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French Press Coffee

posted in Beverages by Kathy Maister

There are some folks who want you to believe that making a good cup of coffee requires advanced degrees in both physics and chemistry. Not True! Anyone can do better than just a cup of instant coffee. With just a few pieces of fairly inexpensive equipment, you can learn to make your own, really good, cup of home-brewed coffee in less than 5 minutes. You will need four pieces of equipment to make your home brew.

1. A kettle to boil water

Boiling water with an electric kettle is a much better option than using a kettle on the stove top. An electric kettle has an automatic shut off, after the water comes to a boil. So you never have to make a mad dash to get to that screeching kettle.

Prices of an electric kettle can range anywhere from $15.00 to over $100.00. Shop around for the one that fits your budget.

2. Timer

I like the digital ones that screech at you!

3. A Coffee scoop

This measures 1/8 cup or 2 Tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water. (In this case, as always in cooking, a “cup” is an official measure, not just any old cup!)

4. French Press

There are two pieces to this coffee maker: the glass carafe and the plunger lid. They come in many different sizes, some even with insulated pots.

They too are available in a huge price range depending on how simple or really fancy you want your coffee pot to be. This one costs less than $10. You can pay as much as $60.00 for a really fancy one that is this size!

Buy a package of your favorite ground coffee, preferably “regular or course grind”. Coffee connoisseurs swear that, for a good cup of coffee, you must grind your own beans right before you use them. Maybe, someday – but for now, just buy the ground coffee in your favorite flavor. (I do!)

Here we go!

Step # 1

I use 2 scoops of grounds with my French Press, but you need to experiment a little to figure out how strong you like your coffee.

Step #2

Pour in water that is just off the boil, in other words the kettle has boiled and has been turned off for a few seconds.

Step #3

Stir the coffee with a plastic or wooden spoon (or even a chop stick!) to make sure all the coffee grounds are steeping. (Steep means is let the grounds soak in the water.) Never use a metal spoon to stir the coffee grounds or you may shatter the glass.

Step #4

Put the plunger (also known as the lid) on and press ever so slightly to make sure all the grounds are wet.

Let it steep for about 3 to 4 minutes.

Step #5

Be sure to hold the carafe by the handle then, gently press down the coffee grounds to the bottom of the carafe.

If you press the grounds with too much force, scalding water may shoot out of the spout.

Then just pour into a coffee cup, add cream and sugar to your taste and I’m sure you’ll discover that the preparation time was worth it.


French Press Coffee Ingredients:

  • 1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water

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hamdan said:

yummmmm coffeeeee <33

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Yoyo, thanks for the grinding tip! I just buy the already ground coffee right off the grocery store shelf and that works just fine for me. I have tried the fine grind and you are so right-you end up with sludge on the bottom of the cup. (YuK!)

yoyo said:


French press has large holes in the press thingie, as compared to other coffee filters, and longer brew time. This means you use a course grind. Fine grind = bitter and lots of grind left in your mug.

Amy said:

I love my French Press and would be lost without it. I got a really great travel mug type and I take it with me everywhere. It has an extra filter at the top where you drink out of, which acts as a double protection between you and all the sludge from the bottom. The company name was Planetary Designs (I think!) and it is a dream.

I was looking for a back up mug and hit Goodwill. Wouldn’t you know that someone had donated a perfect thermal Starbucks French Press mug? It had never been used and was two dollars! I am sure the recepient had no idea what it was for :)

Paul said:

I, too, love coffee made in a french press and recently tried a suggestion using cold water to brew my coffee overnight in the fridge. For ease, lowest prep time and especially for flavor it was the best iced coffee ever.

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Paul-tell me more! I’ve never tried this technique but have heard that it makes great iced coffee!

Paul said:

Iced coffee from a french press is soooo easy. The recipe is exactly as the proportions of one you’re using, except everything starts and stays cold. You’d just add ice. I like to use filtered tap water, but that’s my only twist. The flavor you get by staying cool is definately better. Probably has to do with how the beans oils are released. For your iced coffee (if you have overnight-like time) this is T H E way to go. I wish I could remember who reported this idea. They certainly deserve credit.

Kathy Maister said:

Paul, this is so cool, I can’t wait to give it a try! Thanks for sharing the technique! :)

Kathleen A. Kandybski said:

Hi there, Kathy! I’m glad I found this site! Thanks so much for taking the time to post this information about using a French Press. I’ve never used one but do LOVE coffee and want to try this method. Your technique, and all the great tips provided by reviewers are really going to be helpful when I’m ready to try out my press for the first time. It’s on the way… hurry FedEx, I can’t wait!

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Kathleen, my husband is a tea drinker so making a pot of coffee is a waste for me. These single servings are great! I hope you enjoy your French coffee press as much as I do mine!

Irene said:

My husband is the coffee drinker and I’m the tea drinker. Have you bought your husband a French press to brew his tea? You can’t use the same French press for coffee and tea. No matter how you wash it, the tea always has a coffee flavor to it. Using loose leaf tea or tisane, the French press makes a more flavorful pot of tea just like coffee. If you want to try a coarse grind for your coffee, have a coffee shop grind beans for you. Some food stores have commercial grinders with a coarse setting. Happy brewing! Irene, KozeeLady

Kathy Maister said:

Thanks Irene for all the great tips!

Laura said:

Hi, Kathy, love the site (“Stumbled”). We make our French Press coffee daily, and have some difficulty when we are out of town without it. ;) We have purchased a second one that we take with us everywhere. Hotels? Not a problem, heat the water in the coffee maker! Camping is grand, because you can always heat up water and have the freshest coffee every morning and at the campfire (we do grind enough for the trip, and find the coarsest is best).

Kathy Maister said:

I do love my French Press Coffee! Do course grinds leave a bit a “sludge” on the bottom of the coffee cup?

Laura said:

You do have a bit of sludge with any French Press, but coarser grind means less grounds escape the filter={theoretically} less sludge in your cup.

Kathy Maister said:

Thanks Laura!

Austin said:

You ought to buy a Bodum coffee grinder and fresh whole beans. The difference with a french press and fresh just-ground beans is astounding.

Kathy Maister said:

Hey Austin! That sounds like something I should add to my Christmas wish list!
Thanks for the tip!

Elaine said:

Loved the first photo with your reflection on the kettle. Am a fan of the french press myself and prefer to use Kona coffee – how’s that for globalization? Thanks for the post!

William said:

Hi There,

Great post!


startcooking said:

Hi Elaine,
I guess I can be both behind and in front of the camera at the same time! I’ve never tried Kona coffee – call me ordinary but I love Duncan Donuts coffee!
Hi William,
Good luck with your blog!

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