French Press Origins and Coffee Brewing Guide

When it comes to brewing the perfect cup o’ Joe, there’s certain artistry that has to be mastered. You’re not going to get an idyllic, complex, aromatic cup of coffee by popping a K-Cup into your coffee machine or mixing up an instant variety—although we can’t blame you if you need a quick fix or have never been taught another way.

But every good bean deserves to be brewed with care; that’s why we love slow brew options like drip coffee and pour-over. But when you want a perfectly smooth, bold cup of coffee at home, there’s one way you must try—French press.  

You’ve probably heard of this popular at-home coffee brewing method before, but maybe you haven’t tried it yet because it seems a little more daunting than using your Ninja every morning. Well, today, we’re going to share all you need to know about brewing coffee (spoiler alert: or tea!) with this perfect French press tea and coffee guide, you can try it yourself!

Get ready to take some notes to try it later…


 French Press Origins: Happy Accidents & French vs. Italian

To fully appreciate the majesty and wonder of this popular coffee brewing method, we think it’s important to fully understand the history. There’s a popular debate about whether the French press is French or Italian.  It’ll be an ongoing argument until the end of humanity, most likely, but despite the name, there is Italian influence!

There’s an old fable that dates back to the mid-1800s that many attribute to the origin of the French press. The story goes that an old French man boiled the water for his coffee without realizing he had forgotten to add the grounds. We’ve all been there, right? So, he added the grounds into the pot and let them soak with the coffee. It came time to pour his cup, so to sift out the grounds, he bought a metal sheet from an Italian man who happened to be walking by. And so, the first-ever French press was born. A perfect display of circumstance and innovation at its finest! This was the “happy accident” that many believe led to the innovation of the French press way back in the day.

Now, here’s where it gets a little more controversial.

Between the mid-1800s and the early-1900s, there were a variety of patents made first by Frenchmen, the second by Italians, but… the Italian’s were the first to actually file and submit the patents to get the French press made in 1929. So, we’ll leave it up to you to decide whether it’s French or Italian, but either way, know you’re going to get a bold, smooth, delightful cup of coffee regardless of where it came from!

How to Brew the Perfect French Press Coffee at Home

Now that you know all there is to know about the history, let’s get to brewing!  We promise it’s not complicated. But, of course, it would help if you had the right tools and some whole beans that you could grind up on the spot. So here’s your step-by-step guide for how to brew with this perfect French press coffee recipe guide.

Step One: Buy High-Quality, Whole Bean Coffee

 

Step Two: Grind Your Coffee Beans & Weigh Them

This is where the right tools start to come in. You will want to ensure you have a grinder for your beans and a scale to weigh them. When grinding beans for the French press, it’s a bit of an art form. You don’t want it to be too fine. Otherwise, you’ll end up with sediment in your cup. You also don’t want to grind it too course. Otherwise, you won’t be experiencing the full flavor of those good beans you purchased! Try a burr coffee grinder. They’re known for their consistent and accurate grind—here are a few good options.

Our friends at Gimme Some Oven broke down the math pretty perfectly. They’ve mastered it, and we’ve given it our goldenseal, so here’s what you need to do to measure out the perfect blend according to their expert culinary team:

  • 8 cup French press = 4 cups of water = 1/2 cup (52 grams) whole beans
  • 4 cup French press = 2 cups of water = 1/4 cup (26 grams) whole beans
  • 2 cup French press = 1 cup of water = 2 tablespoons (13 grams) whole beans
  • 1 cup French press = 1/2 cup of water = 1 tablespoon (7 grams) whole beans

Now, this is just a guide. You could find that you like your coffee bolder or maybe a little milder. You can adjust to suit your taste!

Step Three: Heat Up Your H20

Having the right temperature water is key to making the best cup of coffee. You’re going to want to heat your water to about 200 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, don’t sweat it. Just boil your water and let it sit for between 30-45 seconds.

Step Four: Pour the Coffee Grounds & Add Enough Water to Let Coffee Bloom

Add your coarse grounds to the bottom of your coffee brewer and add enough water to cover the grounds. Let it sit for one minute. This process is called letting the coffee bloom. It helps bring out the complexity and flavors to get a more impressive aroma and taste.

Step Five: Let it Steep.

After the one minute is up, add the rest of the water and stir up the grounds. Then, let the French press plunger sit atop the coffee grounds with the handle up for 3 minutes.

Step Six: Plunge the Coffee

Once the timer dings, plunge the coffee by slowly pushing down on the plunger. Do this patiently as if you do it too quickly, the force may cause some of the grounds to push past the mesh, and you may get grounds in your coffee. 

Step Seven: Savor Your Perfect Cup!

The key is patience, proper measurement, and the right temperature of the water. That’s the trifecta for enjoying the perfect French press coffee. Once you have a sip, we know you won’t want to make it any other way.

Can You Brew Tea In Your Coffee Maker?

Okay, we may have spoiled this surprise a bit in the intro, but we wanted you, tea lovers, to read on! The French press brew isn’t just for coffee aficionados; you can indeed make a French press tea as well! It is actually a highly effective method for tea brewing! To make tea in your French press, you follow similar steps as you would brew coffee. Check out our French press tea recipes for more on how to prepare tea as you would coffee.

Best French Press to Buy Online

So, if you’re ready to take your beverage experience, coffee, and tea to an entirely new level, it may be time to invest in a quality French press.

A few French press coffee makers for $50 or under that we love are:

For someone who likes to sip their tea or coffee slowly.

Mueller French Press Double Insulated 310 Stainless Steel Coffee Maker – $29.97 on Amazon

For entertaining guests with a chic, iconic glass French press that will impress.

Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker – $50.00 on Amazon

For those who can’t stand washing dishes and want a dishwasher-safe French press.

Veken French Press Coffee & Tea Maker – $17.99 on Amazon

For those who want a budget-friendly French press under $10.

UPPHETTA French Press Coffee Maker – $8.99 on IKEA

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