Coffee Water Ratio French Press: The Rule of Thumb

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The coffee water ratio French press can be very confusing especially when you don’t know much about brewing yet. You might find yourself drowned with information if you google the answer. The problem is, there is really no right way of doing it.

However, the end goal is not to lose the integrity of the coffee beans. If you go about this without having a set ratio in mind, you might just end up wasting coffee beans and water. Where do you start, though?

Perfecting the coffee and water ratio may take some time because even coffee connoisseurs argue among themselves whether there is a precise ratio. At the same time, the ratio also varies from one kind of coffee bean to another. Surely, there is a rule, right?

Luckily, you have us to tell you what that is. Accordingly, we are also going to discuss why coffee and water ratio is important. Lastly, we will give you tips on how to make great coffee.

Are you up for some coffee technicalities? Then keep on reading.

Why Is It Important?

The coffee-to-water ratio is vital to the whole process of using a French press. It is because the essence of using a French press is about the perfect extraction. Of course, extraction has a lot to do with the volume, temperature, and type of water that is involved.

Probably the biggest mistake that one can do is to use a lot of water. Doing so may shock the beans or over extract them. In the process, the end result of the coffee can be too bitter or too bland.

At the same time, this ratio affects the type of brew that you like too. If you like it strong, there is a different ratio for that. On the other hand, if you like it frothy, there is also a different ratio.

We are not saying that water and coffee ratio is where it is at during the extraction process, but truly, it is the starting point of the brewing method. Just like in other things, when you mess up at the beginning, you set yourself up for disaster.

The Three Basic Elements of Brewing Coffee

Before we move on to the coffee water ratio French press, we need to discuss first the three basic elements of brewing coffee using a French press. You need to know how to work with the following:

  • Water
  • Water temperature
  • Grind


Is it important to use a specific type of water? Of course! Now, we are not talking about using Evian or Acqua di Cristallo. However, using good-quality water will help enhance the taste of your coffee.

Our recommendation is to use the freshest water you have. Ideally, make use of filtered tap water or bottled mineral or spring water. On the other hand, it is not recommended to use distilled water because all the minerals that were in it are already gone. The default minerals in water bring out the robust taste of coffee.

Water Temperature

It is recommended to keep your water between 195˚ and 205˚F. Within that range, it is assured that the water is not too hot that it can over extract or shock the beans nor is it too warm that it does not properly extract the grind.

At the same time, this temperature range is the perfect range for a French press to maintain. This means that it will not easily turn cold while brewing or fluctuate to a higher temperature.


The rule of thumb for any type of French press is to have a coarse grind. The reason behind this is that the beans will be easily and effectively filtered and the grind itself has the capacity to release its flavor and aroma. However, there can be variations based on your preference.

  • Medium-coarse grind is ideal for automatic drip brewers
  • Medium grind is best for a  filter cone method
  • Fine grind can be used when making espresso in a French press or other coffee-making machines

Coffee Water Ratio French Press: Is There a Right Ratio?

As mentioned before, there is really no right way of doing it. For those people who can afford it, they do a bunch of trials and errors. As we are on the practical side of things, though, it is better not to put your water and coffee beans to waste, right?

The rule of thumb is to use one to two tablespoons of coffee for every six ounces of water. However, a lot of people tend to use two tablespoons of coffee for every six ounces of water when they are using a French press.

This means that there are 16 to18 grams of water for every gram of coffee that is used. Notice the increments for both measurements. They are all by twos. With that in mind, if you are ready to tweak your own ration, go about it in increments of two.

Here are some guides based on the size of the French press:

  • 3 cups: water (350 ml.) coffee (19.5 g.)
  • 8 cups: water (1000 ml.) coffee (55.5 g.)
  • 12 cups: water (1500 ml.) coffee (83.5 g.)

Adjusting the Ratio According to Preference

Remember when we told you that the water and coffee ratio is a vital part of extraction? It is because the flavor profile can also depend on how much or how little water you add to the brew. Yes, it is that simple.

Of course, if you want smoother coffee, then you can stick with the default ratio and just add extra creamer or sugar. Alternatively, you can just add a bit of water if you like your coffee raw.

On the other hand, if you want to have a strong blend, then you can decrease the amount of water or simply go with a finer grind with the same amount of water. As surprising as it sounds, that is all you need to do to adjust the strength of your coffee.

Final Thoughts

Although the water and coffee ratio is not an exact science, it can easily be mastered by adjusting the ratio bit by bit. But, again, those are just for people who have the luxury of time to do trial and error. For those people who need to be out the door with good brewed coffee, follow the rule of thumb.

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