What Is A French Press Coffee Maker: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re a coffee lover, you’ll know that there’s nothing quite like the rich and full-bodied taste of French-pressed coffee. And what’s even better is that the popularity of this drink is thanks, in part, to the French press itself – a lightweight and minimalist device that anyone can use.

The brewing style has been around for 100 years, and coffee lovers have always preferred the rich flavor and un-impeded taste of French-pressed coffee. With control over your grounds’ bloom and steeping period, the French press is the ideal choice for any coffee lover.

In this article, we will talk about: the anatomy of the French Press coffee maker, how to brew in it, its benefits and drawbacks, and finally compare it to the drip coffee maker.

What Is A French Press Coffee Maker?

how to use a french press coffee pot

A French press coffee maker is an innovative kitchen gadget that allows you to brew your cup of delicious freshly-pressed coffee right at home. This type of coffee maker is also known as a plunger pot, coffee press, or cafetière.

The French Press is a simple yet effective way to make coffee, and with just a few easy steps you can enjoy a cup of rich and full-flavored coffee that is far superior to anything you could get from a drip coffee maker.

This coffee maker was invented in 1929 by Milanese designer Attilio Calimani, and it has undergone very few changes since then. Essentially, it consists of a cylindrical carafe (usually made out of glass or clear plastic), a plunger with a filter attached to it, and a lid.

The carafe is filled with water and ground coffee beans, and the plunger is slowly pressed down to extract the coffee’s flavors and oils. The coffee is then poured into a cup and enjoyed.

Different Names Of The French Press Around World

The French press coffeemaker has different names in different areas. In the United States, it is often called the French press. Elsewhere, it may be called a cafeteria, coffee plunger, or even a Bodum machine. The design is simple- a glass vessel, round handle, and steel lid- but its popularity means that there are many variations from different brands.

Country or PlaceNames
North AmericaFrench press or Coffee press
New Zealand, Australia, South AfricaCoffee plunger
Great Britain, IrelandCafetière
FranceCafetière à piston
ItalyCaffettiera a stantuffo

How Does A French Press Coffee Maker Work: The Anatomy

Coffee is a wonderful, morning energizing drink that can be enjoyed by anyone. The French press coffee maker allows you to enjoy your cup of coffee in style and with minimal fuss. To help you understand how a French press coffeemaker works, we will discuss its key parts below. 

Coffee is a wonderful, energizing drink enjoyed by everyone. The French press coffee maker allows you to enjoy your cup of coffee in style and with minimal fuss. To help you understand how a French press coffeemaker works, we will discuss its key parts below.


The carafe is the vessel in which the water and ground coffee beans are kept. It’s usually made of glass or transparent plastic, allowing you to observe how your brew develops as it happens. Stainless steel carafes are also available.


The plunger is the component that pushes grinds to the bottom of the carafe and extracts the coffee’s flavors and oils. The filter is connected to a plunger, ensuring that only coffee passes through rather than grinds.

Mesh Filter Screen

The mesh filter is a one-way thread of metal or plastic wire. It prevents particles from going through the holes in the mesh, such as a fishing net. 

A mesh filter screen is a surface filtering medium. The coffee grinds on the surface of the mesh are captured by it. There are various brands with various numbers of mesh filters.


The lid serves as a seal for the carafe while the coffee brews and can be removed when finished. It helps to keep the heat in and prevents coffee grinds from escaping while you are pressing down the plunger.

Cross Plate

The Cross plate holds the mesh filter screen in place. Bodum also put filters with the cross plate in some of the French presses that it produced.

Spiral Plate

The spiral plate fits over the mesh filter. It keeps the mesh filter screen intact when pushed down by the plunger.

single serving french press
Anatomy of A French Press Coffee Maker

How To Brew Coffee Using A French Press

French press coffee is one of the easiest ways to brew coffee. You only need fresh grounds to make your most wanted cup of hot coffee. It will take only four minutes to make French press coffee. It starts with boiling some water and letting it cool for about 30 seconds. You don’t want to use boiling water because it will make the coffee taste bitter.

1. Choose the Perfect Grind

For the French press, you need coarsely ground coffee. Try not to use the small-coarse or fine grinding. You can also grind coffee beans right before making your coffee. These coarsely ground coffee beans provide the best taste of the coffee.

2. Preheat the Carafe

Preheat the French press by pouring hot water. Wait for a while and let warm up the carafe. Don’t preheat the French press by putting it into the microwave or in the oven.

3. Measure the amount of coffee ground

The ideal ratio of coffee grounds to water for a regular French press is 1:17. If you prefer your coffee stronger, use more beans – perhaps 1:11. However, the most important part is that you make it however YOU like it best.

