How a French Press Works

Of all of the brewing methods, the classic French Press is among the few that allows you to extract more complex flavors and aromas than any other coffee-making device..

To understand how the French press works, it’s best to start with; why the French press is so unique, a little background on how the French press came to be, and it’s simple unique design.

Design of a French Press

French press parts

When you take a closer look at the French Press coffee maker, it’s very similar to a journey into the heart of darkness. Not that this method is all that complex, but the brewing process itself does require skill, time, and patience to unlock its power. It’s the depth of rich flavor that can be unlocked from its intricate series of components.  The French press’  iconic design is both complex and elegant. The odd-looking plunger that works as a filter, helping to extract full-bodied notes. When all is said and done, the sublime amounts of coffee oils, subtle tones of tasty fruitiness, and rich-flavored roasted coffee all come together as one. And yes- its sleek steampunk-inspired design helps to complete the French Press, providing you with a full sensory experience.

It’s classic, classy, and it reminds us of a golden age of coffee brewing.

Parts of a French Press

  1. Carafe: The main body that holds hot water is the carafe which is typically made from glass and is supported by a decorative frame with a handle on the side. Newer versions are also made from Stainless steel, plastic parts, and wood.
  2. Plunger: At the very top of the carafe sits a plunger that also serves as a coffee filter. This plunger is pushed down into the carafe and separates the coffee grounds from the brewed coffee. There’s a coiled spring that sits at the bottom of the plunger along with a filtering screen disc. The plunger has a lid that fits onto the carafe that keeps the plunger firmly in place.
  3. Filter Screen: Not every French Press model uses the same type of filter. Some are made from metal mesh while others are using plastic mesh. This simply keeps coffee grounds and larger particles from ending up in your coffee mug. See more on how design can affect the quality and overall experience of your morning brewed French press coffee.
  4. Spring-Loaded Mechanism: The coiled spring that sits at the bottom of the plunger expands and contracts to fit the inside of the carafe. Some French Press owners like to place a coffee filter over this spring to further keep out coffee ‘fines’ and sediment from their brewed batch.
  5. Handle/Lid: The side handle is just like any other coffee pot handle, making it easy to pour your coffee and not burn your hand while picking it up. The lid sits over the top of the entire carafe and helps keep the water inside from losing any heat. The lid is also easy to remove when it needs to be cleaned.

Ratios and Filtering

Grounded Coffee in spoon

In recent years, the French Press has become quite popular because it’s unlike any other brewing process. You don’t only get a fantastic flavor but are unlocking parts of the coffee bean that you may not have noticed before. And this isn’t just from coffee grounds to water ratio but the fact that this is real immersion-style brewing at its finest.  Then there is the filter and plunging process that matters too. This helps separate your coffee from the coffee grounds and further releases essential flavors and oils too.

The mesh filter allows all the oils to mix into your completed coffee, allowing a bold and rich taste to come through. But the really impressive part comes from the consistent pressure that’s applied when pushing the plunger down. This allows for the effective extraction of so many subtle flavors from the coffee grounds that make every cup so enjoyable. Yet it’s the combination of a well-measured amount of freshly ground beans and hot water that become immersed together as they brew.

The Extortion Process

Man adding filtered coffee grounds in french press

If you haven’t experienced French Press coffee before, get ready to enjoy the ultimate levels of robust flavors and complex notes. The extraction process is what makes an old-fashioned French Press so appealing to real coffee lovers. This method allows anybody to unlock maximum amounts of body and bite while providing hints of flavors you probably never tasted before.  That’s what a French Press can achieve to get full-flavored cups of coffee.

It all starts with the immersion process while your coffee grounds have bloomed and are starting to brew. This can be frustrating for some since it takes longer to make your morning coffee. Yet your patience is rewarded when you allow for extraction to do its magic. Some rules apply to the coffee grind size additionally, and that plays a large part in the overall taste you end up getting.


Women pressing French Press plunger

For those looking for an adventure in flavor and a unique perspective on drinking coffee, then the French Press can be your winning ticket. But to get that deliciously smooth cup of coffee, you’ll further discover the complexities of flavor and nuances like never before. It’s similar to how tea is brewed when it comes to releasing flavors that you didn’t know were there. Yet it also depends on the brewing, steeping, and pressing to get just the right extraction.

All in all, the pursuit to be rewarded with an optimal extraction is an adventure worth taking for any coffee enthusiast. And unlike traditional coffee brewing, these flavors are only possible when you’re brewing with this type of immersion process. Isn’t it time to allow your coffee beans to provide the taste that you’ve been missing all these years?

French Press VS Other Brewing Devices

French Press with coffee cups

For many coffee connoisseurs, brewing is often regarded as the most important part of any morning ritual. It goes without saying that nothing beats a perfect cup of French Press coffee that might as well be considered the Cadillac of its class. But for starters, the essential design of a French Press coffee maker is quite different than all the others. Its appearance is practically a time capsule-like object that could be more fitting in a museum…

And what truly sets it apart, is the difference in taste that other brewing methods can’t measure up to. When used correctly, the French Press extracts every ounce of flavor within a coffee bean’s core. You can’t taste the natural notes when you brew pour-over coffee and certainly not at all using a standard drip machine. And the results speak volumes for taking a cup of coffee to a whole new level.

Tips and Tricks

Way back in the 1850s when the French Press was invented, nobody had any idea it would later become such a big success. It was simply designed to be elegant looking for those who were part of the upper class. Yet for most people who knew anything about brewing coffee, it wasn’t such an easy task to get good results. It was a lot closer to trial and error in those early days when coffee brewers weren’t considering water temperature or coffee grind ratios.

But these days dabbling with the French Press when it comes to brewing tricks can take your brewing skills to a whole new level. By taking the time to learn just a few tips, tricks, and recipes from expert baristas (from coffee blogs), as they share brewing knowledge with you. It’s also much easier to watch Youtube tutorials that give you great insight to unlock the full flavor potential that lies within French Press coffee brewing.

But the real secrets that you’ll find by using the French Press come from practicing your own technique and getting good at it. Invest in some good coffee-making equipment that should include a quality burr grinder, so your coffee beans are ground up with precision. Buy a digital thermometer so you can keep track of water temperatures with less worry about guessing if your water is hot enough.

More importantly, keep a journal with different recipes so you can adjust the coffee-to-water ratios easier. The more you play around with your steeping and extraction times, the more you’ll discover flavors that can be unlocked. And if all else fails, don’t worry- it’s not the end of the world. Thankfully, French Press coffee is not all that hard to brew.


What makes a French Press special?

The reason that French Press coffee is so special and different is by allowing coffee grounds to steep inside the brewing chamber. The longer extraction time allows flavors to become part of your brewed coffee and gives you highly complex notes that aren’t easy to taste with standard brewing methods.

What are some tips for getting creative with a French Press?

Now that you can find nearly anything online these days, it’s easier to watch tutorial videos on making French Press coffee with very little effort. These videos show you step-by-step instructions and often share tips and tricks to get the best flavors. This way, it makes it faster to learn the whole brewing process with fewer mistakes.

How do I identify flavor nuances in  French Press coffee?

Coffee beans are indeed tricky little fruits because they originally grow on a bush as coffee berries. So it makes sense that your coffee beans should have fruity flavors and nutty chocolate-like notes. But this is not what we tend to taste after beans are roasted and brewed using traditional coffee machines. To taste the lesser-known fruitiness of coffee beans, you need to use a French Press which allows you to immediately taste these fruitier flavors.

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