Why are my cups of French Pressed coffee sludgy?

Dear Steve-

I finally took the advice of every foodie friend of mine and started French Pressing.  I actually had a single serve French Press hiding in my pantry for what I presume is years.  Who knew?!

Everyone told me it was going to be amazing.  Clearly, I am doing something wrong.  There is always this sludge at the bottom of my mug.  Am I drinking coffee grounds?  How do I stop?

Please help,

Stick in the (coffee) mud


Dear Stick in the (coffee) mud,

Good on you and your French Pressing efforts! These days pour over brewers get all the attention, but the French Press is a classic brewer that never goes out of style!

So you're finding some sludgy silt at the bottom of your cup after brewing with the French Press? Good news, that's normal! Don't fret, you're doing it right! That little bit of silt at the bottom of the cup is just the nature of a French Press brew.

Every brew method uses a filter of some sort to separate coffee grounds from freshly brewed coffee. The French Press filters with a metal screen. That screen allows more fine particles to pass into your coffee than, say, a paper filter - hence, silt in your cup. Some people who prefer a cleaner paper filter brew cry foul on the French Press because the coffee it produces is too strong for their sensitive palates. Boohooo! The French Press should be celebrated for its unique brewing qualities, even if that comes with a bit of silt.

Final word: Embrace the sludge!

-Steve