Ah, the French press – a classic and timeless method of brewing a rich cup of coffee. This simple yet elegant gadget has been a favorite of coffee enthusiasts for generations.
For a good reason: it produces a rich, full-bodied cup of coffee that is hard to beat.
But with so many variables at play – from grind size to water temperature – achieving the perfect French press coffee can be a challenge.
In this article, we’ll focus on one of the most critical factors in achieving a great cup of French press coffee: the coffee-to-water ratio.
By mastering this fundamental element, you’ll be on your way to brewing the perfect cup of French press coffee every time.
The Ideal Coffee-To-Water Ratio for French Press Coffee: 1:15
One of the critical factors in brewing the best cup of French press coffee is getting the coffee-to-water ratio just right.
The ideal ratio for French press brewing is 1:15. For every 1 gram of coffee, you’ll need 15 grams of water.
To determine the amount of ground coffee and water you’ll need, start by weighing your French press. Then, use a scale to measure the appropriate amount of ground coffee and water for your chosen ratio.
For example, if you’re using a 32-ounce French press and aiming for a 1:15 coffee-to-water ratio, you’ll need 64 grams of coffee and 960 grams (or 32 fluid ounces) of water.
This will yield approximately four 8-ounce servings of coffee.
Making Adjustments for The Best Coffee
The ideal coffee-to-water ratio may vary based on your personal preferences.
If you prefer a stronger cup of coffee, consider increasing the amount of coffee used per cup or decreasing the amount of water.
Conversely, if you prefer a milder cup, decrease the coffee or increase the water.
When experimenting with ratios, do make sure you only change one variable at a time so that you know the effect this has on your brewed coffee.
It’s also worth noting that the ratio can be affected by other variables, such as the grind size of the coffee and the water temperature.
How to Measure Coffee and Water Accurately for French Press Brewing
Now we know about the ideal ratios, here are some tips for measuring both coffee and water with precision:
- Use a scale: A digital kitchen scale is the most accurate way to measure coffee and water.
- Use a measuring spoon: If you don’t have a kitchen scale, use a measuring spoon to measure the coffee.
- A tablespoon of coffee is approximately 6 grams, so you can use this to measure your desired amount of coffee.
- Use measuring cups: When measuring water, it’s best to use a liquid measuring cup with clear markings to ensure accuracy.
Using a scale or measuring spoons for the coffee and a liquid measuring cup for the hot water, you can measure both accurately and achieve a consistent coffee-to-water ratio every time you brew.
How to Adjust the Coffee-To-Water Ratio to Suit Your Taste Preferences
If you’re anything like our coffee-loving household, you’ll know that what works for one person may not work for another, and sometimes the French press standard 1:15 ratio just doesn’t cut it.
Whether you like your coffee bold and strong or mild and mellow, adjusting the coffee-to-water ratio can help you achieve the perfect cup of French press coffee that suits your taste preferences.
Feel free to experiment and try different ratios until you find the one that always hits the spot.
Make a Strong Cup with A French Press Coffee Maker.
If I want a stronger cup of coffee, I usually increase the amount of ground coffee I use. Instead of the standard 1:15 ratio, I’ll use a 1:12 or even a 1:10 ratio.
This means that for every 1 gram of coffee, I’ll use 10 to 12 grams of water. The result is a bolder, more flavorful cup of coffee that hits the spot.
Make Mild yet Delicious Coffee in A French Press.
On the other hand, if I’m in the mood for a milder cup, I’ll decrease the amount of ground coffee I use.
Instead, I’ll use a 1:18 or 1:20 ratio, which means that for every 1 gram of ground coffee, I’ll use 18 to 20 grams of water.
This yields a smoother, more subtle cup that is perfect for when I want something a little less intense.
Always serve immediately when choosing to make a milder cup of coffee.
The Role of Grind Size in Determining the Ideal Coffee-To-Water Ratio for French Press Coffee
An often-overlooked factor that can affect the balance of your cup is the size of the coffee grounds.
As a coffee lover, I’ve done plenty of experimenting with different grinds to see how they affect the flavor of my coffee. And particularly for French press brewing, I’ve found that the grind size can be a game-changer.
When you grind coffee beans, you break them into smaller pieces, exposing more surface area to the water. This means that the water can extract more flavor and aroma from the coffee, affecting the final cup’s strength and taste.
For French press brewing, a coarse grind works best. A coarser grind means that the coffee particles are larger, slowing the extraction process and producing a smoother, milder cup of coffee.
You may have a weak or watery brew if you grind your coffee too coarsely.
Can You Use Finely Ground Coffee?
A finer grind can yield a stronger, more full-bodied cup of coffee. This is because the smaller coffee particles expose more surface area to the water, which leads to more extraction and a strong brew.
However, you need to be careful not to over-extract the coffee! When you use a finer grind, you’ll need to reduce the brew time accordingly – four minutes will be too much and can result in a bitter taste.
If you’re struggling with a bitter brew, use a coarser grind or reduce the brew time. Also, be sure to serve the coffee immediately after you press down the plunger.
We also recommend using a burr grinder for the best results.
The Role of The Water Temperature and Brewing Time
Besides the French press coffee ratio, getting the water temperature right is essential with French presses.
When water is too hot, it can scorch the coffee grounds and extract bitter flavors, while water that’s too cold may not extract enough flavor from the beans. The ideal water temperature for brewing French press coffee is between 195°F and 205°F (90°C and 96°C).
How to Know the Water Temperature
If you want excellent coffee brewed to perfection, use a thermometer to measure the water temperature before pouring hot water on the grounds.
If you don’t have a thermometer, you can use a kettle to boil water and then allow it to cool for a minute or two before pouring it into the French press.
The Effects of The Brewing Time and Water Temperature
Another factor to consider is the brewing time. The hotter the water, the quicker the extraction process.
For example, suppose you’re using water closer to 195°F (90°C). In that case, you may want to increase the brewing time to ensure the coffee grounds are thoroughly extracted.
If you’re using water closer to 205°F (96°C), you may want to decrease the brewing time to avoid over-extraction.
Final Thoughts: French Press Coffee Ratio
Using a French press to make coffee is the best way to start your day! I prefer it above all other brewing methods!
Once you’ve got the perfect ratio and have perfected your method, you can repeat the same process to get great coffee every time.