Can you use a French press to make tea? We asked the experts

Your French press doesn't just have to be for coffee, it can make delicious tea too

Green tea with fresh mint leaves brewed in a French press on a white table by the window
(Image credit: Kseniya Ovchinnkova via Getty Images)

French presses are best known for coffee, but if you drink loose leaf tea, you’re in luck: French press tea is a true treat. 

I’ve tested the best French presses on the market. You’d be surprised at the range of alternative uses there are for a French press — juicing, oil infusions, sangria, and more. In my opinion, tea is one of the best. I spoke with tea experts and coffee connoisseurs to find out everything you need to know about French press tea, including whether it’s better than a tea press. 

How to make French press tea

Two glasses of iced tea surrounded by lemon and mint

(Image credit: Anna Kim via Getty Images)

Making French press tea is as easy as making cafetiere coffee. All you need is quality loose-leaf tea, a good French press, and a temperature-variable kettle.

Kayla Stavridis, a former barista, says 'start by adding hot water to your French press. This will warm it up, ensuring you maintain temperature during your brewing process. It will extract a maximal amount of flavors, more evenly.'

Once you've emptied that water out of your French press, measure out your loose-leaf tea. Kayla recommends using one teaspoon per every eight ounces of water. However, you can vary the quantities depending on the type of tea you're using and the way you like yours brewed. 

Pour water, heated to 195 degrees over your tea. Check that this is appropriate for your tea leaves: black tea will need your water to be boiling and green tea will need it to be much cooler. Johny Morrisson, former barista and coffee blogger says 'For delicate teas like white or green, stick to lower temperatures around 175-185°F and shorter steeps of 1-2 minutes. For black teas use hotter water close to 210°F and steep for up to 3 minutes.' The best way to control how much you heat your water is with a temperature-variable kettle. I love the Fellow Stagg Gooseneck Kettle, available at Williams Sonoma.

Let your tea steep for three to five minutes, again, the exact timing will depend on your tastes as well as the type of tea that you're brewing. Once the tea has steeped, press the plunger down and serve your tea up immediately.

French press recommendations

Tea press on a countertop with someone plunging the press

(Image credit: Kseniya Ovchinnkova via Getty Images)

Here are some of my favorite models on the market. We have a whole buying guide for the best French presses. I’ve tested them all and these are my top three.

French press vs tea presses and infusers

A tea infuser with hibiscus petals

(Image credit: Rosa María Fernández Rz via Getty Images)

A tea infuser or a tea press is designed specifically for making tea, so if you're looking for a brewer that you will only use for tea, you're better off with a specialist product. However, if you need something a little more versatile, you'll be looking at a French press. 

Using a French press to make tea comes with a lot of advantages. Kayla says that 'while a tea press might be designed with tea-specific features, such as finer filters, it does essentially the same job as a French press. If you need to minimize clutter, combine the two by investing in a French press.'

A French press can extract the flavors from tea really well, as long as you don't mind having a bit more sediment. Moreover, these coffee makers are incredibly versatile. I've covered all the alternative uses for a French press, from oil infusion and juicing in another article. This means you can have a tea brewer that works hard for the amount of space that it takes up.


What is French press tea?

French press tea is exactly what it sounds like. You can use fresh leaves as well as tea leaves in your French press and infuse them to make tea.

Is a tea press better than a French press?

If you drink exclusively tea, a tea press is better than a French press. The filter is finer, so you'll get smoother results with less sediment at the bottom of your cup. However, a French press is better for making coffee, infusing oils and much more. It's a good, versatile option.

Laura Honey
eCommerce Editor

Laura is our eCommerce editor. As a fully qualified barista, she's our expert in all things coffee and has tested over thirty of the best coffee makers on the market. She has also interviewed Q-Graders and world-leading experts in the coffee industry, so has an intimate knowledge of all things coffee. Before joining Homes & Gardens, she studied English at Oxford University. Whilst studying, she trained as a master perfumer and worked in the luxury fragrance industry for five years. Her collection of home fragrance is extensive and she's met and interviewed five of the world's finest perfumers (also known as 'noses'). As a result of this expansive fragrance knowledge, she always puts quality and style over quantity and fads. Laura looks for products which have been designed simply and with thoughtful finishes.