For many people, coffee is a morning staple. It’s the tasty little kick that gets us ready to face the day. But in some cases, it can be an expensive habit. If you are accustomed to getting coffee from Starbucks or Dunkin’ on your way to work, then that money can really add up. Even K-cups get expensive if you use them every day. One of the best ways to save money on coffee is to brew it yourself. And if you’re looking for truly sustainable options, the most economically and environmentally friendly coffee maker is the French press. 

What is a French Press?

The name “French press” makes it sound like some sort of fancy, expensive contraption. But it’s exactly the opposite. It is simply a container with a plunger (ignore the unappetizing name) in which your coffee grounds soak before getting “pressed” to the bottom so that you can pour a delicious, ground-free cup of coffee. The flavor of French-pressed coffee is simply unmatched. By allowing the water and coffee grounds to soak together, you are creating perfectly infused, full-bodied coffee that you will never experience with a drip maker or a Keurig. 

How To Make French Press Coffee

The whole process takes less than 10 minutes (only 1 of which you are actively doing anything). It couldn’t be easier. Take the lid and plunger off your French press, and pour in your coffee grounds. The amount of grounds will be determined by your preference for stronger or weaker coffee. A general rule, though, is a few spoonfuls for each cup of water.

You can either boil water on the stove or heat it up in a microwave-safe dish, or if you have a hot water line, that’s even easier. Pour in enough hot water to make the amount of coffee you’d like. Replace the lid, with the plunger up all the way, and let your concoction sit. After about 5 minutes, slowly push the plunger down. It should catch all the coffee grounds and hold them at the bottom of the container. Now you can pour your perfect coffee into your favorite coffee mug, and enjoy.

How to Clean a French Press

Here’s the lazy way: just rinse. Most days, I give the French press and filter a good rinsing in warm water to remove all the coffee grounds. When you want to do a more thorough clean (which you should, periodically, as the coffee leaves oils that can build up over time and affect the flavor), you can scrub it with soap and water or just disassemble it and put it in the dishwasher. Most French presses are dishwasher safe, but be sure to check the instructions pertaining to yours just to be safe.

The French Press is the Zero Waste Coffee Maker

If you’re on the mission to reduce the amount of waste you create, a French press is a perfect replacement for your current coffee maker. Once you have your press, the only thing you need to make a cup of coffee is coffee grounds. No filter, no pod, nothing to throw away. If you buy your coffee grounds in bulk, then this truly is a zero-waste option. Most grocery stores have bulk coffee bean dispensers with machines to grind the beans in-store. If you bring your own reusable jar, then you can leave with package-free coffee grounds. 

To complete your zero-waste coffee experience, once you’ve brewed your coffee, you can compost the grounds or spread them in your garden. Used coffee grounds are very nutritious for plants. This is a great way to reduce what you send to the landfill while also feeding the planet. See more info here on the easiest backyard composter.

How Much Does a French Press Cost?

French presses come in a huge range of prices. You could spend $100 on one, but there’s no need to when a $25 one will do just fine.

You can go with a sleek, stylish French press that’ll look cool on your office desk:

Or a travel French press that lets you make and drink the coffee all in one container!

Either way, if you’re someone who uses K-cups or buys your coffee every day, I’d encourage you to try out a French press. Considering you can get one for the price of a few Starbucks lattes, or a pack of K-cups, there’s really no reason NOT to try it! You’ll see savings immediately, while diverting a huge amount of waste from the landfill. Not to mention, you’ll finally have the gourmet homemade coffee you’ve always wanted.

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