The Ideal Coffee-To-Water Ratio For A French Press Is Up To You

Making coffee with a French press is one of those deceivingly simple activities. At first glance, the process may seem simple; all you need is to boil water and, well, press down on your ground coffee beans. However, this seemingly straightforward process comes with a few variables, not only in the temperature of your water (202 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal), but also in your coffee-to-water ratio.

Unlike brewing temperature, however, the ratio between beans and water is all about experimentation. "I think people often get stuck on recipes and ratios, so I love advice encouraging people to experiment and taste until they find something they like," Tradecraft Coffee & Tea's Iaisha Munnerlyn told Food & Wine. While ratios surely make matters easier, they also limit room for personalization. Munnerlyn urged French press users to experiment with different combinations of coffee and water until they find the best balance for their own, individualized morning routine. 

Of course, there are a few reasons why you'll want to develop your own ratio; mainly, the balance between coffee and water impacts the strength of your brew and therefore its flavor. You may prefer coffee that's intense and strong. Or, you may be all about lighter brews. Granted, if experimenting with your French press still sounds a little daunting, try a baseline ratio and toy with your measurements from there. Luckily, there's a rough starting point that can help you curate your ideal coffee-to-water combination. 

Start with a 1:17 ratio and tweak from there

French press coffee can be something of a science, but settling on a water ratio is all about personal preference. The next time you pull out your French press, start with a standard ratio of roughly 1:17 and experiment from there. This means, that for every 1 gram of coffee beans you use, you'll want roughly 17 milliliters of water. Try this ratio. Then, depending on your taste buds, deviate from the formula. If you're a fan of ultra-strong coffee, try a smaller ratio. Or, if you prefer your coffee slightly less intense, up 17 milliliters to 18 or even greater. 

Of course, some coffee guides suggest beginning with a set ratio of 1:15 or 1:16, proving, again, that the balance between the two ingredients is entirely malleable. When it comes to a French press, trial and error is the name of the game, though you'll likely hit the sweet spot somewhere between a ratio of 1:15 and 1:18. If not? Keep adding — or subtracting — water. It's up to you to design your own golden French press formula.