This cute little coffee maker is a total classic when it comes to brewing java.
Even as I write that… I can see it in cafes being shared by two people sitting at a table.
I can picture the hundreds of times I’ve made coffee with it at home and at friends’ houses, having fun hang out times or game nights with it in the middle being shared.
It’s an all-around great coffee maker that has become a close companion of so many who use it! And they sure do seem to last a long time.
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The old faithful that I’m talking about is of course the French press… like it says in the title.
Maybe some reading this are beginners and you’ve just gotten your first French press, and maybe some are more seasoned pros with it.
Wherever your at in your journey with it, I really hope that this will not only be a great step-by-step tutorial on how to French press, but also give some great pointers even if you’re already pretty good with your technique.
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It looks great, works well, and you really just can’t go wrong with it! So if you’re looking for a French press coffee maker to buy, there’s my suggestion.
There are so many different ones you can purchase but the Bodum Chambord is not only the most well-known, it’s also the most popular, and for good reason.
And with that being said, let’s get brewing! Here’s the best way to make the best French press!
Step 1 – Get Good Beans
It’s always good to go back to basics, right?
That’s what we’re doing right here.
You can have a great coffee brewing method like French press, but if you have not so good quality coffee beans, it won’t work well. In my reviews section I have many great recommendations for amazing coffee.
I prefer medium or dark roast coffee for brewing with French press.
Who likes poor quality coffee, anyway??? Make sure you have great quality coffee when brewing!
Step 2 – Heat The Water + Grind The Beans
Whenever you’re making coffee, unless it’s with an automatic method like an electric drip coffee maker, start with heating the water, and while the water is heating up, grind the beans.
It’s not only the most efficient way to do it, but that way you’ll keep the beans as fresh as they can be by grinding them right before they are used for brewing.
Heat the water to 200 – 205 degrees F (93 – 96 C), this is the ideal temperature for French press.
If you have a kettle or another method of heating water that doesn’t have a thermometer, heat the water just until it boils.
Right as it begins to boil, take the kettle or pan off the heat, then let it sit for at least 30 seconds.
After 30 seconds or so, it should cool down to the ideal temperature of 200 – 205 degrees F and it’s ready for brewing.
If you have an electric kettle (like me), just let the kettle heat the water and after it stops let it sit for at least 30 seconds.
Grinding The Beans…
When it comes to the grind setting, make sure to grind the beans coarse for French press!
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most coarse, grind them at 9 or 10.
This is because the longer the steeping time for a coffee, the more coarse your beans should be ground. French press has a long steeping time so we grind the beans very coarse.
This is also why espresso, which has an extraction/steeping time of under 30 seconds, has a very fine grind setting.
It’s also a good thing to make sure you have a good quality coffee grinder that will make an even grind. This will effect the quality of the coffee in the end.
The Measurements/Amounts Of Coffee And Water
A great coffee to water ratio for French press is 52 grams of coffee to 4 cups of water.
- For an 8-cup French press – use 4 cups of water (24oz) and 52 grams of whole beans
- For a 4-cup French press – use 2 cups of water (12oz) and 26 grams of whole beans
- For a 2-cup French press – use 1 cup of water (6oz) and 13 grams of whole beans
- For a 1-cup French press – use a 1/2 cup of water and 7 grams (1 tblsp) of whole beans
*Please note that the ounces of water are measured with the fact that a “cup” of coffee is less ounces than the standard measurement for a cup. If you make it with these measurements, you’ll be good to go.*
So if you measure your coffee, those are great guidelines to follow.
If you don’t measure your coffee (like me!), the easy way to do it by eyeing it is to fill the coffee grinds to the bottom vertical metal piece that the lower part of the C-handle is connected to.
Fill the coffee to the bottom edge of that metal piece, if you’re making a “full” container of French press, which would mean you fill the water to the upper vertical metal piece.
So again, if you fill the grounds to the metal piece, you will pour the water to the bottom edge of the upper metal piece, the one that’s connected to the top part of the C-handle. See the photo below.
But we haven’t gotten to step 3 just yet, so don’t dump all your water in just yet!
Step 3 – Bloom The Coffee
This is a nifty trick to get the most out of your coffee.
It will give the coffee a cleaner and smoother taste, and is supposed to clear out some of the carbon dioxide from the coffee. You can read more about this technique here.
After you’ve added the grounds to the bottom of the French press, pour just enough water in to get all the grounds wet, but not above the grounds.
Usually to bloom the coffee you’ll just pour the hot water for 3 to 5 seconds. Give it a gentle, quick stir after to saturate with the water.
After you’ve poured the water and stirred, let it sit like this for about 45 seconds.
The coffee grounds will puff up and bloom, and it’s a fun sight to see 🙂
Step 4 – Add The Rest Of The Water And Steep For 4 Minutes
After you bloom the coffee, pour in the rest of the hot water.
After you fill the water to the top, Stir the grounds once again, mixing them well.
Once you’ve done this, put the lid on and set a timer for 4 minutes.
The total brewing time for French press is 4 minutes. So technically, you can set the timer for 3 minutes and 15 seconds if you bloom the coffee.
But it doesn’t matter too much either way, I still set the timer for 4 minutes.
You can also leave the lid off for the 4 minute steeping time, which supposedly provides more bloom. But after the initial 45 second bloom, it probably really doesn’t matter, and it’s kind of nice to keep the coffee hot!
Also, if you want to keep the coffee as warm as possible, it’s a good idea to put the side of the lid with the opening for pouring facing away from the spout.
That way the hot air won’t escape.
If you do this, just remember to turn it again before you pour it and make sure the opening on the lid is facing the right way! Otherwise you may spill some coffee when you pour it. It may or may not have happened to me before… once or twice…
Step 5 – Press And Serve
After the coffee is done steeping for 4 minutes, gently press the plunger down until it firmly reaches the bottom.
And voila, it’s ready to serve!
Pour it into your cup and enjoy.
If you don’t drink all the coffee soon after brewing and you want to save it for later, make sure to pour it from the French press into another thermos or container.
Because if the grounds are still in there, it’s technically still brewing.
So if you’re going to save it, don’t let it sit in the French press for more than 10 minutes or so, otherwise it will get bitter.
If you do drink it later, my opinion is that it’s best to keep it in the fridge and serve it with ice as iced coffee! French press is actually a great way to make iced coffee.
Many people will say don’t reheat coffee, but in my opinion, you can reheat coffee as long as you do it within 12 hours.
Closing And Recap
So there you go!
That’s how we do French press from front to back, start to finish!
If you follow these steps, you’ll be making gold metal coffee from the classic press.
So here’s a recap of the steps, now that you know how to do them and what they mean!
- Make sure you have good coffee beans to brew with
- Heat the water and grind the coffee while the water’s heating
- Bloom the coffee
- Add the rest of the water and steep for 4 minutes
- Press and serve
And by the way, there are many other great French presses other than the classic Bodum Chambord!
If you search on Amazon, Google, or your favorite webstore or in-person shop I’m sure you can find one that suits you.
I hope you enjoyed this how-to! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask and I’ll be happy to help you.