There’s no single correct answer to the question of how many tablespoons of coffee you need for brewing with a French Press.
Well, simply because there are many different sizes of French Presses. However, there is a pretty straightforward rule. The best brew ratio between coffee and water is between 1:15 and 1:17.
That means for every 15 – 17 ml of water you need to add 1 g of ground coffee.
Not so easy when you’re trying to measure things. It’s much simpler to have somebody else calculate and come up with:
2 – 3 tablespoons of coffee for 1 cup of water
If you go with this ratio, you’ll end up with a strong and tasty cup of delicious French Press brewed coffee. So, for a large 32 oz French Press, you’re looking at roughly 8 to 10 tablespoons.
A Cup of Coffee is not the same as a Cup of Water?
If you say that the calculation is confusing as a cup has 8 oz then you are correct. Except when it comes to coffee. The cup of coffee is measured as 6 oz.
Many hot beverages like coffee, tea, or hot cocoa, are measured in 6 oz per cup. That’s why a 32 oz French Press delivers a little more than 5 cups of coffee. If we were looking at a cold beverage, it would be 4 cups.
However, the French Press measurement that you’ll find everywhere uses 8 oz per cup. To stick with what you’ll find in the store and anywhere else, we’ll do the same here. Even though, technically, the calculations should be done with 6 oz per cup…
One problem with measuring in teaspoons (or any spoon measure) is that it’s not very accurate. You might sometimes just have a little more or fewer coffee grounds in the spoon. So, be prepared that there will be slight differences every time you measure your grounds to brew coffee with the French Press.
If you really want to get exact and scientific, you have to measure your coffee by weight. That will technically allow reproducing the exact coffee every time. Well, only if you use the same water, the same water temperature, and the same steeping period of the grounds in the French Press. Oh, and then you also have to use the same amount of pressure and speed when you press the plunger down.
You’ll usually be fine by going with ‘close enough.’ You still get a delicious cup of coffee when you’re in the brew ratio range of 1:15 to 1:17, or about two tablespoons of coffee for each cup.
Perfecting your French Press Coffee Brewing – Avoid Bitter Coffee
Brewing coffee in your French Press can somewhat be an art. While the brew ratio of 2 – 3 tablespoons of coffee grounds per cup is pretty straightforward, there are a few other things that will impact the taste of your brew.
- Start with quality coffee beans. Grind them according to the best French Press grind right before you brew your coffee.
- Use a burr grinder to get a consistent grind of your coffee beans. Don’t grind the beans too fine as these small pieces extract quicker compared to larger parts – What Is The Difference Between Burr Vs Blade Grinders?
- Don’t leave the coffee grounds in for too long. Your coffee could end up tasting bitter if it was exposed for too long to the coffee grounds. Once the brewing time is over, you either fill into the cups or into another carafe where the coffee is no longer exposed to the grounds.
- Don’t use water that’s hotter than 200 Degrees F. That’s just below the boiling point for water. If you use water that’s too hot then it can scorch the coffee. This makes the coffee taste bitter. To be safe, you simply boil your water and then let it cool down for a minute. You’ll end up around 200 Degrees F.
- Clean your French Press thoroughly after each brewing process. Otherwise, coffee pieces might get lodged in the filter and spoil the taste of your coffee. It’ll end up tasting bitter and unpleasant.
How strict is the Coffee Ratio for a French Press?
Well, the French won’t come after you if you deviate from the coffee ratio mentioned above. However, you might not like the resulting coffee very much if you stray too far off from the 1:15 to 1:17 ratio.
What happens if your ratio of water to coffee is 1:12? You’ll end up with a much stronger brew. Does that mean it’s bad? That depends on how you like your coffee.
The 1:15 to 1:17 ratio of water to coffee is a guideline. You’ll end up with a pretty good tasting and reasonably strong coffee if you stick to that rule.
However, if you prefer really strong coffee, then play with using a 1:14 or 1:13 ratio. The same is true if you prefer your coffee on the lighter side. Try a 1:18 or even higher ratio.
Eventually, you’ll come to your own ‘best’ ratio. Just stick with that and enjoy every cup you have!
It does certainly also depend on the coffee you use. If it’s a French roast or Italian roast, or otherwise a strong coffee, then you might want to start with a ratio that’s a little higher in water.
Different Size of French Press – Different amounts of Coffee Grounds!
You can get a French Press in a variety of sizes. It’s obvious that you will have to put different amounts of coffee grounds into the French Press depending on its size.
24 oz French Press – 4 Coffee Cups/3 Cups
If you go with the 1:15 ratio, then you’re looking at roughly 8-10 tablespoons of coffee. You’ll want to test it out for yourself what ratio you prefer.
A 24 oz French Press has around 710 ml. At a 1:15 ratio, you need approximately 47 grams of coffee grounds. That’s roughly 9 tablespoons of coffee grounds. Depending on your taste, you can go anywhere between 8 and 10 tablespoons, and you should get a delicious cup of coffee!
32 oz French Press – 5 Coffee Cups/4 Cups
A 32 oz French Press is definitely one of the larger ones you will be able to find. With the golden ratio of 1:15, you need approximately 10 to 12 scoops of coffee grounds. We simply define a scoop of coffee to be a tablespoon!
The 32 oz French Press has around 950 ml. That results in roughly 63 grams of coffee. That’s (with some rounding) 11 tablespoons/scoops of coffee. Again, depending on how strong you want the coffee to be, go with between 10 and 12 tablespoons of coffee for a 32 oz French Press.
What if my Coffee out of the French Press isn’t strong enough?
You might immediately think the answer is to increase the amount of coffee grounds, right? That can be one of the reasons why your French Press coffee tastes weak.
The other reason is that you possibly did not give the coffee grounds enough time to brew. Typically, you let the grounds brew for about 5 minutes. If you serve the French Press coffee after a shorter brew period, the coffee will be weaker.
Can you wash your French Press in the dishwasher?
That will depend on the French Press you own. Check the box or instruction manual to find out.
Typically, French Presses are dishwasher safe. However, that’s only true for most of them, not for all of them.
If you want to be safe, check the user guide to determine whether your French Press is dishwasher safe. Or, simply wash it by hand to be on the safe side!
Is French Press coffee stronger?
It’s not easy to answer this question. A cup of coffee has more caffeine than a shot of espresso. While espresso is stronger (has more caffeine per 1 oz), you will consume less caffeine because you only consume a shot of espresso.
A cup of French Press coffee also has more caffeine compared to a shot of espresso (French Press Coffee vs. Espresso). However, typically a French Press cup of coffee has less caffeine than a cup of drip coffee (French Press vs. Drip Coffee – Are they the same?). You could let the coffee brew longer in your French Press extract more caffeine, but then it will taste bad.
Making coffee in a French Press is easy when you stick with the brew ratio of 1:15 to 1:17 and finish the brewing process after about 5 minutes. However, you will have to play a little with the brew ratio and brewing time yourself. The way you like your coffee is not how everybody else likes their cup of Joe.
So, go ahead and experiment a little. Take notes and then refine your French Press brewing until you get the perfect cup of coffee every time! You won’t regret experimenting as you’ll end up with an excellent cup of coffee!