What Is The Best Grind Size For French Press?

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Johny Morrisson

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 Grind Size that works very well and tastes great.

With my experience, I concluded that choosing the best grind size for French Press matters a lot and is really important.

The best grind size for French Press is coarse or medium-coarse. 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 the 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

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 use pre-ground coffee for French Press. But the main problem is it is very difficult to find coarse grind sizes in pre-ground packages. Most of the pre-ground coffee sold in the market is either fine or medium in grind size. These grounds are perfect for making Drip or Pour-Over coffee but certainly not perfect for French Press.

Check out the list of Best Coarse grounds for French Press

Grind settings for French Press (some popular Grinders)

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

Bratza Encore31 – 36
OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder11 – 13
Eureka Mignon Burr GrinderCoarse
Cuisinart Professional Burr Mill14 – 16
Krups Burr Grinder13 – 15
Capresso infinity Burr grinder12 – 14
Hario Skerton Pro Manual Grinder12 -14 clicks

I have tested and prepared a list of the best coffee grinders for French Press.

The ideal grind size for French Press also depends on the roast of coffee beans you are using. For light or medium light roasts, opt for a medium or medium-coarse grind, as light roasts extract flavors very slowly. Conversely, if you are using an extra dark roast, always use a much coarser grind size, as dark roasts extract flavors very quickly and can make your drink overly bitter.

Why Does Grind Size Matter for French Press?

There are two reasons why French Press needs coarse grind.

  • The first reason is the design of the French Press Coffee Maker is not compatible with fine grounds. Fine grounds remain suspended in water and create resistance, making it difficult to push the plunger down. Furthermore, there is a possibility that fine grounds will escape the metal mesh screen and find their way into your cup of coffee, resulting in a muddy drink.
  • The second reason is that French Press is a slow brewing method and the steeping time for French Press is usually around 4 to 6 minutes. This is a considerable amount of time for fine grounds to be subjected to the extraction process. If fine grounds are used in a French Press for this extended period, they will become over-extracted, resulting in a bitter brew.
grind size for french press

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 require a lot of experimentation.

Can you 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 intense. 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.

  1. Don’t use too hot water. Recommended water temperature for 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 190 degrees. Let the water sit for 2 to 3 minutes after boiling. (according to your ambient temperature)

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 to 3 minutes. As you know, fine grounds get extracted more quickly than coarse grounds. The regular steeping time for French Press is 4 to 6 minutes.
  1. And at last, push the plunger very slowly so as to minimize the amount of coffee grounds in your cup of coffee. 
  1. It is recommended to use Paper filters while using fine grounds in a French Press. It will remove all the coffee grounds and make your coffee clean.

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

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.

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.

So, what grind settings do you use for French Press? Do let us know in the comments!

Other French Press Guides

Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

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