How To Make Tea In A French Press – Easily Brew Perfection

by Kieran MacRae | Last Updated: June 4, 2020

Of course, I’m a coffee lover, but you know what comes as a close second? Tea.

Sometimes you don’t want a cup of coffee and you want to brew yourself a nice fruity batch of loose leaf tea that’s going to set you up just right for a relaxing evening. If I’m being honest I even like tea made with a teabag! Gasp!

But if I’m making loose leaf tea I don’t turn to any fancy gizmo, I haven’t bought any special tea kettles, I turn to the trusty french press. And it couldn’t be simpler to use a french press for tea.

To make tea in a french press you remove the plunger, add in your tea leaves, add in your not but not boiling water, cover but don’t plunge, and leave it to brew for 3-5 minutes depending on the tea. Once it’s finished brewing you gently plunge and pour.

Now if you want to get a little complicated and really perfect your brew then you’re going to want to follow the steps below.

Tea in a french press
Photo by Fabianna Freeman on Unsplash

6 Steps to Make Any Tea In A French Press

This works for any type of loose leaf tea you have in the house, it will also work for tea bags but there isn’t any point to it.

1. Wash Your French Press Thoroughly to Remove All Coffee

Coffee oils are persistent and you want to make sure all the coffee is completely removed from the press before you make tea with it. I’m talking take the whole thing apart and scrub it with soap and hot water, the mesh especially, to get you a completely clean cafetiere.

If you were being very persnickety you should get two and have one for tea and one for coffee, but I think if you were going to do that you’d be as well getting a loose leaf teapot rather than another French Press.

2. Warm The French Press With Hot Water

This step isn’t strictly necessary but I have found it helps keep the tea hot for longer and so allows you to continue enjoying it for longer.

You can use some of the water from the kettle for this but hot water from the tap will also work, it just needs to heat up the beaker so it stays hotter while it’s brewing. You can preheat your mug too which helps improve the overall performance.

3. Discard Water And Add In Your Tea Leaves

Next you’re going to throw away the water you warmed the beaker with, and you’re going to add your tea. Check the packet for specific instructions or talk to the person you bought it off if you’re buying from a cafe or specific tea provider.

But as a general guide you want one level tablespoon of tea per 8 oz of water, and if your tea looks fluffier (not moldy fluff just to be clear) then you’ll want a heaped teaspoon.

Double those amounts if you’re making ice tea but we’re getting to that below.

4. Pour In Hot But Not Boiling Water

Like coffee, tea shouldn’t be made with boiling water, it will cause it to taste bitter and astringent, which is the sort of dryness your mouth can feel.

So either catch it before the boil or let it boil and give it a minute or two to cool down before you pour it over your tea.

5. Cover And Steep For 3-5 Minutes

Now you want to put the lid and plunger on the tea, but don’t push down, otherwise the tea won’t properly infuse with all the water that’s present. Leave the plunger up but put the lid on to trap in the heat allowing it to properly brew.

6. Gently Plunge Down

Finally, you’re going to gently push the plunger down so the leaves don’t escape up the sides and voila, your tea is ready to be poured out and enjoyed.

Best French Press For Tea

The best french press you have for tea is just going to be like any other french press, it’s going to be big enough to make the quantities you want, it’s going to be a tight enough seal around the plunger to stop bits escaping.

And it’s going to look nice, you don’t want to have a cheap looking French press cluttering up your cupboards so why not get a fancy looking one and enjoy the process that little bit more.

This Bodum is the perfect choice (Click here to find it on Amazon) it’s stylish, effective and comes in 3 handy sizes.

Other Uses For A French Press

I’ve read a lot of these, and one thing is common throughout, they are going to ruin your French press if you want to keep making coffee. Because smells are persistent and I am certainly not going to use mine for straining shellfish broth…

But that said there are a couple of good ones that you can actually use and might want to try out.

Frothing Milk

You just put some warm milk in and plunge like made to froth up the milk, full tutorial here, this can be fun to do for making hot chocolate at home and can leave you with something similar to a cappuccino if you add the frothy milk to the black french press coffee.

It’s not quite the same but it is far cheaper than buying an espresso machine and it’s a lot cheaper than buying a $3 coffee every day.

Although it’s more a bit of fun than a way to perfect coffee.

Making Cold Brew Coffee

Did you know making cold brew at home is super easy? Well it is! Scott wrote a guide about this, basically you take your coarse ground coffee, add it to water at a 7:1 ratio of 7g of water to 1g of coffee and put it in the fridge for about 18 hours.

Take it out, plunge it down and you’ve got some cold brew! You will likely want to water it down because it will be like rocket fuel but it’s good to go. Bet you didn’t know it was so easy? And this keeps it for coffee so the flavor doesn’t get too affected.

Shaking A Cocktail

This on the other hand may leave some flavor, especially if bits of pineapple get stuck, but it was too practical not to share.

If you want a really well shaken frothy cocktail then put it in a french press and plunge like mad! The perfect utensil if you’re making an espresso martini, except that you can’t make an espresso in it first.

How To Make Iced Tea In A French Press

It’s exactly the same as the method shown above, except after you’ve finished brewing you pour it over ice…

But you can also cold steep tea in the fridge like cold brew coffee, and this is where you double up the amount of tea you use, aim for about 12 hours but just overnight is fine.

So for this method you’re going to use cold water to be clear, not boiling water, add tea, add cold water, cover and put in the fridge.

Final Thoughts

It’s really simple and straightforward when you’re making tea in a french press, you don’t need overly fancy equipment, especially because most people have a french press in their cupboards even if it doesn’t get used very often.

The best practice is following the instructions on your tea packet, or searching for your specific tea, because all the teas, oolong, yerba mate, black, white, green all have different steep times and you want to get it right for each one.

Each one also has its own steep time so best looking up your specific needs.

Related Reading

What Is the Best Grind Size For A French Press?
How Much Coffee Per Cup In A French Press – Brew Ratio Explained
French Press Bloom – What Is it, How To Do It, and Should You do it?
Moka Pot Vs French Press – The Differences Are Chalk And Cheese

Kieran MacRae tried getting into wine but didn't like it, tried getting into whiskey and it was too expensive, then thought "I really love coffee. I wonder if you can get really into coffee?" Turns out you can!