4. Adding the Coffee Ground

Put the measured coffee ground into the preheated French press. Add a little amount of boiled water to soak the coffee ground at the bottom. Stir gently with a spoon or a bamboo paddle and mix well. Wait for 30 seconds while covering the lid of the French press.

5. Let Your Coffee Bloom

Add the rest of the hot water and fill your French press. Give another gentle stir and put the lid with the plunger on top of the French press. Wait for 3 minutes and 30 seconds more.

6. Press Down the Plunger

After the time is over, press the plunger down. The plunger will hold the coarse ground of coffee at the bottom of the French press.

Pour the coffee from the French press into a coffee pot or a cup. Then, serve immediately to get the best taste. Enjoy!

What Are The Common Mistakes People Make With A French Press?

Making coffee with a French press can be a delicious and easy way to get your caffeine fix in the morning, but if you’re not doing it correctly, you could be ruining your coffee and wasting your time. Here are the most common mistakes people make when using a French press:

  • First, some people don’t preheat the carafe. If you don’t preheat it, your coffee might be weaker than it could be. There are many reasons why people don’t preheat their carafes, but the most common one is that they forget
  • Second, one of the most common mistakes people make when using a French press is not using the right grind size. The grind should be coarse, like sea salt. If it’s too fine, the coffee will be over-extracted and taste bitter
  • Third, some people use too much ground coffee. This can make the coffee taste bitter. If you like strong coffee, add grounds according to the ratio
  • Fourth, another mistake is not letting the coffee grounds steep long enough. Be sure to let them steep for at least 4 minutes, or else the coffee will be weak and watery
  • Fifth, don’t forget to rinse the French press after you’re finished brewing your coffee. It’s a common error. Coffee grounds can easily get trapped in the mesh filter, so it’s crucial to clean it after each use

If you’re making any of these common mistakes when using a French press, you’re seriously impacting the taste and quality of your coffee. But don’t worry – we’ve outlined all of the most common mistakes so that you can avoid them and make sure your morning cup of joe is as delicious as possible. Follow our tips to get started, and if you still have questions, feel free to reach out to us for more help!

Benefits And Drawbacks Of A French Press

A French press coffee maker is a simple device that has been used for hundreds of years to make the perfect cup of coffee. Unlike other coffee makers, a French press uses a plunger to push the coffee grounds to the bottom of the pot. This allows the essential oils and flavors from the beans to be extracted, resulting in a richer and more flavorful cup of coffee.


There are many benefits to using a French press coffee maker, including:

  1. Simplicity: Making coffee using a French press is very easy. There’s no need for filters or complicated equipment. All you require are ground coffee, heated water, and a French press
  2. Strength Control: With a French press coffee maker, you have the power to determine how strong you want your coffee. You can make it stronger by using more coffee grounds. If you want a weaker cup, you can use less
  3. Full-Bodied Flavor: What makes French press coffee so special is that it retains all of the natural oils and flavors present in the beans. Other brewing methods, such as drip coffee makers, filter out these oils and flavors
  4. Affordability: French press coffee makers are remarkably cheap. Not only are they more affordable than other brewing methods, but you can find them at almost any store that sells coffee makers
  5. Easy to Clean: French press coffee makers are a breeze to clean- all you need is some water and soap. You don’t have to use any harsh cleaners or descaling solutions. Note: Deeper cleaning can be complicated


There are a few drawbacks to French press coffee makers. While they aren’t egregious, there are some minor problems. Typically, individuals who use French are aware of these disadvantages. Let’s give you a walkthrough if you’re new to it.

  • French press is more time-consuming than other brewing methods. But in my opinion, the extra time is well worth it. French press coffee has a rich, bold flavor that I can’t get enough of. Plus, the entire experience of making coffee with a French press is more hands-on and enjoyable for me
  • To use the French press, you will need a coffee grinder, kettle, scale, and thermometer. Let’s say you will buy pre-ground coffee, you measure it with a spoon and you’re not very rigid about the perfect temperature for the French press. You do, however, need a boiling device to heat the water
  • The coffee needs to be served immediately to avoid over-extraction. There is a thing you need to know about over-extracted coffee: it’s heavily caffeinated, so be careful!
  • Sometimes the coffee grounds end up in your cup no matter how careful you are

Overall, the French press is a great way to make coffee if you’re looking for something simple and low-cost. If you’re willing to put in a little effort, you can get a great cup of coffee with this method. Just be aware of the potential drawbacks before you get started.

French Press VS. Drip Coffee Maker

A French press coffee maker is a simple device that brews coffee by steeping grounds in water and then pressing them through a mesh filter. This method results in a rich, full-flavored cup of coffee. French presses are also relatively inexpensive, which makes them a great option for budget-minded coffee drinkers.

Drip coffee makers, on the other hand, brew coffee by slowly dripping hot water over coffee grounds. This method produces a cleaner-tasting cup of coffee, but it can also be more time-consuming than using a French press. Drip coffee makers are also generally more expensive than French presses.

