What Is The Best Grind Size For French Press?

I love coffee, and I’ve been trying to improve my French press coffee for years. I realized that I had a big blind spot when it came to French press coffee. My first attempts were terrible, and I’m happy to say that I have finally found a French press coffee that works very well and tastes great.

With my experience, I concluded that choosing the best grind size for French Press is really important. The size of coffee grinds varies from fine to coarse.

And for French Press, coarse or medium-coarse ground coffee beans work the best. If you use fine grounds with a French Press coffee maker, they will escape through the plunger mesh and make your coffee sludgy. 

how coarse Grind size for french press

The coarse ground is best for making coffee with a French press. Coarse ground coffee looks like peppercorns, while fine ground coffee looks like flour or table salt. You can easily distinguish between coarse grounds and fine grounds visually. 

coarse vs fine grounds

You can buy a manual or electric coffee beans grinder with burrs for yourself, which has a setting for grinding coarse beans. So, how coarse settings for French Press?

Normally you can adjust the size between 0.75 mm to 1 mm to get coarse grounds for French Press. You will get the best taste in the 0.75-1 mm range. If you go beyond 1mm your coffee will become weaker. On the other hand, if you set the grind size to less than 0.75mm your drink will become muddy with a lot of sediments.

You can also buy pre-ground coffee beans for French Press but I usually don’t recommend buying pre-grounded coffee beans as they are not fresh. But if you are a busy person, you can purchase pre-grounded coffee beans from some good brands. It will be convenient for you as it saves you time, and you can enjoy the consistent flavor.

If you can’t compromise on the taste of your cup of joe, then you must buy a grinder for yourself and some good quality coffee beans. 

Grind settings for French Press (some popular Grinders)

The following is a list of popular burr grinders and their grind settings for French Press. 

Grinder Settings
Bratza Encore 31 – 36
OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder 11 – 13
Eureka Mignon Burr Grinder Coarse
Cuisinart Professional Burr Mill 14 – 16
Krups Burr Grinder 13 – 15
Capresso infinity Burr grinder 12 – 14
Hario Skerton Pro Manual Grinder 12 -14 clicks

Why coarser grind for a French press? | Does grind size matter?

You have to understand the science behind the extraction of coffee beans to answer this question. The fine-grind size extracts flavors quickly because of the larger exposed surface area, while the coarse ground coffee beans take some time to extract flavors. 

This extraction time also depends on the temperature of the water. More hot water will extract the flavors more quickly.

The fine grounds float and get suspended in the water while the coarse grounds easily settle down. So, there are two reasons why coarse grinds are used for French Press. 

grind size for french press
  • The first reason is the design of the French Press Coffee Maker. If we use fine grounds for French Press, it will become tough to push the plunger due to resistance because of suspended fine grounds. Moreover, there is a chance that fine grounds slip away from the plunger’s metal mesh screen and make way to your cup of coffee. That will make your coffee muddy.
  • The second reason is that French Press is a slow brewing method and the steeping time for French Press usually varies from 4 to 6 minutes. That is a very long period for the extraction of fine grounds. If we use fine grounds in a French Press for that much time, they will get over-extracted and make your coffee bitter. 

That’s why to get a well-balanced flavor with a French Press Coffee maker, you need to have coarse ground coffee beans. With coarse grounds, the plunger of your French Press Coffee Maker will not face much resistance, and you can push it quickly, and also your cup of coffee will not be sludgy.

If you are very conscious about the taste of your coffee, then selecting the right grind size will not be easy for you. I have tested various grind sizes from medium ground to extra coarse ground. 

I tried extra coarse grounds, but they resulted in an under-extracted cup of coffee. Coarse grounds also resulted in a watery French Press. I concluded that medium-coarse grounds work best with the French Press and give a well-balanced flavor. I also tried medium and fine grind, but as per expectation, the coffee was very sludgy and bitter, and, certainly, I wouldn’t say I liked it.

So, if you are like me, you can also test different grind sizes and find out the size that suits your taste the best.

Can I use fine grind in a French press?

The short answer is yes, you can make a French Press Coffee with fine or medium ground coffee, but it’s not recommended. But what if you only got the fine grounds?

Well, then you have to make some customization in the standard French Press brewing method.

With fine grounds, the flavor of coffee you get will be bitter and robust. Some people enjoy the bitterness in the taste of their coffee. If you are that kind of person, you must want to try this method.

As discussed earlier, fine grounds extract flavors more quickly than coarse grounds because of the larger surface area. And more hot water will extract the flavor from the grounds more quickly. If you are using medium or fine grounds, make the following changes in the regular French Press brewing method.

  1. Don’t use too hot water. Recommended water temperature for brewing French Press is 195 to 205 degrees. If you are using fine or medium ground, use a lower temperature than that. I recommend going with 185 degrees. Let the water sit for 2 to 3 minutes after boiling (according to your ambient temperature), and then add it to the French Press Jar that already has coffee in it. 

The benefit of lowering the temperature is that your coffee will not become too bitter as less hot water doesn’t extract too much bitterness from the grounds.

  1. Reduce the steeping time. The regular steeping time for French Press is 4 to 6 minutes. With fine and medium grounds, don’t go beyond 3 minutes marks. As you know, fine grounds get extracted more quickly than coarse grounds.
  1. And at last, push the plunger very slowly so as to minimize the amount of coffee grounds in your cup of coffee. 
  1. If you don’t like coffee grounds in your cup, I recommend using a paper filter. It will remove all the coffee grounds and make your coffee sludge free. 

The drawback of using a paper filter is that it will filter all the coffee oils, and your coffee will not taste like a real French Press. Its taste will become just like a cup of drip coffee.

Check our guide on how to filter French Press Coffee for more details

Final Thoughts

There are many things to play with; in the process of making French Press Coffee like; grind size, steeping time, water temperature, and use of additional paper filters.


Grind size really matters in making coffee by French Press, and it has a significant impact on the taste of your cup of coffee. So, keep testing until you find the best settings according to your preference.


In the end, I want to conclude this article with no matter what others say, the medium-coarse ground is always the best grind size for making coffee with French Press.

faqs

What kind of coffee do you use in a French press?

For French Press, using coarse ground coffee beans is preferred as the steeping time for French Press is much longer and you can easily push the plunger with coarse grounds.

what does coarse ground coffee look like?

Coarse grounds look like peppercorns. The exposed surface area of coarse grounds are much shorter than fine grounds