How to make Cafetiere Coffee (Good Cafetiere Coffee)

Updated: Jul 14, 2021


Cafetiere coffee grounds making a "crust" on top

PHOTO: GINA MILLS


This is Bean Smitten's 5 step guide on how to make cafetiere coffee. A cup that's delicious, light and packed with flavours, without any tiny coffee grounds appearing in your mouth and minimal coffee sediment at the bottom of your cup.


When I think of cafetiere coffee I think of time. It's a slower method of brewing coffee, therefore not only will you need the time to make it properly, but to sit back and relax over it, really enjoy it.


We want to show you two versions of how to make cafetiere coffee - one is an Everyday version that we use all the time at Bean Smitten, and the other one is a Longer version, inspired by James Hoffmann (see his The Ultimate French Press Technique guide here). This latter style brings out a myriad of flavours, that any connoisseur would want to experience. You will just need slightly more time to relish it.


Both the Everyday and Longer guides will begin the same, the only difference is the brewing times, therefore we'll split the guides at that point.

Whole coffee beans

PHOTO: GINA MILLS


Step one: Start with good coffee


First things first, make sure the coffee you use is freshly roasted and of high quality. At Bean Smitten we pride ourselves in sourcing the highest quality, Arabica beans from farms across the coffee belt. Our coffees are fully traceable from bean to cup.


Our importers work with single farm estates and co-operatives, and know everything there is to know about how the coffee is grown. They ensure farmers are paid fairly and provide them with additional support, through education and community welfare projects. So you can be rest assured that not only are our coffees exceptional, they come from a good place too.


All our coffees are good to use in a cafetiere and are available from our website. See what we currently have in stock.


Step two: Grind and amount


Make sure the coffee you use is freshly ground, preferably just before you use it. Recently pre-ground will work perfectly well too, if however you want to get the most out of your cafetiere experience, grind fresh if you can.

Coffee beans and grounds

PHOTO: GINA MILLS


How much do you use? We recommend 30g of coffee per 500ml of water (for 2 cups). Using this ratio you can work out what you’d need for more/less cups.


We like to be accurate and weigh out the coffee on digital weighing scales, but if you don't have any to hand, you can use tablespoons. There's 7 grams in a heaped tablespoon - so for 2 cups (30g) that’s approx. 4.5 tablespoons of ground coffee needed.


When grinding your coffee for a cafetiere, you are looking for a medium coarse grind.


Perfecting YOUR favourite cafetiere coffee may take a couple of trials. You might want to tweak the amount of coffee used, depending on what coffee you're using. For example, African, South American, and Asian coffees all have varying flavours and will likely have had different roasting times (resulting in lighter or darker roasts). Of course, there is no real right or wrong answer here, everyone's taste buds vary. Some people prefer a stronger cup than others. So tweak it to your tastes.

However, being accurate with the amount is important for making that ultimate cup. You will want to ensure this delight is repeatable. Therefore knowing exactly how much of that specific coffee you put into that perfect cafetiere, will help you repeat this time after time.

Coffee beans and cafetiere coffee grounds

PHOTO: GINA MILLS


Step three: Water


The water you use is incredibly important. Use fresh filtered water. Fresh, clean and soft (this may be tricky if you live in a hard water area. If you do, and you want to strive to get that perfect cup, then use bottled water). Basically, if the water doesn't taste good on its own, then the coffee won't either.

Coffee beans and Cafetiere coffee brewing

PHOTO: GINA MILLS



Step four: Brewing the coffee


Boil your water and leave the kettle to sit for one minute. Warm the cafetiere by pouring a small amount of the water into it before adding the grounds - swirl it around and then pour it out. This is like preheating an oven. Heat transfer is very important in brewing coffee.


Now add the grounds to the cafetiere and pour a little of the water in again, using a swirling motion. Ensure all the coffee grounds are covered. The coffee grounds will bloom up in the hot water. Wait 30 seconds for the bloom to finish, then add the rest of the water.


Now this is where we split this How to make Cafetiere Coffee guide into two, as the brewing times are slightly different....


Everyday Cafetiere Coffee


Once all the water is in, stir. Wait for 4 - 4.5 minutes while the coffee brews. A "crust" (grounds and foam where the coffee bloomed up) would have formed on the top.


After the 4 - 4.5 minutes, this coffee is ready to drink. See next step for the plunge!


Longer Cafetiere Coffee


Once all the water is in, wait, don't stir it! Wait for 4 minutes...


After that time, you'll notice a "crust" (grounds and foam where the coffee bloomed up) has formed on the top. Stir the "crust" with a tablespoon. Some of the grounds will start to flutter down and sink to the bottom, but you'll still be left with some sitting on top. Scrape that off with the tablespoon, so you're left with a nice clean top to the coffee. The benefit will be seen in the result - nice, clean coffee, that you should be able to see through.


Then wait again. About 5-8 minutes. Patience is the key with this. Go and make breakfast or read the paper. The longer you leave it, the better the reward will be. In that time, all the rest of the coffee grounds will sink slowly to the bottom of the cafetiere and settle, and the diverse flavours will really develop.

It's now ready to drink. See next step for the plunge!

Cafetiere coffee being poured

PHOTO: GINA MILLS


Step five: Plunge and pour


Put the plunger in. Then very slowly push it down. The slower the better, because as you push down it can stir up the grounds again and doing it too fast may result in a few of the grounds finding their way back into the coffee that you're going to drink. You should feel a slight resistance as you push down.

Once the plunger is at the bottom, the coffee is ready to pour! Enjoy!

PHOTO: GINA MILLS


Both of these brewing methods will result in the best sediment free, most delicious cups of cafetiere coffee you've ever had!


We drink both the Everyday and the Longer cafetiere methods at Bean Smitten and like the quicker time frame of the Everyday, but revel in the multitude of flavours the Longer version brings to our palate.


If you do try out both of these methods, please comment below with which one was your favourite. #BeSmitten


* The coffee used in these photographs was our Rwanda Karambi 292, however all of our coffees suit a cafetiere. Here is what's currently available, as whole beans or choose to have it ground for cafetiere.


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Bean Smitten's "How to make Cafetiere Coffee" 5 Step Guide Summary:


  • Step one: Start with good coffee.

  • Step two: Use the correct grind and amount.

  • Step three: Filtered or, bottled water and the correct amount.

  • Step four: Allow the coffee to brew.

  • Step five: Plunge and pour.


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