Cafetiere Brew Guide

Pact Coffee Cafetiere Brew GuideThe cafetiere, or French Press as it is sometimes known, has surprisingly modest beginnings. You can find out how the cafetiere was invented as the direct result of marital disharmony in the wilds of rural France, here.

But let’s look beyond the humble history of this popular piece of coffee kit and to its current status among us coffee-lovers. Did you know that (at the time of writing) it is the most popular brew method among Pact customers?

So, given so many of you are using them, what’s the best way to brew using a cafetiere? Our preferred method is detailed below, but if you have any special tips or tricks then do feel free to share them below!

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Measure out your coffee – we advise using 60 grams per litre of water or about 15 grams (or one heaped tablespoon) for one mug of coffee 

  2. Boil your kettle and leave it to cool for a minute

  3. Pour the hot water over the grounds at a decent rate so they are all covered

  4. Pop the lid on and let it stand to brew for two minutes

  5. Remove the lid and give it a stir before leaving it for another two minutes
  6. Scoop off the coffee granules resting on the top and slowly press down on the plunger

  7. Serve immediately to stop your coffee from over-extracting

  8. Enjoy!

Cafetiere Brew Guide Pact Coffee

Pact tip: Make sure you keep your cafetiere clean; stale coffee oils have a tendency to linger around the mesh and can ruin a great cup of coffee. Nasty.


  1. Monika said:

    What’s the purpose of putting the lid on for the first two minutes (aside from keeping it warm)?

    • Thanks for the question Monika – I hope I can help. The idea is to keep the temperature as stable as possible while the coffee is brewing, so it’s just keeping it warm as you said.

    • You’re welcome – we get a coffee-geek kick out of helping people to get the best from their coffee!

  2. Richard Stickland said:

    You omitted to state the size of cup, which of course matters a lot. What size cup is this for?

    • Pete Sivak said:

      Hi Richard,
      It’s for a regular (~250ml) cup, because we use the ratio of 60 grams of coffee to 1 litre of water.

  3. Pat said:

    That’s roughly what I used to do. Then I heard a talk at Twinings in the Strand (they do coffee as well as tea). According the speaker, you should make tea with water at 85 deg and with coffee you should bring it to 85 and then let it cool for 5 mins. Difficult to assess 85 deg but I have tried to approximate to it and I think perhaps it does improve the flavour. I always thought you should use boiling water for tea (but I don’t drink it myself so I can’t give any opinion on that).

    • Pete Sivak said:

      It’s interesting that they would say that. With tea, it really depends on type- fresh green tea should be brewed with about 50 to 60 deg water, while standard bagged tea can withstand lot higher temperatures.

      With coffee however, we’d go for boiling water, which you let sit for a minute leading to about 94-95 degrees, because it allows the coffee to brew correctly and for all the flavours to develop.

  4. Hamza said:

    Loving the guide pages guys. I can add a small tip I picked up recently for my old cafetiere. I found the filter lets granules pass around the edge where it meets the glass. What works well is to pour boiling water over the filter before plunging to soften it and so it fits much more tightly. Brew on people!

  5. Heather said:

    Loving the tips, I’ve learnt a lot from this! I tend to warm up my cafetiere first by pouring in some boiling water to about a quarter of the capacity of the cafetiere and swirl it (gently, or it’ll splash on you and be a horrible experience!) for about 30 seconds to warm it up. Then I put the coffee in, and by that time the water in the kettle should be about the right temperature. It’s more because I’m scared of breaking the glass, but I guess it might help keep the coffee at a higher temperature for longer.

  6. Jimmy said:

    What about filter coffee machines?

  7. Ash said:

    To assist with keeping the water at a stable temperature for perfect brewing, pour freshly boiled water into the empty cafetiere to warm it. Pour the water back into the kettle before adding the ground coffee to the cafetiere and pouring the water from the kettle over it. This also helps bring the boiled water down to a good temperature so as not to scald the coffee.

    • Pete Sivak said:

      That’s a good technique, and I’m sure it pre-heats your cafetiere quite nicely.

  8. iandol said:

    Hm, I *always* first pour some freshly boiled water into my cafetiere, and then *plunge a few times* with the mesh and let it sit to stabilise temperature, and dissolve any lingering stale coffee oils (thus would never recommend to put this water back in the kettle). I’m constantly surprised how even a “thoroughly” cleaned cafetiere still results in cloudy colouration when doing this clean+heat before brewing… This is an essential step IMO…

    • Pete Sivak said:

      That’s a very interesting technique, and not one I’ve heard of before, but thinking about it – it makes perfect sense. I think our office cafetières could use some of this treatment.

  9. TrevZ said:

    You say the boiling water must cool to 95, but how come the professional coffee machines force steam at 100 degrees through the coffee. It it can take steam, why not boiling water?

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