I Tried Using a French Press to Make Fresh Watermelon Juice and Here’s What Happened

published Aug 13, 2021
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Credit: Naomi Tomky

While we own a French press, most of the coffee in my house comes from our beloved Chemex. So when I saw a list of 17 things to do with a French press that don’t involve coffee, my interest was piqued — especially by the third item (making juice!). It was a hot summer day, and the idea of making refreshing watermelon juice with a French press was very appealing, so I headed off to the store to grab a melon.

How to Make Watermelon Juice in Your French Press

According to the instructions in the list, all you do is put some chunks of watermelon into the carafe, add in a little lime juice, “then squish and strain.” This seemed extremely simple — I just used the wire from an old cheese slicer to cut the fruit from the peel, chopped it up, tossed it into the glass container, then squeezed in half a large lime. 

My Honest Review

Then I pushed down. And pushed harder. The plunger didn’t budge. I could see both juice and watermelon inside the carafe, but the juice simply did not strain up through the mesh of the French press. I grabbed a large wooden pestle I keep in the kitchen for muddling and other tasks and poked it around a bit to mash up the watermelon. It made a squishy fart noise when I pulled it out, which my toddlers found hilarious, but it also knocked some of the juice loose. I plunged again and got about a quarter cup of juice. I repeated this process — muddle, plunge, pour — about eight times, until I was sure I got all the juice out. The personal-sized watermelon and a half-lime didn’t quite fill a pint glass, and it took me at least 10 minutes of hard work to get that much. Plus I got watermelon juice all over the place.

That said, the juice was absolutely delicious and incredibly refreshing — and the French press looked great filled with pink juice. While the French press isn’t ideal for juicing whole pieces of fruit, it does a nice job of straining blended or muddled fruit and looks great doing it.

Credit: Naomi Tomky

My Tips for Making Watermelon Juice in Your French Press

  • Muddle or blend first: Surprisingly, I would do this again. Next time, I would blend or muddle the watermelon ahead of time, then just use the press to strain. It’s especially handy if the melon has seeds.
  • Try tomatoes: I also might try with an over-ripe summer tomato to make tomato water and perhaps make a tomato-water martini.
  • Use for serving: This whole experience did leave me with a great way to serve fresh juice. I’ll pull out the French press to serve drinks for an Instagram-friendly brunch party and even borrow a few extras to have a variety of juices out for a colorful, fun setup.