The Ultimate Guide to Using a French Press for Tea
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The first—and most important step for those who also like coffee—is to clean your French press thoroughly.
Brewing loose leaf tea in a french press coffee maker
Step 1 - Clean your french press
The first—and most important step for those who also like coffee—is to clean your french press thoroughly. As a result of tea’s hygroscopic property, tea is exceptionally receptive to flavoring and scenting, but this unfortunately also makes it more susceptible to being tainted by the remnants from your last cup of coffee. So be sure to rinse your french press (plunger included), free of coffee grounds, and carefully wash it with soap and water.
The first—and most important step for those who also like coffee—is to clean your french press thoroughly.
Step 2 - Heat water
Fill up your kettle or water boiler with cold water. As the recommended water temperature varies for every type of tea, you’ll want to follow the below water temperature guidelines.
Water temperatures by tea (in degrees Fahrenheit):
- Black tea: 206°F - 212°F
- Green tea: 175°F - 185°F
- White tea: 175°F - 185°F
- Pu-erh tea: 206°F - 212°F
- Oolong tea: 185°F - 195°F
- Rooibos: 212°F
- Herbal tea: 212°F
Step 3 - Measure Loose Tea
When it comes to brewing the perfect cup of tea, you should give careful consideration to the amount of loose leaf tea you use for a cup of water. In general, you should aim to use 1 teaspoon of tea per 8 ounces of water; however, this may vary by tea type—white teas often require a tablespoon—so always follow any brewing instructions on the packaging. Once you’ve measured out your tea, place it in your french press tea brewer.
Step 4 - Pour Hot Water Over Tea
With the tea leaves sitting in the french press, pour your boiling water (in the case of black tea) over the tea. Similar to making espresso, you’ll want to let the loose tea float freely in the french press.
Step 5 - Steep Tea
Similar to the water temperatures, your brew time will vary by type of tea. For those looking to perfect tea brewing, follow these tea steeping guidelines:
Steeping times by tea:
- Black tea: 3 - 5 minutes
- Green tea: 1 - 3 minutes
- White tea: 1 - 3 minutes
- Pu-erh tea: 3 - 5 minutes
- Oolong tea: 1 - 3 minutes
- Rooibos: 5 - 7 minutes
- Herbal teas: 5 - 7 minutes
Step 6 - Press and Pour
Once you’ve finished brewing, push down the plunger on the french press and pour the brewed tea into a tea cup. Once you’ve poured out the majority of the tea, press down on the plunger firmly to release even more from the tea leaves—this is going to result in a far more flavorful cup, so it’s well worth the hassle! Also, be sure to pour out all of the tea—tea tends to become bitter when it continues to steep past the recommended brewing time, so you won’t want to let it sit in the french press.
As long as you are using a french press with good filtration, you won’t need to use a strainer to strain the tea leaves out—it should do a perfect job on it’s own.
How to Make Iced Tea in a French Press
To make iced tea, simply use half the amount of water recommended. For example, if you wanted to make an 8 ounce glass of iced tea, you’d use 4 ounces of water with 1 teaspoon of loose tea. Then, once you finish brewing, sweeten the tea to your preferred sweetness and pour over ice. Essentially, we are doing this so that the flavor of your tea is not diluted by the icing it.
Other Brewing Methods
Using a french press is just one way of brewing loose leaf tea; other steeping methods involve a stainless steel infuser or a teapot with a strainer.
Is a french press good for tea?
Can you use a French press coffee maker for tea? Yes, a french press is great for brewing loose leaf tea. Just be sure to clean it thoroughly and follow these brewing instructions:
1. Heat water
2. Measure loose tea
3. Pour hot water over tea
4. Steep tea
5. Press and pour
Can you use a French press as a teapot?
Yes, a french press can be used in place of a teapot. Functionally, a french press is very similar to a teapot--they both can allow the tea leaves to swim freely in the vessel. And as a bonus, a french press has a built-in strainer (the plunger).