Quick DIY French Press




About: Thing Engineer

If you're really in a pinch for some high quality caffeine, there are no coffee shops around and all you have is say, a hotel coffee maker in the bathroom (gross), this life hack just might perk up your day!

Step 1: What You Need

  • Glass or mug preferably with no taper (the opening is the same size at the top and bottom).
  • Coat hanger or stiff wire
  • Coffee filter (or the next best option)

Step 2: Prep the Wire

  • Cut the coat hanger near the hook.
  • Put a small tight bend on the long end, this will help prevent tearing the filter later on.

Step 3: Bend the Wire

Bend the wire to be just a bit larger than the opening of your glass or mug. If your glass gets smaller at the bottom your wire may need to be bend with a smaller diameter or be made of a softer metal (coat hangers are quite stiff).

Step 4: Clean the Wire

Make sure to clean off any lacquer or paint from your wire. A scotch bright scrubbing pad works well. Don't forget to clean up the length of the wire as well, past the point where the coffee level will be once the plunger is submerged in your glass or mug.

Step 5: Adjust the Ring

Squeeze the ring closed and use the hook we made earlier to grab onto the beginning. After that, bend the wire in such a way that the vertical portion is over the center of the ring rather than on the side. This will help the plunger go down the glass or mug evenly verses tipping to one side.

Step 6:

Check the size of the ring and ensure that it is just larger than the inside diameter of your glass or mug. Also adjust the ring to be as perfectly circular as you can to avoid spill over on the edges.

To avoid scratching up your mug (like I did) while testing, use a spare coffee filter or thin paper towel. Although a little baking soda, water and a scotch bright takes them right off.

Step 7:

Pour hot water into your glass or mug along with your coffee grounds and let it stand for about 4 minutes.

Step 8: Take the Plunge

After the coffee has finished steeping, center the filter on top of your glass or mug. Place the ring over the filter and gently push the ring down into the coffee. To ensure a smooth start, you may need to push the edges down with your finger, sliding around the perimeter. Now plunge the filter slowly, all the way down.

Step 9: Check for a Clean Press

If your edges don't seal you'll be left with grounds in your coffee (yuck!). But no worries, just grab another filter and adjust your ring then press again.

Step 10: Enjoy

If you were able to get a good seal you should end up with a perfect cup of coffee (better than that hotel machine anyway).

Step 11: Hacks: Easier Way to Get a Clean Seal

To help get a seal, if you wire bending skills are not quite working out, try sliding a length of small diameter plastic tubing over the ring. Using this method your ring will need to be a bit smaller but the overall diameter including the tube should still be a bit larger than the opening of your glass or mug. The soft plastic of the tube makes getting the seal right the first time much easier.



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    20 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    If I needed a coffee so bad I had to do this, I would be unable because I would need a coffee first. I would have to chew on a bean, take a sip, repeat and continue until I had my brain primed.

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Just tuck that bean between your cheek and gum and enjoy it for and hour. Put somes in a small round tin and carry it in your back pocket. No need for a spitoon


    3 years ago

    Very creative way for French Press Coffee making :).


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Since wire coat hangers are not going to be found in any motel or hotel, no hangers at all that are not tied down, just push a paper towel or if you happen to travel with one a coffee filter down into the cup, dump in the coffee and pour hot water over it. Wait 4-5 minutes and pull out the filter with the grounds. The only thing the filter does is keep the grounds separate from the coffee. Paper towels work fine, except they are a little messy, since they tend to wick the water and get the whole towel wet, dripping some outside the cup.

    1 reply

    Indeed. I think any emergency approach would be acceptable in the above situation! Though they are far and few between with coffee shops everywhere it's fun to think about.


    4 years ago on Step 10

    voilà un café bien mérité.

    Bravo pour votr ingéniosité.

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Gee, probably helps to travel with a pair of needle nose pliers to help bend and cut the coat hanger.

    Of course you could travel with a Aero Press and your own grind of coffee instead if you are that serious about your coffee.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Perhaps the best solution to this is what I do every time I travel. I take my espresso machine and a small battery operated frothing blender to whip some ilk. Then, while other people are using the coffee makers that the maids use the same cloth to clean that they just wiped the toilet with,I am sipping on a latte or cappuccino.

    Anyone 'McGyverish' enough to actually do this would just NATURALLY be ALREADY carrying a multitool with them. I know I always have my Gerber along. Or sometimes just my mini-Leatherman in a suitcase, depending on circumstances....


    4 years ago on Introduction

    wouldn't it be easier to dump 2 bags of coffee in the filter basket, remove the pot (to stop the flow) and run the machine until it fills the basket (but not overflow it)? Let it steep a few minutes and put the pot back under the filter?


    4 years ago

    pretty clever... pretty clever