Perfect coffee-to-french-press ratio: debunking the myth

Randolf Fredric

So you’ve got yourself a fancy French press, and you’re all set to brew a delicious cup of joe. But wait, how much coffee should you actually put in that thingamajig? We know it can be a tad confusing, with all those measurements and ratios floating around. Fret not, my caffeine-loving friend! We’re here to simplify things for you and guide you through the art of French pressing. In this article, we’ll break it down and spill the beans on the ideal coffee-to-water ratio, ensuring you can kickstart your day with the perfect cup of java.


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to make the perfect cup of coffee using a French press. In this article, we will explore the art of brewing coffee in a French press and the precise measurements needed for a delicious and flavorful result.

What is a French Press?

A French press, also known as a press pot or plunger pot, is a popular brewing device for coffee enthusiasts. It consists of a cylindrical glass or metal container with a plunger and a mesh filter. The simple design allows for full immersion brewing, where coarsely ground coffee is steeped in hot water, resulting in a rich and robust cup of coffee.

Why Use a French Press?

There are several advantages to using a French press over other brewing methods:

  • The full immersion brewing process allows for better extraction of flavors compared to drip brewing.
  • The metal mesh filter used in a French press retains more of the coffee’s natural oils, resulting in a fuller-bodied cup.
  • French presses are easy to use and require minimal equipment, making them ideal for home use.

How to Use a French Press

Step 1: Measure the Coffee

Start by measuring the desired amount of coffee based on the number of cups you wish to brew. A general guideline is to use a ratio of 1:15, which means one part coffee to fifteen parts water. However, personal preferences may vary, so feel free to adjust accordingly.

Step 2: Grind the Coffee

For the best results, grind your coffee beans to a coarse consistency, similar to sea salt. This ensures that the coffee grounds don’t pass through the mesh filter and end up in your cup.

Step 3: Preheat the French Press

Preheating the French press helps maintain the temperature of the water during the brewing process. Simply fill the French press with hot water, let it sit for a few seconds, then discard the water.

Step 4: Add the Coffee and Water

Place the coffee grounds into the preheated French press, then pour hot water over the grounds. Use a kettle with a gooseneck spout for better control over the pouring process. Start by saturating all the grounds, then slowly pour the remaining water in a circular motion, making sure to cover all the coffee evenly.

Step 5: Steep and Stir

Place the plunger on top of the French press but do not press it down. Let the coffee steep for about four minutes, then give it a gentle stir to ensure even extraction.

Step 6: Press and Pour

After the four-minute steeping period, slowly press the plunger down, separating the coffee grounds from the liquid. Pressing too quickly or with excessive force may result in coffee sediments in your cup. Once the plunger is fully pressed down, pour the brewed coffee into your favorite mug and enjoy!

How Much Coffee to Put in a French Press?

Now that we’ve covered the brewing process, let’s dive deeper into how much coffee you should put in a French press based on the number of cups you wish to brew. Remember, the following measurements are general guidelines, and you can always adjust the ratios to suit your taste preferences.

1 Cup of Coffee (8 ounces)

A single cup of coffee requires approximately 15 grams of coffee grounds, which amounts to around 1 heaping tablespoon. Add hot water up to the desired level, leaving some space at the top for the plunger.

2 Cups of Coffee (16 ounces)

For two cups of coffee, you’ll need approximately 30 grams of coffee grounds, equivalent to 2 heaping tablespoons. Adjust the water level accordingly to match your desired strength.

4 Cups of Coffee (32 ounces)

When brewing four cups of coffee, use about 60 grams of coffee grounds, equivalent to 4 heaping tablespoons. Maintain the appropriate water-to-coffee ratio to ensure a well-balanced brew.

8 Cups of Coffee (64 ounces)

If you’re brewing a larger batch for a group, aim for around 120 grams of coffee grounds, which amounts to 8 heaping tablespoons. Adjust the water level based on your preference for a stronger or milder coffee.

