French press coffee maker placed beside cup of coffee

12 Common French Press Mistakes to Avoid

Audrey Harrison
Home brewer

Are you a fan of a rich, bold, and flavorful cup of coffee? If so, a French press might be your go-to. French press is a classic coffee-making method that produces a rich and flavorful cup of joe.

However, brewing the perfect cup of coffee using a French press requires more than just a simple pour and press. A French press is a staple in any coffee lover's kitchen, but it's not uncommon to make mistakes when brewing with it. 

The method comes with its own set of pitfalls that can turn your perfect cup into a bitter disaster. Whether you're a seasoned barista or just starting your coffee journey, it's important to know the common mistakes to avoid to get the most out of your coffee.

To help you get the most out of your French press, here are common mistakes to avoid, so you can enjoy a delicious, smooth, and satisfying cup every time.

Common French press mistakes to avoid

1) Using boiling water

Boiling water can damage the delicate flavors of your coffee, leading to a bitter taste. It’s best to heat the water to just below boiling temperature, around 200°F, to preserve the flavor.

2) Not grinding the beans properly

The size of the grind is critical for a good French press. Fine grind can cause over-extraction and result in bitter-tasting coffee. Coarse grinds work best, so make sure you adjust your grinder accordingly. 

3) Using low-quality coffee beans

Using stale or low-quality coffee beans can result in a bland cup of coffee. Always use fresh and high-quality beans for the best flavor.

4) Not letting the coffee steep long enough

A French press requires a steeping time of around 4 minutes to extract all the flavors from the coffee. Don’t rush the process.

5) Overfilling the French press

Overfilling the French press can lead to a weak brew, as the water won’t have enough room to circulate. Make sure to leave enough room for water and grounds to mix.

6) Not preheating the French press

Preheating the French press helps to maintain a consistent temperature, which is key to brewing a good cup of coffee. Fill the press with hot water and let it sit for a minute before dumping and brewing.

7) Not using the right water-to-coffee ratio

The right water-to-coffee ratio is crucial for the perfect taste. A general rule is to use a 1:15 ratio of water to coffee, but you can adjust it according to your taste.

8) Not stirring the grounds

Stirring the grounds helps to distribute the water evenly, leading to a more consistent extraction. Make sure to stir before pressing.

9) Not using the right amount of pressure when plunging

Using too much pressure can cause the mesh plunger to break while using too little pressure will result in sediment in your cup. Aim for a moderate, steady pressure when plunging.

10) Not cleaning the French press

Old coffee oils and grounds can affect the taste of your next brew. Make sure to clean the press thoroughly after each use.

11) Not paying attention to the water temperature

As mentioned earlier, water temperature is critical for a good French press. Make sure to measure the temperature with a thermometer to get it just right.

12) Not storing the French press properly

Leaving the French press out in the open can expose it to air, leading to oxidation and a loss of flavor. Store it in a cool, dry place, or a protective case.‍

The takeaway

Here, I have got you covered with the common French press wrong practices to steer clear of. With a little practice and patience, you will soon be on your way to enjoying a delicious, rich, and smooth cup of coffee every time.

By being mindful of the grind size, steeping time, water temperature, and proper cleaning techniques, you can ensure that your French press coffee is consistently delicious.

So, go ahead and savor the art of brewing with your French press, and avoid these common mistakes for a truly satisfying cup every time.‍


Audrey Harrison

Team TAB
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I am a coffee aficionado based in Seattle. I have devoted my passion and expertise to perfecting the art of home coffee brewing. I became known for my exquisite pour-over and espresso creations. I source coffee beans from local roasters and explores ...