Why French press coffee tastes watery or weak?

A good cup of French press coffee is the best way to start your day. But it’s not that easy to reach a level of perfection in making a good French Press Coffee. If you are a beginner, you might end up with a too light or too weak cup of coffee through French Press.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy solution to Why your French press coffee tastes watery you must know the reasons for this problem.

Why is my French Press coffee weak?

The top reasons why you end up with weak or watery French Press Coffee are; You are not steeping it for enough time; you might not be using adequate coffee grounds; maybe your grind size is not correct; the temperature of water you are using is not hot enough, or the roast and the quality of your coffee beans are not good.

Let’s discuss these reasons in detail so you can easily prepare a strong cup of coffee with French Press.

i) Too short steeping time

If you steep your French press for too short a time, you will end up with watery coffee. It is recommended to steep for at least four to six minutes before pushing the plunger.

If you give less than 4 minutes, most coffee grounds will remain unextracted, and your French Press will be too weak.

Use a timer for this process if you are not good at remembering time.

iI) Using fewer coffee grounds

It might be possible that you are not using enough coffee beans and that eventually makes the taste of your French press weaker. I recommend using 14-16 grams of coffee grounds for a 6-8 oz cup

The golden coffee to water ratio for French Press is 1:15; 1 gram of coffee for 15 grams of water. So, adjust the amount of coffee grounds according to the size of your cup.

III) Using the wrong ground size

If you’re like me, you’re probably using the wrong ground coffee size for your French Press. But what exactly is the right size?

Usually, a coarser ground size is recommended for making French Press. But achieving perfection in grinding coffee beans is not an easy thing.

If you are already using coarser coffee beans, I recommend making it a little fine. Because too coarse coffee beans can make your French Press coffee watery

iV) Using the wrong roast

If you are using light or medium-light roasted coffee beans for making French Press, then this is where you are doing it wrong. 

Light roasted beans will always end up in a weak cup of French Press coffee.

Medium-dark or dark roasted coffee beans are recommended for French Press.

V) The water temperature is not adequate

The right water temperature for making a French Press is 195 to 205 degrees. This is the temperature of the water right after boiling when the bubbles from the water disappear.

If you are brewing with water having a temperature below 190 degrees, your coffee grounds will remain unextracted, and your French Press will be watery.

Check out the list of best French Press Kettle. These Kettles are best for precise temperature measurement.

VI) Quality of coffee

If you want an excellent cup of French Press, Never compromise on the quality of coffee beans. Always buy coffee beans from well-reputed brands.

Some bad-quality coffee beans or coffee grounds might make your coffee weak, watery, or overly bitter.

And for ultimate freshness, I always recommend that you should invest in a coffee grinder and grind your coffee beans by yourself. You can also use pre-ground coffee for french press, but they stale very quickly.

How to make strong French press coffee | 5 easy ways

Here are the 5 easy ways you should follow to make your French Press as French Press is meant to be strong and robust.

1. Use more coffee

As discussed above, the ideal coffee-to-water ratio for French Press is 1:15. That means for a standard 8 oz cup (225 grams), you should add 15 grams of coffee.

Sometimes, When I am in the mood for a more robust and thick cup of French Press, I even increase the amount of coffee up to 20 grams. 

But it entirely depends on your taste. Try different amounts of coffee, and you will surely find the ideal tradeoff for yourself.

The ideal way to measure the amount of coffee beans is by calibrating the coffee scoop you use with a standard weighing machine.

2. Increase the steeping time

It would be best to give enough steeping time to your coffee grounds before pushing the plunger so that the water extracts the flavor from the coffee grounds completely. 

As discussed above, the ideal steeping time for French Press is 4 minutes. For a more robust flavor, you can also increase the time.

I sometimes increase the steeping time up to 5 minutes for myself when I am in the mood for a stronger cup of coffee.

But never increase this time from 6 minutes. If you steep French Press for too long the grounds can get over-extracted, and the brew will become very bitter.

french press steeping time


3. Select dark-roasted good-quality coffee beans and right grind size

Don’t use medium roast or lightly roasted coffee beans if you are a fan of strong coffee like me. Always buy a bag of fresh dark or medium-dark roasted coffee beans.

For ultimate freshness, I always recommend never to use pre-grounded coffee. There are two reasons behind this. The pre-grounded coffee beans stale more quickly, and the second is you have no control over the grind size.

So, if you want a rich cup of coffee with a flavorful aroma, never hesitate to buy a coffee grinder.

Selecting the right grind size for French Press is way more complicated than it seems. You can only achieve perfection in it with experience.

Usually, coarser grounds are used for making French Press. But if your grind size is too coarse, your coffee will become watery or weak. So you have to experience different grinds to find the perfect flavor for yourself.

As fine grounds get extracted more readily, I recommend making your grind a little finer than coarse, just like table salt to make your French Press strong. 

But never use extremely fine coffee grounds, as it will make your French Press full of sediments.

4. Select the proper water temperature and create turbulence

Selecting the proper water temperature is the most crucial step while making French Press Coffee. Because if the water is too hot, it will over-extract the coffee grounds, and your coffee will become bitter. If the water is not hot enough, the coffee grounds will remain unextracted, and your coffee will taste watery.

The ideal temperature for making any hot coffee drink is 195 to 205 degrees as only at this temperature water extracts the perfect amount of flavors from the coffee grounds.

select the proper water temperature

Now the question is how to achieve this temperature. Just put the water in a saucepan and wait till it starts boiling. Remove the water from the heating source and wait till bubbles disappear no longer than 1 minute.

To get most flavors out of French Press create a little turbulence by stirring as it will make the extraction process quicker. So, stirring also helps to make your French Press stronger.

Stirring two to three times after adding the hot water is enough. Don’t stir after the steeping time!

If you are also looking for grinders for French Press. Then check our guide on the Best coffee grinder for French Press

5. Don’t use paper filters

If you love a thick and full-bodied cup of French Press coffee you should never use paper filters.

The metal mesh filter in a French press allows coffee oils and tiny coffee particles to pass through, which gives the coffee a fuller body and richer flavor.

Using a paper filter in a French press coffee maker can actually remove some of the flavors and oils that give French press coffee its distinctive taste and texture.

Here’s a video that shows how to make the perfect cup of French Press coffee in under 5 minutes.

Read a guide on How to make Espresso-like strong coffee in French Press


Does coffee get stronger the longer it sits in French Press?

Yes, the coffee gets stronger the longer it sits in French Press but it will become over-extracted and will taste bitter if you let it sit for too long time.
4 minutes is the ideal brewing time for French Press. You can increase this time up to 6 minutes if you want a stronger cup of coffee. But never go beyond 6 minutes.

How many scoops do you put in a French Press?

The ideal Coffee to water ratio for a French Press is 1:15. Which is 1g of coffee for every 15g of water. For a standard 8 oz cup (225g) you should add at least 15g of coffee. You can also add a little more coffee than it if you like to have a stronger cup of coffee.

Other French Press Guides

Johny Morrisson is a passionate coffee enthusiast and an avid blogger dedicated to exploring the world of coffee.

Whether it's repairing or troubleshooting coffee equipment, reviewing cutting-edge brewing machines, or delving into the latest coffee trends, Johny's writing captivates readers and invites them on a flavorful journey.

When he's not writing, Johny enjoys traveling, seeking inspiration from different cultures and coffee traditions worldwide.