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9 Things You Can Do with a French Press (Besides Coffee)

If you're only using your French press for coffee, you're seriously missing out. Here's what else it can do. (Hint: Happy hour!)

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cold coffeeiStock/coryz

Cold-brew coffee

Wait, what? Yes, obviously it’s great for a hot cup of coffee. But you can also use it for your cold brew. After you grind your beans and place the suggested serving in a press, simply add room temperature water instead of hot, suggests Then, let it chill in your fridge until you’re ready to drink it.

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Froth milk

Some of the best café beverages have heated frothed milk as a topper. According to Life Hacker, a French press comes in handy to recreate that frothy goodness right at home. Just put a small amount of milk in the microwave to heat, and then pump it in your French press until you get the level of froth you’re looking for. Sure, you can also do this on the stove with a whisk, but isn’t this SO much more effective? Less mess, less fuss, and way more Instagram-worthy results. For a real coffee upgrade, add cinnamon, vanilla, and/or cardamom to the hot milk, and let it steep in your French press before frothing. Check out the café secrets baristas won’t tell you.

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Strain grains

This is awesome: Throw the grains for tonight’s dinner—like quinoa, barley, farro, or wild rice—into a large French press, fill with water, and swirl a few times. Then push down the plunger and release the water. Your grains will be strained and cleaned for whatever you’re making!

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Brew tea

Making tea in your French press may seem like quite the switch, but it’s actually pretty similar to making coffee, according to Instructables. Care to get fancy? Follow the lead of Erica Joy Dunn, certified holistic health coach, and add fresh ingredients. “While I’m boiling water in my French press, I peel and cut up pieces of fresh ginger. I place them at the bottom of the French press and squeeze in the juice of a full lemon. Then I generously shake ground turmeric over the top and pour the boiling water over, letting it steep for 3 to 5 minutes. I stir in Mike’s Hot Honey and then slowly press.” This recipe will kick any winter cold, she adds.

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Strain juice

Some of us love pulp in our juice, but others just don’t. To strain fresh-squeezed juice, pour it into the French press and plunge it as you would when making coffee. You’ll get rid of all that excess pulp!

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Cook soup

French presses are amazing for soups! “You can fill the press with lots of aromatics such as basil and cilantro, peppercorns, a stub of five-spice or star anise, crushed ginger, some dehydrated mushrooms for depth and maybe even a slice of jalapeño to add a bit of heat. Then pour some hot broth over the ingredients and let steep for a few minutes,” says Michael A. Young, Executive Chef at Sheraton Kauai Resort. “When you present guests with all the colors and scents, everyone ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs,’ and once it’s pressed, they’re left with a crazy flavorful broth that is clear and fragrant.” These easy soup recipes have secret ingredients that make them insanely delicious.

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Whip cream

Whipping cream manually is shockingly simple with a French press, according Just add heavy cream to your French press and pump until the cream achieves soft peaks.

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Make broth

You already know the French press is super at making soup, but it’s also great for broth. “If you want a less than traditional dashi, just fill the press with dried shiitakes, a small bit of konbu, and a cup of bonito flakes, and then top with boiling water,” Young says. “Let steep for 5 minutes and press. Add a few ounces of miso, pour over some diced tofu and sliced scallions, and you’ve just made a quick and delicious breakfast, lunch, or dinner.” These genius food prep hacks will help get other recipes on the table faster.

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Create cocktail infusions

Besides making great coffee, the French press is an ideal filter for course items such as ground herbs, roots, and even fruits. “If you’re looking to experiment with fresh ingredients in your cocktails, French presses are an ideal tool for making the infusions,” says Ramsey Pimentel, Partner/Bartender at C.R.E.A.M. Hospitality. “It allows you to control the ingredients and flavor before scaling it. It makes it easy to make fresh cocktails at home.” You can also use your French press to create infused oils as well.

Aly Walansky
Aly Walansky is a lifestyles writer with over a decade of experience covering beauty, health, and travel for various esteemed publications. Her blog, A Little Alytude ( was launched in 2006 and continues to be a strong voice in the lifestyles arena. Based in the ever-trendy Park Slope area of Brooklyn, she divides her time between her shih tsu Lily, her soap opera addiction, and scouting out fun new martini bars.