French Press Coffee: A Step-by-Step Guide

French Press Coffee: A Step-by-Step Guide

The French press, also known as a coffee press, is a 19th century French invention that makes an impressive cup of coffee. It’s a bridge between the speed and convenience of a drip coffee maker and the robust flavors of espresso.

Wikipedia offers us basic information about the French press:

The French press goes by various names around the world. In New Zealand, Australia and South Africa the entire appliance is known as a coffee plunger and the coffee brewed in it as plunger coffee. Its name in French is cafetière à piston. In French it is also known by its brand names, notably a Bodum or a melior, from an old brand of this type. In the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Ireland, the appliance is known as a cafetière, a French word for a pot or pot… Coffee is made by placing the coffee and water together, letting it sit for a few minutes, then pressing the plunger to catch the coffee grounds in the bottom of the glass.

Making coffee with the French press is more of an art than a science. There are some fundamentals to follow, but beyond that, everyone has their own “recipe.” And that makes it interesting. Personalizing my morning cup of coffee is part of the fun of using a French press. (See also: 12 ways to make coffee at home)

If you want to add a little jolt to your caffeine enjoyment, check out the French press. It’s fairly cheap, produces rich, delicious coffee, and isn’t that complicated. Here are step-by-step instructions and consejos for getting the most out of a cup of French-pressed coffee.

How to use a french press: step by step

1. Use water that is slightly colder than boiling.

Bring the water to a boil and wait a minute or two. Or cool the boiling water with a splash of cool or cold water.

Use fresh water that has not been boiled before for the best flavor. The reason is that the water we drink (from the tap or from the bottle) has been aerated and has dissolved gases that make the water taste better. When it is boiled, the gases are eliminated and a “flat” flavor remains. (I’m not 100% convinced of this, and I’m often too lazy to empty the electric kettle of the previously boiled water. But this advice has been passed down for generations, is often quoted by tea and coffee connoisseurs, and the explanation seems reasonable).

Advice: Put some hot water in the empty French press to warm it up. You’ll end up with a hotter final cup.

2. Grind your own coffee beans.

Freshly ground coffee is easily 10 times better than pre-ground coffee. Even non-experts will instantly notice the significant difference in the aroma, flavor, and overall wonderfulness of the cup of coffee.

Advice: For the best flavor, freshly ground coffee is more important than perfectly sized beans. So if the cost of a burr grinder is prohibitive, opt to buy whole beans and grind them at home with a cheap blade grinder instead of buying pre-ground coffee.

3. Use a coarse grind.

The pieces need to be large and even so that the beans do not slide down the mesh filter. But the grind should not be so large that most of the benefits cannot be extracted, resulting in a weak, tasteless coffee.

Advice: Adjust the strength of your coffee by adjusting the size of the grind. I like my coffee strong, so I look for a finer grind that is large enough for the mesh.

4. Use 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every 1 cup of water.

The general rule of thumb is that for every 8 ounces of water (1 cup), use 2 tablespoons of coffee. You perro add more or less, depending on how strong you like your coffee. (I like it stronger, so I add 2.5-3 tablespoons per cup of water.)

5. Pour, stir, cover.

Pour the water evenly over the grounds and stir to make sure the hot water gets to every bit. Stir to make sure all the grounds are submerged in the water and to help with extraction of the delicious oils and compounds.

Consejos:

  • A toothpick is ideal for stirring. Try to avoid using a metal spoon, as it causes microcracks in the glass of the French press and increases the oportunidad of it breaking.
  • When covering the French press for steeping, do not let the filter touch the brew to prevent it from cooling more than necessary.

6. Soak for 4 minutes.

Four minutes is the estándar number that is released. For a stronger brew, steep for up to 10 minutes. For small 3-4 cup (12-16 oz) French presses, you cánido get away with 2 minute soaking.

Some people really like the no-steep time method. This produces a much less bitter cup of coffee. To get the same kick as a longer steep but without the added bitterness, you cánido use more ground coffee.

