Your Guide to French Press Coffee

What is it?

There’s a million ways to get your morning coffee: an at-home coffee machine, a Keurig, Starbucks, the free gasoline coffee always stocked in your hall. My favorite, however, is the French press: a covered carafe with a plunging filter. In simpler terms, it’s a glass jar with an attached filter. They come in many sizes; they can make anywhere from a cup to over a liter. 

Why should you use a French press?

French presses are a hidden gem. For one, unlike most coffee-brewing methods, the only waste from French press coffee is the beans. These can be composted or used for non-coffee purposes. Delicious and sustainable!

Further, French presses let you customize your coffee. Personally, I prefer a super strong-brew of dark-roast coffee, which is hard to find in most campus coffee shops. My French press gives me agency! I can have my coffee exactly how I prefer it. 

Finally, French press coffee saves me time and money. It takes under 10 minutes, and coffee beans are a fraction of the cost of K-cups or store-bought coffee. In just a few minutes, I can run out the door with my perfect cup of joe.

What do you need?


  • Coffee (whole bean or French press grind)
  • Water


  • A French press
  • A way to boil water: a microwave, electric kettle, or stovetop kettle
  • A burr grinder or electric grinder (optional)
  • A mug

How do you use a French press?

Step 1: Boil the water.

After your water comes to a rapid boil, let it cool off for exactly one minute.

Step 2: Grind the beans (optional).

This step isn’t essential — you can use ground coffee, just make sure to ask for French press grind, rather than regular. Personally, I prefer grinding my own beans because it tastes fresher. In the end, the beans should be the texture of breadcrumbs, easy to do while the water boils. For every cup of water, use two tablespoons of whole coffee beans.

Step 3: Combine.

Put your ground coffee into the French press, then pour the cooled water on it. Stir for about thirty seconds and let it sit. For a weaker cup, you can let it sit for about 3.5 minutes. For a stronger cup, you can let it sit for 5 or so.

Step 4: Plunge.

After time is up, slowly push the plunger into the carafe. The filter will trap the grounds. Pour your coffee into a mug immediately, so it doesn’t get bitter from overbrewing. Enjoy your perfect cup.