5 French Press Mistakes to Avoid

5 French Press Mistakes to Avoid

The French Press is one of the most well-known coffeemakers ever made. The French Press has been around since the 1850s. You are just as likely to find one in a grandparent’s kitchen as you are in the kitchen of a ‘coffee connoisseur’. The French Press has gone through many redesigns to get to the model we have today, but history has a habit of repeating itself, the French Press design we have today is one of the original designs. It only took about 100 years to realise it was the best design. French Press is one of the most classic methods of coffee brewing, and if you do it correctly, it can produce a great tasting cup of coffee! It brings a new level of ease and functionality to brewing the perfect cup of coffee, but there are a few common mistakes that would surely make any ‘coffee connoisseur’ shudder. So, avoid these mistakes and you’ll enjoy the perfect cup of Velo coffee!

  1. Coffee Grounds That Are Too Fine

Before you use the French press, you need to make sure the coffee is ground correctly. Grind is a particularly important step when making good coffee. Depending on the model you have, the filter is generally not fine enough to capture all the fine grounds from seeping into your cup.

Ensure that your coffee grounds are a coarse consistency, much like the consistency of sea salt. This allows for a more effective brew and prevents coffee grinds from seeping into your cup (you want to drink your coffee, not eat it!). We recommend investing in a grinder to give you an even better coffee experience by having freshly ground beans with every cup! Velo also offers a grinding service with a purchase of Velo coffee.

A little side tip: if you push the filter down with no resistance, generally your grounds are too coarse. If too fine, you might find it hard to press down the filter- don’t worry, you don’t have to work THAT hard for the perfect cup of coffee! 

  1. Water Is Too Hot

Boiling hot water is not the best for coffee brewing. In fact, the recommended temperature for the French Press method is  94°C. Unless you are using an electric temperature controlled kettle, just wait about 60 seconds after the kettle boils to start brewing to avoid burning the coffee grounds. Adding water that is still boiling increases the risk of over-extracting the grinds’ oils which will result in a bitter tasting cup of coffee. Not only will the coffee be bitter but you may be too if you miss out on the flavours of your favourite coffee!

  1. Wrong Quantity

The key to brewing any great tasting coffee is the coffee-to-water ratio and the extraction time; this goes for French Press as well. The general rule is 60g of coffee for every litre of water. (Click here if you're interested in a scale!) After that, it’s personal preference! This ratio is easy to remember and easy to calculate. Brewing a little extra coffee is another way to reduce the number of coffee grinds that end up in your coffee- this is certainly one time where you can forget the cliché, “less is more”!

  1. Leaving the Coffee in the French Press

If you want to drink over-extracted, bitter coffee, then leave the extra coffee in the French Press after you have poured your cup. But who wants to do that?! Even though you have pushed down your plunger and served yourself a cup of coffee, the coffee will continue brewing the grounds that are in the French Press. In order to preserve the flavour of the excess coffee, make sure you have a thermos or another cup nearby.

From time to time, we all over-indulge on one too many cups of coffee! If you brew more coffee than you need in that moment, we recommend pouring the leftover coffee into a thermos or carafe immediately, so it stays nice and warm and full of flavour for your next ‘pick-me-up’ cup!

  1. Brewing for Too Long

Each coffee reacts slightly different. As a general rule, we recommend three to four minutes, which is the perfect time to grab yourself a tasty treat to go with your fresh cup of Velo coffee! If you leave the hot water in your French Press for too long, you are likely to end up with a very bitter tasting cup of coffee. Another helpful tip is to stir the brew at the end of the brew cycle. Stirring the coffee brew before the end of the brew cycle will disrupt the extraction process because the grinds will sink in the water. Patience is key for the perfect cup of coffee!

‘Sweetened’ Suggestions

  • If your coffee is tasting too sour or acidic, this is because you haven’t added enough coffee to your water remember to forget that “less is more”!
  • If it’s difficult to press the filter down, the coffee grinds are too fine; if the filter sinks with minimal resistance, the coffee grinds are too coarse.
  • Serve the coffee immediately after brewing to prevent it from becoming bitter-tasting, and save any leftover in a thermos for later!
  • If your coffee is tasting too bitter, you need to decrease the brewing time or use a more medium coarse ground coffee.
  • Ensure to properly clean the French Press and the filter thoroughly because old coffee grounds that are stuck in the filter will certainly show no mercy the next time you use the French press!

Final Thoughts

You can become the next ‘coffee connoisseur’ with just your French Press, and a bag of Velo coffee! Be sure to be mindful and avoid the mistakes listed here. If the result doesn’t please you, play around with the variables (type of coffee ground, timing, etc.), making coffee should be fun and experimental! After all, the best cup of coffee is the one you like! You can always head over to our Brew Guide page for more videos and how-tos!