Let’s look at some key differences:

  • French Press coffee is known to be the maker of the strongest and most delicious coffee
  • The drip coffee machines’ approach is mostly automatic and generally appears insipid and flat
  • With a French press, you have broad control over brewing, which is highly favorable to coffee purists
  • The drip coffee method brews coffee by passing hot water through the coffee grounds, while the French press method soaks the coffee grounds in hot water

Other Improvised Uses Of A French Press

Here we’ve enlisted some creative ways to help your French press reach its full potential!

  • Whipped Cream: You can use your French press to make tasty whipped cream. Although the right consistency can be difficult to achieve, it’s totally doable. Use heavy cream and plunge quickly (around 5 minutes) to make the whipping cream
  • Rinsing Grains: Put your quinoa, or other grain of choice, into the press. Gently shake and swirl to wash the grains. Press the plunger down to hold the grains in place. Now drain the water without worrying!
  • Make Chai: Boil the water and gently simmer the milk separately. Add tea leaves to the press. Then pour the water (with spices) over it and steep for 5 minutes. After that, pour in the milk and steep for a few minutes. Now plunge it to make it frothy. Finally, pour and enjoy
  • Infusing Oils: One for our flavored oil lovers. Add herbs and spices to the French press. Then pour in your oil and steep for a while to let it imbue the oil with maximum flavor. Press the strainer down to keep this oil clear while you pour it into a container
  • Creamer Container: Add spices like cinnamon or flavor enhancers like vanilla extract into the press and pour hot half-and-half milk over them. Let it steep for a few minutes, and you’ve got a fragrant creamer in a fancy container!
  • Berry Juicer: Place your berries into the French press and plunge slowly to extract the juice. Then strain the juice into a separate pitcher
  • Making Leaf Tea: Simply put your favorite loose-leaf tea into the pot and pour hot water over it. Steep for a while, then strain and pour. Remember, you can also plunge down to extract maximum flavor
  • Draining Soup Stocks: You can use your French press to steep and drain soup stock once it’s done. Add a few herbs to the carafe beforehand. It infuses the stock with richer flavors
  • Drink Mixer: Just add the ingredients into the carafe, close the lid, and mix by pumping the strainer up and down. For a pulpy drink, take the strainer off while pouring
  • Milk Froth: Ideal for your espresso or cappuccino, a French Press can make quality froth. Just pour milk into the press and pump the strainer until froth forms
  • Keeping Fresh Herbs: Store fresh herbs like basil, rosemary, parsley, etc. in the press by just adding about an inch of water at the bottom to cover the herb stems
  • Cold Brew: Put the 1:8 coffee-to-water ratio mixture into the pot and put it into your freezer for 18–24 hours
french press coffee machine

Why Do Travelers Enjoy Using The French Press?

A French press can be a great travel companion for coffee lovers, as it is small and easy to use. French presses come in different designs, but all are easy to use and make a delicious cup of coffee. They also don’t use any paper filters or produce less sediment, making them more environmentally friendly.

  • Small and easy to travel with
  • Make robust and full-flavored coffee
  • More affordable than other portable brewers
  • Easy to use and require no electricity
  • Can be used to make coffee anywhere


Why Is It Called A French Press?

Because today’s iconic glass pot design was first made by the French designer brand Chambord back in 1958.

Is French Press Coffee Stronger Than Drip Coffee?

Yes, due to its longer brewing time. It’s also better in terms of extracting more flavor and aroma.

Is A French Press The Same As An Espresso Maker?

No, they’re not. But you can make espresso with a French press coffee maker.

What Does French Press Coffee Taste Like?

Coffee from a French press tastes bolder, richer, thicker, and creamier with a sandy mouthfeel.

Does French Press Coffee Raise Cholesterol?

Yes, it does. Five cups of French-pressed coffee per day for a month can raise blood cholesterol levels by 6-8 percent. Paper filter on the plunger to avoid such an effect.

How Long Do You Leave Coffee In A French Press?

Coffee tends to remain good only for 30 minutes after brewing in a French press.

Is There More Caffeine In French Press Coffee?

Yes. It carries 100-134 mg of caffeine per 8 oz., whereas drip coffee carries 80-100 mg.

Final Words

So there you have it – everything you need to know about French press coffee makers. We’ve shown you how it works, what mistakes people make when brewing coffee, and some of the benefits and drawbacks of using a French press.

With its simple design, it’s hard to make a mistake when using this coffee maker. Just remember the key steps – wetting, measuring, and stirring – and you’ll be on your way to enjoying a perfect cup of Joe.

Thanks for following along on our journey through the world of French press coffee makers. Now that you know how they work and all the different ways to use them, go forth and make some delicious coffee!

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