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Can I Use Pre-Ground Coffee in a French Press? What to Know!

french press coffee with cup of coffee spoon and coarse coffee powder

The French press is one of the best ways to make coffee because there is no paper filter, so all the flavorful oils get into your cup. However, purchasing pre-ground coffee is convenient and easy, so you might wonder if you can use it in a French press. The short answer is yes, you can give it a try, but it is not likely to turn out as good as you might have hoped. Keep reading as we explain why pre-ground coffee isn’t the best choice and how you can use your French press to make the best cup of coffee.

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Will Pre-Ground Coffee Work With My French Press?

Typical pre-ground coffee is too fine for most French press systems. Using it will likely lead to a more bitter flavor, and the grounds will likely get trapped in the metal filter, making the machine hard to clean. Another problem with standard pre-ground coffee is that it’s often stale even when you first open the package, having lost much of its flavor in storage. It also quickly oxidizes once open.

ground coffee and scooper inside the packaging
Image Credit: Redrock Photography, Shutterstock

What Kind of Grind Should I Use With My French Press?

Luckily, you can purchase coffee in a pre-ground format intended for use with a French press machine in many grocery stores. You can also find it online. You can usually get your favorite brand or something similar, but it is important to check the package carefully to ensure that it states that you can use it with a French press. If it does not specifically say that it’s for the French press, it should at least say that it is a coarse grind.

What Is the Best Option to Use With My French Press?

Coffee Grinder

We recommend purchasing whole beans and grinding them fresh using a coffee grinder for the best flavor from your French press. A coffee grinder enables you to grind the beans to the proper coarseness. A French press needs a coarse grind for the best flavor and so the grounds don’t get trapped in the filter. A grinder is not expensive, and you can usually find one at your local grocery store.

Whole Beans

Whole beans have a much longer shelf life than ground beans. Ground beans typically last 3–5 months in the package before it is opened. Once the package is open, the beans will oxidize in a few weeks. Whole beans, on the other hand, can last up to 6 months before you open the package, and they will stay good for another 6 months after that, so you have a much better chance of enjoying great coffee.

coffee grinder with coffee beans and ground coffee
Image Credit: voffka23, Shutterstock

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Pre-ground coffee in your French press will likely brew a bitter-tasting beverage. The fine grounds will also likely result in a clogged filter that can be hard to clean. If you need the convenience of a pre-ground coffee, we recommend choosing a coarse grind or one that specifies that it is for the French press. However, using whole beans and a coffee grinder will result in a better cup of coffee with a much longer shelf life.

Featured Image Credit: krismayusafet, Shutterstock


Ed Malaker

Ed Malaker, a veteran writer, has contributed to a wide range of blogs that cover tools, pets, guitars, fitness, and computer programming, and of course, coffee. He drinks a lot of it when he writes, making him an expert indeed. When he’s not writing, Ed is usually performing DIY projects around the house or working in the garden. He’s also a musician and spends a lot of time helping people fix their guitars and composing music for independent films.

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