When using a French press, you will find that the resulting coffee is full of flavor and has a syrupy and sweet body.
You can also choose the amount of grind to use, how long you brew your coffee, and how many cups you want.
However, with the wrong grind size, you might end up ruining your cup. That’s why it’s important to know what grind of coffee for French press is ideal.
What Is a French Press Coffee Maker?
The French press coffee maker, also known as coffee press and cafetiere, is a compact and affordable coffee machine.
It has a cylindrical glass, steel, or plastic beaker and a plunger with a piston.
The piston is crafted with a mesh filter to ensure little to no coffee grinds pass through it while allowing the liquid to flow freely.
Brewing your coffee using a French press isn’t as complicated as other techniques.
In fact, you don’t even need electricity, nor do you have to press several buttons or turn multiple knobs.
That’s why it’s perfect for those just starting to prepare their hot and cold brew coffee at home and even for the most experienced ones.
What Grind of Coffee for French Press Should You Prepare?
Every coffee-making appliance has different features and working principles, so the grind size suitable for each is also different.
The coffee grind for the French press machine and method should measure around 0.75 to one millimeter (0.029 to 0.035 inches).
This size range matches the coarse grind type, which usually has a similar texture to rock salt, sea salt, or Kosher salt with large but even chunks.
Why Does French Press Need Coarse Grind?
The primary reason a coarse grind is the top choice is that the appliance uses the principle of immersion.
Basically, the grinds get exposed to hot water longer than other methods, extracting more flavor, aroma, caffeine, and oil.
Using finer grounds can lead to over-extraction if you’re not careful, while a coarse grind can slow down the extraction process.
Similarly, the mesh filter or the strainer’s size isn’t too fine to trap most fine coffee grinds.
It goes without saying that using a too coarse or big-sized coffee grind will produce a weak cup of coffee.
Meanwhile, a too fine coffee grind will result in a bitter-tasting, murky coffee with plenty of grinds in your cup.
That said, you can find French press products with finer mesh filters, allowing you to use medium grind coffee.
You can use fine coffee grinds, but you will need additional filters, such as filter paper.
How Long Do You Grind Coffee Beans for French Press?
Although some coffee grinders have grind settings, how long you grind the beans can affect the resulting grind size.
It’s recommended that you grind the beans from six to nine seconds and ensure you have a reliable timer if your grinder doesn’t have one.
The longer you grind your coffee beans, the less coarse they will be, even if you set the grind setting to coarse.
How To Find the Right Grind for Your French Press Coffee
There’s no exact coarse grind size, and we have different taste buds.
You need to figure out what grind of coffee for French press is ideal for you while staying within the recommended coarse grind size.
You would need to make a bit of a trial and error by following these steps:
Step 1: Using a weighing scale or a measuring spoon, measure the right amount of beans that make one cup to prevent wasting your beans if you don’t like the resulting coffee.
Step 2: Place the beans in your grinder and choose the coarsest setting and the lowest recommended grinding time, which is six seconds.
Step 3: Grind by following your specific grinder's owner manual.
Step 4: Prepare your coffee using the freshly ground beans and your French press.
If the coffee doesn’t have the quality you want, lower the grind setting and increase the grinding time the next time you prepare your coffee.
Repeat the steps until you have a grind size that makes the cup of French coffee that you prefer.
Here are a few notes to keep in mind when experimenting on the grind size to use for your French press:
- Stick to one brewing time, one you expect to follow most of the time when preparing your coffee. After all, brewing time can affect the French press coffee’s strength and flavor.
- Ensure you have a clean coffee grinder each time, as any residue can affect how evenly sized your coffee grind will be.
Apart from these reminders, investing in the best coffee grinder for French press brewing is advisable.
A high-quality grinder will ensure you have efficiently ground and evenly sized coffee grinds.
Can You Use Whole Bean Coffee in a French Press?
First of all, it’s not impossible to prepare a delicious cup of Joe using whole beans.
The problem is that it will require consistent heating for at least an hour to extract maximum flavor, oil, caffeine, and aroma because beans have smaller surface areas than coffee grounds.
The French press is an appliance that you can’t expose to direct heat, and the longer you leave the beans seeping, the lower the water temperature will be.
Therefore, you’ll have muddy, tasteless coffee when using whole beans in your French press.
Start Grinding and Preparing Your French Press Coffee!
Knowing how to grind your coffee beans isn’t enough to ensure you prepare a flavorful cup of coffee each time.
You must also consider what grind size perfectly fits your brewing appliance; after all, there are several coffee-making machines available.
That said, what grind of coffee is ideal for French press?
The French press requires coarse coffee grinds because of its design and brewing principle. Still, the ideal size will depend on how strong and smooth you want your coffee to be.
Just make sure there are not too many grinds passing through the strainer or filter unless you’re okay with drinking coffee with bits of ground.