Once you have started to make coffee at home, using the French press, you might have heard about the James Hoffman French press method.

In this article, I will go over how to make coffee while using the James Hoffmann French press technique. I have been trying this technique at home for a while now, and all I can say is that this is indeed a really good French press method.

Down below, you will read all about how the James Hoffmann method works and how it differs from the regular French press method most of us use.

After that, you’ll find a brewing guide so you can try this technique out for yourself. Grab yourself a cup of coffee, and let’s get into it!

How the James Hoffmann technique works

While thoroughly looking at the YouTube video James Hoffmann has uploaded on YouTube, I am now fully blown away by how easy this technique is and how much more delicious the coffee tastes compared to the most commonly used French press methods.

The James Hoffmann French press technique will take some more time to finish brewing, but the extra time will give you so much more flavor and, ultimately, a better coffee in return.

Down below, I’ll explain the James Hoffmann method in-depth so you’ll have a clear explanation of how this technique differs:

James Hoffmann method explained

I have made coffee using the Hoffmann technique multiple times as of now. I can say for sure that this method brings a whole other level to drinking French press coffee. Let me tell you why:

First off, let’s dive into the technique of making French press coffee a little more. This brewing technique will involve a few more steps than the “normal” French press method. I will explain why James Hoffmann chose to use the extra steps and how it affects the result.

The first 5 steps of the step-by-step of making French press are the same while using the normal French press method. In step 6, you are breaking the crust that has formed on top of the coffee. You are breaking this crust to let the coffee grounds slide to the bottom of the beaker.

While the coffee grounds slide down to the bottom, the little pieces and stuff you don’t want in your coffee go down as well. This will result in a more clear cup of coffee with an exceptional flavor profile.

Photo of coffee beans used in the James Hoffmann technique

But there is more difference between the regular French press method and the way James Hoffmann makes his French press coffee:

When your French press coffee is done brewing, you’ll press down on the coffee plunger, so the ground coffee gets pushed down to the bottom. James Hoffmann uses the plunger as a sieve, more than a plunger to get the ground coffee to the bottom of the coffee pot.

This is because the coffee grounds are already at the bottom. After all, the coffee crust is already broken, and the ground coffee has already settled at the bottom. James Hoffmann recommends waiting for at least 6 minutes for the ground coffee beans to set at the bottom.

Now is the time to add the plunger to the French press. Don’t press to the bottom of the pot as this will disturb the coffee beans down at the bottom.

You don’t want the coffee slush drifting upwards, as this will result in the slush you are trying to avoid using the James Hoffmann technique.

You can compare the slush to the sand on the bottom of the ocean. If you have ever been snorkeling or diving, you might have noticed that if you put your feet down into the sand on the bottom of the ocean, all the particles will drift up and not settle for a while. This is the same way the coffee beans behave inside your French press.

Finally, there is the pouring of your French press coffee. While pouring your coffee, you want to make sure not to use all the coffee in the beaker. Leave a bit of coffee in the beaker, as this contains most of the little particles and slush.

Let me get into the differences between the normal French press method and James Hoffmann’s method:

How does it differ from the “normal” French press method?

While going through James Hoffmann’s video and trying out his technique at home for a bit of time and also comparing it to the “normal” technique, I can say that James Hoffmann’s technique will give you a brighter coffee.

The coffee that is made while using the James Hoffmann technique will taste bright and really balanced. Although this can be a good thing for most, it isn’t the best technique for me.

French press with coffee beans in front

The bold and strong flavors found in French press coffee will no longer be there by filtering out more of the coffee slush in the French press technique.

I usually drink French press coffee for the strong flavors that can only be found when brewing coffee using the French press.

French press coffee made by using the James Hoffmann technique gets closer in flavor to coffee made while using a pour over brewer like the Chemex.

While it is fun to have tried this technique multiple times, I can say that I prefer using the “normal” technique. This way, I get to use all of my coffee brewers, which produce their own uniquely flavored coffee.

The James Hoffmann technique will work great for those who like to drink coffee with sweeter, more balanced flavors and want to use a French press to get there.

Why you should use good quality filtered water to make coffee

Whenever you are going to make any coffee at home, you want to make sure you are using clean tap water. If you don’t have excess to clean tap water, and it has a lot of chlorine in it, you might want to consider using bottled water instead.

If you are making coffee at home using water with some kind of taste to it, your coffee will probably taste like it too.

Did you know a good cup of joe is made up of about 98% water?

Down below you’ll find the brewing guide to making French press coffee while using the James Hoffmann technique:

James Hoffmann French press brewing guide

Let’s begin with the recipe for this French press technique. First off, you want to start by collecting all the things you need, so you’ve got everything near you.

Make sure you’ve got the French press, coffee beans, coffee grinder, and 2 spoons to start this method.

James Hoffmann uses 30 grams of coffee to 500 grams of water for his French press brewing technique.

Step 1. Grind your coffee beans in a medium/ coarse setting. You don’t want the coffee beans to be too fine, as this will result in a lot of slush in your cup of coffee. While grinding too coarse will make your coffee have a slightly bitter taste to it.

Step 2. Add your ground coffee beans to the beaker of your French press.

Step 3. Boil your water. Once the water has come to a boil, let it sit on your kitchen counter for 30 seconds. You don’t want the water to be boiling while adding it to the coffee beans, as this results in burning your coffee beans.

