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If you are looking into how much coffee in a French press is needed to make the best coffee, you are in the right place. French press machines can take a little getting used to. Depending on your own preference for the strength of your coffee, you might need to make regular adjustments to the ratio of coffee to water in your French press.
We recommend writing and keeping track of how you make your coffee. This way, if the first time is too strong or too weak, you can easily make adjustments. Keeping track of the amount of coffee will let you know how much to use next time after you have perfected the perfect cup of coffee.
If you are shopping for a new French press, there are a few things you should know about how to find the right French press for you based on how you like your ratio of coffee to water.
We will break down what you need to know about French presses and how to figure out the balance of coffee to water required to get the best coffee possible.
French Press Instructions
Using a French press is not that complicated, but it's tricky to get the right French press ratio of coffee to water, ensuring you get the best coffee flavor possible.
The overall concept is simple, just press water and coffee grounds and turn them into coffee. But, finessing that right ratio could take you some time to master.
Assuming you already own your French press and are just looking for ways to perfect the amount of coffee and water in your press, here are a few tips to making sure you have the right French press measurements:
Start out by adding a large tablespoon of about 8 grams of coffee to one pot of water. The ratio to start with should be 8 grams to coffee for every 200 ML or 6.7 ounces of water that you use.
Add boiling water to the pot and stir it gently, but make sure the water is not quite boiling or you could burn the coffee creating an unpleasant, acrid taste. You want something more than lukewarm but less than boiling.
Reinsert the plunger into the pot, making sure you top as soon as you are about the water and coffee. You do not want to plunge just yet.
Let things sit and brew for a few minutes. Again, keep track of how long you brew, as this can also contribute to the strength of your coffee, and could be just as important as the ratio of coffee to water. Over or under brewing could mean you have the right amount of coffee, but did not brew correctly.
After it brewed the right amount, press the plunger down carefully.
You’re done–just make sure to wash the French press with warm, soapy water, and don’t forget to keep track of what you liked and didn’t like, so you can tweak the coffee ratio for next time.
This might seem like a lot of instructions, but if you are using your French press every day you will soon be able to brew your coffee efficiently, even before you have consumed any caffeine! Your ratio of coffee to water will be down pat once you perfect your brewing style.
Coffee Maker's Variations
There are so many ways to make coffee. Some people are perfectly happy with a cheap $20 pot from Walmart that brews standard coffee grounds. There’s also your individualized machines that use K-Cups, allowing you to brew personalized coffee at your leisure. These are nice if you live alone and might just want one cup.
You also have to consider if you want to roast coffee from the coffee grounds or from the beans themselves. Using fresh beans is going to make the best coffee, but it can be a bit of a cumbersome process to make coffee using beans.
In reality, the quickest and cheapest way to make coffee is probably not the same as if you are looking for the best cup of coffee imaginable. For that, you want a French press. Remember, you can have fast and cheap, good and cheap, or fast and good, but it is rare to be able to get all three qualities at the same time.
There is not too much of an argument about what type of coffee maker produces the best coffee–the French press is pretty far and above its competitors in terms of quality of the coffee produced.
What Exactly Is A French Press?
They call it “French” because it was actually invented in France in the 1800s. If you have ever been to France, you know that the French like their coffee, and there is no wonder why it was the French that created this piece of coffee machinery.
It is a cylindrical pot that has a plunger and a filter that is built right in, which lets you press boiling water through the ground up coffee. It really is a simple machine, it just can require you to play with the balance of how much coffee to use for every ounce of water.
To use it, you are plunging down through boiling water and coffee grounds and turning that into coffee which will wind up in the carafe or mug.
Is it Healthy to Drink Coffee from a French Press?
You might have heard rumors that it isn’t the healthiest way to brew or drink coffee, but that is not the case. The filter removes anything bad from the coffee that could be harmful to consume, so you can use your French press all you want without worrying about any health problems being caused by it.
Coffee is coffee, and you should feel the same effects from drinking it out of a French press as you would from drinking it out of a coffee pot.
