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How to Make Coffee Using a French Press

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: July 28, 2022
How to Make Coffee Using a French Press

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If you are anything like me, you have a tough time facing the day without first imbibing on a robust cup of hot coffee. Can you imagine being in a survival situation, faced with the stress of a disruptive event, and not having your morning fix of java?

Although I say this somewhat tongue in cheek, the reality is that drinking coffee is a simple comfort that can bring pleasure when things are not going well.  With that in mind, over the past few months, I have been on a mission to create an excellent cup of coffee while using minimal effort and as little fuel from a heat source as possible.

What I settled on was the Ecooe French Press.  Today I will show you how it works plus, in my usual style, offer one up for grabs in the first product giveaway of the year.

How to Make Coffee Using a French Press | Backdoor Survival

What is a French Press?

A French press is a manual coffee maker that uses a plunger-like device to force hot water through coarsely ground coffee. It is comprised of a cylindrical vessel made of glass, plastic, or stainless steel plus a tight fitting lid. The bottom of the plunger is typically made up of a fine stainless steel wire or mesh that leaves the grounds trapped below so they do not float up and into your coffee.

The basic essentials for brewing coffee in a French Press include:

  1. Pre-ground coffee or something to grind whole coffee beans. You want a medium to coarse gtind.
  2. Pot for boiling water
  3. Fuel source
  4. Vessel for making coffee
  5. Something to drink your coffee out of

The Ecooe Stainless French Press

Although all devices of this type work the same way, I have chosen this particular model because it contains no breakable parts (such as glass).  Plus, because it is stainless steel, it should have the ability to hold heat for an extended period. I was not disappointed.

Here are the directions (and more about that in a moment).

1.   Measure 1 rounded teaspoon of coarsely ground coffee for each cup of brewed coffee.  Place the coffee in the bottom of the pot.

2.   Heat water using a teapot or other pot.

Note:  Initially, my intent had been to use water boiled outdoors on my Solo Stove but it was cold and windy so I decided to use the propane gas burner on my kitchn stove instead. Note that during during a power outage, most gas burners can be manually started with a match.  I suggest you practice doing this in advance so you can confirm that it works.  Of course,  you can also use an outdoor grill or rocket stove to boil your water.

3.  Pour the desired amount of boiling water into the press. I filled the French press about 2/3s  which was roughly equibvalent to three cups.

4.  Put the lid on the press with vent closed so that heat does not escape.  The vent in this case is the part of the lid that opens to the spout.  Don’t press down on the plunger yet!

5.  Let the grounds and water steep for four or five minutes.

6.  When the time is  up, slowly push down on the plunger.  You do not want any hot liquid to escape from the top.  This process will trap the coffee grains at the bottom of the pot.

7.  Pour yourself a great cup of coffee!

When I say a great cup of coffee, I mean a great cup of coffee!

For my first test, I used a packet of cheap, no-name, pre-ground coffee that I had taken from my hotel room during a recent house hunting trip.  For my next test, I ground some French Roast beans in the manual grinder (this one) I had purchased a few years back, being mindful to keep the setting at a medium grind.  The French Roast was fantastic but the no-name coffee was excellent as well.

It is worth noting that brewing a coffee in this manner uses far less coffee than a drip-brewer or a percolator.  This is something to keep in mind for those times when coffee supplies are meager.  Finally, it is my understanding that a French Press can also be used to brew loose-leaved tea but I have not tried it.

The Ecooe French Press Giveaway

Here is the part you have been waiting for.  The value of this Ecooe French Press is based on current pricing but you can enter to win one for free!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Although comments are not necessary to win, you do get five “entries” for answering the giveaway question.  Just remember that you must selected the “I Commented” entry in the Rafflecopter to have your comment recorded in the random drawing.  This week’s question is:

“What is your favorite off-grid cooking tool and why?”

The deadline is 6:00 PM MST next Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article.  Please note that the winner must claim their prize within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

Note:  Due to Customs requirements, this giveaway is only open to those with a mailing address in the United States.

Look Ma, No Directions

Nothing in this world is perfect and the Ecooe French Press is no exception.  The device came with no directions.  None.  I did not have a clue how to use it.  I did two things.  First, I went to the Ecooe website and sent a message to their support team.  They responded back in less than 24 hours with a copy of the user guide and apologies.  Alas, the print was so tiny I could not easily read it.  Still, I give a thumbs up to Ecooe customer support for their promt turnaround.  It is not their fault my old eyes are not good at reading small print.

The Final Word

Is there a place for a French Press in the off-grid kitchen?  If you are a coffeeholic like I am, the answer is yes.  Boiling a small pot of water takes minutes compared to the time it takes to percolate coffee, although I also have a fantastic percolator as well.

The truth of the matter is that I first purchased a French Press years ago, along with a manual coffee grinder. I knew that it would be useful for brewing coffee when the grid was down but just could not get past the glass container used for brewing.  With the Ecooe stainless version, I can set that worry aside.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Bargain Bin:  Below you will find links to the items related to today’s article as well as other personal favorites.

Ecooe Double Wall French Press Coffee  Maker:  This stainless steel coffee press will brew 3 large cups of coffee using only enough fuel to boil water.  It is insulated so it keeps your coffee hot plus it comes with two extra stainless mesh filters.  Using a coffee press for brewing coffee during a power outage is definitely the way to go as long as you have access to a gas/propane burner or rocket stove.

Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 8-Cup Coffee Percolator: Here is a link to my percolator.  It also makes great coffee

Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill:  This is the manual coffee grinder I own.  It is a cinch to use and clean, plus it is very sturdy.  Note that whole beans store well when sealed in a Mason Jar (see How to Use a FoodSaver for Vacuum Canning).

Solo Stove & Pot 900 Combo: Ultralight Wood Burning Stove: For portability, this is my favorite rocket stove. What I like about this combo set is that the stove nests inside the pot. This combination is perfect for your bug-out kit and especially for heating water for use while brewing coffee or preparing freeze dried meal pouches.  It is lightweight and it burns biomass, no other fuel is needed.

Circulon Whistling Teakettle  I know Backdoor Survival readers well and I predict they will ask about the blue teapot.  Long story short, we dropped our pricey teapot and broke the spout.  I refused to pay a lot of money for a replacement and so I bought this one.  I like it better than my fancy-schmancy now-broken teapot.


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114 Responses to “How to Make Coffee Using a French Press”

  1. I bought a backup French press for when the power goes out. It was very difficult during Sandy when I was without coffee, I don’t count instant as coffee, for 2 weeks.

  2. My number one Prep equipment is one or more of my solar cookers. A twig cooker, that you can put together and take apart in minutes is also very important. I cannot imagine a true prepper not having several of these. Don’t forget, any solar cooker that isn’t cooking food should be purifying your water. We do this all the time in rural Africa.

    A day without coffee–well, that is a difficult thing to think about. I take comfort in being within walking distance of a coffee farm! Thanks for bring up coffee!

  3. My favorite? Definitely the SunOven. No fuel needed to cook with? Priceless in an extended grid down event.
    Of course I have plenty of other choices for cloudy days, but the SunOven is my go-to for a nice hot meal when the power is out.

  4. My cast iron dutch oven… it is so versatile… can be used to cook about anything and can cook with hot charcoals or directly in a fire.

  5. Hmmm……this is a good reminder that I need to purchase something or other. I live near the woods……so, I think maybe a wood fire and aluminum foil or a stick is what I have now.

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