Best coffee for a French press: A guide

Randolf Fredric

what kind of coffee for french press

Are you someone who likes to sit back, relax, and enjoy a rich cup of coffee?

If so, then the French press might just be your perfect companion.

This brewing method allows coffee enthusiasts to savor every sip, thanks to its full-bodied and flavorful results.

But when it comes to choosing the right coffee for your French press, the options can be overwhelming.

From different bean types to roast levels, finding the perfect match can seem like a daunting task.

So, let’s take a relaxed and laid-back approach as we explore the world of French press coffee and discover what kind of coffee suits this brewing style best.


The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Coffee for French Press



Among the various brewing methods available, French press is a popular choice for coffee enthusiasts.

Its simplicity, affordability, and ability to extract rich flavors make it a preferred brewing technique by many.

However, to truly enjoy a heavenly cup of French press coffee, it is crucial to select the right type of coffee beans for this method.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore different aspects of choosing the perfect coffee for French press and provide you with valuable insights and tips to enhance your coffee brewing experience.

What is French Press?

French press, also known as a press pot or plunger pot, is a manual coffee brewing technique that involves steeping coarsely ground coffee in hot water.

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It relies on a cylindrical glass or metal container with a plunger and a built-in filter.

The coffee is brewed by pressing the plunger down to separate the grounds from the liquid, resulting in a full-bodied and flavorful cup of coffee.

Why Choose French Press?

French press offers several advantages over other brewing methods, which make it a popular choice among coffee lovers:

  • Full-bodied flavor: French press retains the natural oils and sediment from the coffee grounds, resulting in a rich and intense flavor profile.
  • Customizable strength and flavor: You have full control over the strength and flavor of your coffee by adjusting variables such as coffee-to-water ratio, water temperature, and brewing time.
  • Affordability: French press coffee makers are relatively inexpensive, making it an accessible brewing method for everyone.
  • Easy to use and clean: French press requires no complicated setup or filters, and cleaning is a breeze.

How to Choose the Perfect Coffee for French Press?

Now that we understand the basics, let’s dive into the essential factors you should consider when selecting the right coffee beans for French press brewing:

1. Roast Level

The roast level of coffee beans plays a significant role in the flavors and aromas you’ll experience in your cup of French press coffee.

Here are the main roast levels and their characteristics:

Roast Level Characteristics
Light Roast Delicate and subtle flavors, higher acidity
Medium Roast Balanced flavors, medium acidity
Dark Roast Rich and bold flavors, low acidity

For French press brewing, medium and dark roasts are generally recommended due to their ability to stand up to the prolonged steeping time, resulting in a robust and well-rounded cup of coffee.

2. Bean Origin

The origin of coffee beans greatly influences the taste and flavor profile.

Here are some popular coffee bean origins and their characteristics:

Bean Origin Characteristics
South America Medium body, balanced acidity, chocolatey and nutty notes
Africa Bright acidity, floral and fruity notes
Asia Full body, earthy and spicy notes
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Experimenting with different bean origins allows you to discover your preferred flavor profile.

However, African and South American beans are often recommended for French press brewing, as their flavors harmonize well with this brewing method.

3. Coffee Beans Freshness

The freshness of coffee beans significantly impacts the taste and aroma.

To ensure a delightful cup of French press coffee, make sure you:

  • Buy freshly roasted beans: Look for beans that have been recently roasted, as they retain more flavors.
  • Grind just before brewing: Whole bean coffee stays fresh longer, so grind your beans just before brewing to preserve their flavors.
  • Store properly: Keep your coffee beans in an airtight container, away from moisture, heat, and light.

4. Grind Size

The grind size of your coffee beans is vital for French press brewing.

The grounds should be coarser compared to other brewing methods to prevent over-extraction.

Grind your beans to a consistency similar to coarse sea salt for the best results in French press.

Advantages of Using the Right Coffee for French Press

The use of the right coffee beans for French press brewing offers various advantages:

  • Enhanced flavor: The right coffee beans optimize the rich flavors and aromas in your cup.
  • Smooth and well-rounded mouthfeel: French press brewing with the correct beans ensures a full-bodied and smooth mouthfeel.
  • Customizable brewing: You can experiment with different coffee beans to find your preferred taste profile.

Difference Between French Press and Other Brewing Methods

French press brewing stands out from other methods in several ways:

  • Pressurized brewing: Unlike Espresso machines that use high pressure, French press relies on immersion brewing.
  • Sediment presence: French press coffee retains sediments, resulting in a full-bodied cup, while coffee from other methods is often clearer.
  • Control over brewing variables: French press allows you to control brewing time, water temperature, and coffee-to-water ratio more precisely.


Choosing the right coffee beans is paramount to achieve a delightful cup of French press coffee.

By considering factors such as roast level, bean origin, freshness, and grind size, you can elevate your brewing experience and enjoy a cup that suits your taste preferences.

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Remember, experimentation is key, so don’t be afraid to explore different coffee beans until you find your perfect match.

With the knowledge gained from this guide, you are now well-equipped to embark on your French press coffee journey.

Happy brewing!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1: Is it necessary to use a specific type of coffee for French press brewing?

A: Yes, for the best results in French press brewing, it is recommended to use coarsely ground coffee. The coarseness of the grind allows for a slower extraction process, which is ideal for the French press brewing method. Using a medium to dark roast coffee is also preferred since it helps to enhance the flavor and body of the coffee.

Q2: Can I use pre-ground coffee for French press brewing?

A: While using pre-ground coffee is technically possible, it is not recommended for French press brewing. Pre-ground coffee is typically ground for drip coffee makers, which requires a slightly finer grind. Using pre-ground coffee in a French press may result in an over-extracted and bitter cup of coffee. It is best to grind your coffee beans just before brewing for optimal results.

Q3: How much coffee should I use for a French press?

A: The general rule of thumb is to use a ratio of 1:15 coffee to water. This means for every 1 gram of coffee, use 15 grams of water. However, personal taste preferences may vary, so you can experiment with different ratios to find your perfect cup of coffee. It’s always a good idea to start with the recommended ratio and adjust from there according to your taste.

Q4: Does the water temperature matter when brewing coffee in a French press?

A: Yes, the water temperature is important for a successful French press brew. The optimal temperature for brewing coffee is between 195°F (90°C) and 205°F (96°C). Water that is too hot can over-extract the coffee and result in a bitter taste, while water that is too cold may not extract enough flavor from the coffee grounds. Using a thermometer or an electric kettle with temperature control can help ensure the water is heated to the correct temperature.

Q5: How long should I let the coffee steep in a French press?

A: The recommended steeping time for French press brewing is around 4 minutes. During this time, the coffee grounds are in contact with the water, allowing the flavors to extract. However, the steeping time can be adjusted based on personal preference. If you prefer a stronger and bolder cup of coffee, you can extend the steeping time by a minute or two. Likewise, if you prefer a milder cup, you can shorten the steeping time slightly.

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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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