Cook & Drink

How To French Press Like A Pro

Snowe and La Colombe - How to French Press


Anticipation is a pretty powerful force: when the best things in life come with a wait, you often find that the wait makes them that much sweeter. French press coffee is the ultimate example – you measure it out, set it all up, and then it’s just you and the Jeopardy theme song in your head as you have nothing to do but excitedly await the steaming aromatic goodness.

And since anything worth doing is worth doing right, we’ve teamed up with the coffee geniuses at La Colombe for their guru-level advice on making the perfect cup of coffee. The Philadelphia-headquartered brewer and series of cafes know a thing or two about brewing – they’ve been doing it for 20-something years, after all. They’re also the coffee-of-choice for legions of fans (us included) so loyal they’ll happily and patiently wait in lines that snake throughout the beautifully-designed cafes in New York, Boston, D.C., and more.

Luckily, you can also buy the beans online and, with their advice below, make your own cup worth waiting for. Since we’re obviously well aware of the importance of a perfect cup – whether it be in a mug or cup and saucer – we’re sharing JP and Todd’s best advice for French pressing your way to success.


Start your coffee with the right beans.




Prepping The Press. 

La Colombe’s co-founders, JP Iberti and Todd Carmichael, have different French press philosophies – which is handy, because they tend to each be perfect for specific personality types. Let’s say if you’re the type that folds your socks, you’re Team Todd.


Grind fresh beans for your cup of coffee.  


He recommends a foolproof 1 gram of coffee to 17 grams of hot water ratio – weigh the beans on a kitchen scale whole before grinding to a consistency just coarser than table salt; pour in exactly 17 times the amount of hot water.

Meanwhile, JP eyeballs things – fill the press one-sixth of the way with coffee grounds, cover the grounds in about an inch of water and let them sit for 30 seconds before pouring in water to the top of the press.


 Do you measure your coffee to water ratio exactly or do you eyeball it?


Press that coffee like your alertness and happiness for the day ahead depends on it.


Time It Right.

As for the timing, 4 minutes is an excellent rule of thumb – though JP warns that darker roasts can go for less, around 3 minutes. And then? The delicious, satisfying, endorphin-raising part.


Pour water over the coffee grounds to saturate them first.  


No,  not drinking the coffee. THE PLUNGE. Press that coffee like your alertness and happiness for the day ahead depends on it.


Yes, There’s A Right Way To Do This Next Part

Once you’ve pressed, pour out 100% of the coffee – into a new vessel if needed, if you’re not about to drink it all ASAP in your mug or cup and saucer. Leaving the coffee in there with the grounds is a one-way ticket to a bitter second cup.


Take the plunge. You're ready to drink your french press coffee.


Now voila, you’ve got yourself a La Colombe-approved cup of brew that’s sure to perk you up and start your day on a high note. Now, if you’re a real overachiever, you’ll also want to take the following LC tips to keep your beans feeling like the royal life-enhancers they are.


Ahh. Caffeine. Finally.



Pre-Coffee Making

  • Buy whole beans, not grounds, and make sure they’re less than two months off their roast date. Grinding just enough for each brew will enhance the freshness.


  • Give those beans the home they deserve – an airtight container kept in the cupboard, protecting them from light, oxygen, and moisture, or as LC calls them, “coffee killers.”


Coffee and a croissant is pure happiness.



Post Coffee Making

  • Pour your coffee into a beautiful mug. That’s an actual La Colombe-ism – if you can’t tell by now, they take the drink seriously, and know it deserves a magical vessel to bring it to its ultimate destination: You. We’ll take this moment to plug our mug once more; we’re sure you understand.


  • Repeat after us: I solemnly swear I will never reheat coffee. (It changes the chemistry and taste, which is why that microwaved mug tastes like dishwater). This is your chance to start fresh. And why not? It’s the perfect opportunity to practice your craft.



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