Can You Use Regular Ground Coffee In A French Press?

If you regularly brew with a French press, you probably know that coarse ground coffee bean is the best option.

But, can you use regular ground coffee in a French press?

Yes, you can!

Stay with me because I will tell you how to make a great cup of joe with regular pre-ground coffee in your French press.

Let’s start!

Can You Use Regular (Fine Ground) Coffee in a French Press?

ground coffee

I love the French press.

It’s a simple coffee maker, super easy to use, and produces a fantastic brew.

But, you probably noticed that it takes a little bit of patience and experimenting to make a perfect cup.

You got to hit the right temperature of the water, coffee immersion time, the type of coffee, and most importantly, grind size.

Every coffee lover will tell you that anything except freshly ground beans in the French press coffee maker is blasphemy.

You can adjust the grind size for your coffee maker and have the freshest ground for your cup.

No wonder you are hesitating to use regular pre ground coffee from the market shelf!

Good news:

You can use regular coffee grounds for your French press and make more than a good brew.

Yes, there are some downsides to this.

Most of the store-bought, pre-ground coffees are meant for filters in a drip coffee machine. This means that it is finely ground.

Regular filters are made to hold the fine particles of the filtered coffee, but the French press isn’t.

The French press has a built-in filter made from stainless steel fine mesh. This filter gives the best results with coarse coffee grounds.

As you can guess, using a finer grind will result in more coffee particles in your cup than you are used to.

Another important thing is how long your coffee grounds are soaking in water.  

The process of extraction is much easier with fine coffee grounds. 

So, when you soak your grounds in the water, they start “blooming”. It’s the process of expanding and bubbling of coffee ground when it comes in contact with water and starts releasing carbon dioxide.

If coffee is “blooming” for too long in your French press, more likely you will end up with over-extracted coffee drink.

That means your brew will be way more bitter than your standard French press coffee.

But, it also means that it will release a more fruity aroma and its unique flavors.

How to Use Fine Grind in a French Press?

pouring water in french press

So, you decided to give it a shot and try to make French press coffee with regular coffee?

No worries, I got your back.

I will give a few handy tricks on how to take the best out of it.

The great thing about the French press is that it allows you to customize the brewing method to achieve a certain coffee taste.

That means you can experiment with the type and grind size of coffee, steeping time, and water temperature. You can tweak any of these factors to your preferences.

In other words, even if you don’t have the proper coffee grind size for French press brewing, you can still make more than a decent cup of coffee.

1. Use cooler water

Coffee is more easily extracted from the coffee grounds if it’s finely grounded and at higher temperatures.

The first thing you can do is adjust the temperature of the water you’re using.

Usually, we’re using almost-boiling water (about 200°F) for brewing in the French press.

So, if you want to avoid over-extraction, try soaking coffee in colder water (for example, go with 180°F). Try different temperatures until you find the right one for you.

2. Shorten the brewing period

The same goes for coffee immersion time. You can try brewing your coffee for less time to get a less bitter brew.

3-5 minutes are standard when it comes to steeping time, so try to decrease that time.  

3. Use less coffee 

As more coffee is extracted from fine grounds, just use a smaller amount of coffee grounds. 

Usually, the ratio of coffee to water for the French press is 1:13 to 1:16. Use less coffee and experiment until you get a perfect taste.

4. Leave it to rest 

You can’t stop fine coffee particles from finding their way to your cup if you use finely ground coffee.

If you don’t like the mouthfeel of coffee grounds, leaving your mug of freshly poured brew for a few minutes is the easiest way to avoid it.

Let gravity do its thing, and all the coffee grounds will settle down.

Just don’t forget to toss away a few last sips.

The Best Grind Size for French Press   

Did you know that grind size is a crucial factor for a delicious brew?

The same goes for brewing in your French press.

The best option for the French press is coarse ground coffee beans.

The main reason is the design of a French press.

It has a special built-in filter, made from stainless steel. This filter won’t hold finer grounds, so coarse is a better option if you don’t want a murky brew.

The other reason is the process of extraction. It is a process in which water pulls out flavors and caffeine from the coffee ground.

Since the French press is an immersion method of brewing, that means that the coffee ground is soaked for some time in hot water.

Don’t want too bitter or strong-flavored coffee?

Then you need to avoid over-extraction.

This is why coarsely ground coffee is the best. It has less surface in contact with water, so water will extract less.

Still, you will get many flavors, rich aromas, and a well-balanced beverage.

You can ask for coarse ground coffee beans in your local roastery. But, if you really want to elevate your whole coffee experience, you should get yourself a coffee grinder.

Just a smell of freshly ground beans is enough. But, the taste of your coffee will be incomparable.

Conclusion

And there you have it:

If you’re thinking about using regular, fine ground coffee in your French press, go ahead!

French press is a marvelous coffee maker. It allows you to use different grind sizes, even finely ground like most store-bought coffees.

Adjust brewing time or water temperature, and you will enjoy an excellent cup of French pressed coffee in just a few minutes.

Craving for espresso? Take a look at our article and find out how to make a great espresso-style coffee with your French press.

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Tijana Veljovic
Tijana spent a few years working as a barista. Now she’s enjoying writing about everything she learned about coffee and sharing it with you. Her weapon of choice for making it through the day is a hot latte. Besides writing and coffee, she loves traveling, camping, cooking, and good music.