Perfect coffee-to-water ratio for French press

Randolf Fredric

Are you tired of grappling with the perfect coffee-to-water ratio for your French press? Well, fret no more! This article is here to help you unravel the mysteries of achieving the ideal brew. We’ll guide you through the wonderful world of coffee measurements, ensuring you never end up with a weak or bitter cup of joe again. So, grab your French press, sit back, and get ready to master the art of achieving the perfect coffee flavor in the most effortless way possible.


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to brew the perfect cup of coffee using a French press. In this article, we will delve into the world of French press coffee and explore the best practices for determining how much coffee to use. Whether you are a coffee connoisseur or a novice, this guide will equip you with the knowledge to elevate your coffee brewing skills to new heights.

What is a French Press?

A French press, also known as a press pot or plunger pot, is a manual coffee brewing device that allows you to fully immerse the coffee grounds in water and extract maximum flavor. It consists of a cylindrical glass or stainless steel carafe, a metal mesh filter, and a plunger with a handle and a fine mesh filter attached to it. The process involves steeping coarsely ground coffee in hot water and then pressing the plunger down to separate the brewed coffee from the grounds.

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How Does a French Press Work?

When you pour hot water into a French press and add coffee grounds, the steeping process begins. The water extracts the flavor compounds and oils from the coffee grounds. Once the desired steeping time has elapsed, you press the plunger down slowly, which pushes the grounds to the bottom and separates them from the brewed coffee. The metal mesh filter ensures that no grounds make their way into the final cup.

Why Use a French Press?

The French press brewing method offers several advantages that make it a popular choice among coffee enthusiasts:

Rich and Full-Bodied Flavor

French press coffee has a robust and full-bodied flavor profile. The immersion brewing allows the coffee grounds to fully extract their flavors, resulting in a rich and aromatic cup of coffee.

Control over Brewing Variables

With a French press, you have control over various aspects of the brewing process, such as water temperature, steeping time, and coffee-to-water ratio. This control allows you to fine-tune your brew and tailor it to your personal taste preferences.

No Need for Paper Filters

Unlike other brewing methods that use paper filters, the French press employs a metal mesh filter. This eliminates the need for disposable filters and reduces waste, making it an environmentally friendly option.

How Much Coffee to Use for French Press

The ideal coffee-to-water ratio for French press brewing is a key factor in achieving a well-balanced and flavorful cup of coffee. Here, we will discuss how to determine the right amount of coffee to use based on different serving sizes.

1. Determining the Amount of Coffee

Before we dive into the specifics, it’s important to note that coffee beans or grounds should always be weighed rather than measured by volume for consistent results. A digital kitchen scale is an invaluable tool for precision brewing.

To achieve a strong and flavorful brew, a general guideline is to use a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:15. This means that for every gram of coffee, 15 grams of water should be used. You can adjust this ratio based on your personal taste preferences.

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2. Single Serving Size

For a single cup of French press coffee, you would typically use around 20 grams of coffee. This amount can be adjusted based on your desired strength. Most French press carafes have markings on the side to indicate the number of servings, making it easier to measure the correct amount.

3. Multiple Serving Sizes

When brewing coffee for multiple people, it’s important to calculate the appropriate amount of coffee and water. As a starting point, you can use the following measurements:

Number of Servings Amount of Coffee (grams) Amount of Water (milliliters)
2 40 600
4 80 1200
6 120 1800

4. Adjusting the Strength

If you prefer a stronger cup of coffee, you can increase the amount of coffee used or decrease the amount of water. Experimentation is key to finding the perfect balance that suits your taste buds.

Tips for Brewing the Perfect French Press Coffee

To ensure the best results, consider the following tips:

1. Use Freshly Roasted Coffee

For the most flavorful cup of coffee, use freshly roasted coffee beans. Coffee begins to lose its freshness and flavor as it ages, so aim to use beans that have been roasted within the past few weeks.

2. Grind the Coffee Coarsely

The grind size plays a crucial role in French press brewing. It should be coarse to allow for proper extraction and avoid over-extraction, which can result in a bitter taste. Invest in a burr grinder for consistent and precise grinding.

3. Preheat the French Press

Before adding the coffee grounds, preheat the French press by rinsing it with hot water. This helps maintain a consistent brewing temperature and prevents heat loss during the brewing process.

4. Use Water at the Right Temperature

The water temperature affects the extraction process. It’s recommended to use water between 195°F (90°C) and 205°F (96°C) for optimal results. If you don’t have a thermometer, bringing the water to a boil and allowing it to cool for a minute or two should yield the desired temperature range.

5. Practice the Bloom Technique

Inspired by pour-over coffee brewing, the bloom technique involves pouring a small amount of hot water over the coffee grounds and allowing them to bloom for around 30 seconds before adding the remaining water. This allows the coffee to degas and results in a more even extraction.

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6. Steep for the Right Time

The optimal steeping time can vary depending on personal preference, desired strength, and coffee bean characteristics. As a general guideline, a steeping time of 4-5 minutes is a good starting point. Experiment and adjust the time to find your perfect brew.

7. Plunge Slowly and Evenly

When it’s time to separate the brewed coffee from the grounds, press the plunger down slowly and evenly. Applying too much pressure or rushing the plunging process can cause grounds to escape into the coffee, resulting in a gritty texture.


Brewing coffee with a French press offers a unique and enjoyable experience for coffee lovers. By following the guidelines provided in this comprehensive guide, you can determine the perfect amount of coffee to use for a delicious, full-bodied cup of French press coffee. Remember to experiment with different ratios and brewing techniques to tailor your brew to perfection. Now, armed with this knowledge, go forth and brew with confidence!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Can I use ground coffee instead of whole beans?

Yes, you can definitely use ground coffee instead of whole beans in a French press. However, it is recommended to use coarsely ground coffee for best results. Fine grounds can pass through the mesh filter of the press and result in a gritty texture in your brew.

2. How much coffee should I use for a single serving?

For a single serving, a general guideline is to use approximately 1 tablespoon (7-8 grams) of coffee per 6 ounces (177ml) of water. However, you can adjust the amount according to your personal preference for a stronger or milder cup of coffee.

3. Is it okay to let the coffee steep for too long in the French press?

Leaving the coffee to steep for too long can result in over-extraction, which may lead to a bitter taste. The recommended steeping time for a French press is 4-5 minutes. However, you can adjust this based on your taste preferences. Experiment and find the ideal steeping time that suits your palate.

4. Can I reuse coffee grounds for a second brew?

While it is possible to reuse coffee grounds for a second brew in a French press, the flavor profile will be significantly weaker. The initial brew extracts most of the desirable flavors, leaving behind weaker aromas and flavors. It is generally recommended to use fresh coffee grounds for each brew to obtain the best-tasting cup.

5. Can I use cold water instead of hot water to make French press coffee?

Yes, you can use cold water to make French press coffee. This method is known as cold brew or cold press. Cold brewing coffee requires steeping the coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period of time, usually 12-24 hours, resulting in a smooth and less acidic brew. However, keep in mind that the taste and aroma profile of cold brew coffee can be quite different from a traditional French press brew.

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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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