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Person using french press coffee maker on counter
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If you like your cup of joe to be full-bodied and flavorful, a French press is the ideal brewing option. A French press coffee maker is a manual machine that comes with a cylindrical carafe, a built-in filter, and a plunger, and it uses boiled water to steep coffee grinds for about four to five minutes.

French press coffee makers, when used correctly, can make the perfect cup of java, but if you start with subpar beans, even the world’s most high-end coffee machine won't be of any help. If you don’t use a French press correctly, coffee grounds might end up in the pot, ruining not just your brew, but also your morning spirit.

How does a French press coffee maker work?

Coffee is prepared in a French press by first soaking coffee grinds in hot water, followed by filtering off the grinds and reusing the water. If you want to extract the full flavor of your coffee, the water should be heated to around 200 degrees Fahrenheit — if you overheat it, your coffee will taste burnt, but if you brew it at a lower temperature, your coffee will be under-extracted, tasteless, and watered down.

Why use a French press coffee maker?

The oils and sediment of coffee grinds are more thoroughly extracted with a French press than with any other brewing technique. Consider the following before deciding whether or not this will become your go-to approach for curing your coffee cravings.

All coffee beans contain cafestol and kahweol, which are oily chemical compounds known as diterpenes. Because French press filters allow more oils to flow through, your coffee will become richer with these compounds than when using other brewing techniques that utilize paper filters rather than permanent ones. This is why some people wonder if French press coffee is unhealthy, but the good news is that research shows that drinking five cups per day is the threshold for a rise in blood cholesterol and triglycerides — if you control your French press coffee intake, you shouldn’t have any issues.

Items needed to make French press coffee

The instructions on most French press coffee makers are pretty simple — all you need to do is add coffee grinds to the carafe, mix them with hot water, let it all soak for about four minutes, and then plunge it to get the perfect cup of java.

Here’s what you’ll need to make coffee with your French press machine:

Filtered water

Water that’s been filtered to remove impurities is ideal for brewing coffee. You'll notice a big difference in the flavor of your coffee after using filtered water, as it removes harmful toxins and odors that can affect your coffee's taste.

Coffee beans

While opinions vary on what makes the "finest" cup of coffee, most agree that it's best made from freshly roasted, high-quality beans. The slower extraction of oils, taste, and aroma during brewing is the main reason why most French press professionals prefer using medium and dark roast coffee.

Coffee grinder

We recommend grinding your own coffee beans at home for optimal flavor, as the flavor and aroma of pre-ground coffee beans can fade over time. Another issue is that coffee grinds can pick up some of your kitchen's odors if you don’t store them correctly. A burr grinder will be your go-to tool, as it allows you to choose your grind size and make perfectly uniform grinds, all of which contribute to a rich, full-bodied cup of joe.

Step-by-step process to make French press coffee

If you’re always in a hurry, then making French press coffee is the ideal choice. Here’s how you should use a French press coffee maker:

  • Put 2 tablespoons of coarsely ground coffee beans at the bottom of the French press
  • Pour 16 ounces of hot water into the press and place it on the unit’s top
  • Let the mixture sit for about four to five minutes to brew
  • After that, press the plunger down slowly, pour the coffee into your cup, and get caffeinated


Even though the French press is one of the most popular coffee brewing machines, most people use it incorrectly. You can follow this step-by-step process to make perfectly flavored coffee, and don’t forget to clean your French press after each use to remove the oil residue from the carafe — if you don’t, your coffee will end up tasting bitter.