French presses are a great way to make coffee because the grounds are steeped in hot water for a longer time, resulting in a richer flavor. However, what do you do with the coffee grounds after you’ve made your coffee? Can you reuse them, or are they only suitable for one use?
You cannot reuse coffee grounds twice in a French press. The benefits of reusing coffee grounds more than once are negligible as the grounds have already been in contact with hot water, which has extracted most of the flavor and oil. Thus, it’s suitable to reuse coffee grounds only once.
In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss the factors to consider before reusing coffee grounds in a French press. I’ll also discuss how to reuse coffee grounds in a French press for better results.
Factors To Consider Before Reusing Coffee Grounds
If you’re among the many coffee lovers, you know how much coffee grounds cost. A one-time use of coffee grounds can add up, especially if you’re making coffee for a large group. Reusing coffee grounds once is a great way to save money.
The following are the essential factors to consider before reusing coffee grounds in a French press:
The Type of Beans
Arabica beans are of higher quality and produce richer flavor than Robusta beans. However, Robusta beans have higher caffeine content than their Arabica counterparts. Typically, Robusta coffee beans have up to 2.5% caffeine, while Arabica contains up to 1.7%.
These coffee beans’ flavor and caffeine content affect their quality when reused. Robusta beans are more likely to produce a bitter taste when reused. On the other hand, Arabica beans may still have a better taste when reused.
Coffee grounds that have been roasted for a longer time tend to lose their flavor faster than those that have been roasted for a shorter time. This is because the longer roasting time causes the beans to lose their moisture content, resulting in a drier bean.
It’s also worth mentioning that the darker the roast, the more oily the coffee. Dark roasts entail a longer roasting duration, which leads to the breakdown of deeper structures in the bean. Therefore, you’ll get less tasty coffee if you reuse such coffee grounds.
The Grind Size
A finer grind will result in more surface area for the water to extract flavor from. This means that grounds that have been ground finely will produce better-tasting coffee when reused over a short period. However, this is not ideal for a French press as it has a lengthier brewing process.
Coarsely ground coffee beans, on the other hand, will produce weaker coffee when brewed over a short period due to the less surface area of the beans that come in contact with water. Thus, these are your go-to coffee beans for reuse in a French press due to the long brewing time.
Finer coffee grounds are excellent for drip coffee machines that take 4 to 6 minutes to brew.
You should store coffee grounds in an airtight container and in a cool, dry place. If you store your coffee grounds properly, they can retain their flavor for a long time. It’s also suitable to store coffee grounds in the freezer as this prolongs their shelf life.
Because of the sustained flavor, coffee beans appropriately stored can be reused and have a better taste.
Duration After the Initial Steep
Used coffee grounds get bitter with time. The more time that passes after the first steep, the more bitter the grounds get due to oxidation. For this reason, it’s best to reuse coffee grounds within 15 minutes of the initial brew.
A bitter cup of coffee is not what you want, so make sure to reuse your coffee grounds within the recommended time.
How To Reuse Coffee Grounds in a French Press
It’s advisable to use fresh coffee grounds if you want high-quality and flavored coffee. However, if you must reuse your coffee grounds, here’s how to do it:
- Place the coffee grounds in the French press.
- Fill the French press with hot water, just enough to wet the grounds.
- Stir the mixture and let it settle for 4 minutes for the extraction process.
- Break the crust and scoop it off.
- Place the plunger on top but don’t push it first; wait for another 4 minutes.
- Remove the plunger, stir the coffee, and remove the top layer with spoons.
- Place the plunger back on the French press and press it just to the top of the coffee surface.
- Wait for a couple of minutes for the coffee to drop.
- Press down the plunger slowly.
- Pour the coffee into your mug and enjoy!
The video below demonstrates how to brew the perfect French press coffee:
The following are some tips for an even better coffee from your reused coffee grounds:
Add Less Water
The amount of water you add to the French press determines the strength of your coffee. When using reused grounds, it’s best to add less water than you usually would. This is because the grounds have already been exposed to water, and adding more water will only weaken the coffee.
A rule of thumb is to use less water than you used for the first brew. This way, you’ll have a concentrated coffee that’s not watery.
Use Hot Water
Hot water is essential in brewing coffee, regardless of whether you’re using fresh or reused grounds. This is because hot water helps to extract the flavors from the beans or grounds.
When using reused coffee grounds, add hot water to extract the flavors from the grounds. According to The National Coffee Association, the ideal water temperature for brewing coffee is between 195°F and 205°F (90.56°C and 96.11°C).
Research by Science Direct also supports high temperatures due to the flavor and aroma perception that starts at 76°C (168.8°F).
Use Coarse Grind
As mentioned earlier, a finer grind will produce more surface area for the water to extract flavor faster. This is unsuitable for your French press machine as it has a longer brewing time.
Therefore, buying coarser beans is better if you know you want to reuse your coffee grounds. Such beans will give you a tastier brew from a French press.
Clean Out Your French Press Thoroughly After Each Use
Cleaning your French press is essential, regardless of whether you’re using fresh or reused coffee grounds. This is because coffee grounds can start building up in your French press, which will affect the taste of your coffee.
To clean your French press, disassemble it and wash all the parts with hot water and soap. Here is the procedure:
- Take the lid off.
- Remove the grounds on the lid, taking care not to flush them down the drain.
- Take the French press and fill it halfway with water.
- Add a few drops of dish soap and mix.
- Replace the plunger and plunge the French press a few times.
- Wash the sides to clean the oils and soap.
- Dump the mixture.
- Rinse the French press thoroughly with hot water.
- Assemble the French press again and store it in a dry place.
The video below demonstrates the above French press cleaning process:
Frequently Asked Questions
What Happens if You Reuse Coffee Grounds Twice?
If you reuse coffee grounds twice, you’ll get poor-quality coffee as most of the flavors and oils were extracted in the first brew and first reuse. Therefore, you’ll get watery coffee that’s not worth the time. The benefits of such coffee are also negligible.
Is It OK To Reuse Coffee Grounds?
It’s okay to reuse coffee grounds but not more than once. Reusing coffee grounds more than once brews coffee that tastes like water with a bring of coffee flavor. Thus, it’s always better to use fresh coffee grounds for a quality cup.
Reusing coffee grounds is possible, but it’s not advisable if you’re looking for high-quality coffee. The flavor of the coffee will be weaker, and the coffee might be more bitter as most of the ingredients have been extracted. Therefore, fresh grounds will always give you a better cup of coffee regardless of the machine.
Coffee is best enjoyed fresh, so it’s advisable to use fresh grounds when brewing. If you must reuse your grounds, use hot water and a coarse grind.