A French press is an amazing coffee-brewing tool. It is, however, made up of an awful lot of pieces. All those pieces can look quite confusing at first if you’re not familiar with how they all fit together. Despite all the moving parts, however, it really is both a quick and simple task to get a French press operational. The key is knowing the order in which all the pieces go together. Here’s a quick, photo-illustrated tutorial on how to assemble a French press that will have you brewing in no time.
A Look at All the Components
A French press is made up of a lot of different parts that work together ingeniously to help you brew amazing coffee. Many coffee lovers, in fact, won’t brew their coffee any other way. But if you’re seeing a French press for the first time, all those pieces might be confusing.
The largest piece will be your glass beaker. This is the container where your coffee will brew. Different brands will offer a variety of designs. Our example shows the container reinforced with stainless steel that both protects the glass and creates a stabilizing base.
Most French presses will include a coffee scoop that measures out a tablespoon of ground coffee. In the example pictured, the end opposite the scoop serves as a stirrer. This is a nice feature since it’s perfect length to work in the French press it came with.
The remainder of the pieces work together to comprise the plunger/strainer portion of the French press. There’s the lid itself, and the rod that goes through it to which the filtering components attach via a threaded stopper. The filtering system is made up of three parts: a sturdy base; thin mesh filters; and the coil-rimmed strainer.
The mesh filters provide the finest filtration of your brewed coffee. The coil-rimmed strainer holds the mesh filters in place against the filter base piece. These coils also fit snugly against the walls of the container, creating the “plunger” of your press. It’s this “plunger action” that allows the filters to slide up and down on the central rod of the French press to accommodate whatever volume of coffee you brew at a time.
Now that we’ve reviewed all the components of your French press, let’s look at how exactly it all fits together.
*Special Note: The assembly instructions that follow pertain to the French press model pictured. Assembly steps for other French press models may vary slightly.
Assembling the Lid
The lid of your French press will go together very quickly.
First, insert the rod through the hole in the top of the lid. When the rod is properly inserted, the knob end will rest on the top of the lid. The threaded end of the rod will extend through and down away from the lid.
On the threaded end of the rod, you will want to attach the metal stopper. This is the tiny piece that looks like a small cup. Be sure to start with the “cup bottom” when tightening this piece to the rod. You want to create a tube-like opening into which your filter assembly will attach. The picture below shows the correct positioning of this piece.
Assembling the Filtering System
Once your lid is put together, you will want to assemble the pieces that make up the filtering system of your French press. This “plunger” is what will strain the brewed coffee into your cup without allowing coffee grounds to seep through. Getting these components put together correctly is vital to having a clean pour and a sediment-free cup of coffee.
First, you will want to rest the base piece flat on your counter or table so that the protruding attachment tube is facing upwards.
Next, place the thin mesh filters over the base. The holes in the center of the mesh filters will fit easily over the protruding tube in the center of the base. You may use one to four of the mesh filters depending on the level of straining you’ll require. The finer your coffee grind, the more mesh filters you will want to use.
The final layer of your stack will be the metal strainer with the coiled metal around the rim. Place this piece on top of the mesh filters with the coils up. It’s important to be sure this piece sits flat and tight against the mesh filters, which it will only do if the coils are facing upwards. Again, the hole in the center of the coiled strainer will fit over the extended center tube of the base the same as with the mesh filters.
Once you’ve properly assembled the filtering components, you will have turned three individual parts of the French press into one effective strainer for your brewed coffee.
Now it’s time to attach the filter to create your French press “plunger” mechanism.
Attaching the Filtering Assembly to the Lid
Now that your three-part filtering system is together as describe above, you will need to attach it to the lid of the French press. To do this, simply insert the protruding tube in the center of the filtering component into the stopper that you attached to the bottom end of the rod holding the lid. Screw the filters tightly to the end of the rod.
Note: if you have trouble attaching the filters to the rod, your stopper is probably attached incorrectly. Simply unscrew the stopper and re-attach it the opposite direction. The flat edge of the stopper should face towards the lid when being attached.
When you tighten the filters onto the rod, you will notice that they compress together. This allows for a finer strain of your brewed coffee. You’ll also notice that the rod, with the filtering system firmly attached, will slide up and down through the lid, creating the “plunger” that can be raised and lowered based on the amount of coffee being brewed in the beaker.
Ready to Brew!
Now that you’ve learned how to assemble a French press, you’re ready to begin brewing. If you’re not sure how that’s done, never fear! Just check out this helpful A Thing for Coffee article: How to Brew Coffee using a French Press. If you haven’t tried fresh, French press brewed coffee before, you are in for quite a treat!
How did your French press assembly go? Do you have any questions? Please let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!