Cleaning French Press

What’s the best way to get the grounds out of a French press? I don’t want to compromise the garbage disposal and am afraid to put them down the sink. I’ve been scraping the bulk directly into the trash and then use a little bit of water to free the remaining and then dump into the trash. I end u using that method about 3 or 4 times before it’s clean enough to rinse. Can’t help thinking that there’s got to be a better way!

I only use it when my boyfriend really wants coffee, but I throw it down the disposal. Why would it “compromise” it? Then I put the pieces in the dishwasher. What on earth would you use the disposal for otherwise?

Mostly because most municipal sewage systems are already overloaded (I apologize for my anti-disposal jackboot screed). The best solution is to toss it on your compost pile. I fill the thing back up with water and then dump the whole thing on my compost pile. Around here, they encourage dumping organic kitchen waste into the trash rather than down the disposal.

I just use a regular coffee filter. For my one-cupper, it’s perfect; I admit for the larger version it is a bit slower, but still works ok. Do you have a regular coffee pot as well?

Zsofia: I think I just heard somewhere a while back that it’s not good to throw grounds in the disposal. Old (modern) wives’ tale?

Darryl Lict: You win the award for the compost answer. I knew someone would say that, but I, unfortunately, haven’t a compost heap one. We have the giant plastic bin to contain it, but just have not yet started one…

Meanwhile, I’m still just wondering more about the best way to get the grounds out of the press, since they’re really caked into the bottom of the contraption. I’ll work on where they go once I can get them out! :slight_smile:

I do have a regular coffee maker as well as a Senseo. My boyfriend likes the Senseo, but I’m not particularly crazy about it. He also drinks more coffee than I do. Lately, I’ve been on a kick and prefer the flavor from the press…so much that it’s worth scratching my head like an ape every morning to figure out how to clean it out.

I make French press coffee every day. I dump the grounds in the trash. If there’s a lot sticking to the bottom of the carafe, I use my fingers to scoop them out. I’m not meticulous about it, I figure a few stray grounds won’t harm the disposal. Then I rinse the carafe (and my fingers).

Of course, I mainly make cold press coffee, so the grounds aren’t hot. If they are, you could use a spoon?

I usually compost mine. I put in just enough water to make a slurry, then pour it in my little thingy where I put scraps for the compost.

I don’t really see why putting them down the disposal is harmful. If that’s harmful, then just about everything else is, too.

Yeah, I just picked up the “slurry method” out of necessity, but I wasn’t certain if all the veteran French Press users were secretly laughing at the Rookie for not knowing the preferred method!

Knock as much as you can off into the trash can (90+%), rinse the rest down the garbage disposal. And if you leave a particle or two, that’s fine; it’ll come out tomorrow. A half teaspoon of finely ground coffee per day isnt going to burden your disposal, your pipes, nor your septic/sewage system.

Dishwasher every time? Waay too clean. YMMV.

You’re the best! Thanks!

Like you, I have multiple coffee making devices. My French Press gets less use since it is such a pia to clean. But, if you want a real headache to clean, try using the Bodum vacuum system. Very good coffee, but an incredible pain to clean/use/store.

Watch the video of it in action

Oh, and I compost my grounds, weather permitting.

Am I the only one who thought, before clicking on the topic, that the OP was asking about some exotic European weightlifting technique? You know clean, press…

As far as cleaning the plunger mechanism itself, I only found out the other day that the bottom part of plunger (containing the screen filter, etc.) unscrews and comes apart. I was then able to clean it thoroughly with a dishwashing brush under hot water. Alternately, you could take it apart and put it on to soak with some Cleancaf or other coffee machine cleaning solution to make sure to get rid of any stale-tasting old oils and crud. You can also use the Cleancaf to soak the carafe of the press.

We take ours outside and rinse the grounds into the plants with the hose. Then, we take everything apart and put it in the dishwasher. You can also squirt some liquid detergent in with a bit of water and plunge it up and down.

Hey, that’s not a bad idea!

You guys are making me feel like such an earth-hater…I’ve really gotta get my heap going!

I thought the same thing, only rather than exotic, it’s actually pretty commonplace. Lying triceps extensions, a/k/a “French press” or “French curl.” :slight_smile:

Earlier threads by me…

About cleaning French presses


About putting coffee grounds down the disposal

I put them down the disposal. I have been putting them down the disposal for many years. For the past two years I’ve been using a French press every day; before that I used a gold filter in a drip maker.

Since others here have written that they have run into problems doing this, you may want to experiment and see what happens, especially if you own the place.

You could also do what I do when I’m out car-camping. I make French Press everywhere, including camp. Clearly I don’t have a garbage disposal out there, so I put lots of water in the carafe, swirl it around, and dump it in the toilet! Og help you if your toilet’s plumbing can’t handle coffee grounds.:eek:

I wash my french press with soap only about once a week. A good rinse with hot water gets rid of all the residue, etc., and I prefer not to taste soap with my coffee.

The screen comes off most plungers, after which it’s fairly easy to clean it.

Here’s a recipe for making outrageously good coffee in a French Press:
[li]Get really good light-roast beans that were roasted some time in the last 14 days.[/li][li]Grind them at a coarse French-press grind.[/li][li]Measure out 35 grams of ground coffee. Forget about measuring spoons; different types of coffee have different volumes per weight.[/li][li]Put the ground coffee in your French Press.[/li][li]Heat 2 cups of coffee until boiling. Strictly speaking, you should use water at 200 degrees F, but I have found that by the time you take the pot off the stove and pour out the water, it has lost at least 10 degrees.[/li][li]The moment the water boils, pour it into the coffee without stirring. Be careful! Fresh coffee releases its oils and gases quite enthusiastically. I’ve had coffee foam up over the top of my press. It’s a good sign; the coffee still has lots of flavor, but it can make a mess.[/li][li]Set your timer for 4 minutes and start it immediately.[/li][li]After three minutes, stir the coffee.[/li][li]The moment the timer goes off, push down the plunger.[/li][li]Drink immediately.[/li][/ol]

This recipe uses about twice as much coffee and significantly higher water temp than the Krups/Braun/whoever systems, and it demands fresh coffee not something that’s been sitting around for months. The result, though, is an outrageously flavorful cup of coffee.

You may find that it is much more “tingly” than the dark roast stuff that masquerades as “gourmet” coffee these days. Many people call this “bitter”, although it’s really “sour”, the acidic tingling you get on the front of your tongue from lemons, carbonated water, and vinegar. It should be a nice tingling, though, not the true bitter astringent flavor of bad coffee that tastes like drinking liquid aspirin. It is truly carbonated coffee!

Well i’ll start by banning “Le Monde” and then… (checks OP), sorry.


I have discovered easy serve expresso pods I just acquired a a bicycle pump expresso press that came with covimo ESE pods. Now I am out pods, I love that little ritual and damn is that the best two shots of coffee I have ever had, I’m somewhat addicted! Now I cannot find any ESE pods!

To clean yours, Rinse the cup in container of water, later sift the grinds out of the container and toss into a whatever bag, used chinese box, or empty OJ container is collecting your kitchen discards.

I too try not to contribute to the sludge problem at our wwtp.