Can You Use Instant Coffee in a French Press?

Can you use instant coffee in a French Press? Here is the detailed answer you want.

Coffee Maker - use instant coffee in a french press
Instant coffee is not best in making French Press coffee

If you love coffee, you have probably tried just about any combination of flavors, strengths and even methods of brewing. Most coffee fanatics take pride in the process and look forward to the first cup of coffee every day.

That doesn’t mean as coffee fanatics that questions don’t pop up from time to time. I was recently wondering if I could use instant coffee in a French press so did some digging.

Here’s what I learned. Yes, you can use instant coffee in a French press, but it’s not the ideal use of a French press. Instant coffee is brewed, dried and granulated. 

Using a French press will rehydrate the coffee by adding water which defeats the purpose of the instant coffee and the process.

Also, a French press makes the optimal cup of coffee by learning the process of grinding fresh coffee beans. Instant coffee would not be your best solution for making coffee in a French press.

Best Practices – How to Make French Press Coffee

The process of making French press coffee is simple but does have a small learning curve. The biggest item on the learning to-do list involves learning the process of grinding coffee beans. It’s just little items involved to avoid making any mistakes when beginning the brewing process.

Here’s a look at the steps involved in brewing your first cup of French press coffee.

1.) Add your Ground Coffee. Preferably Course ground coffee. Also, for optimal results, lean towards freshly roasted and ground. 1 tablespoon per serving will do the trick.

2.) Boil Your Water. Once you have boiled your water, you can allow the water temperature to fall back down. Preferably to 205 degrees F.

3.) You can now add the water to your French press and let the coffee you added (1 cup per tablespoon of grounds) to settle.

4.) Add the second half of the water and allow to sit and settle for 3-5 for minutes. The longer you allow the coffee to sit and settle during this phase of the process, the stronger the final product will be for you.

5.) Press down firmly on your plunger. You will want to press the plunger down to its maximum. Firmly pressing with your hand will get the job done.

6.) You’re ready for a nice cup of freshly brewed French press coffee.

Can I Use Regular Coffee In A French Press?

Instant Coffee
A coarse grind is recommended if using a regular coffee

This question also arises frequently when it comes to making coffee with a French press. Can You use regular coffee in a French press? Here’s the answer. Yes, you can use regular coffee in a French press. 

You will still, however, need to boil your water and go through the press process. If you are using regular coffee, it’s recommended to use a regular or coarse grind.

You don’t necessarily have to press and grind your beans right before the process. It’s what many do but not 100% necessary.

How Long Do You Have To Leave Coffee In A French Press?

Many people who think they the brew the ultimate cup of coffee will different answers to this question. The easy answer is that it depends. Boiling the water itself should only take roughly 1 minute. 

From there, you begin to let the coffee “steep or settle.” 

The longer you allow the coffee to be steep or sit during the process will determine how strong and flavor packed your finished cup of coffee will be. In general, you are looking at anywhere from 2-5 minutes unless you really a need an extra strong cup.

This doesn’t mean you have to fall within this timeframe for the steep period. It’s optional to allow the coffee too steep for longer to create a deeper flavor and stronger overall brew.

Is French Press Coffee Better? Will I Experience Better Flavor, Strength?

Again, you could probably ask 10 people this question and get 10 different answers. Let’s look at some of the top reason’s individuals believe that French press coffee is superior to other forms of coffee.

One of the biggest reasons people believe French press coffee takes home the gold medal over traditional coffee is the fact that no filter is involved. This allows you not to miss out on any of those grounds. Not filtering the coffee is going to allow for a complete transfer of all the oils and nutrients within the coffee grounds.

Also, not using a filter is going to allow for much more flavor to pass through and find its way into your cup.

The Story of the Steep – The Secret Tie Breaker

French press machines also use the process of steeping. This steeping process is what hands down gives French press coffee an advantage over filter coffee or instant coffee. Depending on how long you allow your coffee to steep essentially gives you full control of the flavor strength.

Lastly, French press coffee is the purest form of making coffee. Fewer impurities and other processes interfere with the process from the beginning to the end.

You have no manufacturing of the coffee which can ultimately interfere with the pureness of the coffee and no drip machine being used to create the coffee.

What All Do I Need To Begin Making French Press Coffee?

coffee grinder machine packed with coffee beans
Make use of coffee grinder in making french press coffee

French press coffee is a straightforward process. It involves very little equipment and doesn’t take much time to be up and running. All you need to get started with making French press coffee would be the following,

• A Coffee Grinder like this

• The French Press

• Scale (Optional)

• Thermometer (optional)

You can get away without the scale and thermometer if need be but for optimal performance the best possible brew, these are the tools you will want to lean on to get the job done.

How Many Tablespoons Of Coffee Do You Put In A French Press?

This is ultimately up to you, but there are optimal recommendations you can follow for a perfect ratio. Many say that following a 1:15 ratio is optimal. This is your coffee to water ratio. 

1 Gram of coffee = 15 grams of water.

This ultimately results in using about 3 tablespoons of coffee per cup of water used. You can play with this and use trial and error until you find the best overall taste and strength to match up to your preference, but this can certainly be a good starting point for you.

If, however, you are looking to crank up the intensity of the brew, you can add some more heaping scoops of grinds to the mix to give the coffee that extra punch you are looking for.

How Do You Make French Press Coffee Stronger?

Increasing strength in your French press coffee is also a relatively simple process. To do so, you can simply use a coarser grind. At this point, you can just add more tablespoons of coffee to add additional strength to brew. 

For stronger flavor, you can allow the coffee too steep for a more extended period. Start by brewing your coffee for 4 minutes and then let a 3-5-minute steeping period for a stronger cup of coffee.

Is There More Caffeine In French Press Coffee?

French Press coffee falls right in the middle of the total caffeine count spectrum when it comes to comparing it to drip-brewed coffee or espresso. Espresso has a high caffeine count, but it’s only measured by a total volume of 2oz servings. 

Next in total caffeine comes your French press at roughly 110mg of caffeine per 7 ounces and your regular drip coffee has the highest content at roughly 145mg per 7 oz serving cup.

Your Turn, What’s Your Favorite Way Method To Making Coffee?

Overall, you have several options when you set out to make the perfect cup of coffee, and everyone has their own personal taste and preference of what method creates the best flavor strength and best overall blend. The French press consists of many positives that can’t be ignored such as the clean nature of the brew, the added flavor, and the simplicity.

What’s your favorite method for brewing coffee? Do you know any other techniques to create the perfect cup of French press coffee?


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.