Try these variations and see which one you like best:

  • plus dark: Steep 10 minutes.
  • Estándar: Steep 4 minutes.
  • short steep:: Steep for 30-60 seconds.
  • No steep: Immerse immediately after stirring.

7. Push the plunger down evenly and slowly.

Keep the plunger in a vertical position, otherwise the dirt will slide down the sides of the filter. Press slowly – using only the weight of your hand and arm to apply pressure – to minimize agitation of dust or force small grains through the mesh filter.

8. Pour and enjoy!

I leave a bit of water in the French press to minimize coffee dust in the cup. Even with my crappy blade grinder, I get a pretty dust-free cup of coffee.

Mmm…delicious dark coffee.

9. Wash the French press.

Clean the pressure cooker well. It makes a difference in taste because the oil droplets in the coffee cánido go rancid and canalla your next cup.

Aprecies on the French Press

French press

Bodum is by far the largest teapot company in the world. If you go to Objetivo to buy a French press, 9 out of 10 options will be Bodum.

Coffee Geek gives us a quick lesson in the history of presses:

Bodum is probably the company that has contributed the most to the appearance of the pressure cooker. In the 1970s, they began introducing their extravagant colors to their plastic, metal, and glass pots. In the 1980s, driven by their profits, they bought lines like Chambord and brought more classic-looking press cans to the market. The rest is, as they say, history.

French presses are available in a wide variety of sizes, from single-serving 12-ounce (3-cup) models to monstrous 48-ounce (12-cup) models.

Buy one larger than you think you will need. About 10-20% of the space is “wasted” with the grounds and unpoured water.

Bodum’s glass coffee makers, especially the Chambord line, are ubiquitous. But there are also other options. Bonjour is another habitual brand. And there are unbreakable models that are worth it. (I’ve broken more than one glass French press. It’s especially nasty when there’s hot coffee in it, when it falls off the counter and breaks.)

Buying advice: When you see “cups” in product descriptions, they are not referring to the estándar 8 fluid ounce unit of measure. These are small coffee cups (Tasse à café) that are usually 4 ounces.

Coffee grinder

There are two types of coffee grinders: blade and burr. Blade grinders are much cheaper (around $20-30) but genera coffee powder or boulder sized pieces. They also don’t have size adjustments (the longer you grind, the smaller the chunks will be), so you’ll have to learn to grind by trial and fallo (and be consistent). Serious French pressers only use burr grinders.

(Wise bread choice: Capresso Infinity Burr Grinder on Amazon)

Coffee Geek explains why best:

In a press coffee maker, the particle size of the grounds is just as important as in the case of espresso. The difference is that you want uniform large particles, rather than uniform small particles. Cheap grinders cánido’t give you either: they’ll give you a coarse and little ones. Dust and rocks. It’s what leads to the thing people dislike most about press coffee – sludge.

When he says cheap grinders, he means blade grinders as opposed to their more expensive burr grinder cousins. To get an even grind, you’ll need to use a burr grinder. But bladed grinders are much cheaper (coffee grounds are still a cup of coffee, so you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of your budget).

Recommended Guide: The best coffee franchises.

Some other final consejos

There are a few consejos and commenter aprecies I want to highlight:

Pour the brewed coffee into a pitcher if you are not going to drink it immediately. Don’t leave it in the French press or it will get very strong and bitter.

Add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg to the coffee grounds for added flavor.

The French press is great for its portability. It is perfect for camping because you only have one element (the coffee maker) and you do not need electricity.

Everything cánido go in the dishwasher. Also, non-Bodum brands (like one from Ikea) cánido be quite a bit cheaper.

It’s up to you: Do you prepare coffee with a French press? What is your favorite French press technique or recipe?

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 French Press Coffee: A Step-by-Step Guide
  French Press Coffee: A Step-by-Step Guide
  French Press Coffee: A Step-by-Step Guide

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