Pressing Down a French Press: Should It Be Hard or Quick?

For someone who is using a French Press pot for the first time, you could be wondering if what you are doing is correct, just like many things we use for the first time.

Pressing Down French Press

One of the things that most French press users ask about is the ‘plunge down’ step, when you push down the plunger or handle after the coffee has finished steeping. Why is it such a confusing step when it’s such a straightforward thing to do?

  • Because sometimes you’ll find that the handle pushes down quickly and easily,
  • Other times, it’s hard to push down,
  • Sometimes it goes all the way down, while other times it doesn’t.

Why do these issues occur? There are actually several reasons why thing happens and easy ways to avoid them.

What Should a French Press Plunge Feel Like? Should It Go All the Way Down?

The correct way to plunge down a French Press filter is to press is slowly. You should feel a slight resistance, but it should go down easily. If your french press is plunging down as described, it means you’re using the correct grind size and should keep it this way.

The Plunger should go down until it reaches the top surface of the coffee grounds and tamps it down at the bottom of the pot. The purpose of the plunger is to press down all the floating grounds and holds it down at the bottom of the pot. This stops the steeping process and also prevents the grounds from ending up in your cup of coffee.

Having issues with plunging your french press? Here are some possible issues and how to fix them…

The French Press Handle Is Too Hard To Push Down

If you’re trying to press down the plunger, but feel a lot of resistance and it’s difficult to push, it means that you are using grounds that are too fine. Fine ground coffee does not allow water to go through the mesh filter easily, it’s too packed to flow through it, which is why you’re feeling resistance when pushing down, it’s because the water is having trouble going through the packed grounds and flow through the filter in the plunger. This is where the importance of using the correct grind size comes in: which is coarse grounds.

The French Press Handle Pushes Down Too Quickly

You might think that if you press down and the filter goes through too quickly, then you’re on the right track. Unfortunately, this indicates that something is wrong, too.

Remember that the goal is to feel a slight force or resistance when pushing down the plunger.

So, what does it mean when the plunger pushes down too quickly?

It could mean that you’re using too little grounds, or that the grounds are too coarse so the water is practically running through it.

If you’re sure you are using the correct amount of grounds for your desired coffee volume, then try adjusting your grind. If you’re grinding your own beans, you’ll want to make sure that your grinder can offer a consistent grind and allows you to adjust the size of the grind. Otherwise, it would be better if you ask your local coffee shop or store to grind it for you.

When Should You Press Down a French Press Plunger?

Once you have added the grounds and poured in your hot water, let it sit for 4 minutes at least, and up to 7 minutes. This will allow enough time for the coffee to steep and produce a flavorful brew. After this time has elapsed, take hold of the plunger handle firmly but gently and press down slowly until the plunger reaches the surface of the coffee grounds. This will complete the steeping process and also separate the coffee brew from the grounds.

With these tips in mind, you should now have a better understanding of what pressing down a French press plunger should look and feel like. Properly plunging your french press filter is essential to producing great tasting coffee with rich flavor. So make sure to pay attention to the resistance when plunging down, and you should be able to make perfect coffee every time.