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How To Make French Press Coffee Stronger?

There’s nothing like a cup of strong coffee to kick a case of the Mondays in the pants. 

Since French Press is my favorite brewing method, I made it my mission to figure out how to make a strong cup with this coffee maker.

If you’re also interested in brewing up potent coffee in the morning, this guide is for you. 

Here’s how to make French Press coffee stronger!

Reasons Why Your French Press Coffee Is Watery

Before we dive into making French Press coffee stronger, let’s go over reasons why it could be watery in the first place. 

If you usually brew weak cups, there are a couple of reasons for this, including: 

  • Not enough grounds
  • Wrong water temperature
  • Short steeping time
  • Stale coffee beans
  • Using the wrong roast

Let’s go into each of these reasons in a bit more detail so you can understand what’s stopping you from making a perfect cup.

You Need to Add More Coffee

pouring ground coffee into french press

One of the main reasons your coffee isn’t turning out the way you want is that you’re not using enough coffee

This will weaken the flavor of French Press coffee. 

For an 8 oz cup, it’s recommended to use between 14 and 16 grams of ground coffee. That’s about a 1:15 ratio of coffee to water.

Your Water is Too Cold

In the brewing process, the temperature of the water has an impact on the quality and flavor of the drink.

For a French Press coffee maker, you want to use water that’s between 190 and 200ºF. 

You can get the water to this temperature by boiling it and letting it cool for about 1.5 minutes

Keep in mind that whether the drink is too hot or too cold will affect your brew differently. 

If the water is too hot, you could over-extract the grains. This results in a hollow, bitter coffee taste.

If the water is too cold, the beans will be under-extracted. It leads to watered-down, weak brews. 

NOTE
The water temperature matters because the heat extracts acids, fats, sugars, and fibers from the coffee beans. That’s what ultimately gives your coffee its flavor!   

The Steeping Time is Too Short

preparing coffee in a french press

When you don’t steep your French Press for long enough, you’ll also get a watery cup of coffee. 

That means very few of the organic compounds have been extracted from the coffee beans.

On the other hand, when the grains are left to steep for a while, you can pull out more compounds from the drink. 

The optimal steeping time for French press coffee is 4 minutes. Some experts recommend steeping the grounds for even 12 minutes!

NOTE
The longer you let the coffee sit, the stronger the flavor becomes. But be careful. If you over-steep your coffee, you’ll wind up with rocket fuel!

You’re Using Stale Coffee Beans 

Regardless of what brewing method you use, you need fresh coffee beans. 

That’s because stale beans can impact the flavor of the coffee. This can make it weak, watery, or overly bitter. 

PRO TIP
Good quality beans last anywhere from one week to a year after roasting. Once they start to expire, the flavor becomes weak, and they lose their aroma. 

You’ve Got the Wrong Coffee Roast 

french press and coffee beans

The ideal roast level for the French Press is a medium-dark or dark roasted coffee bean. This helps you pick up on subtle tasting notes in the coffee without producing an overly strong or weak brew. 

If you’re not using this level of roast, it might be the reason why your coffee is weak.

When you use light roast coffee beans, the drink’s flavor tends to be pretty bright and light-bodied. On the other hand, an extra dark roast can result in overly bitter, smoky coffee. 

If you think the coffee from your French Press is weak, check the type of coffee you’re using.

In general, the level of roast isn’t indicated on regular coffee you got from a supermarket, but there is usually an indicator of strength. A higher strength indicates a darker roast of coffee.

How to Make Stronger French Press Coffee

Now that we know why French Press coffee is sometimes weak, it’s time to talk about how to fix this issue. 

Even if you’re not struggling with weak coffee, you can figure out how to make more potent brews!

Here are a couple of ways to make a stronger cup of French Press coffee.

Use the Correct Brewing Method

brewing coffee in french press

One simple way to make sure your French Press coffee is up to snuff is to use the right method of brewing coffee. 

Let’s go over what this brew method looks like so you can fact-check yourself. 

Average time: 10 minutes  

Step One: Measure Out the Coffee

To start,  measure out 14 grams of coffee for every eight ounces of water you plan to use.

You can also measure the coffee ground by scoops if you don’t have a scale (14g = 1. scoop = 3 tbsp). If you want to make stronger coffee, add some extra grounds.

Then, place the coffee in your French Press.

Step Two: Add Water 

Bring the water to a boil. Once you have boiling water, allow it to rest for a minute and a half to cool down a bit.

Then, add the hot water to the coffee grounds in your French Press.

Step Three: Let the Coffee Rest 

Push down on the plunger and stop when it sits on the surface of the coffee. Let the coffee rest for at least 4 minutes. Once the time is up, stir the grounds settling at the surface with a spoon. 

Step Four: Plunge the Coffee

Once your resting time is up, gently push down on the plunger. This should force the grounds to the bottom of the Press. Make sure to push slowly so as not to stir up the grounds. 

Step Five: Serve and Enjoy 

Pour the coffee into an 8-ounce mug. You can add cream or sugar if you like, or just drink the coffee as-is. 

Use a Different Coffee Ratio 

Remember how I said that the ideal coffee ratio for a French Press is 1:14?

Well, if you want a stronger brew, just mix up the ratio!

Typically, you’d use about 14 grams of coffee for a French Press. This equates to about 1.5 scoops of coffee. 

If you’re trying to make your coffee a bit stronger, try adding two full scoops. Just adjusting the recipe by a couple of grams can make a big difference. 

So, go carefully. You may need to use a bit of trial and error to figure out the ideal ratio for your liking. 

Tweak the Grind Size

grinded coffee

Another thing to try is tweaking the grind size. Of course, this will only be possible if you have an adjustable grinder at home (a burr grinder will give the best results).

If you don’t have a coffee grinder, it might be harder to find ground coffee beans in a suitable size, but it’s still possible.

In general, for a French Press, you want a medium-coarse coffee grind.

Many times, however, people make a mistake with the grinding. Instead of medium-coarse, they use coarse ground coffee. When this happens, the water has less surface area to extract.

As a result, you get weak, watery coffee.

If you’re dealing with this issue, you might want to try using smaller coffee particles. Adjust the grind to make it slightly finer.

PRO TIP
French Press coffee grinds should be about the size of grains of regular table salt. 

Use Dark Roast 

In general, people use medium roasts for French Press coffee brewing. However, if you’re looking for a stronger brew, you can try going for a dark roast. 

Be careful here, however. 

Dark roasts can get very dark, meaning your coffee could end up bitter. If you’re just starting to experiment with the roast, I’d recommend choosing a medium-dark roast first. 

Then, you can go darker if you find it’s still too weak for you. 

Conclusion 

If you’re looking to make French Press coffee stronger, there are some easy fixes out there. 

Try using a smaller grind size, or go for a darker roast. Alternatively, you can adjust the coffee ratio to be a bit higher.

Whatever you choose, you’ll be able to whip up a strong, dark cup of French Press in no time.

Looking for the perfect coffee beans for your French Press? Check out our guide to the best coffee for a French Press!

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Jessica Ruth Lee Fleming
Jessica is a seasoned caffeine-addict who spent 3 years behind the bar. Her early coffee days took her from the commercial Starbucks scene in urban DC all the way to helping launch a craft coffee shop in California. Today she prefers sharing her years of coffee capers through media, although you’ll find she does it with a trusty cup of coffee by her side.