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How to Make Coffee With a Coffee Press

A coffee press, sometimes called a French press or plunger pot, is often hailed by coffee enthusiasts as the best method for brewing coffee. It's one of the few brewing methods that allows all the natural oils and proteins in the grounds to be present in the final cup. Many drinkers also view the press as an exceptionally pure brewing method because it uses no paper filter that could alter the taste of the finished brew. Even better, making coffee with a coffee press is extremely easy once you learn the basics.


  • ½ cup (51 g) coffee beans
  • 4 cups (946 ml) water

Part One of Three:
Readying the Beans and Water

  1. 1
    Measure the coffee beans. To ensure that you wind up with the right amount of grounds for your coffee, you must carefully measure out the coffee beans. For 32 ounces (946 ml) of coffee, which is approximately 3 to 4 servings, use a measuring cup to measure a ½ cup (51 g) of beans.[1]
    • The standard size for most coffee presses is 32 ounces (946 ml), but you can make fewer servings if you prefer. For a single serving, measure 2 tablespoons (13 g) of beans. For 2 servings, measure a ¼ cup (26 g) of beans.
  2. 2
    Grind the beans coarsely. Once you’ve measured the beans, place them in a coffee grinder. Use the coarsest setting to grind the beans down until they resemble bread crumbs.[2]
    • For the best flavor, coffee beans should always be ground just before brewing (ideally within 15 minutes). Grinding before this will lead to stale, oxidized coffee.
    • In most cases, the finer you grind the beans, the weaker the coffee will be. The coarser the grind, the stronger the coffee will be. Pay attention to the grinder setting that you use, so you can adjust it the next time if you aren’t happy with the taste of your coffee.[3]
  3. 3
    Boil the water and then cool. To make 32 ounces (946 ml) of coffee, you’ll need to heat 4 cups (946 ml) of water. The water should be 195 degrees Fahrenheit (91 degrees Celsius), which is below boiling. Boil the water in an electric or stovetop kettle, but then remove the water from the heat and allow it to cool for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute before making the coffee.[4]
    • If you’re making a single serving of coffee, heat 1 cup (237 ml) of water. For two servings, heat 2 cups (474 ml) of water.
    • You can use tap water to make your coffee. However, be sure to drink some first to ensure that it doesn’t have a bad taste. If it does taste odd, use filtered or bottled water instead.[5]
  4. 4
    Prepare your chosen press. Examine your coffee press to ensure that the plunger device inside that pushes the grounds to the bottom of the pot to express their flavor into the hot water is working properly. Remove the lid and plunger, and place the ground coffee beans in the press.[6]
    • You can find coffee presses that feature glass or plastic pots. Unless you're traveling with your press and have to worry about possible breakage, it's best to use a glass press. Plastic pots can sometimes affect the taste of your coffee.[7]
    • To make clean up easier, make sure that your press is dishwasher-safe.

Part Two of Three:
Mixing the Coffee and Water

  1. 1
    Fill the press halfway with water. After you’ve boiled and cooled the water, it’s time to add it to the grounds in the coffee press. However, you don’t want to add all of the water at once. Instead, start by pouring just enough into the press to fill it halfway. Allow the coffee and water mixture to sit for approximately 1 minute.[8]
  2. 2
    Stir the grounds and water. When the coffee and water have sat for a minute, the grounds will likely float to the top and form a thick layer. Use a spoon to stir the mixture vigorously so you break up the layer of grounds.[9]
    • When you’re stirring the mixture, it helps to use an up and down motion with the spoon to ensure that the grounds and water are well mixed.
  3. 3
    Add more water to fill the press. After you’ve mixed the water and grounds, you can pour the rest of the heated water into the press. Use a circular motion as you’re adding it so all of the grounds are soaked.[10]
    • If you prefer, you can add all of the water at once and stir immediately to combine the coffee and water. However, it can be more difficult to ensure that all of the grounds are soaked if you pour in the water all at once.[11]