Step 4. Slowly pour the water on the coffee beans. Now, steep your coffee and set your timer to 4 minutes.

Step 5. Once the time has passed, you will need to remove the crust that has formed on top of your coffee using the spoons. Scoop the crust and throw it out. The small bits of coffee left will now sink to the bottom of the French press beaker.

Step 6. Wait for at least 5 and up to 8 minutes until moving on to step 8. This will make the coffee beans settle on the bottom of your beaker.

Step 7. Once the time has passed, add the plunger to your French press. Slowly start pushing down until you’ve reached the surface of the coffee.

You do not want to go all the way down as this will disrupt the beans, and this will impact the flavors and will not give you the satisfaction of a very clean tasting cup of coffee this method has to offer.

Step 8. Pour the coffee into your mug, leaving the last bit of coffee behind in your French press. This last bit of coffee contains a lot of coffee slush you are trying to avoid.

Step 9. Your coffee is now done. Enjoy your cup of coffee, and don’t forget to clean your coffee equipment.

If you want to learn more about this technique, I suggest visiting James Hoffmann on YouTube. You can also click down here, as this will bring you straight to the video of James Hoffmann explaining his brewing method for the French press:

Conclusion

In this article, I explained the Hoffman method of brewing French press at home. This method will cost you a bit more time than using any other technique. However, I can’t stress it enough to give it a try.

Is James Hoffmann French press coffee really good? Yes, the coffee brewing technique is great, and you’ll be amazed by the difference in taste that the Hoffman method will bring to the table.

Do you know more French press methods I could try out, or do you have any coffee questions? Then let me know by commenting below or contacting me directly by pressing the “Contact Me” button at the top!

If want to learn more about home brewing coffee, I suggest checking out the articles I’ve listed below:

More about home brewing coffee

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On my coffee blog you will find everything you need in order to start brewing coffee at home. Ranging from the basics; to the newest coffee recipes everybody talks about!

12 Comments

  1. Thank you very much for your explanation, this is really great ! I’m trying to use the right setting on my Encore Baratza grinder, do you have any idea what would be the right grind setting for the James Hoffman method?

    • Hi,

      Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it! As for you question; I’m not sure which grind setting works best on the Encore Baratza grinder. You should aim to get a grind size that feels like breadcrumbs, the picture down below should give you a nice indication:
      Coffee grind size French press

      If you have any more questions, feel free to leave them down below.
      Have a great day.

      -Jeffrey

  2. This might be a good cup, but just wanted to point out it’s not James’ method. He doesn’t plunge at all. He just touched the grounds with the plunger at the very top. He also doesn’t mention blooming at all in his video. But I’ll give this method here a try because I was never a fan of his French method.

    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks for leaving a comment, I really appreciate it!

      The plunger is added to the French press to be used as a strainer. You don’t really need it, but there might be a few pieces floating around. This will give you a better tasting cup of coffee.
      James Hoffmann does add the plunger to his French press and leaves it where it just touches the coffee. I have found that the plunger often shifts during pouring, so I suggest you press it down a bit further.

      If you have any more questions, I would love to hear from you.
      Have a great day!

      -Jeffrey

  3. One question I’ve had for quite some time is, “What is a good brand of INSULATED french press?” It is a shame to go through the process of making this great carafe of coffee only to have your second cup be tepid or cold.

    Would it simply be better to transfer one’s efforts to another insulated container, for serving, instead of looking for a good (good strainer, filter, spout, etc.) insulated french press?

    • Hi,

      French press coffee needs to be poured out of its original container to prevent further steeping of the coffee. Leaving the last bit of coffee inside the container with the coffee grounds will leave you a sour tasting cup of coffee.
      When you are planning on making a bigger batch of French press coffee, it would be best to transfer the brewed coffee to another insulated container to keep it warm.

      If you think of anything else, let me know as I would be happy to help.
      Thanks!

      -Jeffrey

  4. The description on this webpage varies significantly from Hoffman’s. Alternative ideas are welcome, but let us know how you wish to change recipe and why. Hoffman barely mentions off-boil parameters although other videos suggest cooler water for dark roasts and hotter water for light-to-medium. Hoffman does not bloom, either. I am all for paraphrasing, but not like this.

    • Hey Jackie,

      Thanks for letting me know about the difference in brewing techniques. I’ve just changed the article, so it doesn’t contain the blooming step.

      If you have any other questions, please let me know, as I’m happy to help.

      -Jeffrey

  5. Maybe you no longer believe this, but pouring boiling water on coffee doesn’t “burn” it. Coffee is roasted beyond 200 degrees celcius, there is no burning happening at 100 degrees celcius (water boiling point).

    • Hey Bram,

      You’re right. The ground coffee will not burn. However, by adding boiling water to ground coffee, you might introduce flavors that you’re not a fan of. This all depends on the coffee roast you’re using.
      I always suggest leaving the water to cool slightly before pouring it on your ground coffee for this reason, especially for medium and dark roasts.

      I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, please let me know!

      -Jeffrey

  6. Jaswa Azmi Reply

    Thanks so much for yr detailed explanations. I mistakenly start my timer as soon as I add my boiled water to my grounds. And, I nvr thot I had to wait for up to 7 or 8 minutes b4 serving. My husband now calls me his personal ‘barista’. Much thanks

    • Hey Jaswa,

      I’m glad you’ve found the information helpful.

      Enjoy your coffee!

      -Jeffrey

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