Yuck! I love my french press and the coffee it produces but no one “enjoys” cleaning it out afterwards. It’s a chore that can easily get quite messy.
When I started using a french press I actually almost stopped simply because cleaning it always resulted in a big mess. The only way I could avoid the mess was to simply swish water in the spent press pot and dump it all out down the sink.
For some people this may be fine but I am always a bit conservative when it comes to my plumbing – I try to put the least amount of “stuff” down the drain as possible and I’ve heard many a horror story about coffee grinds clogging up one’s plumbing.
So what is the best way to discard all that used coffee grind mucking up the bottom of your french press without making a huge mess? It’s actually kind of simple. I’m almost surprised I didn’t do it right from the beginning using only my common sense to dream it up.
For starters it’s well known that coffee grounds are great for gardening. They make an excellent addition to any compost pile and the same goes for paper towels. You probably don’t want a compost pile consisting of only paper towels but the occasional towel in there isn’t going to hurt it one bit.
How I Clean Used Coffee Grind From My French Press
What I’ve started doing is this simple. I pull out a small fine mesh strainer much like this one (you may find that larger strainers are easier for you to use) and place a single paper towel in the middle of it.
I make sure the paper towel is small too – if you use gigantic paper towel sheets then just rip it in half, you don’t need that amount of paper.
Once I’m ready to wash the french press I just add water to the pot and swirl it around to get the coffee grounds off the walls and then pour it directly into the paper towel sitting in the strainer.
This one motion eliminates probably 90% or more of the grounds from the press pot. You can then do it again to remove the rest or simply choose to wash the rest of the grind down the drain.
At this point the paper towel can simply be lifted from the small strainer to be thrown directly into the compost or the trash can if you’re not a gardener.
What I like about this method is that the small mesh strainer is extremely handy to have in the kitchen anyway. Many of you might already have one on hand – I did. We use it for straining pasta all the time.
And if you don’t have one on hand they are super cheap and you’ll end up finding lots of different ways to use them in the kitchen.
I always hated taking my french press to the trash can and shaking it trying to get as much grind out as possible without flinging the grind all about the kitchen; this method is simply elegant and leaves no mess at all and I don’t have to worry about flushing the grind all the way through my plumbing either. It gives me peace of mind. I just drop the towel in the trash or into my compost jar. Simple.
Anyway, there are of course other ways to get the job done efficiently and with little mess but I’m pretty sure this is the way I’ll be sticking with for the next few decades. Give it a try if you haven’t already and see how simple and effective it is.
Of Note – This post is part of a series I’m doing on basic french press coffee. You can see prior posts on making french press through the following links: How Much Coffee Goes Into A French Press & How Hot Should The Water Be In A French Press.