French press grinder with a bowl filled with coarse ground coffee

How to Grind Coffee For French Press

Henry
Henry Muller
Barista

The beauty of French Press is that you can brew a delicious coffee with a fairly minimal effort off the bat. 

Unlike many pour-over methods, French press coffee doesn’t necessarily require a great deal of skill and practice to achieve a great cup of coffee. 

However, one of the biggest issues that people face is that they struggle to know how to grind coffee for a French Press. 

Now obviously this doesn’t apply to you if you purchase your coffee pre-ground, it is what it is at that point so there’s no tinkering with the grind size.

But if you buy French Press coffee and grind it at home, then stay tuned for the ins and outs of French press grind size. 

How do I grind coffee beans for the French press?

So the short answer is Medium/Coarse to Coarse grind size for a French Press. 

However, grind size is hard to quantify sometimes as it only makes sense when you compare it to something else, like other grind sizes and if you’re only grinding coffee for a French press then you won’t know what an espresso grind size looks like. 

Here is how I would approach finding the perfect grind size for French press coffee:

Firstly, work with what you have got. Some grinders have predetermined ranges for brew methods, for instance, a Wilfa Svart Grinder has the names of 5 different brew methods that align with the corresponding grind size as you make the burrs finer or coarser.

This is a great place to start if you have a grinder of this sort (but it still may need some tweaking).

If you don’t have a grinder that displays French press grind size then you will have to pick a place to start your trial-and-error grinding. 

Start somewhere that you believe will produce a medium to coarse grind size that is the sort of consistency of sea salt. 

Now is the moment you commit and brew your first French Press with your instinctual grind size. Make sure you follow your French Press recipe and dose the right amount of coffee in the required time. 

Now it’s time to taste and review: Bear in mind that this is all about trial and error and if the coffee doesn’t taste great it will only get better from here.

To taste, make sure you decanter all of the coffee out of the French Press so it doesn’t continue to brew. Now let the coffee cool for a few minutes so you can taste all of the flavors. 

What you are looking for is balance but also bear in mind the coffee that you have brewed as a Kenyan light roast may taste slightly more acidic than a sweeter-tasting Brazilian medium roast. 

What you are looking to establish here is if the coffee is either under-extracted or over-extracted. 

If the coffee tastes sour, then there is a good chance that the brewed coffee is under-extracted and you may have ground the coffee too coarse. So next time you make a French press, adjust the grind finer.

And you guessed it. If the coffee tastes bitter, it may have been over-extracted and therefore the coffee grind was set too fine for French Press coffee so next time make the grind coarser.

Does grind size matter for the French press?

Grind is extremely important for French Press coffee brewing. As there are not as many variables that have to be controlled when brewing a French press (such as pressure in espresso or the flow rate in pour-over methods) this makes grind size even more important to brew the perfect French Press.

How much coffee do I grind for a cup of French press?

The amount of coffee that you grind for a French Press completely depends on the size of the French press you are using and the number of people you are making coffee for. 

We would normally advise around 15-20 grams of coffee per person, but again this is completely down to preference. 

Usually, a 1:15 ratio of coffee to water is used for a French Press, so if you are using 30 grams of coffee you would brew with 450g (or ml) of water. Here’s a neat French Press ratio calculator.

Can I use fine-ground coffee in a French press?

You are not advised to use fine-ground coffee in a French press for a few of reasons.

Firstly, if the coffee grounds are too fine then they will suspend in the brewing hot water and make it very difficult to plunge as the mesh filter will become clogged or grounds will pass through or around the mechanism.

Secondly, if you manage to brew your coffee and successfully plunge, you will certainly end up with an unbalanced and over-extracted cup of coffee that will taste bitter. 

The beauty of coffee is that everybody has different tastes and preferences in how they enjoy their brew. So if you grind coffee fine, manage to brew a coffee in your French press, and actually enjoy the bitter taste, then the winner!

What happens if the coffee grind is too coarse for a French Press?

If you grind coffee too coarse for your French press you will probably not have any problems brewing and plunging unlike if you would have ground the coffee too fine. You will however end up with a weak coffee that is under-extracted and potentially sour tasting.

Which grinder is best for French Press?

To be honest, most burr coffee grinders work really well for the French press. 

Unlike methods that call for finer ground coffee such as espresso, you can easily achieve a great French press grind with the majority of home coffee grinders. Make sure you avoid blade grinders, however, as you will essentially be blending the coffee nonuniformly and most certainly will end up with an unbalanced coffee.

Conclusion

Here, I have got you covered with the correct method to grind the coffee beans to coarse size so that you can brew a wonderful French press coffee on your own.

Though grinding the coffee beans seems to be an easy task but it is not. It requires much more practice and patience. I hope this article will guide you in grinding the coffee beans.

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Henry Muller

Team TAB
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I am a barista by profession hailing from NC. My journey began in my late teens when I started working as a barista in a local coffee shop. My passion for coffee quickly became evident as I immersed myself in the art of espresso extraction, latte art ...