What Is Steeped Coffee? Answered

Many people wonder: what is steeped coffee? Steeping coffee is the same process people use to make tea, allowing it to sit and soak rather than drip through a filter.

A mug full of coffee beans - What Is Steeped Coffee
Steeping is a coffee-making method that soaks the beans in hot water

Branching out from your favorite cup of coffee is a risk that many are simply not willing to take. Once you have your favorite cup of joe, why look elsewhere?

However, in recent years steeped coffee has become a new trend, enticing many to take a leap of faith. What is steeped coffee, you ask? Steeping is a coffee-making method that soaks the beans in hot water to create a high-quality flavor.

Read on to discover all the details about steeping coffee, so you can decide if trying out the new coffee trend is worth a go.

You may also want to check out can you steep coffee like tea?

So, What Is Steeped Coffee?

an espresso cup of coffee with spoon
Steeped coffee is when coffee grounds sit directly in hot water

In short, steeped coffee is when coffee grounds sit directly in hot water.

When people use coffee makers or Keurigs, the process occurring is drip filtration. The coffee grounds sit in a paper filter or the Keurig cup, and then hot water drips through the grounds to make a cup of coffee. 

Steeping coffee is different. To steep coffee, you need to let the grounds soak directly in hot water. If you drink hot tea, you’ll be familiar with steeping because you always have to let the tea bag or leaves sit in hot water for a time.

You might also be interested in our Valentus coffee guide.

The Science Behind Steeping

When you steep coffee or tea, the hot water rehydrates the grounds, which allows the soluble compounds within the coffee to release into the water. These compounds contain the caffeine, flavor, and color that we all expect from a good cup of joe. 

When you steep instead of brew with a drip method, you won’t get the most out of the coffee grounds you use. When setting up a drip coffee maker, the speed at which the water flows impacts how the coffee will taste. 

Another negative factor in brewing is the use of a paper filter. As the coffee seeps through the filter, it can lose a considerable amount of flavor, making your cup of coffee weaker. When steeping, most people use a metal strainer to remove the grounds, allowing all of the flavor to remain in the water. 

Steeping coffee allows you to make a strong cup in a shorter time if you do it right. So let’s discuss the right way to steep coffee so you can have the perfect cup.

Steps to Steep Coffee

The most common way people steep coffee is by using a French press. French presses are designed for this exact purpose, making them the ideal tool. But you can still make steeped coffee without one.

With a French Press

a man using a french press
The longer you steep your coffee, the stronger the coffee will be
  1. Boil water using an electric kettle or a stovetop kettle. 
  2. While the water is boiling, measure out one tablespoon of coffee grounds per cup you want to make. 
  3. Place the grounds at the bottom of the French press. 
  4. Once the water boils, pour the boiling water onto the coffee grounds. You can use less if you want a super-strong cup or more water if you want a weaker coffee. 
  5. Steep the coffee for four to five minutes; the longer you steep, the stronger the coffee will be. 
  6. Once the coffee has steeped, take the metal filter and press it into the French press to separate the grounds from the water. 
  7. Now you can pour your steeped coffee into your favorite mug and enjoy.

Without a French Press

  1. Boil water.
  2. Measure out one tablespoon of grounds and place them in a heat-safe container with room for the water. 
  3. When the water boils, pour the cup of water into the container and mix the grounds with the water. 
  4. Set a timer or watch the clock for four to five minutes. 
  5. Use a fine strainer, whether it’s a kitchen strainer or a tea strainer, and pour the water and grounds into it with your desired coffee mug positioned underneath. This step can be messy.
  6. If you still see grinds, you may need a smaller strainer, or you can try to strain it several times. Once all the grounds are separated, you can drink your coffee.

Some people use coffee bags, like tea bags, to steep coffee, but we do not recommend this as you lose some flavor by using paper. 

The quality of your coffee has an impact on the process as well. If you enjoyed this article, check out the best coffee for drip filters.


  • 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.