and grind in a burr grinder in the coarsest setting. 
  3. Warm up the French press. For the best extraction, rinse your gear with hot water to maintain the temperature while brewing.
  4. Add the beans and water to the French press. Saturate all the grounds and make sure that there are no dry spots.
  5. Bloom the coffee grounds for 1 minute. Wait about a minute, allowing the carbon dioxide to degas from the beans. Letting gasses escape from coffee ensures a better flavor.
  6. Stir evenly and let it sit for three minutes. Take a wooden spoon to remove the crust on the top of the mixture, then gently stir. This helps the grounds saturate evenly. Put the plunger on top to keep the water hot, and let sit for three more minutes. 
  7. Plunge the press. Press the plunger mildly to filter the brewed coffee from the coffee grounds. Next, pour the French press coffee into a carafe or container to prevent continual brewing, which will cause a lot of bitterness.
  8. Wash the french press with water and mild detergent, and dry thoroughly. If you forget to clean it too often, bacteria may grow, making your next brew taste weird and disgusting. 

Troubleshooting French Press Coffee

Here are the typical troubles others encounter while making French press coffee and some suggestions that you can do to prevent facing these problems. Check them to avoid them and brew a better cup of coffee.

The flavor of brewed coffee is too light for me.

Try using medium-ground coffee beans and change your coffee-to-water ratio from 1:15 to 1:12 or 1:10. You can also try steeping it longer. 

The flavor of brewed coffee is too bitter.

Bitter flavor often comes from over-extraction. Grinding your beans evenly and coarsely is quite important to prevent this. Another reason is you might have over-brewed or waited too long before transferring the brewed coffee to another container. 

Why does my coffee taste weird and rancid?

People usually need help with this problem when their gear is dirty or filled with old sediment and oils. Simply clean your French press thoroughly after every use.

French press coffee 101– a developed method

Now, I will share my go-to method of making French press coffee. I like this method because it produces a cleaner, richer, full-bodied flavor. The first few steps are similar to the previous, but the little tweaks we do as we go along make tons of difference. 

If you’re in a hurry, this isn’t going to work for you because it’s not very quick, and you need a little bit of patience. But trust me, you will be rewarded with a  delicious cup of coffee that has none of the silty-sludgy stuff at the bottom. 

  1. Warm up the French press, then measure and grind the beans. This is like the usual protocol, but I’d like you to use medium-sized grounds instead of super coarse ones for this step. This is because we don’t want the grind to be so small that it passes through the filter, but we want it to bring out the optimal flavor. 
  2. Heat water until it comes to a boil, let it rest, and pour.
  3. Let it sit for four minutes, then remove the crust on the top with a wooden spoon. You don’t need to put the lid on because a perfect crust covers the coffee.
  4. Wait for at least five minutes. Now, this seems difficult because it feels like you’ve brewed the coffee, but you cannot drink it yet. Five to eight minutes is optimal for a flavorful coffee just before over-extraction. As you sit, all the invisible floating bits start to fall to the gear’s bottom and settle. 
  5. Plunge and pour the coffee. Put the plunge in and press down to the surface of the coffee, but don’t plunge all the way. Otherwise, you are just stirring up all the sediment and mixing it with coffee, which is terrible. Then, gently pour the coffee into your container. 
  6. Enjoy. This will be the most delicious and cleanest coffee you will get from a French press. 

Curious about your coffee’s caffeine content? Check out our article “Which coffee has the most caffeine?”.


What coffee roast is best for the French press?

Medium or dark roasts are perfectly suitable for French press. If you prefer to add milk and sugar to your coffee, I recommend a darker roast; it will enhance its rich, earthy, and chocolatey flavors.

Can I use pre-ground coffee in a French press?

You can, but I don’t recommend it. Pre-ground coffee is usually finely ground. It is unsuitable for French press because it can easily pass through the filter and be over-extracted. The coffee you get from it will taste muddy, gritty, and bitter. Also, the pre-ground coffee tastes less fresh than the whole coffee beans. 

Does coffee become stronger the longer you steep it in a French Press?

Yes, but time only affects a few parts of brewing a more robust coffee. The concentration of your coffee mostly depends on the amount of coffee beans you put in. Assume having equal parts of water. The more beans you brew, the stronger the coffee will taste. Proper brewing time will only extract the right soluble components before bitterness creeps in. 

How often should you stir when using French press?

You only need to stir the French press once. We don’t recommend stirring often because it disrupts the steeping process.

Photo of author


Mesphird Yang

I have been brewing and drinking coffee for almost 6 years now. At first, I was just dazzled by how baristas look and that's why I started learning. In the long run, I became obsessed with its charm. I have tried many coffee brewing methods, with different kinds of beans in various roast levels. If I could have more than 4 cups of coffee a day, I definitely would!

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