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Unraveling the Art of Grinding: Finding the Perfect Grind for Your French Press

Hello there, coffee aficionados! I’m Susan Brewington, and I’ve been sharing my caffeinated adventures and coffee wisdom on the “Coffecraftcue” blog for over four years now. Today, we’re diving deep into one of the most crucial aspects of brewing a perfect cup of coffee with a French press – the grind. Whether you’re a seasoned barista or just beginning your coffee journey, finding the ideal grind for your French press is an art worth mastering. So, grab your favorite mug, brew yourself a cup of your best coffee, and let’s get started on this grind-tastic adventure.

The Grind Matter

First things first, why does the grind size matter when using a French press? Well, the French press is a unique brewing method that requires a coarser grind compared to other popular methods like espresso or drip brewing. The grind size affects the extraction process, which in turn influences the taste, aroma, and overall quality of your coffee.

If the grind is too fine, your coffee might end up over-extracted, resulting in a bitter and murky brew. On the other hand, if it’s too coarse, you risk under-extraction, leading to a weak and flavorless cup. The key is finding that sweet spot, and I’m here to help you discover it.

The French Press Grind Spectrum

Let’s break down the grind spectrum to give you a clearer picture of the options you have when choosing the perfect grind for your French press. Think of it like choosing the right tool for a particular job – you wouldn’t use a sledgehammer to assemble a delicate piece of furniture, would you?

Extra Coarse Grind:

This is your starting point for French press brewing. The coffee grounds should resemble breadcrumbs or even slightly larger particles of sea salt. This coarse grind allows for a longer extraction time, which is perfect for the French press.

Coarse Grind:

Slightly finer than extra coarse, this grind is akin to rough sand. It’s still pretty chunky, ensuring a balanced extraction for a rich and full-bodied cup of coffee.

Medium Coarse Grind:

Think of this grind as the Goldilocks zone for French press brewing. It’s a bit finer than coarse but not too fine, roughly resembling kosher salt. This grind offers a harmonious balance of flavor and body in your coffee.

Equipment Matters

Before we dive into how to achieve the perfect grind, let’s talk about the equipment you’ll need. To grind your coffee to French press perfection, you’ll require a burr grinder. Blade grinders just won’t cut it (pun intended) as they tend to produce inconsistent particle sizes, which can lead to an uneven extraction.

Investing in a good burr grinder will pay off in the long run, ensuring that you have control over your grind size, resulting in a more delicious cup of coffee. It’s like the difference between using a precision tool and a butter knife to sculpt a masterpiece.

Playing with Grind Sizes

Now, let’s get our hands dirty (not literally, though) and explore how to achieve the perfect grind for your French press. Keep in mind that coffee preferences can vary from person to person, so don’t be afraid to experiment a little. It’s all part of the fun in the world of coffee craft.

The Coarse Charm:

Start with the coarsest grind setting on your burr grinder. This is usually what I use for my French press adventures. The grounds should resemble breadcrumbs. Give it a go, and you might just discover that it’s perfect for your taste buds.

The Medium Marvel:

If you find your coffee a tad too gritty with the coarse grind, try adjusting your grinder to a medium-coarse setting. Think of it as the versatile “in-between” option. It’s like that comfy pair of jeans you can always rely on.

The Experimentation:

Here’s where things get exciting. Try different grind sizes between medium coarse and coarse until you find the sweet spot that suits your taste. You’re essentially customizing your coffee experience. Who doesn’t love a bit of coffee craft adventure?

Brewing Techniques Matter Too

A great grind isn’t the only factor in brewing the perfect French press coffee. Your brewing technique is equally crucial. Here are a few tips to ensure your coffee turns out just right:

Use Fresh Coffee Beans:

Coffee beans start losing their flavor shortly after being ground. Grind your beans just before brewing to preserve their freshness.

The Right Water Temperature:

The ideal water temperature is around 200°F (93°C). Too hot, and it can over-extract; too cool, and it may not extract enough.

Brewing Time:

Let your coffee steep for about 4-5 minutes. Don’t rush it. This allows for a thorough extraction of flavors.

The Plunge:

Press the plunger slowly and steadily, without applying too much pressure. This will help minimize sediment in your cup.

Tasting the Magic

Now that you’ve got your grind size dialed in and your brewing technique perfected, it’s time to taste the magic you’ve crafted. Every cup of French press coffee will have its unique flavor profile, depending on the coffee beans, roast level, and even the water you use. Embrace the variety and savor the nuances of each brew.

When you take that first sip of a perfectly brewed French press coffee, you’ll be transported to a world of rich, full-bodied flavors, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t master this art sooner. So sit back, enjoy your cup, and let your senses revel in the deliciousness of your newfound coffee prowess.


Choosing the perfect grind for your French press is a journey of self-discovery, a quest for that magical balance of flavors, and a true testament to the art of coffee craft. While there are general guidelines, remember that taste is subjective, and what matters most is finding the grind size that suits your palate.

So, whether you prefer your coffee as coarse as a gravel road, somewhere in the middle like your favorite pair of jeans, or you’re a fearless adventurer in the realm of experimentation, I hope this guide helps you on your path to French press perfection. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer in the world of coffee – only a delicious cup waiting to be brewed exactly to your liking. Happy brewing!

Stay tuned for more coffee adventures on Coffecraftcue, where we continue to explore the delightful world of coffee, one cup at a time. Until then, may your grinds be even, your water hot, and your coffee exquisite. Cheers!