Why You Should Be Brewing Coffee With A French Press

Ah, coffee: Is there anything on earth that brightens mornings as effectively and as deliciously as this deep, dark, caffeinated brew? We think not. For us, a morning cuppa is obligatory, something we even look forward to when hitting the hay the night before.

There are as many ways to prepare coffee as there are stars in the sky, it seems, and we've tried them all — ordinary drip, stovetop espresso, fancy espresso, Chemex and pour-over, and AeroPress. But for our tastes, there's one coffee brewing method we always come back to: the humble, and effective, French press. You know what we're talking about, that basic glass pitcher equipped with a screened metal plunger (via Illy). French presses are affordable and reliably produce a strong, bold, and yet balanced cup of coffee (via Food Network). Read on to discover why you should buy a French press if you don't already have one, and how to use it like a pro.

Why you should use a French press for your morning cup of joe

According to the Food Network, the French press produces a more flavorful and balanced cup of coffee than many other methods of brewing for a few reasons. First of all, the ground coffee you heap into a French press really has time to mix and mingle with the hot water you pour in next, steeping, much like tea, for an average of four to five minutes (via Food Network). This gives the beans time to truly infuse their flavor into the liquid, whereas many other brewing methods, such as drip coffee machines and the pour-over style, offer only brief contact between the coffee and the water.

Another reason French press coffee is so tasty? There's nothing coming between it and your tastebuds. While many coffee-making methods use a paper filter to strain out the grounds, a French press traps the spent coffee using a stainless steel screen set into the metal plunger. The neutral glass and metal won't affect the flavor, while a paper coffee filter can alter the taste by stripping the coffee of its flavorful oils (via Food Network).

So now that you know why you need to dig your French press out of storage ASAP, let's go over how to use one.

How to brew coffee in a French press

Brewing coffee in a French press is easy-peasy. You'll start by coarsely grinding 1/4 cup of whole coffee beans for four 4-ounce servings of coffee or a half cup of beans for eight servings, according to Food Network. Don't use finely-ground coffee, as it will not be trapped by the French press plunger and will turn your coffee murky and bitter (via Food Network).

For four servings of coffee, bring two cups of water to boil, and, while that's going, put the ground coffee into the glass pitcher. When the water has boiled, shut it off, wait 30 seconds, then pour one cup of hot water into the pitcher — this waiting period ensures your coffee won't taste burnt (via Food Network). Place the French press top onto the pitcher but don't plunge it yet; after one minute, remove the top, gently stir the coffee into the water, and pour in the remaining hot water. 

Replace the top, set a timer for an additional three to four minutes, depending on how strong you like your coffee, then slowly press down the metal plunger to trap the coffee grounds and allow the brew to seep up over the top of the plunger. Serve the coffee immediately and transfer any remaining java to a thermos or carafe so that it doesn't continue to steep and become bitter (via Food Network). And voilà! You're ready to take on your day with a delicious cup of coffee in hand.