What are the pros/cons and effects of stirring, either "too much" or "too short", in a French press? My rule of thumb for steeping is to let the coffee cool down to a drinkable temperature, then serve immediately.

I was going with the thinking that in whatever chemical reaction is occurring during the brew, I would want to accelerate it with maximum stirring. Particularly when maximizing caffeine?

The video here:


shows a quick stir only, however. They mention a range of brewing times.

(side question: the only reason not to stir with a metal spoon is to prevent breaking the beaker?)

  • 2
    See also this question about French press steeping time, which sounds similar to me.
    – hoc_age
    Apr 19, 2016 at 18:34
  • I bought an espresso machine, LOL. Not sure that it brews a better cup, but it's different. Still searching for the perfect brewing technique.
    – Thufir
    Jan 3, 2020 at 8:55

5 Answers 5


It's mostly a personal preference

Stirring increases the turbulence, which is supposed to help for a more even extraction and change some flavor qualities of your coffee (such as the acidity and bitterness).

In reality, you might not even notice it. I know I don't, and so far I've only met one (non-barista) person who's able to tell the difference (he didn't like a lot of turbulence).


Based on my experience, I can say that stirring does not affect the brewing process in a French press a lot. The initial stirring is just for homogenously distributing the grounds in the water. Then, the rest of brewing happens itself in the water by chemical extraction itself and the main factors are time and temperature.

According to your question, I can say that you may be over extracting if you are waiting for the water to cool down.

One quick recipe and other related discussion are mentioned here.


Assuming that your grind size is french press coarse, stirring may speed extraction.

Stirring is a bit like higher temperature, it moves around the molecules such that you are dissolving soluble compounds from the coffee. It's like having a convection oven, you can cook food with a lower temperature in the same time it takes a conventional oven. They're both going to get the job done.

Convection ovens do sometimes dry out the food more, which can be analogous to stirring sometimes over extracting unwanted flavors like bitterness.

In brewing coffee it's all about your preferences. And I'm not just talking about taste. Speed can be a major factor. It is for me, which is why I use an AeroPress with a fine grind setting. I just make sure I don't let it brew very long nor do I use much pressure at all in order to keep the flavor where I want it.


I use a French Press and make 40 ounces at a time. I stir for at least a minute now and noticed it reduced the amount of time from start to pour by 45 seconds or so. I pour out of the press just after 3 minutes after I pour hot water in. I used to pour out at 3:45-4:00.


I stir anywhere from 10 - 30 seconds. What I want to see is what is called a "bloom". You'll see some bubbling up or like a crema of sorts. After stirring, and yes don't use metal to stir and get a wooden chopstick to stir to avoid breakage of the glass beaker. DON'T let the coffee cool down to drinkable temp in the Press before serving. Drinkable temp can be personal choice. Serve the coffee after your 4 minute brew time and let the coffee cool in your guests cup to their liking. Letting the coffee cool in the press and then if adding cream or milk and it will cool the coffee even more. To keep your coffee from cooling too much in the press you can fold a dish towel and wrap around your press while it brews. Also preheat the press with your hot water and dump out before adding your ground coffee and water.

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