For the coffee enthusiast, a French press isn’t a maybe, it’s a must. A French press, also known as a coffee press, a cafetiere, a coffee plunger or a press pot, is an easy way to improve the quality of your coffee in about the same amount of time it takes to brew your favorite morning beverage in the traditional drip method. The results are amazing: the press method delivers coffee with a richer flavor and thicker body while creating a more elegant impression.
Why bother with a French press?
Coffee-drinkers can tell the difference between pressed coffee, which retains essential oils and sediments that are trapped in drip coffeemaker’s filters and eliminates the taste of the paper filter. This method will allow the full flavor intensity of your coffee grounds to survive the brewing process and make it into your mug in just minutes per pot.
You will need:
A French press (we recommend the Bodum French Press)
A burr-style coffee grinder
Boiling water measured to fill the press
A spoon or a chopstick
Get to know the French press:
The French press will be composed of a glass or plastic cylindrical beaker fitted with a lid and a plunger. The plunger holds a filter plate that is used to trap the sediment from the coffee grounds when the brew is ready to be poured.
How to brew the perfect cup of French press coffee:
• Measure water to reach the press pot’s fill line, but not above it, to make sure that there is room for the filter. Boil the water and let it cool briefly to the optimum temperature of around 195 to 205 degrees F.
• Grind the coffee beans to a course texture, being careful to avoid over-grinding the beans into a fine texture. Tiny particles will not be trapped in the French press method, so use a high-quality burr grinder to avoid creating dust and chunks.
• Add about two tablespoons of coffee grounds per 8 oz. cup of coffee to taste to the press pot.
• Pour the pre-boiled water into the press pot slowly to allow the gas to escape.
• Briefly stir the mixture with a chopstick or a spoon (about six strokes) to aid the filter in catching the sediment.
• Place the lid, with the attached filter and plunger assembly, onto the press pot and let the brew steep for two to four minutes, depending on the boldness of the beans used and the size of the pot.
• Holding the lid down firmly, grasp the plunger and slide it down in a straight, even motion, being careful to avoid turning the filter crooked. If it does, the grounds will escape into the upper-half of the pot.
• Wait about 30 seconds to allow the remaining sediment to settle.
• Hold the lid on while pouring and serve the coffee immediately, to avoid a bitter brew.
Alternatively, to make iced coffee, use cold water and leave the French press in the refrigerator overnight. Without the heat to damage the essential oils, the coffee will taste fresh and sweet.
Photo Credit: Sierra MS