Cooking for Beginners, Eat!, Life Skills

How to Make French Press Coffee — The Beginner’s Guide

Guess what type of coffee the CEO of Starbucks prefers? Howard Schultz says he uses a Bodum French press – a coffee presser brand – which results in ‘the best cup of coffee known to mankind.’

coffee pressMr. Schultz explains that the French press brings out ‘oils, flavor and essence of blends.’ he describes the ‘best way to make coffee at home,’ stating: ‘the French press should not be on a burner; transfer the coffee to a thermos. Drink it within an hour or two, at the max.’

Well, we can’t argue with the man who made coffee into well, COFFEE. French presses have mesh filters that do a good job of holding back the grounds, but there will be a small quantity of powder-like coffee grounds, called fines, that will make it through the filter and remain suspended in your brew. Don’t let those distract you too much. The fines can give the sensation of more viscosity and richness.

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Here’s the basic technique for making great French press coffee. As with all methods of coffee brewing, you’ll need to experiment and tweak the variables a bit, tasting your results before you settle on your ideal settings. The good news is that French press is more forgiving than the faster brew methods.

Have a watch or stopwatch handy to time your brew, or make your toast and eggs, that will be about the right time.

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①  Start with a Very Coarse Grind.

See original imageMaybe at the coarsest setting on your grinder. The particles should appear somewhere between coarse salt and steel-cut oats. Take note of your grind size so you can make adjustments later: grind a little finer next time if your brew was weak, a bit coarser if you’re tasting a lot of unpleasant,  over-extracted flavors.

How much: While there’s a maximum amount that your French press will make, there isn’t really a minimum. A good coffee-to-water ratio is between 60-70 grams of coffee per liter of water (a mass ratio between 1:16 and 1:14). Decide how much brewed coffee you want to make and measure out the right amount of coffee.

② Get your electric kettle rolling!

With French press, you should pour your water right off the boil unless you’ve got an insulated (or double-walled) press, in which case you should wait about 30 seconds off of boil. If you’re brewing dark-roasted coffee or decaf, it’s better with water about 10 to 15°F lower.

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Pouring directly from a bit of a height gets the coffee grounds off to the best rolling start. Start your clock and add your water. Give your coffee and water mix a gentle but thorough stir at about 30 to 45 seconds. You’ll know you’re good to put the lid on and move on to the next step when most of the coffee has sunk and isn’t floating anymore.

④  For the best, richest flavor, wait for about 6 and 8 minutes. You can brew in 3 to 4 minutes if you want, but to get good flavor results, you’d be grinding a lot finer, and you’re not getting the most out of the unique qualities of the French press. Give 6 to 8 minutes a try with the coarse grind, and see if that flavor and intensity works for you.

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⑤ When you’re ready to stop your brewing, it’s time to plunge. French press is a nice, slow, gentle brew. One great way to ruin that niceness would be to violently agitate your coffee grounds, accelerating extraction right at the end when your coffee has already given up the good stuff and the bitter and astringent negative flavors are in danger of taking over. Plunge gently and smoothly and if you get a sploosh up the side of the press, stop, slow down and begin again. If you feel the plunger start to get tight, back it up a tiny bit and resume that gentle plunging. Once you get to the bottom, you’re done!

 ⑥ If you’ve plunged your bed down nice and tight, there isn’t a lot of brewing that will happen from this point on, but it’s still ideal to pour off your entire beverage right after plunging to truly stop the brewing process.

Enjoy the best cup of coffee known to man, every single day…. Cheers!coffee cup

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