How to Make Coffee With a Plunger

Updated July 05, 2018

There are some coffee aficionados who swear that using plunger, or French press, coffee pot is the only way to make good coffee. Whether it really makes a superior cup of coffee or not, the cafetiere method is a simple one that allows you to control the strength of the brew. By using hotter water than most drip coffee makers, you release more of the beans' aroma and flavour, creating a richer cup of coffee.

Clean the cafetiere thoroughly. Old coffee oils will make your coffee bitter, so wash the pot with soap and water and then rinse it thoroughly. By using hot water to clean the pot, you will also preheat it.

Add 2 tbsp of coffee to the pot for every 1 cup of water. The grounds should resemble granulated sugar in texture.

Allow boiling water to cool for 30 seconds to one minute. If you wish, use a candy thermometer to check the temperature. Optimally, the water should be at 90.6 to 93.3 degrees Celsius.

Pour about a fourth of the water into the pot to wet the grounds. Swirl them around to dampen them all.

Pour the remainder of the hot water into the pot. Allow the coffee to steep for four minutes.

Push the plunger straight down to the bottom of the pot. Pour the coffee into a cup or mug.


For the best results, use fresh coffee beans and grind them immediately before making the coffee. Using filtered or bottled water will also improve the flavour of the brew. If you prefer, allow the coffee to steep for only three minutes to make a slightly weaker brew.


Pressing the plunger at an angle can allow the grounds to mix with the liquid for an unpleasant, gritty cup of coffee.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh coarsely-ground coffee
  • Plunger coffee pot (French press)
  • Boiling water
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About the Author

Pamela Martin has been writing since 1979. She has written newsletter articles and curricula-related materials. She also writes about teaching and crafts. Martin was an American Society of Newspaper Editors High School Journalism Fellow. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching in elementary education from Sam Houston State University and a Master of Arts in curriculum/instruction from the University of Missouri.