Mastering the Perfect Cup: A Simple Ratio for French Press Coffee

Coffee lovers know that there are many ways to brew a cup of coffee, and each method has its own unique benefits and challenges. One popular brewing method is the French press, also known as a press pot or plunger pot. The French press is a simple and affordable way to make a flavorful and full-bodied cup of coffee, and mastering the right ratio of coffee to water is the key to brewing the perfect cup.

What is a French Press?

A French press is a cylindrical glass or stainless steel container with a plunger and a mesh filter. The process of making coffee in a French press involves steeping coarsely ground coffee in hot water for several minutes, then pressing the plunger down to separate the coffee grounds from the liquid.

The French press is a popular brewing method for many reasons. It is easy to use, requires minimal equipment, and produces a strong and flavorful cup of coffee that is often richer and more complex than drip coffee.

How To Grind For French Press

Grinding coffee beans for French press is an important step in making a delicious cup of coffee. The right grind size will ensure that the coffee is properly extracted and that the flavors and aromas are fully released.

For French press coffee, a medium-coarse grind is ideal. The coffee should have a consistency that is similar to coarse sea salt. This grind size is important because it allows the coffee to steep properly and prevents over-extraction, which can result in bitter and unpleasant flavors.

If the coffee is too finely ground, it can result in a cloudy and sludgy cup of coffee, as well as an over-extracted and bitter taste. On the other hand, if the coffee is too coarsely ground, it can result in weak and under-extracted coffee with a sour taste.

To grind coffee beans for French press, you can use a burr grinder or a blade grinder. Burr grinders are preferred for their consistent grind size, while blade grinders are less consistent but can be more affordable.

To grind coffee beans with a burr grinder, set the grinder to a medium-coarse grind setting and grind the beans until they reach the desired consistency. For blade grinders, grind the beans in short bursts until they reach a medium-coarse grind size.

It’s important to note that the freshness of the beans and the quality of the grinder will also affect the quality of the grind. Freshly roasted beans and a high-quality grinder will produce the best results.

The Simple Ratio for French Press Coffee

The perfect ratio of coffee to water can vary depending on personal preference and the size of your French press, but a simple rule of thumb is to use a 1:15 ratio of coffee to water. This means for every 1 gram of coffee, you should use 15 grams of water.

For example, if you are using a 12-ounce French press, which holds about 350 milliliters of water, you would use 23 grams of coffee (1.5 tablespoons) and 350 milliliters of hot water.

Here’s a breakdown of the ratios for different sizes of French press:

  • 8-ounce French press: 12 grams of coffee, 180 milliliters of water
  • 12-ounce French press: 23 grams of coffee, 350 milliliters of water
  • 16-ounce French press: 31 grams of coffee, 475 milliliters of water
  • 32-ounce French press: 62 grams of coffee, 950 milliliters of water

It’s important to note that the ratio of coffee to water is just a starting point, and you may need to adjust the ratio based on your personal taste preferences. If you like your coffee stronger, use a higher ratio of coffee to water. If you prefer a milder cup, use a lower ratio.

Tips for Brewing the Perfect Cup of French Press Coffee

In addition to using the right ratio of coffee to water, there are a few other tips to keep in mind to ensure you brew the perfect cup of French press coffee:

  1. Use fresh, high-quality coffee beans. The quality of your coffee beans will have a big impact on the flavor of your coffee, so choose a high-quality coffee that is freshly roasted.
  2. Grind your coffee beans just before brewing. Coffee beans start to lose their flavor as soon as they are ground, so it’s best to grind your coffee just before you brew it. Use a coarse grind for French press coffee.
  3. Use hot water, but not boiling water. The ideal temperature for brewing French press coffee is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Boiling water can over-extract the coffee, resulting in a bitter taste.
  4. Steep the coffee for 4-5 minutes. The amount of time you steep your coffee will also affect the flavor. For French press coffee, a good rule of thumb is to steep for 4-5 minutes. Adjust the time based on your personal taste preferences.

