Coffee Press PartsThe instructions below make 32 ounces, a common size of French press that makes about four servings. But what if you want to make more or less? Here's a general guide to proportions by volume. Note that coffee beans are measured before grinding.
Coffee PressureAgain, it’s a balancing act. Brew too short, and your coffee will taste thin and sour. Too long, and it’ll end up bitter or astringent. For the best flavor, Hetzel and Moore recommend letting your coffee brew for four minutes. Though if you like your coffee stronger, you can let it go for as long as six, Steiman says.
When it comes to the ideal coffee-to-water ratio, it depends how strong you want your brew. Between 18 and 20 grams of coffee (about a heaping tablespoon) per eight ounces of water is a good place to start, says coffee industry consultant Andrew Hetzel, who leads training courses for the Coffee Quality Institute. Like it bold? Moore recommends using two tablespoons of coffee per six ounces of water. “If it’s a little too strong, you can always add more hot water to your cup,” he adds.
I have a hunch that some of you will argue with me about that, but if you are Into Coffee, then there are a million things to twiddle all the time. That's part of the pleasure of coffee; like other things in cooking, you can improve and tweak to your heart's content, and find a lot of satisfaction in it.
It took me a while to warm up to French press. I have been brewing it since shortly after college, when a roommate and her boyfriend gifted me my first French press and a little blade grinder. But, while I brewed it almost every day, I found it bitter and murky for my taste. Eventually I switched to the speedy Aeropress, which gives a clean, robust cup of coffee quickly.
How To Brew Coffee PressPour about half of your hot water evenly over the grounds. This step is called the bloom. Hot water forces the ground coffee to release trapped gases, leading to expansion of the coffee and wonderful aromas for you to enjoy. During the bloom, a thick “crust” of coffee grounds will also form.
Here's why. A regular blade grinder like this one is perfectly good for grinding coffee beans for a drip machine and other methods, but a French press relies on having very evenly-sized grains of coffee, and they need to be relatively big. Smaller-sized grains will get through the filter, creating a sediment in your cup, and also get over-extracted, making your coffee bitter. It's essential that all the coffee beans are ground to the same consistency and the burr grinder (what's a burr grinder?) is far superior at making this happen.
However, you can get a lot more technical and geeky than that over French press. Just take a look at the varying levels of instruction and minuscule attention paid to grams and brewing time at Stumptown, Intelligentsia, Blue Bottle, and Serious Eats. Whew.
But if you're just getting into French press, I think that this is the easiest method that includes the essentials but doesn't get too geeky. If you are more comfortable weighing your coffee and water than measuring by volume, go to it! If you are persnickety about how long to brew which roasts, have at it! I'm right behind you.
Coffee is 98 percent H2O, Moore says, so make sure your water tastes pretty darn good. Still, delicious doesn’t have to mean fancy. “If you want to use tap water, the real rule of thumb is to drink it first. If it tastes OK to you, go ahead and use it,” says Shawn Steiman, author of the forthcoming The Little Coffee Know-It-All. Tap leaving a bad taste in your mouth? Opt for filtered or bottle water instead.
Coffee Press Cold BrewAnd it’s totally worth waking up the few minutes earlier to make. Because the coffee grounds are immersed directly in French Press Coffee Maker the hot water during brewing, French press tends to be richer, smoother, and overall more flavorful than most other methods. “There’s no paper filter involved, which really allows the oils and flavor in the coffee beans to come through,” says Chad Moore, a Starbucks Global Coffee Engagement team member.
There are two things that really muck up French press coffee: water temperature — boiling water that scorches the grounds, or tepid water that doesn't extract fully — and badly ground coffee with too much fine grit that makes the pressed coffee muddy and bitter.
The process for making cold brew in a French press is basically the same as making hot coffee, only it takes many, many more hours to brew (12, to be exact). Room temperature water is used in place of hot water. And a higher ratio of coffee to water (1:7) is required.
How To Do Coffee Press→ Takeaway: If your French press turns out too bitter for you, or with a lot of gunky sediment at the bottom, then consider changing your grinder to a burr grinder. Or have your local coffee shop grind the coffee beans for you; their commercial grinders will do a great job as well.
Too-hot agua can make for bitter joe, while water that isn’t hot enough means you miss out on flavor. Aim for a temperature of around 200 degrees Fahrenheit—but don’t bother breaking out a thermometer. “Bring the water to a boil and let it sit for 30 seconds,” Steiman says. (Told you this was easy.)
Coffee Press How To UseIf you’re drip person, you’re probably used to brewing a big pot of coffee, pouring some into your mug, and letting the rest sit around all morning. But anything that’s left in a French press will keep brewing since the grounds and the water are still mingling in the carafe, and after a few minutes, it’ll turn bitter. “If you have any leftovers, pour it into another mug or thermos. Or brew less next time,” Steiman says.
But then I married a man who has this eerily amazing habit of bringing me coffee in bed. His brewing method of choice is the French press, and he won me over. It's not just having coffee in bed that has turned me into a devotee of French press (although of course that helps). Turns out that my method had been missing one key element all those years: The right grinder.
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But for now, let's just talk basics. Because in the end, it's just a cup of coffee, and I do hope that more of you will find your morning sustenance in a cup of French press, as it is really so delicious when done (mostly) right.