The French Press Hack For More Robust Coffee

Despite the combined efforts of innovative busybody baristas, it turns out that the secret to the ultimate cup of French press coffee is just to wait a minute (literally). What we mean is, add half the water, let the coffee "bloom," then add the rest of the water.

French press coffee makers are composed of three parts: a carafe, a plunger, and a filter. The coffee grounds are soaked in water, steeped, and then separated from the brewed coffee. This manual method effectively extracts more of the coffee's natural flavor oils than any other brewing method, making the French press the best tool for achieving a robust, full-bodied cup of coffee. Plus, some of the natural, flavorful micro-sediments in your grounds pass through the filter, which can be a good thing if rich taste and mouthfeel are your cup of joe (pun intended).

To get even more out of your French press, this tip comes from a TikTok by @deathwishcoffee. Pour only half the water you would normally use over your grounds and stir continuously for one minute. This allows the coffee to bloom, enhancing flavor and ultimately creating a better taste.

A ratio of 1 ounce of coffee for every 16 ounces of water is ideal for your total French press batch, which shakes out to roughly 2 heaping tablespoons of grounds for every 2 cups of water. For the initial pour, use 8 ounces of water. You can also add an extra tablespoon or two of coffee grounds if you prefer a stronger cup.

It's all about the bloom

In the barista world, "blooming" refers to the chemical process that takes place when you pour boiling water on your coffee grounds and those little bubbles rise to the surface. Those bubbles are carbon dioxide, which gets trapped in the beans during the roasting process. It's a natural byproduct, but its presence interferes with the extraction of those delicate, nuanced flavors from the coffee grounds (the carefully crafted notes you pay extra for at artisanal roasteries). An ideal bloom uses just enough water to thoroughly saturate the grounds; the rest of the water is added after a brief moment of waiting for those bubbles to rise and escape.

After a full minute of submersion and stirring, pour the rest of the water into your French press, put the lid on, and allow the coffee to steep for another three to four minutes. Then, just plunge slowly as you normally would, and enjoy your robust, rich cup of coffee.

Be sure to only use coarsely ground coffee in your French press to ensure it doesn't pass through the filter screen (hello, floaties!) or over-extract and create an unpleasant bitter flavor. One of the biggest perks of this tool is that it doesn't require a heating element, but to that effect, the water should be at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal flavor extraction from the coffee grounds, leaving you with a stronger cup.