What is French press coffee?

A Cafetiere, or French press, is a coffee machine that brews coffee by immersing ground coffee in hot water and then separating the grounds from the coffee by pressing down the filter. When using a French press, it’s important to keep the temperature within a range of 90-100 degrees c, depending on your desired flavour profile. If you brew coffee below 90 degrees C, you won’t extract the full potential from the coffee resulting in an undesirable cup.

The biggest advantage of a cafetiere, or French press, is that you can use any type of ground coffee with it. You don’t have to buy pre-ground coffee, which doesn’t always taste as fresh as whole beans, unless freshly ground and roasted as Iron and Fire do! The biggest advantage of a cafetiere is its ease of use and versatility, you can use a wide range of different grind sizes, and it virtually takes no skill to create a fantastic cup of coffee. Our coffee bean experts have handpicked a range of coffee beans that we feel will work well when brewed using a cafetiere. See our brew guides for help and check out our suggestions below for the best coffees for a cafetiere.

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What is the Best Coffee for Cafetiere?

The cafetiere’s total immersion process makes it harder to over-extract your coffee. This simple saturation method makes the cafetiere an ideal brewing method for beginners as there is not much that can go wrong and it generally provides a rich, robust full-bodied cup of coffee. Coffees from South, and Central America, as well as Indonesia, can often work well with cafetiere as these countries often provide coffee beans that have nutty and chocolate tones that work well with the French Press method.

As well as the flavour profile, there are types of roast that best suits the cafetiere brewing method.  While you can brew any coffee with a cafetiere, fuller-bodied, richer coffees, or medium and dark roasted coffee beans are in broad terms appropriate for brewing with the cafetiere. A dash of milk works well with the earthy, chocolatey flavour it tends to bring out of the profiles.

The cafetiere is renowned for delivering a full-bodied coffee, our coffee experts here at Iron and Fire recommend looking for nutty and rich flavours such as hazelnuts, almonds and chocolate.


The Ideal Grind for Cafetiere Coffee

The best grind size for your French Press machine is a coarse grind. This is a similar size to kosher or sea salt. Grind size is not as important for your french press as with other methods, however the advantage of going courses means you are less likely to get coffee solids in your drink. Don’t have your own coffee grinder? We stock a range of high-quality coffee grinders ensuring that you have the perfect coffee grind!


History of the French Press

Unsurprisingly it was a Frenchman that created the very first French press. It was created by necessity when he noticed that he had not added coffee to his already boiling water. He needed something that would press down the coffee into the water or it would float at the top and he wouldn’t enjoy his coffee. He found a passing merchant, a stick, and a piece of metal which then allowed him to plunge. The French press has come a long way from that and has become one of the most popular home coffee brewing methods which produce a rich cup of coffee.

Frequently asked questions

Is french press coffee worth it?

French press coffee is great if you love richer, full bodied coffee and this brew method really favours chocolatey roast profiles alot, however you can brew almost any coffee with a french press with great success. They are really user friendly, and perfect for a fuss free coffee.

How much coffee do you put in a french press?

We recommend using a ratio of 1 part coffee to 15 parts water, or 20g of coffee to 300g of water. This is a great starting point and then if you prefer your coffee a little stronger you can reduce the ratio to suit your tastes. If you prefer weaker coffee then just add more water. Use a brew time of around 4 minutes to fully extract the coffee.

Can you use regular ground coffee in a french press?

We recommend using a coarser grind of coffee for your cafetiere, which we can grind for you. Or if you have a pre-ground coffee for you, just reduce the brew time in regards to the finer grind size.

What is the ratio for french press or cafetiere coffee?

We normally opt for 1 part coffee to 15 parts water as a good starting point.

How long should coffee steep in a french press?

We normally recommend around 4 minutes as guide to steep your coffee in your cafetiere, then adjust to taste.

Can you make cold brew in a cafetiere?

Absolutely you can make cold brew in a cafetiere! You will need to increase the time of brewing to fully extract your coffee and you will need a coffee filter for afterwards but we have a blog post here that gives you a step by step guide.

How do you make coffee in a cafetiere?

Cafetieres are really simple and make a great coffee. First add your ground coffee to your cafetiere, and top with your offboil water. Give it a quick stir to ensure all the coffee is wet and leave to brew for 4 minutes. Add your plunger, and plunge through the water until it is half way through and pour. Read our step by step guide here.

How much coffee do you put in a cafetiere?

How much coffee you put in your cafetiere will depend on the size of your cafetiere but usually for one serving anywhere between 15g to 20g of coffee is a good starting point. Adjust with more coffee or more water to taste. Read our step by step guide here.

What is the differece between filter coffee and cafetiere?

Filter coffee is classed as perculated brew where water passes over the coffee to extract it and usually filter out using a paper filter. This results in a lighter cup of coffee with less oil or residue. Cafetiere is an immersion brew, where the coffee is steeped for a period of time to extract, this usually leads to a fuller bodied cup, with a little bit of oil and silt present in the cup. Read our blogs for tips and brew recipes