Pour slowly and evenly. When pouring water into the French press, pour slowly and evenly to ensure all the coffee grounds are saturated.


Mastering the perfect cup of French press coffee is a simple process that requires a little experimentation to find the right ratio of coffee to water. By following the simple 1:15 ratio, using fresh, high-quality coffee beans, grinding them just before brewing, using hot water that is not boiling, steeping for 4-5 minutes, and pouring slowly and evenly, you can create a delicious and satisfying cup of coffee.

It’s worth noting that while the French press is a popular brewing method, it may not be the best option for everyone. French press coffee can be oily and gritty, which some people find unappealing. Additionally, French press coffee is higher in cafestol, a compound that can raise cholesterol levels, than other brewing methods like drip coffee. If you’re concerned about your cholesterol levels, you may want to consider other brewing methods.

Overall, the French press is a great option for coffee lovers who want a simple, affordable, and flavorful way to brew their morning cup of coffee. By mastering the simple ratio of coffee to water and following a few basic tips, you can create a perfect cup of French press coffee that will rival even the best coffee shops.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much for 1 Cup of Coffee for French Press?

The recommended amount of coffee for 1 cup (8 ounces) of French press coffee is 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of coffee grounds. This is based on a medium-coarse grind size and a 1:16 coffee-to-water ratio.

To make a cup of French press coffee, start by bringing water to a boil and letting it cool slightly to around 200°F. Add the desired amount of coffee grounds to the French press, then pour in hot water. Let the coffee steep for 4-5 minutes, then slowly press down the plunger to separate the brewed coffee from the grounds.

Adjust the amount of coffee grounds based on personal taste preferences. If you prefer a stronger cup of coffee, increase the amount of coffee grounds. Conversely, if you prefer a milder taste, decrease the amount of coffee grounds.

How Much Coffee do I Need for 2 Tablespoons of French Press?

It’s not entirely clear what you mean by “2 tablespoons of French Press,” as a French press is a brewing method rather than a specific ingredient. However, assuming that you meant to ask how much coffee grounds to use for a French press that requires 2 tablespoons of coffee, the answer would depend on the amount of water you’re using and your preferred coffee-to-water ratio.

As a general guideline, a 1:16 coffee-to-water ratio is often recommended for French press coffee. This means that for every 1 gram of coffee, you should use 16 grams (or milliliters) of water. If you’re using 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds, which is roughly 10-12 grams, you would want to use around 160-192 grams (or milliliters) of water.

However, this is just a starting point and the amount of coffee you use can be adjusted to your liking. If you find that the coffee is too weak, you can increase the amount of coffee grounds or decrease the amount of water. If it’s too strong or bitter, you can decrease the amount of coffee or increase the amount of water.

How Long Should French Press Coffee Steep?

The recommended time for steeping French press coffee is 4-5 minutes. This allows for proper extraction of flavors and aromas from the coffee beans. However, the steeping time can be adjusted to personal taste preferences. For a stronger and more robust flavor, you can steep for longer, but be careful not to over-extract and make the coffee bitter. Alternatively, if you prefer a milder taste, you can steep for a shorter period of time. Ultimately, the ideal steeping time will depend on factors such as the type of coffee beans, the grind size, and personal taste preferences.

Can You French Press Espresso?

No, you cannot make true espresso using a French press. Espresso is made using a specialized machine that uses high pressure to force hot water through finely ground coffee beans. This process results in a concentrated shot of coffee with a specific taste and texture.

A French press, on the other hand, uses a different brewing method that involves steeping coffee grounds in hot water for several minutes. While French press coffee can be strong and flavorful, it is not as concentrated or as finely textured as espresso.

However, you can use a French press to make a strong coffee that can be used as a base for drinks like lattes or cappuccinos. Simply use a dark roast coffee and a fine grind size, and steep for a longer period of time to create a concentrated coffee. While this won’t be true espresso, it can be a satisfying alternative for those without an espresso machine.