How to make your french press taste magnifique!

Patents for the french press go as far back as 1852 and with its age comes unrivalled popularity. The french press or cafetière is one of the most popular brewing methods out there and with good reason. It is so easy to use! However as is the case with all brewing methods the devil is in the detail, so check out our guide to making your french press taste magnifique.

Brewing a french press is great for making large batches of coffee. Perfect for your weekend mornings where you want to soak in coffee, especially as our recipe takes a bit longer to brew than V60 or moka pot.

Just like with our moka pot brew guide the key starting point is the grind size of your coffee. Many people make the easy mistake of buying supermarket pre ground coffee that is labeled as suitable for french press, but that stuff is way too fine. 

The problem with fine coffee is it makes the plunger hard to push and also ends up squeezing into your cup of coffee round the edge of the plunger. This leads to astringent and bitter tasting coffee which you don’t really want. Or maybe you do, like all these things it comes down to personal preference.

Our recipe produces a different sort of drink. Much closer in appearance to tea, in fact Dan once made me a french press that was so delicate and floral I honestly thought it was tea. 

The other thing you can use a french press for is cold brew. Again it produces a clear yet strongly caffeinated drink that is definitely worth a try at home. However it requires a different brewing technique so watch this space for a blog on cold brew coming soon.

What you will need:

  • A french press - get one that is big enough for your whole household, whoever you live with will love you forever if you hand them a good coffee on a weekend morning when their head might be a bit sore.

  • 15 grams of coffee beans

  • Stirrer (spoon - preferably wooden if using a glass press)

  • 2 spoons

  • Scales

  • Timer

  • Grinder

  • Decanter - you will want to decant your coffee from the press shortly after plunging to stop it from over extracting and becoming bitter. So a decanter or jug is perfect.

In terms of grind size aim for something pretty coarse. If using a Wilfa Svart then pop it onto ‘french press’ and that should do the trick. 


Here’s how to brew the perfect french press:

  • Boil at least 250 grams of water, for this recipe it is important to use water that is boiling to maximise the extraction.

  • Place your ground beans in the press on top of your scales and tare them.

  • Start your timer and pour 250 grams of boiling water into the press.

  • Use your stirrer or spoon to give it a good mix.

  • Leave it for 3 minutes.

  • After 3 minutes use both your spoons to carefully skim off the residue on top of the water, this helps to reduce bitterness in the final drink.

  • At 7 minutes place your plunger on the top and gently press down, do this quite slowly over around 30 seconds.

  • Stop plunging when the filter is just above the grounds at the bottom of the press.

  • Now leave to stand until the timer gets to 10 minutes.

  • At 10 minutes carefully pour out the coffee into your decanter or jug, stopping when you see a lot of sediment flowing out.

  • Now is the hard bit, wait another 5 minutes if you can, to allow the sediment drop and then pour into your mug.

  • Make sure you stop pouring when you see too much sediment coming out.

At the end of this long but therapeutic process you will have a very fruity and mellow cup of coffee. This method is great for hitting all the tasting notes in the coffee and if you’ve nailed it then it should be easily mistaken for tea!

If you’re not getting enough flavour then try leaving the coffee in the press after plunging for a couple more minutes or maybe try a slightly finer grind. But be careful you don’t go too fine as you risk brewing bitter coffee. 

If you’ve enjoyed this recipe then why not share it with your friends who use pre ground supermarket coffee as we think the french press deserves better. 

In the meantime, bon appetite!