Can You Add Milk Directly To A French Press? 7 Mistakes

Wondering if it is right to add milk directly to a French Press? Read this article to find the answer and several other tips on coffee making.

Can you add milk directly to a French press
Adding milk directly to French Press will significantly reduce the temperature of the brew

I must admit that making coffee in a French Press is worth the time and patience. Watching the extraction process through the glass resulting in a rich and aromatic taste is a different experience altogether. While I like my coffee raw and pure, I know many people who prefer adding milk and sugar cubes to enhance the flavor and taste.

Assuming you know what is a french press, can you add milk to it?

You can (under certain conditions), but I would strongly suggest that you don’t because of the reasons I have mentioned below. Let me first explain why you must not add milk directly to a French Press.

If you are leaving room in the pot to add milk press? Then the ratio of grounds to water is not ideal. The beauty of a French Press lies in the way water extracts flavor from the grounds.

Also, you need enough water to ensure the grounds sink to the bottom of the pot due to density. You must let the coffee grounds settle down and sit in water for a few minutes (preferably 3-4 minutes). Adding milk directly to the French Press will stir up the content and spoil the effect.

The milk fat can clog the filter and there are higher chances that your brew will have sludge if you add milk directly to the press. Sludge means the finer particles of the coffee grounds that make way into the cup easily when milk is added.

Other reasons are, adding milk will significantly reduce the temperature of the brew. You won’t be able to tell if the extraction process is over before pouring out the drink.

Heat has an important role to play in the extraction process and to get the best results; you must aim for a temperature of 200. Milk, however, starts curdling at 180, which comes in the way of achieving a complete extraction.

I personally feel that adding milk directly to the French Press does not make the process any convenient, save a step, or enhance the taste. I know some people may differ in the context of taste!

Another downside is – when you mix things up, you are stuck with that ratio. You cannot make your coffee stronger if you want. If you have to add milk, I would suggest that you pour out the coffee into another vessel and then add milk to it.

When Can You Add Milk Directly To A French Press?

Now, the scenario when you may add milk directly to a French Press if you have to, but only under these conditions. You must wait until the preliminary brewing time is over, which usually takes 3 to 4 minutes. Adding milk before the extraction is complete may stop the process or slow it down resulting in a weak coffee.

Ideally, you should press the filter down and pour coffee into a mug and then add whatever you want as per your preference. As for the strainer, the milk fat will clog it so make sure you clean the filter thoroughly. The filter used in a French press is basically a stainless steel mesh and milk fat can easily get stuck on the surface.

If you do not clean the strainer properly, any milk fat residue clogged in the pores will turn sour. This will affect the flavor and taste of your next brew.

As mentioned above, a French Press is designed to give you the pure delight of raw coffee. Adding milk and sugar will not only weaken the flavor but also make it difficult to clean and maintain the brewing device.

How To Make The Perfect French Press Coffee?

  • Place the French Press on a flat surface and pull out the plunger
  • Now add coffee grounds to the pot (maintain the ratio of 1:15 with water)
  • Boil water close to 200 and let it sit for 30 seconds before adding to the carafe
  • Pour the hot water into the pot, and stir gently for 30 seconds
  • Re-insert the plunger very carefully into the pot
  • Stop just above the line from where the water starts
  • Let the mixture of water and coffee grounds sit for 3-4 minutes
  • Now, slowly press the plunger down by applying steady pressure using your hands
  • Pour out the coffee into your mug and store extra coffee in a thermal flask to keep it warm
  • After use, clean the French press thoroughly as mentioned below

How To Properly Clean Your French Press?

How to properly clean your french press?
Cleaning your French press after each use ensures that it delivers great coffee next time

Whether you add milk or not, you will need to clean your French press after each use to ensure that it delivers great coffee next time. If you have used milk, the cleaning may take longer and must be done carefully to ensure no milk fat residue is left behind.

Below I have listed the steps to clean a French press after each use.

Step 1

Empty the carafe by digging out the coffee grounds using your hand or a spatula. Do not use any metal spoon or sharp object as this may break the glass. Dump the grounds into the garbage can because if they go into the sink, they may clog the pipe over time.

Step 2

Disassemble the French press into its different components such as the lid, filter screens, coffee plunger, and disks. Gently remove the grounds trapped between the disks and rinse them in clean tap water.

Step 3

Add some mild detergent or liquid dish soap to water and put the solution into the carafe. Now move the plunger up and down a few times to make bubbles in the water. Drain the liquid and rinse again with clean water.

Step 4

Now take a sponge or brush with soft bristles and gently scrub the inner side of the carafe and all the French press parts including the filter screen and plunger.

Step 5

Once all the parts are scrubbed clean, rinse again with water until all the soapy solution runs out.

Step 6

Some coffee aficionados are so obsessed with their brewing device that they do not wash with soap.
They prefer baking soda to ensure that no outside flavor comes in the way of coffee.

Step 7

If you get hard water in your area, you can use a mix of water and vinegar to clean the carafe and the disassembled components thoroughly.

Step 8

After all the pieces are cleaned well, let them air dry by putting out the pieces separately on a shelf. Alternatively, you can also towel dry or use a clean soft cloth for drying.

Step 9

After all the pieces are cleaned well, let them air dry by putting out the pieces separately on a shelf. Alternatively, you can also towel dry or use a clean soft cloth for drying.

Step 10

After the pieces are dry, reassemble them together so that you can enjoy delicious coffee again next time.

7 Mistakes To Avoid When Using A French Press To Make Coffee

  1. Not grinding the coffee rightly can spoil the brew. You must ensure that the beans are coarse and evenly grounded, similar in consistency like breadcrumbs. If they are too fine, you will not be able to press the filter down properly.
  2. Many people go wrong with the coffee-to-water ratio, which is the soul of coffee-making using Fresh Press. The correct measurement to brew the perfect coffee is 1:15, which means 1 gram of grounded beans to 15 grams of water.
  3. Leaving extra coffee in the French press is a strict no-no. This will over-extract the coffee, as it will continue brewing slowly even after you press down the plunger. So, it’s always better to pour out extra coffee in a separate flask.
  4. Using old coffee beans can affect the flavor and taste. Roasted coffee beans should be used within 2 to 4 weeks to have them at their best. The green pods can be stored for several weeks before you roast them.
  5. Coffee is 98% water so do not underestimate its importance. Pay attention to the water temperature and make sure it is closer to 200 to allow the best possible extraction. Maintain this sweet point, because going over it can burn your coffee and keeping it low will result in weak coffee.
  6. Are you using hard water to make coffee? The minerals in hard water can make the coffee taste bitter. Using soft water or bottled spring water can give a good flavor to it.
  7. Over brewing your coffee can give an undesirable taste. When using a French press, brew only for 2-4 minutes to get that perfect taste every time.

Can You Add Milk Directly To A French Press? The Final Word

What I have learned from my experience over the years is that it is pretty easy to mess up your coffee. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the basic rule behind it. However, overlooking small things like the right ratio or the perfect water temperature can spoil the brew.

I agree that making coffee in a French Press takes slightly more time and a little patience, but when you smell that aroma and feel that heavenly taste, you know it’s worth the effort!

If you prefer coffee with milk, I would still suggest that you avoid adding milk directly to a French Press. To get it right, make it slightly stronger than you prefer. Pour it out and then add milk to enhance the taste without weakening your coffee!

Got more French Press Coffee Questions? Read:

Can You Use Instant Coffee In a French Press?

How Much Coffee for a French Press?

Can You Put a French Press In the Fridge?