Part Three of Three:
Brewing the Coffee

  1. 1
    Allow the coffee mixture to steep for several minutes. Once you’ve added all of the water, place the lid on the press. Don’t press the coffee yet, though -- allow the mixture to sit for another 3 minutes so it has time to fully steep.[12]
    • As you become more experienced in making coffee with your press, you may realize that certain types of coffee taste better if they are steeped longer or shorter than 3 minutes. Adjust the brewing time to your personal tastes.[13]
  2. 2
    Push down on the press. After the coffee has steeped for several minutes, it’s time to plunge the press. Push down on the press gently until it reaches the bottom of the carafe.[14]
    • Pushing on the press too hard can agitate the coffee too much and leave it bitter. If you feel resistance when you’re plunging on it, back up the press a couple of inches and plunge it again until you get to the bottom.
  3. 3
    Pour the coffee, and serve immediately. When you’re plunged the press all the way to the bottom, the coffee is ready. Pour it into cups or a serving carafe, and serve immediately.[15]

Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • Can I use a bag of ground coffee usually used for the drip pot?
    Answered by Michele, Top Answerer
    • You can, but you may not want to steep as long since it's usually a finer grind than you would use for a press. You'll need to experiment to get the richness you want without getting to bitter. Most French press filters will capture the grinds of store-bought ground coffee, so there's no worry about having grinds floating around in your cup.
    Thanks! 5 0
  • Can I use it for making cocoa?
    Answered by Michele, Top Answerer
    • Since cocoa powder dissolves completely in hot water, there's no reason to use a press to make hot cocoa. A press is used to steep coffee, tea leaves or chicory, then filter the grinds out so you can drink the result without grit.
    Thanks! 5 0
  • Can I use boiling water in a French press?
    Answered by MissyWiki
    • Yes, you can. Once the water reaches a boil, remove it from the heat and wait about 30 seconds before pouring onto the coffee. This will lower the temperature from boiling to around 200° F, which is ideal for brewing.
    Thanks! 4 0
  • Can I use a plunger to make tea as well?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Yes, you can. It's the same steps as making coffee. The longer you let it steep, the stronger the tea will be.
    Thanks! 14 5
  • Is this more like instant coffee?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Not at all. It's a slow brew, so more flavor comes out in the final product. You can also use this to cold brew your coffee.
    Thanks! 8 2
  • Can I use a coffee capsule in the French press?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • No. The capsule is specifically designed for a particular machine. It is a modern twist on getting a moderately-okay taste without the (slight) fuss detailed in the article.
    Thanks! 9 5
  • What is the glass part of the French press called?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • The glass portion of the press is often called the carafe or pot.
    Thanks! 6 3
  • What is the French for coffee press?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • The French word for coffee press is cafetière.
    Thanks! 4 3
  • If I need two tablespoons of beans for one cup of coffee, how much ground coffee would I use?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • For one cup of coffee, you should use around 1-2 tablespoons of ground coffee depending on how strong you like your coffee to be.
    Thanks! 3 2
  • Instead of water, can I use almond milk? I presently make a 1/2 cup of coffee with a regular coffee pot and boil 1/2 cup of almond milk, and then mix them together.
    Answered by Dathan Mitton
    • You could, but you would have to be more careful to keep the press clean between uses. I would also look into espresso machines and (the cheaper option) Bialetti moka pots, for a stronger coffee that you can add more milk to without compromising flavor.
    Thanks! 0 0
Show more answers
  • What is the reason for being able to close off the mesh in the press by spinning the knob on top?
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Quick Summary

To make coffee with a coffee press, start by boiling a pot of water. Then, fill the coffee press halfway with the hot water. Once you've done that, add your coffee grounds to the press and stir them thoroughly. Next, fill the press the rest of the way up with hot water and let the coffee steep for several minutes. Finally, put the lid on the press and press down on the plunger until it reaches the bottom of the carafe. Your coffee is now ready to be poured and served!



