Can You Use a French Press to Make Tea?

You love your French Press so much that you’re wondering if it has other uses. Like, can you use it to make tea?

Similar to how you would use it to brew coffee, a French Press is a great way to brew your hot loose-leaf tea and cold brew tea. The type of tea you use will influence your water temperature and steeping time. 

Let’s dig in a bit more to answer all your questions about how to brew your tea in a French Press. 

What is a French Press?

A French Press is different than your typical drip coffee machine or pour-over. Let’s quickly look at how it brews coffee and then apply those same tactics to tea. 

A French Press uses an immersion brew. Instead of water passing through the coffee grounds or tea leaves, in this case, the hot water and coffee grounds/tea leaves are immersed together for a period of time. 

The steeping time for coffee and hot tea varies from 1 to 10 minutes. We’ll look more at this later in this article. 

Once the brewing is done, the plunger is gently pressed down. And voila, your cup of coffee or tea is ready to enjoy. 

How to Use a French Press to Make Tea?

Using a French Press to make tea is rather simple and only takes a handful of steps. Before we start brewing tea with your French Press, it is essential to give it detailed cleaning. This includes a scrub brush and gently scrubbing the plunger to remove any old coffee sediment. 

Consider having a French Press solely for brewing tea and another for your coffee. If any coffee is not cleaned away, it can affect the flavor of your tea. 

1. Gather Items and Ingredients

Get out your favorite French Press, kettle, and loose tea leaves.

2. Prime 

Prime your French Press carafe and mug by pouring hot water into it. This will allow the water temperature to remain even when the tea brews. When finished, you can dump out the water. 

3. Measure tea

You can now measure your tea and put it into the French Press carafe. I use 1 1/2 teaspoons of loose-leaf tea for every 8 ounces of water. Of course, you can always add more or less depending on whether you enjoy it a bit weaker or stronger. If you want to get a little fancy, add some ginger or nutmeg for additional flavor.

4. Steep Tea

Pour hot water into the French press and allow the tea to steep. Different teas require different water temperatures. Refer to the table below for specific water temperatures and steep times.

  • 1-2 minutes: Green teas
  • 2-3 minutes: White teas, Oolong teas, Darjeeling, and Purple
  • 3-5 minutes: Black tea
  • 5-10 minutes: Herbal teas
Table of different types of tea and what water temperature to steep them with and for how long.

5. Plunge

Once your tea is done steeping, slowly press the plunger down. Be sure not to plunge all the way to the bottom. This can cause the tea leaves to crumble into tiny pieces.

6. Drink

Lastly, pour into your cup and enjoy!

Tips for Making Tea with Your French Press

Tip 1: When using loose tea, check the package for how much to measure. When brewing iced tea, double the amount. 

Tip 2: For an 8 oz. cup of tea, use one level tablespoon. If your tea is more fluffy, use a rounded tablespoon. 

Tip 3: For stronger-tasting tea, use a little more tea, but steep at the same time no avoid any bitterness. 

Tip 4: It’s best to use a thermometer when measuring the temperature of your water. If you don’t have one, remember boiling water is 212 degrees Fahrenheit. After one minute, it cools down to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and 185 degrees after 2 to 3 minutes. 

You can also use an electric kettle with a built in thermometer for boiling water. This handy little device takes all the guess work out of heating water for your tea.

This stainless steel kettle boils water in only 8 minutes, and will last you for years to come.

Tip 5: Don’t leave tea remaining in the carafe if you want to go back for a refill. Instead, pour the remaining tea into a second carafe. The longer the tea sits in the French Press, the more it will continue to steep. 

How to Make Cold Brew Tea Using Your French Press

Cold brew tea is not the same as Iced-Tea but is an excellent alternative to hot tea on a warm and sunny day. Instead of using boiling water, or almost boiling, when brewing cold brew tea, you only use cold water (as the name implies).

Loose tea leaves will release their flavor, or brew, whether in hot or cold water. Hot water just speeds up the process. When using cold water to brew with, you will be steeping your tea leaves anywhere from 3 to 12 hours, depending on what type of tea you are using. 

Some benefits of brewing your tea with cold water is that because extraction occurs much slower, the tea will be light-bodied without any bitterness. 

Using your French Press to make cold brew tea is very similar to the steps mentioned above. 

Step 1: Get out your favorite French Press, cold water, and loose tea leaves.

Step 2: Measure out your tea and put it in the carafe. I use one teaspoon of loose-leaf tea for every 8 ounces of water. Of course, you can always add more or less depending on whether you enjoy it a bit weaker or stronger. The amount of tea you use with cold brew tea is less crucial as it steeps for so long. 

Step 3: Pour cold or room-temperature water into the French Press and allow the tea to steep. Different teas require different steeping times. Refer to the table below for specific recommended steep times. 

Table showing how long you should cold steep tea.

Step 4: Place the plunger on, but do not press it yet. Put in the fridge for about 6 to 12 hours, depending on your tea. 

Step 5: Once your tea is done steeping, slowly press the plunger down. Lastly, pour into your cup and enjoy!

How to Clean a French Press?

Cleaning a French press is relatively simple and should be washed after every use. First, remove the used tea leaves (or coffee grounds). I like to fill my French Press halfway with water and then pour the water and tea leaves into a strainer over the sink. 

You can dump the used tea leaves in the trash or save them to reuse.

Next, fill the French Press halfway up with warm water a second time. This time add a bit of dish soap to it. Now, put the plunger into the carafe, and move it up and down a handful of times. Dump out the soapy water and rinse well with clean, warm water. 

Either gently towel dry or air dry, and your French Press is ready to use again. 

Alternatively, if you wish to forgo the soapy water, you can also use cleaning vinegar. Soak the carafe and plunger in warm water and vinegar for an hour or two. Rinse well with warm water and dry. Viola! All clean.

For other alternatives for cleaning your French Press, click here!

Can You Reuse Tea Leaves?

There is no reason to throw loose-leaf tea away immediately after using it. Due to its strong flavor, loose-leaf tea does not lose its taste after steeping once. 

Now every tea will be different, and no tea leaf will last forever. Take a quick look at the table below to help you get an idea of how many times you can reuse your favorite tea. 

Table showing how many times you can reuse certain loose tea leaves.
Reusing Tea Leaves

Comaring Aeropress and FrenchPress

Aeropress is another handy device that can make tea. Click here to see how it differs from a FrenchPress.

When comparing each of these brewing devices, they each have their strengths and weaknesses. In terms of taste, the AeroPress is slightly superior than the French Press because it makes a cleaner brew, and the coffee flavors are more prominent. Click the link to take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of both.

Final Thoughts

Brewing tea, whether hot or cold, with your French Press, is a great way to get your tea fix. Remember, if you are using the same French Press for tea and coffee brewing, thoroughly clean it each time. 

I actually own two different ones. One for tea and one for coffee. That way, there is not cross-contamination between my two drinks. 

Does Coffee Have More Caffeine Than Tea?

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