What’s The Ideal Coffee To Water French Press Ratio?

Using a French press is delicious, fast, and simple way to enjoy coffee. Here, we’ll explore what’s the ideal coffee to water French Press ratio.

woman preparing French press coffee - Coffee To Water French Press Ratio
The coffee to water ratio matters

Coffee lovers around the world know that a French press creates a delicious, pure coffee taste that’s totally customizable to individual taste buds. 

If it’s your first time using a French press, it’s important that you know where to start when creating your perfect cup. Your coffee to water ratio matters. A 1:10 ratio of coffee to hot water usually works well for a strong cup, while a 1:12 ratio provides a more mellow taste.

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know to get it right. 

Why Try A French Press?

The glass carafe and metal plunger of a French press look fancy, but using a French press coffee maker is quite simple. A French press coffee maker allows you to decide the amount of coffee and hot water you want to use, the length of your coffee brew time, and can even be used for both hot and cold brew coffee. 

French presses are especially popular with those who enjoy the flavor of coffee (and aren’t just in it for the caffeine boost). Papers and plastics used with other types of coffee makers can interrupt coffee’s flavors — the simplicity of a French press allows the deliciousness of your coffee beans to shine. 

Coffee dripping in french press
Know the right water to ground coffee ratio

To make the perfect cup of French press coffee, it’s important that you have the right hot water (or cold water) to ground coffee ratio. We’ll also take a look at how to decide how long to brew your coffee, and what to do if you’re struggling to get a flavor that you love from your French press.

Let’s check out how to decide how much coffee and water to use in your French press to get a coffee-shop-perfect cup of joe. 

What’s The Right Coffee To Water Ratio In A French Press?

When you use a French press, you’re in control of how strong (or weak) your cup of coffee becomes. You have a few different options to create the cup of coffee that’s perfect for you. 

  • For a strong cup of coffee, a ratio of 1 part coffee to 10 parts hot water works well. This breaks down to 6 tablespoons of ground coffee and 12 ounces of hot water.
  • For a weaker cup of coffee, you may want to try a 1:12 ratio, which breaks down to 5 tablespoons of ground coffee and 12 ounces of hot water. 

The type of ground coffee you use in a French press matter. You’ll want to stick with a coarse grind to ensure that your coffee grounds stay in the press as you plunge and pour.

ground coffee and coffee beans
Type of coffee ground you use matter

The coffee and hot water are in contact with one another for a far longer period than in a standard electric coffee maker, and using a coarse grind stops the coffee from becoming bitter.

If you’re noticing that the coffee you make in your French press doesn’t have the flavor you enjoy, you may want to consider grinding your own coffee beans. A high-quality grinder can make all the difference in bringing out the flavors of your coffee. 

Still, struggling with bitterness? Adding a small pinch of salt to your coffee grounds before you add hot water to your French press can help. The more coffee and less hot water you use in your French press, the stronger your coffee will be — and the higher the chance that you’ll get a bitter cup. 

Brew time also plays a role in the strength of coffee in a French press:

  • A brewing time of three to four minutes is recommended.
  • If you extend the coffee brewing time in a French press, you’ll get additional caffeine and flavor — but you’ll also run the risk of creating a bitter pot of coffee. 

Most French press enthusiasts need to play around with their coffee to water ratios to develop the amount of coffee and hot water that tastes best to them. Different varieties of ground coffee may require different coffee to hot water ratios. Once you find a ratio that works for you, don’t be afraid to switch it up when you bring home a new type of coffee. 

What About Cold Brew?

two glass of cold brew coffee
Make a cold brew coffee using French Press

One of the best-kept secrets about the humble French press: it can make great cold brew coffee. Cold brew lovers recommend using a ratio of 1:8, or about half a cup of ground coffee to four cups of water. 

Just like standard hot brew coffee, the brew time of cold brew coffee affects both the strength and taste. Brewing overnight in the fridge (8-12 hours) provides a robust flavor. A longer brew time can amp up the caffeine and provide an even deeper flavor, but can also create a sharp, bitter taste. 

Final Word On Coffee To Water French Press Ratio

While the exact ratio for every coffee lover is a matter of personal preference, using a ratio of 1:10 for hot brew coffee creates a strong, delicious cup of coffee. For those who prefer a less-strong taste (or prefer less caffeine), a 1:12 ratio works well. For cold brew coffee, a 1:8 ratio delivers a perfect taste. 

FAQs On Coffee To Water French Press Ratio

How much water and ground coffee should be used in a French press?

A 1:10 ratio is a good start for finding the right coffee to hot water ratio for your tastes. For cold brew, you’ll want to start with a 1:8 ratio. 

Does using more coffee and less hot water increase the strength of French press coffee?

Yes, it does. Increasing brew time can also increase the strength of French press coffee.


  • Amanda Berkey

    Amanda has an M.S.Ed degree from the University of Pennsylvania in School and Mental Health Counseling and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. She has experience writing magazine articles, newspaper articles, SEO-friendly web copy, and blog posts. Find Amanda on LinkedIn.