12 Cups of Coffee (96 ounces)

For twelve cups of coffee, use approximately 180 grams of coffee grounds, equivalent to 12 heaping tablespoons. Keep in mind that brewing such a large quantity may require multiple presses or a larger French press.

Key Tips for Brewing with a French Press

Here are some additional tips to elevate your French press brewing experience:

1. Use Freshly Roasted Coffee Beans

For the best flavor, use freshly roasted coffee beans and grind them just before brewing. This ensures maximum freshness and aroma.

2. Use Filtered Water

Filtered water improves the taste of your coffee by removing any impurities or chlorine that may affect the flavor.

3. Experiment with Brew Time

The recommended four-minute steeping time is a good starting point, but feel free to experiment with longer or shorter brew times to find your preferred strength.

4. Clean Your French Press Thoroughly

Regularly clean your French press to remove any coffee residue, as this can affect the taste of future brews. Disassemble the plunger and thoroughly wash all parts with soap and water.

5. Store Coffee Properly

To maintain freshness, store your coffee beans or grounds in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Avoid storing them in the refrigerator, as moisture can affect the flavor.

The French Press vs. Other Brewing Methods

While the French press offers its own unique brewing experience, it’s essential to understand the differences between it and other popular brewing methods:

French Press Drip Coffee Espresso
Full immersion brewing Filtered drip High-pressure extraction
Rich and full-bodied Clean and balanced Intensely flavored
Simple and easy to use Convenient and quick Requires specialized equipment


In conclusion, brewing coffee with a French press offers a delightful and flavorful experience. By following the precise measurements and methods outlined in this guide, you can achieve a perfect cup of coffee tailored to your taste preferences. Remember to experiment with different coffee beans, grind sizes, and water ratios to find your ideal brew. So, grab your French press, some freshly roasted coffee, and enjoy the rich aromas and flavors that this brewing method has to offer.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Is it necessary to grind coffee beans right before using them in a French press?

A: Yes, it is highly recommended to grind your coffee beans right before using them in a French press. Grinding your beans just before brewing ensures that you get the freshest and most flavor-packed cup of coffee possible. Pre-ground coffee can start to lose its flavors and aromas within minutes of being exposed to air, so grinding your beans immediately prior to brewing will maximize the taste and aroma.

Q: Can I use any type of coffee beans in a French press?

A: Yes, you can use any type of coffee beans in a French press. The beauty of using a French press is that it allows you to make coffee using any variety of beans you prefer. Whether you enjoy a light roast, a dark roast, single-origin beans, or a blend, all types of coffee beans can be used in a French press. The key is to find beans that suit your taste preferences and grind them to the appropriate coarseness for the French press brewing method.

Q: What is the optimal water temperature for brewing coffee in a French press?

A: The optimal water temperature for brewing coffee in a French press is between 195°F (90°C) and 205°F (96°C). Water at this temperature range ensures proper extraction of flavors and oils from the coffee grounds. It is recommended to bring the water to a boil and then let it cool for about 30 seconds before pouring it over the coffee grounds in the French press.

Q: Can I use a French press to brew tea?

A: Yes, you can use a French press to brew tea as well. While French presses are primarily designed for brewing coffee, they can also be used to make tea. Simply replace the coffee grounds with loose tea leaves or tea bags and follow the same brewing steps as you would for coffee. Keep in mind that it is best to have a separate French press dedicated to tea brewing, as the flavors of coffee and tea can easily mix and affect the taste.

Q: How long should I let the coffee steep in a French press before plunging?

A: The recommended steeping time for coffee in a French press is 4 to 5 minutes. This allows enough time for the coffee to extract its flavors and oils into the water. However, the steeping time can be adjusted according to personal taste preferences. If you prefer a stronger cup of coffee, you can let it steep for a little longer, but be cautious not to exceed 8 minutes as it may lead to over-extraction and a bitter taste.

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Randolf Fredric

Randolf Fredric

A young brewmaster of words, crafting captivating tales over coffee's rhythmic symphony, stirring minds with each blog post.


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