Clean Your French Press Coffee Maker with These Simple Steps

No matter how you make your coffee, keeping your coffee maker clean is an important part of getting a good-tasting cup of joe. Oils and proteins from old coffee brewing sessions can build up and turn rancid, and that’s especially true for the harder-to-clean portions of your brewer. If you are a fan of the French press method, you likely already have a good routine for cleaning the pot, and you probably rinse off the plunger, but the layers of mesh that trap the coffee in the bottom of the pot often get overlooked.

Most French press plungers are made up of a bottom support plate along with a top plate that has large holes — these two sandwich a circle of fine mesh in between. The layers are held together by the long plunger post. Carefully unscrewing the plunger allows all of the pieces to come apart. You’ll often find finely ground bits of coffee trapped in the layers even when they look clean otherwise.

A thorough cleaning keeps your coffee tasting good

French press plunger

When you’ve disassembled the plunger, you can clean all the parts with distilled vinegar or a purchased coffee cleaning solution. This will not only dissolve the old coffee oils but also kill any lingering bacteria that might be taking advantage of the humidity. Be sure to wash everything with warm, soapy water to remove the vinegar or cleaning solution, and let the parts air dry before reassembling them. The parts may also be dishwasher safe — check with the maker of your French press to be sure.

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There are several steps for a successful brew when using a French press system, from understanding how much coffee to add to your pot, how hot your water should be, and how long you should steep the grounds, but if your pot and all its parts are not clean to start with, your coffee won’t have the chance be the best it can be. A quick clean of the plunger every few pots can make a big flavor difference.

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