  • Before making your coffee, it’s a good idea to rinse the press with hot water. That will warm it up to help keep the coffee itself warm.
    7 Helpful?  2
  • If you don’t plan to drink all of the coffee right away, don’t leave it in the press. It will get bitter if the grounds continue to steep in it. Instead, pour it into a carafe or other serving container.
    6 Helpful?  2

Things You'll NeedEdit

  • Coffee press
  • Tea kettle or saucepan
  • Cups

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About This Article

Reviewed By:
wikiHow Staff Editor

A wikiHow Staff Editor reviewed this article to make sure it's clear and accurate.

8 votes - 100%
Co-authors: 6
Views: 201,850
Categories: Coffee

Reader Success Stories

  • SW

    Stewart White

    Jan 7, 2017

    "Never used a coffee press before. Now I'm looking forward to making a nice cup of coffee like I had at Castleton at the secret tea rooms Christmas Eve. I've learned everything from you today, thank you very much."..." more
  • LG

    Laura G.

    Jul 17, 2017

    "I have never used a coffee press, and had lost/misplaced the instructions that came with mine. These instructions seem simple, to-the-point ,and love the visuals! Easy to follow."..." more
  • SC

    Sue Chwasz

    May 5, 2016

    "Bought a coffee press with no instructions that has sat in my kitchen for a year. Thanks to the step-by-step instructions, I can't wait to use it!"..." more
  • RL

    Ron Lax

    Aug 4, 2017

    "Good information on the technique. The woman was knowledgeable but frankly, the male speaker was so inane that I almost shut it down."..." more
    Rated this article:
  • Lorie Bolden

    Apr 26, 2017

    "The website to visit to get correct info on anything! wikiHow has always had the answer, and explains in terms I understand. "..." more
    Rated this article:
  • BD

    Bob Dixon

    Jun 26, 2017

    "Have used a press for some time, but didn't know to pour a portion of the hot water, stir, then pour the rest of the water."..." more
  • KY

    Kathy Yearous

    May 17, 2017

    "I had never used mine because I didn't know how. Read this and it's awesome! Has good pictures, and this helped also."..." more
  • SakuratheCat

    May 20, 2017

    "Tried using my French press before reading this, but coffee came out really weak and watery. This time it was great."..." more
    Rated this article:
  • BC

    Bil Courtnage

    Mar 27, 2017

    "I have wanted a French press coffee maker for some time. The instructions given here were very concise. Thank you."
  • KW

    Kate Williams

    Jun 9, 2017

    "Very helpful! I didn't have instructions for my coffee press. Very helpful, thank you. I would tell a friend."
    Rated this article:
  • LS

    Lillian Sylvester

    Aug 31, 2016

    "I didn't know about the coarseness of coffee or water temperature. I enjoyed this information. Than you."
  • GG

    Gordon Groidsolar

    May 31, 2016

    "This guide has solved a disagreement with my daughter and I was right! Thanks!"
  • SM

    Simphiwe M'zulu

    Jun 25, 2016

    "Just all I needed to know about brewing my own coffee. Clear & concise info."
  • JE

    Jenny Elgar

    Aug 16, 2017

    "It gave lots of hints and tips about coffee, really helpful."
    Rated this article:
  • SS

    Sally Sage

    Aug 24, 2017

    "Step by step guide in brewing coffee, very helpful."
    Rated this article:
  • PI

    Patty Ivey

    Aug 27, 2016

    "Everything I wanted to know, the article answered. "
  • RK

    Rohit Kumar

    Mar 2, 2017

    "It's a good portal to learn making many things."
  • FM

    Fakhredin Mohajerani

    May 5, 2016

    "Very useful and practical. Thanks a lot."
  • VJ

    Vernon Jacks

    Sep 2, 2016

    "Great information video. Thank you."
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