How to Make Delicious Tea in a French Press

Using a French Press to brew up loose leaf teas or an aromatic infusion works just as well as brewing coffee.


You might have always considered a French Press, well, as just a coffee maker. It’s so easy to stuck doing the same thing everyday. We all do it! But it’s time to experiment with this gem and use it in different ways. Think iced coffees, iced teas and infused teas. And the wide variety of loose-leaf tea infusions. The humble French Press offers us a way to enjoy so much more.


Sometimes the palate just calls to sip on a nice cup of tea or hot ginger spiced lemon infusion, (or is that just me).


If you have a French Press set aside for just brewing up tea, perfect. Otherwise use your coffee maker. It just needs to be thoroughly cleaned of any coffee residue before using for tea, which is not as difficult as it might sound. This is the step by step guide.


How to brew loose leaf tea in a French Press

1. Thoroughly clean the French Press

Tea is susceptible to picking up other flavors, oils and scents that have been used in a tea pot, or French Press previously. So it’s a must to clean the carafe thoroughly to avoid spoiling or tainting the tea flavor. 


Rinse the borosilicate glass carafe. Add soapy water and carefully wash. Remove coffee residue from plunger and ‘plunge’ several times to clean. Bitter alkaloids from coffee can linger on the metal components so wash well. Rinse all components and wipe with a paper towel.


If there’s a significant amount of coffee residue, consider using water with a little vinegar to clean. Rinse well.


2. Boil water and allow to cool slightly

Fill kettle with cold filtered water and boil. Allow the water to cool slightly to reach the desired temperature. Suggested optimal temperatures for tea brews are listed in the table below.


If you have a coffee thermometer, use it to check the water temperature before adding to tea. 

Tea suggested water temperature
Black tea 200 °f (93°c)
White tea 175°f (80°c)
Green tea 180°f (82°c)
Oolong tea 195°f (90-91°c)
Darjeeling tea 185°f (85°c)
Herbal tea 212°f (100°c)

3. Pre-heat Carafe

The carafe can be pre-heated as you would if you were using a teapot. Pour a small amount of hot water into the carafe and swirl to pre-heat the glass. Pour out.


The warmth and steam help to open the leaves when they are added, releasing flavor.


3. Measure and add Tea

Rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon of your favorite tea per 8 ounces of water (1 cup). The quantity will vary depending on the type of tea you’re preparing. (Check package for guidance.) And of course your preference for strength.


Note: Adjust the quantity of tea for a stronger brew at this point. Don’t add on extra steeping time to make brew stronger. It will just make brew bitter.


4. Add hot water

Pour hot water, carefully, over tea leaves sitting in the carafe.


Put the lid on to keep water temperature hot and steep. (Don’t plunge yet.)


Herbal infusions need the longest time to steep, 5 – 7 minutes, to extract flavor and aroma. White teas the shortest time, just 1 – 2 minutes. And green and black teas somewhere between  1 1/2 to 5 minutes.


Brew time is dependent on your preferred type of tea.


This is a general guide

  • Black tea  3- 5 minutes
  • White tea  2 – 3 minutes
  • Green tea 1 – 2 minutes
  • Oolong tea  3 – 5 minutes
  • Darjeeling 3 minutes
  • Herbal tea  5 – 7 minutes

Note: Over-brewed tea becomes bitter. Don’t leave longer than necessary to extract flavor.

5. Plunge

Press plunger down about 3/4 of the way.


Take care not to compress the leaves. Think of it more as a sieve, to restrain the tea leaves.


The aim is to not squeeze or break the leaves as that results in a bitter tea.


Add sweetener or honey as preferred and enjoy.


If you’re thinking of buying a second French Press for brewing tea consider a Bodum Chambord. You can find out more here.


Iced Tea

Use 1/2 the amount of water to tea so you’re making a stronger infusion.  Ie 1 teaspoon: 4 oz water (or double the quantity of tea) – eg 2 teaspoons: 8 oz water.


Steep the tea as you would if making hot tea. When finished brewing, pour over ice which dilutes the brew. This accounts for the other 1/2 of the water.


Add honey or any preferred sweetener. Or a little squeeze of lemon in the tea can be refreshing.

Aromatic Infused Teas

Think about how comforting and delicious hot lemon drinks are. They can be amped up with peel and spices for a flavorful beverage. And my favorite, ginger tea. 


I make a brew with some citrus peel, a little sliced ginger root and then leave to steep 5 to 7 minutes.


The longer this mix infuses, the more the flavor develops, which I love. For this one, I like to make up plenty for ‘seconds’ to sip during the morning.


It’s one of my ‘snug’, cozy day favorites, soothing on a cold day or when feeling a little under the weather. That first cup really warms you up.


Other spices to consider using include a cinnamon stick, a pod of star anise, and cardamom pods with orange peel.



And think about how quickly and easily you can make up broths with stock and herbs using a French Press. A little crushed garlic, chilli, herbs like rosemary, basil, oregano, parsley. In fact whatever you have on hand or need to use up. Infuse. Add a pinch of salt. And a quick base is prepared ready to add to soup prep or pasta dish.

Check out the Bodum Chambord on Amazon



*Ingredients suggested for infused teas and broths won’t be suitable for everyone and you should always check with your health professional about what’s right for your health if you have any concerns or health issues.

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