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Brewing Tea in a French Press

Many people have asked us whether one can brew a cup of tea in a French press. A French press is the brewing system that is commonly used for making coffee; water is added to coffee in a carafe, and the coffee is brewed when a plunger/strainer is pressed down from the lid. The coffee grounds are then compressed against the bottom of the carafe and the brewed coffee can be poured into cups. It's a very convenient way to make good coffee. But is it right for tea?

Yes, it can be done -- in a pinch. But it's not ideal. In the About Tea section of our website, we list our standard Simple Guidelines for Brewing Tea; please review that if you are unfamiliar with our approach to making tea. Immediately below are some important considerations for brewing tea in a French press:

1. Thoroughly clean the French press, paying careful attention to removing coffee residues from the mesh plunger. If there is a significant amount of coffee residue, consider cleaning it with a mixture of vinegar and water. If residue remains, you should consider another way of brewing your cup of tea.

2. Add only the amount of water needed for the cups of tea that are going to be poured as soon as the first steep of tea is completed.

3. Steep the leaves for the desired strength of brew.

4. Carefully lower the plunger about halfway to the bottom. The idea is not to compress the leaves, but to use the plunger as a sieve. Compressing the leaves may damage them and result in bitter, subsequent steeps of the leaves.

5. Pour off all the tea, either into cups, or into a separate carafe. Do not allow leaves to remain in any water in the French press.

Enjoy the tea! Re-steep the leaves as many times as you find that they produce a tasty cup.

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