James Hoffman’s French Press Recipe: A Complete Guide

If you’re just starting to develop an itch to brew your own coffee, you may want to start with a French press. It’s easy and simple to use, and yields fantastic results with a few simple tricks. In this post, however, you’ll learn James Hoffman’s French Press recipe.

Why not learn from the maestro himself?

James Hoffman is the World Barista Champion and the author of The World Atlas of Coffee and How to Make the Best Coffee at Home. The man knows how to turn a simple morning ritual into a spectacular experience.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned connoisseur, you can definitely learn a little something from James Hoffman.

For now, though, let’s spill the beans on James Hoffman’s French press recipe. Grab a mug and join us as we embark on a quest to shape your coffee brewing techniques and elevate your experience to unparalleled heights.

Introducing the Maestro: Who Is James Hoffman?

Once you’re immersed in coffee-making world, you’ll inevitably hear a lot about James Hoffman. Which might leave you asking: Who is this guy???

James Hoffman isn’t just a coffee influencer and YouTuber; he’s a big deal in the coffee world. He’s the 2007 World Barista Champion, a title that speaks volumes about his expertise.

Post his triumph, Hoffman founded the company “Square Mile Coffee Roasters,” adding an entrepreneurial touch to his coffee journey. As previously mentioned, he also wrote a book called The World Atlas of Coffee. So yeah, the dude knows his coffee.

What Makes James Hoffman Special?

You may be wondering why one should turn to James Hoffman for coffee brewing lessons. Simply put, he’s incredibly meticulous. Hoffman is known for his impressive attention to detail in every aspect of coffee making. His French press technique is no exception.

Sure, the conventional French press method is just fine. But in Hoffman’s French press method, he fine-tunes the process, promising a cleaner, richer cup of coffee.

Common Issues With Traditional French Press Brewing Methods

Many coffee enthusiasts are familiar with the delight of using a French press to craft their morning brew. It’s a simple yet effective method, but it does have drawbacks.

Hoffman addresses the common issues that traditional French press users often encounter. With his keen eye for detail and dedication to refined coffee brewing, he tries to avoid these issues at all costs.

Sludgy and Muddy Residue: The Bane of the Coffee Drinker

Have you ever sipped your French press coffee only to be met with an unpleasant sludgy and muddy residue at the bottom of your cup? You’re not alone. This issue has long been a thorn in the side of French press users.

While producing flavorful coffee, the traditional method tends to leave undesirable sediment. As a result, this impacts the overall coffee-drinking experience. It’s part of why your French press coffee might taste bad.

The Quest for a Smoother Sip

Coffee, for many, is not just a beverage; it’s a ritual, a moment of solace, and an experience to be savored. Unfortunately, the grittiness that often accompanies French press coffee can disrupt this otherwise wonderful experience.

Barista Man Drinking Coffee

Luckily, Hoffman recognized the need for improvement; and he aimed to elevate the French press brewing process beyond its inherent limitations.

James Hoffman’s French Press Recipe: Step by Step

Making James Hoffman’s French press coffee will elevate your morning routine. Before we dive into the process, let’s set the stage for this flavorful adventure.

Gather your enthusiasm along with a few simple tools for making extraordinary coffee. Here’s what you’ll need.


  • Coffee Beans: Opt for high-quality coffee beans, preferably fresh. Ideally, you should manually ground them just before brewing.
  • Water: It’s the foundation of your coffee. So, ensure you use fresh, clean (preferably filtered) water.


  • Kitchen Scale: To help you measure the right amount of coffee.
  • Timer: For maximum precision, use a timer (a phone timer also works).
  • French Press: A reliable French press is your primary brewing tool.
  • Coffee Grinder: To grind your coffee beans yourself.
  • Kettle: Any kettle that can boil water will do. The type doesn’t matter – electric, gooseneck, or stovetop.
  • Spoons: Two spoons will come in handy for breaking the crust and skimming off foam.

The Brewing Process

Once you’ve gathered your equipment and all your ingredients, it’s time to get down to business and start crafting a splendid cup of French press coffee. This process promises a delightful and rich experience.

Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Choose Your Coffee-Water Ratio: Hoffman recommends a coffee-water ratio of 60—70 grams of coffee per liter of water. You can adjust it based on the amount of coffee you want to brew. For a smaller 250 ml brew, 15 grams of coffee should suffice.
  2. Boil Your Water: The quality of your water matters. If your tap water doesn’t taste good on its own, it won’t make great coffee. In that case, consider using bottled or purified water for an enhanced experience.
  3. Grind Your Coffee: Avoid using pre-ground coffee. Manually grinding your beans fresh will allow for maximum aroma and taste. Hoffman suggests a medium grind for his French press method.
  4. Combine Coffee and Water in the French Press: Pour your ground coffee into the French press, immediately followed by the boiling water. This sets the stage for Hoffman’s unique brewing method.
  5. Wait Without Doing Anything: Allow your coffee to steep for 4 minutes. It’s crucial not to move the French press during this time, as the magic happens when you leave it undisturbed.
  6. Stir Your Coffee: After the initial four minutes, a crust forms on the coffee’s surface. Gently stir the crust with a spoon, ensuring it gracefully sinks to the bottom. Be cautious, especially if using a glass French press, as it may accidentally crack.
  7. Skim the Foam: Following the stir, use a spoon to skim off the foam. Focus on removing the thicker parts, leaving behind a cleaner brew.
  8. Wait a Few Extra Minutes: This is the distinctive step in Hoffman’s method. Exercise patience as you wait an additional five to eight minutes for the coffee to settle and brew thoroughly.
  9. Plunge the Press: Gently press down the plunger without going all the way. The aim is not to disturb the settled coffee grounds at the bottom. Lower the plunger to just above the coffee’s surface.
  10. Serve: Your James Hoffman-style French press coffee is now ready. Carefully pour the coffee from the French press into your favorite carafe or cup, ensuring you don’t disrupt the settled coffee grounds at the bottom.
  11. Clean Up After Yourself: To get the most from your coffee-making equipment, make sure you clean it thoroughly after each use.

Tips and Considerations

Mastering the basic steps is crucial. And there are definitely some tips and considerations for you to keep in mind.

1. Coffee Freshness

Ensuring the freshness of your coffee beans is a vital part of the brewing experience. Here’s a simple guide to help you determine whether your coffee beans are fresh or not:

  • Visual Inspection: Fresh coffee beans have a vibrant appearance. They should be shiny, with an oily surface. If your beans look dry or have a matte finish, they might be past their prime.
  • Aroma Test: Give your coffee beans a good sniff. Fresh beans release a strong and inviting aroma. If the scent is mild or nearly nonexistent, it could be a sign that the beans have lost their freshness.
  • Roast Date: Check the roast date on the packaging. Coffee is typically at its peak freshness within two weeks of roasting. If you don’t see a roast date or it’s more than a few weeks old, it’s time to consider a fresher batch.
Close-up of Coffee Beans Spilling Out of the Bag

2. Bean Type

Selecting the right type of coffee bean can significantly impact the flavor profile of your French press coffee. There aren’t necessarily good or bad types when it comes to coffee beans. You just need to find your favorite, based on your taste preferences.

So, don’t be afraid to try various coffee types. See what wins the battle of Arabica vs. Robusta in your kitchen. Many coffee enthusiasts enjoy rotating between beans to keep their daily coffee experience exciting.

3. Grind Size

Achieving the ideal coffee grind is a crucial part of James Hoffman’s French press method. In general, Hoffman recommends a medium grind for his French press recipe. This size strikes a balance that allows for proper extraction.

Moreover, you should strive to maintain a consistent grind size. If your grind is too varied, you may end up with unevenly brewed coffee. Therefore, investing in a quality burr grinder is essential.

In all cases, feel free to experiment with the grind size based on your taste preferences. If you find the coffee too bitter, try a coarser grind. If you’re looking for a bolder flavor, try a finer grind.

The Final Scoop

No doubt, James Hoffman’s French press recipe unveils the art of brewing a perfect cup. Use his method to transform your coffee experience.

That said, it’s imperative that you exercise patience, pay close attention to detail, and heed Hoffman’s advice. Additionally, don’t be afraid to experiment with beans, grinds, and brew times to yield a cup that suits your tastes. With each plunge, savor the aroma French press mastery.

Cheers to you and to Hoffman’s artistry. Now, get to brewing!

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