Measuring How Much Coffee in a French Press
Maybe you have been brewing with your French press for a while, but you just still cannot seem to get the right ratio of coffee and water. Or maybe you just do not know where to start. Look at a tip on how to measure the right balance of coffee and water for your French press:
Start with a ratio of 1:15 coffee to water. You can change the ratio on your next batch, but that is a good starting point. This means if you have 1 gram of coffee you would want to have 15 grams of water. That can be converted to mean 3 tablespoons of coffee if you are using 1 cup of water.
If you want a stronger brew, you can increase by 1 gram of coffee at a time until you land at the right ratio of coffee to water in your French press.
You also do not have to increase by quite 1 full gram. With the right measuring tools, you can increase in small increments until you perfect the ratio of water and coffee.
Another tip–make sure your French press is clean. Not only from the last time you use it to make coffee, but from the soap you washed it with afterword. If there is any soap residue left in the French press, which could drastically affect the taste of the coffee produced by the French press.
We do not recommend cleaning your French press in a dishwasher, and instead, we recommend a thorough rinsing after you wash it by hand, which will ensure all the soap has been removed from the French press.
Are You Grinding Coffee Beans?
A French press is designed to be used with coffee grounds. So, if you have fresh coffee beans, that is great as they might taste better. However, you will need to grind them down first. Do not underestimate the importance of grinding the beans into the right size and texture for coffee grounds.
You most likely want to grind the beans down so they are coarse, of the size salt. If you grind the beans too small, you will not reap any benefits of using a French press, and you might as well just brew a regular pot of coffee.
Even if you are not grinding down your own coffee beans, you still want to pay attention to the size and quality of the coffee grounds you purchase. Always buy as fresh as possible, as fresh, organic coffee is going to brew and taste better than something that has been sitting on the back of the grocery shelf for months. And, learn what brands make a French press to brew optimally the right size and texture.
Why does a French Press Need Coarsely Ground Coffee?
Think about how a French press operates. Consider that a French press means you are brewing via immersion. The beans are then going to extract for longer than in any other type of coffee brew.
Therefore, you need a coarser grind, which will let the extraction be slow. With a finer grind, you can over-extract, and cause an unpleasant taste.
If you use a fine grind, you are also going to affect the flow of water. The hot pressed water cannot extract as much of a strong taste from finely ground beans compared to coarsely ground beans.
Fine grounds were basically created for regular coffee pots. They work best with cheap paper filters, but they are not great for a French press, and your coffee to water ratio could be affected by using the wrong type of filter. You also risk fine grounds seeping through and landing in your coffee cup, so coarse grounds are definitely better.
Coffee Machines and Standard Coffee Filters
You might find that coffee produced from a regular coffee machine just does not taste as fresh as coffee from a French press. There are a lot of reasons for this, but chief among them is the paper filters in a standard machine can take away some taste of the coffee.
With a French press, you are steeping the coffee grounds, and not running them through that same type of paper filter, which takes away that great, fresh taste of the grounds.
You cannot get away with using the same filters you would use in a coffee pot in a French press. You need different filters, different coffee grounds, and basically all new equipment.
Does the Size of the French Press Matter?
Size matters. Consider how many cups of coffee you want to make. Is it just for your own personal use? If so, a smaller 3-cup press is your best bet. It will produce about 1.5 mugs of coffee, making it ideal for one or two people.
If you are serving your family every day or sharing with Co-workers, consider a larger press like a 12-cup press. A size that big should produce enough coffee to easily serve about four people.
Maybe you want to keep two different sizes of French presses. If you sometimes serve just yourself, but sometimes serve your partner or visitors, keep two sizes on hand so you always have the right size. If you are making coffee for more than just you go back to the standard ratio of 1:15, so you can accommodate a variety of different taste preferences for coffee strength.
What else do you need to know when shopping for a French Press?
There are really three principal things to consider when you are looking to buy a new French press, and once you know about them, you will prioritize what is right for your needs:
This is where the coffee and water are stored, so you want to make sure it is made from a non-porous material like tempered glass or stainless steel. Some carafes might be made from plastic, but they are not our top choice.
