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French Press Ratio Made Easy

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By Matt Woodburn-Simmonds

Are you put off from using a French press because it just seems too confusing? Or, maybe your brew just never hits that sweet spot?

We have taken the guesswork out of the coffee to water ratio for French press to make things simple for you. Just use our simple French press ratio calculator and enjoy a perfect brew each time.

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Calculate Coffee to Water Ratio: French Press

To work out what the different strengths mean for you, just use our handy French press coffee ratio calculator:

French Press Ratio Calculator


Select a different brewing method:

How Strong?

Ratio of 1:12.5

This is as low as we go - anything less would be pointless


This is as strong as we go - anything more would be sludge

Ground Coffee:

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Question 1: How Big is your French Press?

The first step is determining the size of your French press, and how much coffee you can brew with it.

Generally, French press coffee makers come in four different sizes:

3, 4, 8, and 12-cup.

The cup size here refers to a traditional coffee cup which is 4oz – a tasse à café if you want to be all technical.

However, coffee mugs for home use are generally 12oz (can be anywhere between 8 and 12oz). So keep this in mind to prevent someone from only getting half a cup.

Infographic: What size is your French press coffee maker?
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Question 2: How Strong do you Like Your Coffee?

Everyone is different – some like a fairly weak cup of coffee and others like a big punch of flavor. There is no right or wrong – only what you prefer.

When we work out strength, it is based on the coffee to water ratio – this is the same for French press or any other brewing method.

Ratios are expressed as something like 1:16 but what does that actually mean?

Whistle-stop math tour coming up: Coffee ratios work by splitting up your whole drink into equal parts. So, in the case of a 1:16 ratio – it would split into 17 parts. One of those parts will be coffee (the first number) and 16 will be water (the second number).

If you spend some time searching the internet for the perfect French press ratio – or golden ratio – you will find very different answers. So, you may need to experiment to find exactly what works for you.

We use the following ratios for French press:

Mild – 1 : 16 for a subtle, light taste
Regular – 1 : 12.5 for a straight down the middle coffee that should please most people
Strong – 1 : 10 for a bold brew, packed full of flavor

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Common French Press Ratio Guide

For times when you can’t access the calculator, keep the following image handy. It will keep you on the right track for common coffee to water ratios for French press.

Infographic: Handy coffee to water ratio French press guide
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What Makes a Great French Press Brew?

Great French press coffee is about more than just the right balance of coffee and water. Nailing each element will skyrocket your brew quality.

Coffee Beans – The better quality of beans you put in, the better quality cup of coffee you will get out. Luckily, the French press is pretty flexible and can handle pretty much any style of coffee. But our list of the top choices is a good place to start.

Grind Size – You need a coarse grind. The best way to perfect this every time is to buy the best whole bean coffee and freshly grind the beans yourself. You’ll know when you’ve got it right because if you go too fine, your coffee will taste bitter.

Water Temperature – For optimal extraction of your ground coffee, you need your water to be 200ºF/ 93ºC. If you go too cold, your coffee will taste watery or even sour.

Time – Letting your coffee brew for too much or not enough time will cause over or under extraction. For the perfect French press, aim for four minutes. Even better, bloom your coffee grounds for 30 secs before steeping for 3 mins 30 secs.

Psst.. Want to dig down on how to use a French press for the best brew? This guide has all the answers:

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Final Words

Sipping on French press coffee is one of life’s greatest joys.

We hope by using this French press ratio calculator, you will have the perfect balance of coffee to water for a delicious brew every time.


Matt Woodburn-Simmonds

Matt's coffee obsession started in 2006 when working as a Barista. A tendency to turn up to work hungover kickstarted his coffee journey which quickly turned into a love affair. As he moved on to work as a Restaurant Manager and Sommelier, the obsession continued to grow. Now, his passion is helping others to enjoy better coffee at home.

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