How to Make French Press Coffee at Home

April 19, 2012Katie

Every Sunday morning, I get up before the rest of the household. I tiptoe out to the kitchen, past the sleeping dogs and husband, fill my tea kettle halfway and set it to boil on the stove.

It’s a day for special coffee. The rest of the week, I don’t really have time for this, but Sunday morning?

I make the time.

I make French press coffee.

Just what is it about French press coffee that makes it so richly satisfying? Why do I love to sit on my patio with my press pot and simple white cappaucino cup and saucer and write or read a good book?

A French press pot, press pot or plunger pot, which are other names this contraption goes by, makes a better cup of coffee than that old standby drip coffee maker. Think about it. When you drip coffee, the water doesn’t do anything but quickly pass through the paper filter and the coffee. There are newer Krup type coffee makers now that have improved this with funnel type filters that are permanent, but mostly quick drips aren’t the best way to make coffee.

The French press is great because you brew the water and ground bean together and you can leave it for a short time if you like weaker coffee, or longer, like I do for a stronger brew. And because there is no paper filter to absorb the essential oils of the coffee, it’s all going to be in that cup of coffee you’re drinking.

And, isn’t there just something special about a glass and chrome individual pot that is excitingly elegant?

So, what you’ll need to French press your coffee.

A French Press pot.  Bodum is a good brand but anything sturdy will do.  You can get one usually for between $20-$30 but a quick trip to revealed some even less costly than that.

You’ll need a bag of whole coffee beans and a grinder. Again, there is much dispute amongst coffee snobs about the evenness and quality of the grinder, but I got a small one for $20 and I am happy with it.  You can play around with coffee beans in flavored and unflavored. It’s your preference really.

The rule of thumb for measuring out the coffee is one rounded tablespoon per four ounces of water. French Press pots come in different sizes so you have to take that into account. Mine is a 32 ounce pot so I use eight tablespoons, but now, I’ve done it so frequently, I just eyeball it.

Mine has a clear plastic top that pops off.

You’re going to put your beans in the silver cup located on top of the base.

Then pop the clear lid on tight.

That brown button under my fingers is what sets the grinder to whir and grind up the beans. Pulse it a few times to get a feel for it, and then just hold your finger down for a few seconds.

This is important! Do NOT grind your coffee to powder! The lid of the french press has a mesh plunger and if ground too fine, you’ll end up with dirty coffee as they will escape through this into the water.

This looks about right.

I flip my grinder upside down so all the coffee goes into the top.

Then I remove the top and voila! Fresh ground coffee!

Now you can measure your grounds into your French press pot, or just dump it in like me when you’ve done it enough to know.

Now for your water. Once your water boils, take it off the stove for about 20 seconds. Then pour it right over top of your grounds.

Fill it to within an inch of the top and then set your plunger lid right on top.  Make sure the plunger is all the way up on the lid.

Now, be patient and let this brew. The common time is four minutes.  I leave mine for five.  It’s just the way I like it.

Once that time is up, grasp the plunger firmly in one hand and evenly push down on it.  Don’t let the plunger go crooked or the coffee grounds will escape into the water.

Push it down all the way.

I love the crema dark foam on top.

And that’s it!  You have a lovely pot of rich dark coffee now to enjoy.

I love to take it to my patio with one simple gooey yolked egg and some toast soldiers.

I love Sunday mornings.



  • Marie at the Lazy W

    April 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Holy smokes Katie,you make that look even more elegant than I already thought it was! My little sister is crazy about French Press and has been urging me to try it for years. Just might have to set us up for special Sunday mornings at least. So the whole pot stays nice and hot while you drink each cup? Lovely green ceramics too, ooh la la. ; )
    1. DishinandDishes

      April 20, 2012 at 2:58 pm

      Marie - our pot makes 2 nice sized mugs. One for me - one for Mr. W! Sometimes I make two - AND I should add that I pour the grounds in my garden.
  • Marie at the Lazy W

    April 23, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Great info, thanks Katie! This means I should buy at least three French presses or keep water boiling all day. LOL
  • Debra

    July 6, 2012 at 9:24 am

    We dished our Mr. Coffee a few years ago for a French press. (Actually, that is what got me hooked on coffee--I hated the stuff before then.) Have you tried Topeca coffee (roasted in Tulsa)? Reasor's actually sells it under their store brand, Redbud Farms.
    1. DishinandDishes

      July 6, 2012 at 9:45 am

      Debra - I've had it in Tulsa at The Coffee House on Cherry Street - wonder if we can get it in OKC? We like Elemental here (local)

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