While it doesn’t break easily, plastic carafes are not as good for brewing coffee. Glass looks pretty and is great for brewing fresh coffee, just take some precautions and be aware that it might break easily.
As far as the plunger goes, this is what is responsible for brewing your coffee. A good plunger in your French press. You push down on the handle which moves the plunger down through the filter and pushes the grounds out the bottom.
If you have the choice, look for a plunger that has filter sides made from metal, not plastic. The metal will last forever, but you might find that plastic edges might degrade over a few years of use.
You might think a lid is a lid, but there are some things to consider here. You want a lid that will prevent heat from escaping through the top of the press, so your press should have a guard that prevents heat from escaping.
With a little research, you will find the perfect French press to meet your needs, and you will easily be able to get the right ratio of coffee to water to brew the perfect cup of coffee.
Can a French Press Make Bad Coffee?
While this is a subjective question, the quick answer is that you should be able to get a quality cup of coffee from any French press. Sure, if the plastic degrades after hundreds of uses you might experience a funny taste.
Mostly, the most important decision in making a cup of French press coffee is not about the French press itself, but about how much coffee and water to use, and how ground down the coffee beans are.
Before blaming the French press for a cup of coffee is not up to your high standards review your brewing process. Did you do something different from other brews? Did you add more or less coffee? So keeping a journal of how you make your coffee is so important, as it can point out the reasons your coffee tastes the way it does.
You can also track the differences if you are brewing in a 3 cup French press versus a 12 cup, as you might find a distinct taste when brewing different quantities of coffee.
Travel Mug French Presses
You can also perfect your coffee to water ratio on a French press travel mug. If you do a lot of traveling, there are options available for you to buy a travel mug that lets you make your coffee from a French press that is built in to the mug.
The original models of travel, French press mugs were not perfected, and the seals used to leak a lot. If you tried one of those and did not like it, give them another shot as it makes much better newer models.
One thing to consider with this option, even if you have perfected the French press coffee to water ratio in your home French press, you might need to tweak your ratio in the travel mug. We recommend you start over with your ratio process, journaling and keeping track of the ratio you use in your travel, French press in just the same way you keep track of your ratios for use at home.
Can you fix your ratio after you start?
What if your French press is already brewing when you realized you did not put in enough coffee grounds? The quick answer is you cannot really restart halfway through. However, you might add some coffee grounds.
You cannot make the coffee weaker, but you might strengthen it. Overall, you should probably just start over if you are looking to change while the French press is in progress.
Common Mistakes People Make with a French Press
While using a French press is not too difficult, you add water, add coffee, and brew, there are still a few common mistakes that you want to avoid.
Improperly ground coffee beans–remember, you want coarse coffee grounds. Anything too thin or too fine will not produce a great cup of coffee.
Using coffee that is not fresh–if you invested in a Fresh press, please invest in a coffee grinder. You want fresh coffee beans that you grind to your own texture right before you press them.
The wrong coffee to water ratio–again, this is down to personal preference. So what is wrong for you might not be wrong for someone else.
Leaving the coffee sit too long in the French press–the idea with a French press is to consume everything as fresh as possible from fresh beans to a fresh cup of coffee. Letting the coffee sit in the press is going to cause some unpleasant tastes and smells.
The most important thing to remember is to use fresh whenever possible. Your ratio of coffee to water could be different depending on how fresh your coffee is.
Real fresh coffee that you grind yourself right before you brew is going to taste fresher and stronger than coffee grounds that sat on the shelf for months.
Personalize your Decision
The amount of coffee in a French press really comes down to your own personal taste. The enjoyable part is you do not have to make any two cups of coffee the same.
You could know you want extra strong coffee one day because you got no sleep the night before, or you might want a weaker cup since it is late in the day and you do not want to be kept awake all night. Keep track of what ratio of coffee to water you like, and you can always tweak it whenever you want a variation.