How To Use A French Press or Coffee Press

Using a french coffee press is somewhat of a technical application, but very much an art. This How To Use French Press Primer will cover basic techniques that will allow plenty of room for your artistic application. Please feel free to modify any of the French Press recommendations to suit your taste buds. The basics of this french press technique should not be altered though. First, a little review on what a French Press is.

Currently, French Presses come in various sizes and material. Some are made from borosilicate glass, some are plastic, while others are stainless steel French Presses. All perform basically the same when coffee is immediately consumed, but a stainless steel french press will hold the heat longer if it is insulated. This can cause the coffee to steep longer if not consumed in 1 application. Just choose a french press that will provide enough French Pressed Coffee to consume in a sitting from one pour. If more is needed then rinse the unit with hot water and begin the process again. Remember that allowing the grounds to continue steeping in the hot water will cause bitterness to the flavor regardless of the type of French Press.

Recommended Technique for How to Use a French Press:

Generally it is NOT recommended to use soap and water to clean your french coffee press. See this link for the proper technique to cleaning a coffee carafe. However if you are so inclined to use soap and water, follow this how to use a french press process without loosening the plunger.


  1. Use a good Burr Grinder that will grind the coffee beans to consistent coffee grind sizes (particle sizes) and grind to a medium to course size for the French Press.
  2. Use fresh and filtered water at approximately 200 degrees*.
  3. Only use a separate pot for boiling water.
  4. Boil Water, enough for your coffee, plus about 1 1/2 Cups more for Cleaning and Pre-heating French Press Coffee
  5. Maker and pre-wetting your grounds. Remove the boiling water pot from heat and the temperature will fall to around 200 degrees*.
  6. Slightly loosen the screen of the French Press’s plunger by turning it counter clockwise (Some will take this opportunity to completely disassemble wipe and rinse the French Press Plunger then reassemble to loosened state.).
  7. Pour a little less than a cup of the hot water into the french coffee press and insert the loosened plunger to just below the water line. Make sure the lid is in place. Carefully swirl the hot water to rinse out the inside of the pot and screen.
  8. Carefully remove the plunger and pour out the water, then turn screen filter clockwise to tighten (Some will take this opportunity to completely disassemble wipe and rinse the French Press Plunger).
  9. Insert the correct amount of grounds for your needs and pre-wet these grounds for about 30 seconds to 1 minute with the 200 degree heated water, stir.
  10. Pour remaining hot water into the french press to the volume required. Kept at approximately 200 degrees.
  11. If using a glass or borosilicate glass french press do not use a metal spoon to stir the slurry as it can shatter the glass.
  12. Long plastic spoons, wood spoons or wood chop sticks are recommended for stirring. Gently stir the coffee grounds and hot water mixture.
  13. Insert warmed screen plunger to just below touching the floating coffee grounds or water surface. For a small 2 cup pot allow the coffee to steep for two to four minutes, larger pots allow coffee grounds to steep for around 4 minutes
  14. Depress plunger carefully and fully into french press and pour.

*Remember that the boiling point of water drops as atmospheric pressure increases (eg., Higher elevations increase vapor pressure, the boiling point of water drops.) This is one reason why recipes are altered for higher elevations.

So, don’t be afraid to alter these recommendations of this How To Use A French Press Primer, make it your own and enjoy!

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