How to Make Tea Using a French Press: A Simple Guide

March 13, 2016
How to make tea using a french press

Tea and coffee lovers rejoice!

There is a common household item that is used to make coffee that can also be used to make tea. This handy tool is the French Press.

Although I am a daily tea drinker, I do enjoy a good cup of coffee every now and then, which is why I own a French Press (two actually – a large one and a small one). I was recently reorganizing my tea/coffee cupboard, which is about 95% tea stuff and 5% coffee, when I dug out my large French Press from the very back. I had to dig through a lot of tea infusers and loose tea packages in order to find this gem. That’s when I got the idea of combining my loose tea with my good ol’ Bodum French Press, which is a handy tool that can be found on Amazon.

A French Press is a great multipurpose item and is perfect if you want something that can be used for making both tea and coffee. Below is a guide on how to make tea using a french press in just a few simple steps.

What You’ll Need to Get Started

Below are the bare essential items needed to brew loose leaf tea in a french press. The below links will take you to Amazon for more information.

What is a French Press for Tea?

A French Press is typically used to make coffee. It is a non-electric coffee pot that has a fine stainless steel mesh plunger on top. When the plunger is pushed down, it pushes the coffee grains down with it, acting as a filter. You are then left with brewed coffee that is ready to be served.

bodum french press for tea

A French Press for tea is essentially the same thing. Instead of placing ground coffee into the press, you place loose leaf tea. The steeping method works the same way for both, with one small difference. This key difference is the secret I find to making a really good cup of tea and is how I make tea using a French Press. More on that below.

There are also French Press tea makers that are made specifically for loose leaf tea. The main difference between a standard French Press and one made for tea is the tea press stops the leaves from over steeping. When you plunge the leaves all the way down it stops the tea from steeping further, preventing any bitterness. There are several Bodum models that are also loose leaf tea French Presses at Amazon.

How to Make Tea Using a French Press

Now you may be wondering how does a French Press work for tea? I personally find using a French Press for tea incredibly easy and quick to do. Before you get started its important to ensure your French Press is clean, especially if you only have one that you use to make both coffee and tea with. Any coffee residue left over will alter the taste of your tea.

Following these simple instructions below will help to ensure you brew the best cup of tea possible.

Step 1:

Place your choice of loose tea inside the French Press.

Step 2:

Boil your water to the appropriate temperature based on the type of tea you are brewing. You can view a handy tea temperature chart in our How to Brew Loose Leaf Tea: A Beginner’s Guide.

Step 3:

Carefully pour the hot water into the French Press.

Step 4:

Put the lid on but do NOT plunge yet. We want the lid to be on so the tea can steep without heat escaping and water temperature cooling.

Step 5:

Steep for the appropriate amount of time depending on the type of tea you are brewing.

Step 6:

Plunge about three quarters of the way down and your tea is ready to be served.

Tea Tip #1: When plunging, do not push the plunger all the way down to the bottom. It’s okay to do this when making coffee but not for tea. If you push the plunger all the way when making tea, you run the risk of squishing and breaking your tea leaves. This will make your tea taste very bitter if you reuse the same leaves to make more tea.

Tea Tip #2: Remember to pour all your tea out of the French Press. Leaving any amount of brewed tea inside the press will result in tea still steeping. This can easily cause accidental over steeping and your tea will become bitter.

If you really want to ensure you make the best cup of tea possible by using a French Press, I recommend pouring a small amount of hot water into the press before placing in your tea (this would take place before Step 1 above). Swirl the water around a bit. What this does is essentially pre-heats the glass in the French Press. Pour the water out and then scoop in your tea. The residual heat and steam will help open the leaves up before you pour in the hot water. This trick can also be used for other glass tea pots as well.

You can also check out our handy video on how to make tea using a french press:

As mentioned earlier I have two Bodum French Presses that I use. A small French Press that makes a single cup of tea (325mL), and a large French Press that makes between two and a half to three cups of tea(1000mL), depending on how much water I pour in.

When I use my small press I typically only use one teaspoon of loose tea, and when I use my large press I usually use a generous amount of two teaspoons of loose tea. The general rule of thumb is to use one teaspoon of loose leaf for every cup of tea. You can play around with the ratios to make your tea stronger or weaker to suit your tastes.

small french press for tea

Pros & Cons

Since I’ve come across this new way to brew loose tea, lately that’s all I’ve been using is my French Press. I love that it’s made from glass and that I can use one product to make either coffee or tea. I’ve gotten a lot of uses out of my press and have come across several things I really like about it and a few tips to avoid.


  • Super easy to use
  • Even easier to clean
  • Makes a cup or pot of tea (depending on the size of your press)
  • Glass pot allows you to watch your tea unfurl and swirl around
  • Can be used to make tea and coffee


  • Easy to accidentally over steep your tea
  • May have some coffee residue if not properly cleaned

There’s been a few times where I got distracted and accidentally let my tea over steep. This isn’t the fault of the French Press and can easily happen with any tea pot or infuser. However it can be easy to over steep while using the French Press if you leave your tea inside after its optimal brewing time and don’t pour all the tea out.

Cleaning Your French Press

I also find myself using the French Press for tea more because it’s really easy to clean once I’m done. There are no fragile parts or tough corners to worry about. I recommend cleaning your French Press after each use if you don’t plan on brewing more tea. It’s easier to clean and prevents leftover residue.

When cleaning my Bodum French Press I always use warm soapy water. It’s also safe to put in a dishwasher as well.

  • Use warm soapy water and clean after each use
  • Dish washer safe
  • Do not use harsh cleaners or bleach for cleaning
  • Better to clean sooner rather than later

Sometimes if I have a lot of residue I’ll use my long bottle brush to give it that extra scrub.

Final Thoughts

I’ve recently become a big fan of using a French Press to brew loose leaf tea. I absolutely love when you can get several different uses out of a single product. This is great because I still enjoy a cup of coffee every now and then even though I am primarily a tea drinker. I love being able to use my French Press for both tea and coffee!Start Steeping

If using a French Press is not your cup of tea, you can read our reviews on alternatives such as the glass teapot by Hario if you prefer using glass tea pots or a glass tea infuser by Libre Tea if you want tea from a glass but in smaller quantities for on the go.

french press for loose leaf tea

What are your thoughts on using a French Press for tea? Do you find it useful? Do you think the French Press is a handy alternative to a tea infuser? Share your thoughts or tips in the comments below.

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